THE COVID-19 pandemic may yet bring out the best in people, if only everybody would take time to process their emotions and check on their general well-being.
In a webinar on March 20 run by the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP), LHH Philippines managing director Jo Ann Rosary Asetre and psychiatrist Robert Buenaventura brought structure to the way participants may want to address the COVID-19 situation.
In “How to Manage Business Disruption During a Pandemic,” Asetre shared the LHH Behavior-Based Change Model which describes how people normally respond to change. According to this model, people undergo anticipation where they are uncertain, excited, anxious and restless; letting go, where they feel angry, sad, doubtful, distrustful or in shock; disorientation, when they are lost, overwhelmed, confused or depressed; reappraisal, where they become interested, curious and hopeful; and recommitment, when they reconnect to a sense of purpose and become optimistic, confident, future-oriented and involved.
“The central challenge in leading change is not strategy, not systems, not culture. These elements and many others can be very important, but the core problem without question is behavior—what people do, and the need for significant shifts in what people do,” said Asetre, quoting from the book “The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations” by John Kotter and Dan Cohen.
Leaders are expected to assess how to they can provide the structure, information and support that team members need throughout the varying stages of coping with change. An instant poll during the webinar showed that 45% of respondents rated themselves in the reappraisal stage, while 30% said they felt they were in disorientation.
Asetre challenged participants to be the leader they wish they had, referencing American motivational speaker Simon Sinek.
“There’s no better leader but you. Let’s all rise up, really lead ourselves, our team members, our colleagues, our friends and our families so that we would be able to fight COVID-19 better. It’s all in our hands. It’s a matter of collaborating with each other,” she said.
In “Coping with the Anxieties of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Buenaventura, who practices at the UERM Memorial Medical Center, gave simple, practical tips to deal effectively with the pandemic. First is to practice self-care, which covers eating right, hydrating, sleeping well, exercising, proper hygiene and regularly taking prescribed medication.
He recommended limiting mass media and social media exposure to focus on information from reliable and credible sources.
“Educate yourself, follow recommendations,” he said.
Other tips include reaching out and connecting with family and friends online; doing enjoyable activities such as hobbies and crafts at home; drawing up a schedule and developing a routine; acting on things one can control; being productive by helping, donating or volunteering; carving out some quiet time during the day to pause and listen to oneself; and relying, if possible, on one or a few trustworthy, reliable individuals who can advise, guide and help when one needs such help.
The new workplace
With homes being the new workplace, all employees must learn to lead themselves and their households to come out on top when the pandemic ends.
Buenaventura, who is a life fellow of the Philippine Psychiatric Association, also shared that the NCMH (National Center for Mental Health) hotlines are manned by trained counselors who may help people seeking professional help. They may call 0917 989 USAP (8727) or 0917 989 USAP (8727).
The recording of the webinar may be accessed on the PMAP website, https://pmap.org.ph/ page/recorded-webinar-coping-with-covid-19.
(Story/Photos by: Carla Paras-Sison)