The past few weeks have been surreal to say the least. Dubai’s school closures a couple of weeks ago left many of us moaning about the ‘overreaction’ by authorities to COVID-19. But watching the news unfold, moment by moment, even the cynics among us became fretful about the novel coronavirus.
As I work in learning support, my thoughts are obviously with the students. Children across the globe find themselves unexpectedly housebound. There is uncertainty over when schools will reopen. Schools, parents and caregivers are scrambling to implement e-learning strategies and make any possible arrangement for their kids to continue learning. The unique challenges that confront us are compounded for children with learning challenges, social-emotional difficulties, mental health concerns and special needs. There are more questions than answers for now.
While listing the many negatives of the predicament we find ourselves in, it is easy to miss the silver lining, ever so slight as it may appear.
There is comfort to be gained in the knowledge that we are all in this together. A greater sense of community is already palpable. The forced slow-down of the world has brought a screeching halt to our frenzied days providing us a rare opportunity to slow down. As with all things in life we have the option to choose our attitudes and decide how to engage our efforts.
Yes, the virus has endangered us, but we could not find ourselves in a better time in history to face it. The scientific progress humans have made is on full display through efforts to contain the disease. Even from a psychological standpoint, we have more resources than ever before to cope with the anxiety and depression that are bound to arise from these unique circumstances.
Our path to a more digitised world has been accelerated. Technology is our ultimate saviour in such a period in time, allowing us to interact via calls and video chats, follow news around the world, continue teaching and learning, workout with online instructors, access books to read and stay entertained, to say the least.
I have never been one to be overly positive. But aim I must to focus on what I can do over what I cannot. I feel if we prioritise our wellbeing, we enable ourselves to be more useful to others. A new normal has crept its way into our lives. When we emerge at the other side of this pandemic, the world will have changed forever.
While I cannot know what is to come next, here are a few personal goals, in no particular order, that I aim for to get through the near future which consists of an infinite amount of uncertainty!
- More non-judgmental awareness – in other words, mindfulness! My go-to expert on this is Jon Kabat-Zinn who is a pioneer in the field of evidence-based mindfulness. The internet is replete with Kabat-Zinn resources.
- Get tech-savvy – working from home means using more technology. So, hopefully my tech-skills see better days ahead. It also means I will be accessing more features on my devices, making better use of their functionalities. More bang for the buck, I say!
- Employ “the little grey cell” as Agatha Christie’s Poirot would say! Working from home poses many challenges but also opportunities. Getting creative with ways to support students is sure to keep my brain ticking.
- Help out – not all are lucky to count their blessings and make the most of these strange times. I wish to assist those I can in whatever way possible. It is also well documented that helping others improves our own sense of wellbeing.
- Catch up – not with Netflix but with friends and family! It has never been more easy to schedule calls with people back home so why not make the most of it? This whole social-distancing has made me value my relationships more so than ever.
- HIIT it up! – staying indoors does not mean turning into a couch potato. Blogilates and ToneItUp continue to be my favourite online instructors!
- Last but not the least, more blogging!