The Personal Impacts of COVID-19

  • Corporate Culture
Ali Payne

COVID-19 has had on impact on all of us — positive and negative. I think about all the things that are important to me every day. I often wake up and think, “I am so grateful for everything — my emotional health, physical health, my friends and family, and the community I support!” However, wow, this new life sure is different…in good and bad ways. We always say, “The WHOLE person comes to work every day.” At this point, I’m literally bringing my WHOLE family!

I’m a pretty resilient person by nature. I’m pretty easy going, and I don’t typically let things bother me…UNTIL they do. I put my emotional and physical wellbeing into one bucket, because for me, they go hand in hand. For example: I know that on days I don’t get to exercise and be outside, it impacts me emotionally and I think I was taking it for granted.

This whole crazy COVID-19 pandemic has made me realize a few things. I’ve listed them below. I’ll be curious to see if you have any of the same feelings!

Embrace Gratitude

Man, do I have a lot to be grateful for. First, I’m grateful for the people who take care of my kids. My daycare has been (and is) my saving grace, and I am sad my kids aren’t going there right now.

As a matter of fact, recently, while my 5-year-old was having yet another breakdown about the fact our dog doesn’t want to be “walked” around the yard for the 500th time, she cried to me and said, “I just want to go back to school mama.” Talk about breaking my heart as I cried with her and said, “Me too, little lady, me too.” Isn’t it so true — they want normal as much as we do?!

I am also grateful to be an employee of an amazing organization that cares about me and truly wants to do what’s right for its employees. I think it’s times like this that really set apart organizations who are trying to humanize the employee experience and those who just want you to come to work, get it done, and go home. A handwritten note from my CEO in my home mailbox, from a girl who loves to get mail…talk about DAY MADE!

Be Resilient

Life got turned upside down in a matter of a few days. We literally went from going to the office every day to staying home — in my case, with three toddlers (and man are they a handful!). I am a go-with-the-flow kinda gal, but this was hard!

In my life, I’ve learned being resilient is important, but I didn’t realize how important until now. Everyone seems to have a different definition of being resilient, and honestly, I never really gave it much thought. I have always been able to “let things go,” which clearly Anna taught me (Frozen, anyone?).

I am so glad that, even though I am Type A to a T, I truly can let things go. Every once in a while, though, I do have to remind myself of my resilience, which I am sure we can all relate to.

As far as work goes, we literally sent everyone home within 24 hours of making the call. We had to get every one of our employees on the same page in a matter of hours (minutes, even). I didn’t really think about what we accomplished until last week.

What an amazing job of making some pretty aggressive decisions and communicating those changes to our employees! I really don’t think we missed a beat. We addressed concerns and made people feel supported the entire time, plus we activated a communication strategy to keep people knowledgeable about all things ASAP.

Did we have issues? Of course! But, the team did it; everyone stepped up and made it a priority! It was awesome. Our culture shined; it made all those popcorn Fridays worth it.

Process Emotional Health

While the terms “mental health” and “emotional health” are sometimes used interchangeably, they are distinctly different. Mental health refers to your ability to process information. Emotional health, on the other hand, refers to your ability to express feelings, which are based upon the information you have processed.

These days, my emotions get the best of me more frequently than they used to (hello, resiliency!). But, it isn’t always a mental health situation. It’s the feeling of being 100 percent overwhelmed by everything the days bring, and I have a really hard time expressing what is bothering me because I don’t always now. Wow — that felt good admitting!

run toward holistic wellbeing

Take Care of You First

If this whole thing hasn’t been a wake-up call that people need to start taking care of themselves, I honestly don’t know what will do it. And, I don’t mean everyone needs to run a marathon or eat kale. I mean really take care of yourself — physically, emotionally, spiritually and even financially.

You know what’s even better for you? Taking time to reflect on YOU.

  • What do you stand for?
  • What’s your why?
  • What’s your purpose (do you even have one?)? Do you live it, breath it, feel it? Do you scream it from the rooftops? I do!

My purpose is to change the world by rehumanizing the workplace, and to empower leaders to enhance and engage their employees’ experience at the workplace. Employers have such a huge opportunity to change the dynamic of their culture and environment. Go ahead and start today! And, if you’re not sure how to do it, reach out to our ethOs team!

Support Local Businesses

The saying “we are in this together” has never been more real. We really are better together, but not just yet. Speaking of together, can someone please get me an appointment with my hair guy?!

Anyway, I’ve always had a passion for supporting local businesses. Whether it’s a small business, a local coffee shop, or a “starving” artist, they are all my jam. I always wished I had a super power like that…a creative side, really.

We have so many great local businesses to support — I don’t even know where to begin! We shouldn’t just support local on #shoplocalsaturday; we should do it all the time. I’ve done a lot of supporting local “events” the last few weeks, and I am going to make a point to continue to support local FOREVER!

Make Connections

I love the fact I am way more connected to my team. I am also more connected to my family (I’m just not sure my own family is enjoying that!).

Anybody been to the grocery store lately or even on a walk? It’s kind of like the twilight zone. No one looks at you, no one wants to walk by you, and no one will talk to you. I totally get it, but man, it’s hard on someone who loves social interaction.

I smile and love to talk with complete strangers. In this environment, that’s not super well received. But, I say we keep doing it and keep smiling even under our face masks! I think it only make us all better, and it hurts my heart when we aren’t carrying on the things we love to do.

I also miss my friends at work. A lot of them I get to see on video meetings, but it just isn’t the same. I miss having fun with people and look forward to getting back in the office when the office is ready for us.

Community is another one. I have really missed my community, my neighbors, and the people who are my people. If this hasn’t brought us together without actually being together, I don’t know what will.

I mean, we actually have a teddy bear in our window and we sidewalk chalk every night just to make sure our neighbors know we miss them. We have a retired couple across the street from us, and I know they are dying to come over and see the kids. They are always watching when we are outside, and if we are, they always walk their dog about the same time. It warms my heart that we connect even though we can’t be together like we once were. Connections are important, and if this hasn’t taught us that, I may have lost faith in all of it.

You Aren’t Alone. We Have Your Back!

What are your thoughts on my topics? What are you missing most in this new environment of social distancing?

One of the most important parts I want to get across right now is that you’re not alone. I know 100 percent in my heart there are others dealing with the same struggles I am. That is OK. In fact, it’s better than OK. It’s normal!

I also want you to know through my own ethOs teamour Joyages team, and our Responder Health team, we have resources equipped to help you with any of your struggles…be it emotional, social, mental health, or physical, career, financial, or community wellbeing. All you have to do is reach out.

May 6, 2020