South Africa, Cape Town, December 2020. With countries all around the world imposing second ‘hard’ lockdowns on their citizens – South Africans are asking if we can avoid the same fate as our infection rate increases? The fear of a second wave is impacting the way people live their lives and look forward to the future. Jason Bernic, an Executive Life Coach offers some advice on how to cope.
Impact of COVID-19 second wave
Many people are struggling with the equivalent of post-traumatic stress disorder. During the first round of lockdown businesses closed, salaries were slashed and many people lost their jobs. Those that were just making it began to struggle and those that were struggling still face their worst financial nightmares.
This has left everyone reeling somewhat. Even as glimmers of light begin to appear for some on the economic horizon, South Africans are battling to feel optimism or positivity . This is particularly true as COVID-19 does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. This makes for an uncertain future.
We have to accept that there are things that we can and cannot control. Any government’s decision to lockdown at any level is out of our control. However, we need plan for this, anticipate it, receive their actions and respond is fully in our control.
How to prepare for a second wave
Being prepared for any situation helps you to feel less fear about it. We’ve been through lock down before. We now have a reference on what to expect and can adapt and re-strategise, still in pursuit of our original goals. That is how those that weathered the first storm thrived. They kept their eye on the prize but went about things differently.
Advice for individuals
For individuals who are anxious about how they will survive a second wave, there are some things you can do now. This will not only assist should the second wave hit but will assuage your fears in the meantime, helping you manage the anxiety.
- Try to up skill yourself to stay relevant and be irreplaceable within the workplace. Up skilling yourself will also mean you are more employable should you need to find alternative employment and could also help you start your own entrepreneurial business.
- Look at all your personal expenses and cut whatever you can. This will help you to possibly save some money and reduce over-indebtedness and financial over-commitment.
- Those that are able should try to set aside at least six months’ worth of income as an emergency fund.
- Look at ways to bring in multiple streams of income, perhaps there is a way to turn a hobby into a side-line business to bring in extra income.
- Work hard at what you do and show that you are a valuable asset. If you run your own business work hard at that too.
- Assess options for your children’s schooling and alternatives that work for you should schools close once again.
- Focus on your family and loved ones. Your relationships with your spouse, parents, children and friends are key to your mental wellbeing and ultimately it is your family that is important. Be present for your children and set an example on how to handle adversity and stressful times.
Advice for businesses
As a business owner look for ways to future proof yourself in the face of a possible second wave. Here are some of the simple things you can do to prepare, if you have not already:
- For starters, have a pivot strategy in place should your worst fears come to pass. They may not, but at least you know you have planned for the worst.
- Check any, and all, expenses and trim the fat, so to speak, make sure you get rid of any unnecessary costs that you can do without.
- Assess your office space or work-premises lease and see if you need so much of it or can downscale to smaller, less expensive premises.Ascertain which employees thrive in a work-from-home environment and which are more productive at the office and implement measures to accommodate this on a long-term basis.
- Look at ways to bring in an income from multiple sources. Having all your eggs in one basket is not a good business strategy.
- Look at ways to boost your sales NOW. Engage in active marketing to grow your brand and throw yourself into your business with enthusiasm.
It’s not about the what, but about the how you deal with the second wave
To quote Brian Dyson, ex-CEO of Coca-Cola, “Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them work, family, health, friends and spirit. And you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.
The bottom line
Finally, try to relax. There’s no use in getting overly worked up over the threats arising from this second wave. You can only control so much in life as mentioned earlier. Learning from the past and building one’s own capacity and resilience to deal with anything that the world throws at you is essential. It’s not about the what, but about the how you deal with it that matters the most.
About the author
Jason Bernic is an Executive Life Coach that works with private and business clients – with other unique and innovative coaching circles such as To Be A DAD, Women In Business, Advisor Dojo, The Boardroom, and the Business Salon.
He has extensive experience within the industry and is the resident life coach on Jacaranda FM. He has also just launched “The Life Coach” – the only life coaching cartoon that we know of.