Written by: Eth Lloyd, Advisory Council Chairman
I woke up yesterday morning, the first day of New Zealand’s four-week lockdown, and I felt so very sad. As I made my breakfast, I found I was crying. No-one had done or said anything negative to me, nothing had changed for me since the day before, so why did I feel this way? I then read a great article shared on Facebook by Matt Want, Executive Secretary Magazine on That Discomfort you are feeling is grief which resonated deeply with me.
I fully support the measures being taken by New Zealand’s Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern and her government to manage Covid-19 and know they are the right things to do. However, I also know that I, and so very many people around the world, have had long developed plans and dreams disrupted. It is this disruption to plans and dreams, not so much the lockdown or the awfulness of Covid-19, that can lead to a feeling of sadness or grief. We do not need to compare our feelings of grief over something important to us with something that has been lost by others, as there is always someone worse off. We do however, need to recognise the feelings of sadness within ourselves for our loss and then work with those feelings for ourselves.
Additionally, I am not entirely comfortable within the social media world which right now is humming. So, there are a vast number of responses to the Covid-19 crisis from many fabulous people who are providing support, training, upskilling (as I need on social media) and a good dose of deep and true care and kindness. However, to those feeling as I do this can, for some, end up feeling overwhelming.
I have also found that this situation has raised my negative self-talk, usually along the lines of:
- “You should know more about this …”
- “You should be more visible by doing ….”
- “So and so is doing xyz, why didn’t you think of that?”
- “In your role as Chairman of the Advisory Council you should have ….”.
Honestly, this is the time when I really need to recognise that little duck on my shoulder quacking negative thoughts and remind myself how to “Shut the duck up!”, but I have been finding that hard to do. What is it about a crisis that encourages us to return to a self-defeating mode that may have been part of us in our past? I come back to it; it is a part of the process of coping with grief.
After reading the above article, I went out for a 10km bike ride and returned feeling more positive, more able to see what was happening for me, and understanding more of why I feel the way I do.
So, to take care of myself:
- I need to acknowledge and accept the grief I feel at the loss of my plans and dreams for 2020
- I need to accept that the milestones I was to have been celebrating this year can equally well be celebrated next year and will be more enjoyable away from this pandemic
- I need to move my focus to preparing for 30 August – 1 September 2020 and Chairing the virtual WA-Summit business session for all Delegates including upskilling myself in Microsoft TEAMS; it is critical that we keep everything moving forward, to better support all administrative professionals around the world
- I need to work with Lucy Brazier (Executive Secretary Magazine) and Helen Monument (Interim Chairman WA-Alliance) to provide support right now for the leaders of administrative professional associations around the world, who may be wondering what their future as an association will look like
- I need to understand that difficult time zones mean I can’t attend every amazing session being offered and stop putting pressure on myself
- I will join virtual sessions when I can, to show my support and awe for those who are offering so much, through many social media and communication platforms, to help and support others
- I need to not be overwhelmed by what everyone else is doing and not be overcome by my own internal perceived inadequacies.
So, this posting is about helping myself to feel better about what I have lost as writing about things is something that really does help me.
It is also written with the intention that it may help others to understand that if they are feeling somewhat down or sad, especially if they are missing out on long held dreams and plans, they too may find the article referred to above will help them to:
- reflect on their own situation
- then take a little more time reflecting on what will assist them to manage those feelings.
We all need to support our own well being.