Covid has given me a split personality

The extrovert – the life of the party, outgoing, vibrant, people are drawn to them, they have a hard time turning away attention and thrive off interaction. And quite frankly after the 2021 lockdown, it was interaction with family and friends I missed the most.

So, on one hand, I want to throw caution to the wind and live my life, come what may. The various attitudes I hear about that fit under this feeling include covid parties*, not scanning in anymore (what’s the point?), just catch it and deal with it so you can get it out of the way (apparently you won’t catch it again for around three months), the economy is suffering so we just need to get on with life and learn to live with it.

The introvert – focused on internal feelings rather than external sources of stimulation. More quiet, reserved, and introspective – they recharge by spending time alone, for which lockdown was perfect.

This brings me to the other hand, there’s the unusual Covid side effects like swelling of the brain, never getting your sense of taste and smell back, difficulty breathing for the rest of your life. Some experience the worst flu they’ve ever had and wouldn’t wish it upon their worst enemy. What about the responsibility of passing it onto someone who’s immune compromised and then not surviving it… how could you live with that? That’s when I’m happy to stay safely cooped up at home with my supply of toilet paper.

What has been difficult (within my very blessed life) is that I can feel both personalities on the same day. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going!

It has been very difficult to plan anything because things keep changing and the future is full of uncertainty. From lockdown to events limited to 100 attendees, close contacts, and household contacts – even if I’m in the clear, someone I have something planned with might not be. I’m a goal setter and over achiever – which makes it very uncomfortable, and my brain goes down rabbit hole after rabbit hole trying to cover all the possibilities.

I attended a webinar the other day with Dan Carter run by Studio DB. It was titled ‘Creating an environment that fosters leadership and resilience’, and it organised my rabbit holes for me.

Mr Carter was talking about bringing the team together in mini units to have a “what if” discussion. They would think of three things that could go wrong in a game, like a key player being injured. So, this is something I’m going to implement for any large group events I have coming up.

Another takeaway was “Pressure is a privilege”. That one had me twisting. What? Pressure makes me stressed! He went onto explain that when you are feeling under pressure, it means you are on the verge of success. It’s a mind flip, if you can think about pressure in a positive way, you can use it to your advantage. Feel the pressure and remind yourself that this is something you wanted. This positive attitude is also something I need to take to those I lead and coach.

Mental strength is just as important as physical health. Don’t lose energy focussing on the past or the present. When you are facing adversity or pressure, focus on the process – not the outcome.

When they started talking about resilience – I was like “yup, I’ve got this one in the bag”. I’ve gone through enough crap to know that I’ll survive just about anything. But I’d never put this spin on it. It’s relative. Everyone starts from a different base – sure, I understood that everyone has endured different levels of crap. But then they related it to the day. Reduced it to the moment – not the past, nor the present. Let me explain…

One person can turn up to work having had their kid flip cereal down their top with no time to change or had a nose-to-tail on their way into the office, or any number of bad ways to start the day. They will turn-up to the start of the workday with low resilience.

Resilience – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.

Another person might have been listening to an inspiring audio book (or attending a Studio DB webinar) or received a phone call telling them they’d just won a raffle. They will turn up ready to take on the world.

Resilience is an internal tank and when it’s full, you can do anything. When it’s empty, you need to work on filling it back up. Consider this when dealing with your colleagues – just like a box of chocolates and you never know what you’re gonna get (unless you read the descriptions first), you never know how your colleagues are turning up to that first meeting or “hello”.

Dan talked about setbacks. That how you deal with them determines the person you become. He also encouraged us not to shut out the setback, deal with it and feel it as it happens, because otherwise you’ll have to deal with it later down the track and the timing might not be so optimal.

Instead, feel the grief of the setback. Then switch to positive. Remind yourself of your vision or purpose, why you were doing what you were doing before the setback. And if you need to, readjust your goals based on the new information.

In summary, when you are feeling like you have a split personality because of Covid, remember these things:

  • Have “what if” discussions around upcoming plans – strategise for a worse-case-scenario
  • Think about pressure as a positive feeling – you are on the verge of success!
  • Understand the tank of resilience has different levels each day for each person
  • Feel the setback, then remind yourself of your why and reset your goals accordingly

If this has been useful or if you have another strategy to add to this ever-changing world in which we live in – please comment or drop us a line.

* A Covid party is a gathering held with the intention of catching or spreading Covid. It is a type of pox party where the intentional spread of disease is chosen to build up post-infection immunity.

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