Okay so it has got to the stage in our lives we are now sick and tired of receiving / reading all the information and advice on Covid. It has been overwhelming and a barrage of information for several months now. Yes, Covid has affected our lives in a phenomenal way. The world will never be the same again.
Most humans on earth have been ordered to stay at home so most businesses in many countries have had to send employees home and set them up to work from home. Businesses that have only ever used the net to perhaps market themselves now find themselves having to utilize it in many other ways, namely, to run their business in order to survive.
Most of the world has, in a relatively short time (this does depend on perspective and of course, how long you’ve been in lockdown!), had to move online. And because of this the internet has now become the way of life. Even if we take the business part out of life, the social distancing rule most countries have implemented means socializing is now taking place online.
This has forced humans to shed their physicality and become digital. The message that has been spread globally is that the physical world is no longer safe and going online means you ARE safe…. But being online means… you do not exist physically! So how do you exist? You are no longer the physical person doing business – you are now an online virtual digital presence. Scary right?
Humans are physical beings. We all breathe the same air. Our physicality is how we exist. We use our five senses to interact with each other and the world around us. Eyes, ears, nose, touch, taste. By becoming more virtual we shed more than half of our physicality and lose three of our senses. Do we want to make this sacrifice? We cannot email a hug or share a drink on WhatsApp. By becoming immersed in digitalization, we lose our ability to engage on a human level.
BUT we are being told, if we don’t make this sacrifice, we will die. That is the message that is being sent globally. If we DON’T social distance ourselves, lock ourselves away, stop interacting with other human beings, we will die, or we will cause someone to die.
This is a message that has now been forced onto most citizens of most countries. This is the message that has been spread. We are killers and we need to stay away from each other because we are all at risk of each other. So – we can no longer trust fellow human beings anymore… but you can’t catch the virus virtually…
Thank goodness we have the internet we cry. We can now be in virtual contact with people worldwide and all talk and chat and socialize.
All very well. However, who is it that we are seeing on the internet? And who are WE on the internet. Yes, you. Who are you on the internet? What is your identity? And by identity I don’t mean ID number or social security number or National insurance number or whatever means your country has of identifying you as a person on paper. By Identity, I mean WHO ARE YOU on the internet? Who do you think you are? Who do you act like? You are no longer a physical person; you are an electronic presence. Our body language, the inflection or tone of voice, the mischievous twinkle in someone’s eye, all get lost in digital translation. How often have you received a text and thought, sheez that’s rude, no hullo, no how are you, just a message “check my inbox” or some such thing. The sender may have no idea they came across as abrupt, rude, short, angry, bossy. And so, it begins.
As our involvement and submersion in the digital world is forced upon us due to social isolation, we are losing ourselves, becoming dislocated from reality and detached from what used to be reality. How many of you during lockdown have likened it to being in a cocoon and, while the banks bang on our doors (metaphorically speaking) we sit back and feel safe and secure because “nothing can touch us while we are in lockdown, we are safe”.
This is becoming detached from reality. And by becoming detached from reality we lose our actual selves, our physical selves and our purpose as human beings, on earth. Being digital is very different to the actual reality of experiencing love and contact. Humans are physical beings. We have feelings, emotions, desires. Without the physicality of being able to express our emotions, fear and anger can build, and you may notice a spiral in digital aggression as presently, this is the only way many people can express their fear and anger.
How do we counteract our “selves” drowning digitally?
Remember your “human-ness”. A Cambridge Dictionary definition of human I particularly like (yep found online via google) “having the qualities, faults, and feelings that people have, as opposed to gods, animals, or machines”.
It is important to remember the digital world is functional. The physical world is more alive and affects us as a whole, our senses, our bodies. Human beings are lovers, family, friends, fighters, hero’s, cowards, clowns, fools – the list can go on and on… and all the connections, the emotional and amazing stuff that goes with it. The reason physical reality is important in people’s experience is because of the emotions attached to it.
So how do we remain in contact with our human selves whilst being online? This is where you have to be strict with yourself!
Spend time away from your screen / phone/ iPad – AND APPRECIATE IT.
Stay grounded. In order to avoid becoming too cocky or too low remember the things that are important such as family, your health, recreation, spirituality, introspection, meditation.
Well-grounded people are disciplined, calm, confident and steady. They do not show up as one person one day and another the next. It can be easy to become reactive and slip into bad habits, so it is important to remain well-grounded.
Your stress: No one can avoid stress; however, it is how you manage and relieve it that is so important. Stress can lead to negativity and negativity affects your frame of mind and therefore your life overall.
Your time: Set aside strict times for work and once done, you’re done.
Your phone: Use special ringtones for family, friends, work etc. and outside of work ignore work calls. You can, for example, set aside 30 minutes the next day to go through calls received outside of work hours.
Your emails: For some people these are a necessary, never ending wave of questions, queries and headaches. Sort out a system where you can prioritise emails which require immediate response, ones’ that can wait until important tasks are done and ones’ that require no action. Then set aside a certain amount of time in the day to go through your emails. Let colleagues know you have a set time. Answer emails in batches. Save and review all important emails before clicking send. Be strict and unsubscribe from all unnecessary newsletters.
Your news: Choose 1 or 2 streams, set aside 10 minutes in the evening and 30 minutes in the morning or vice versa to go through and update. Or don’t.
Your WhatsApp Groups. Mute unimportant groups – or leave. Allow set times a day to go through other messages. Let people know you are not ignoring; you are managing and will get back to them when you can.
Your social media – again strict times when you can go onto Facebook / LinkedIn / twitter / Pinterest unless of course your business is run through these platforms – then you need to be strict about how long you actually spend on them!
Connect to like-minded people. There are many community groups available online now, do some research, join some and see if they suit you. Don’t join hundreds, be selective and choose the ones you really enjoy. Ignore the rest.
Meditate – if that word sounds too airy fairy for your then call it self-reflection or grounding! When things get too stressful or overwhelming, breathe deep, plant your feet solidly on the ground (if you can go outside barefoot even better) and focus your mind on one part of your body then another, or your breath for 15 minutes. Then open your eyes, stand up and stretch. A short exercise that works so well to keep you grounded and calm.
Be grateful. For 2 minutes (or more if you have the time to spare) in the morning think of the amazing things you have in your life. Whether it is listening to the birds singing outside, the delicious coffee you are sipping, your loved ones, your laptop that allows you to work, your feet that walk, your eyes that see, practising gratitude for 2 minutes a day changes the chemistry in your brain and makes a huge difference in your outlook during the day.
Retreat – make a space in your house / room / garden / patio / veranda where you can sit in peace, whether it is for 5 minutes or 20 minutes. Ensure your family know. If you are by yourself still make your special retreat space. Keep it for the times you want to “spoil” yourself by “getting away”.
Let’s not be de-humanized by this pandemic. Let’s not give in to fear and lose ourselves to the internet. Let’s do our utmost to stay our wonderful human selves and ensure that our “self” remains with us as we navigate our way through the digital age that is now.
Talk to the team at VCS – More Time for YOU – we are Executive Virtual Assistants that can assist you! Fill out our contact form HERE!