As I was driving back from work the other day, I passed one of my favourite restaurants. My mouth started salivating like Pavlov’s dogs at the thought of having a Cicada Burger with an ice-cold beer. A thought we all have had the last few weeks popped into my head: “I can’t wait for things to go back to normal”. I realised I needed to change my choice of words because normal only exists as a difficulty level on video games. I replaced it with, I cannot wait for things to go back to the way it was before. Sadly, that thought was also challenged knowing that things will never be the same again. Life as we know it has changed. Changes brought on by a microscopic virus and massive reactions from governments all over the world.
We have seen the impact of these changes on our finances, social- and personal life. Does this mean we should focus on the negative and lose hope of the future? It shouldn’t. But observing social media this is exactly what is happening. There has been a big shift in the content being posted on social networks. The beginning of lockdown was met with jokes, challenges, optimism, growth, hope and even praise to our president. Even after the lockdown was extended the jokes and memes continued. The big shift occurred with the announcement of the indefinite Level 4 Lockdown and rephasing of the economy and free movement. People started focussing more on the negatives, believing more conspiracy theories, becoming judgemental and critical of the lockdown, economy, government, the future, and others.
Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, Victor Frankl, stated in his book, Man’s search for meaning, that “the prisoner who had lost faith in the future – his future – was doomed.” Not to compare the Lockdown with Nazi concentration camps but our response to the indefinite lockdown in some way resemble the manner in which the Jews lost hope and got discouraged when the promise of being home by Christmas of 1944 was not met. Frankl believed that in difficult times one should find meaning even in the suffering. We must establish a “why to live for”.
How can we improve our response to the lockdown? We achieve it by altering the way we think, perceive, feel, and respond. Because of all the changes associated with the Lockdown and COVID-19 we need to gain a different perspective about change in general.
“The only constant in life is change” – Heraclitus. Change is the only thing we can be sure of. We should therefore not run away from change regardless of how big the change is. We cannot control the change or its outcome, but we can control the way in which we respond to it. Don’t let the change consume you and leave you feeling worried or hopeless. Take back the control. Accept the fact that change happened and decide what to do next.
Accept change. Embrace change. Learn from change. Grow and develop because of change.