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If you are struggling through our Covid Crisis, you will find calm in the storm when you understand the emotions at play in yourself and your loved ones.

Even though South Africa has been moved to Lockdown Level 1, the emotions stirred up in us during the pandemic, will remain for some time.  Typically, the human psyche experiences the following emotions during a crisis of this nature, and these emotions may not occur in the same order in everyone.

* Initial Optimism  –  At the onset of the pandemic and hard lockdown, last year we enjoyed more time with family, no traffic, time for DIY, and to work from home seemed OK.

* Determination  –  Then we got used to our new routine and were determined to survive, as this will be over soon.

* Frustration and Satisfaction  –  When you achieve or create nothing, frustration starts.   When lay-offs destroy your business’s efficiency or you work short-time for less money, when state departments fail to deliver, and Judge Zondo exposes significant corruption, frustration boils over.

Being productive, however, is satisfying. So, find new opportunities, revamp your operation, keep motivating your staff, start exercising, cooking, writing, etc.   Initially, the lack of social interaction bit deeply, but when the government began lifting restrictions, we found satisfaction in outdoor exercises and limited socializing. Then the third wave hit – and the cycle of Frustration and Satisfaction was repeated.

* Depression  –  When things get tough, you may experience restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and become demotivated. Losing friends, family, and your income to Covid-19 will cause a sense of hopelessness. The inadequacy to provide results in great despair.

Strength of character, love and emotional support from friends, family, and colleagues; even medication is required to ease these emotions.

* Anger –  The confinement, demands from work and family, irrational governmental rules and the inefficiency of state institutions become an irritation, and you may develop waves of unknown anger.  In an attempt to stop this, you may find yourself making unsound decisions.  Irrational outbursts may damage work and personal relationships.
Anger management, either through self-control or via professional therapy, may be required.

* Acceptance  –  Your path to recovery starts when you accept your situation and continue to do whatever is in your control. To keep on panicking over what you cannot control saps energy and muddles the mind.  Accepting and adhering to Covid protocols will keep you and your family/staff healthy and ready for the inevitable return to normality.

* Make meaning –  Helping others, such as packing food parcels for the hungry or devising new and better ways of living, makes life meaningful.  Remind yourself Covid restrictions serve the greater good and will prevent more sickness and death. Find inspiration in what is still possible. Do things, spoil yourself and your loved ones, stay busy, find meaning in the chaos.  After all, feeling good clears the mind and instils confidence which is the antidote to despair.

The recognition of these emotions in ourselves, in our loved ones and colleagues/employees at work will enable us to respond rationally to the demands of these troubled times.

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