Health and healing
Wright, N. & Parker, T. (2020), 'Health and Healing - In the Wake of Covid19', Coaching and Life, 29 May.
One thing the Covid19 pandemic has taught or reminded us is the profound relationship between physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual and relational wellbeing. People across the world have barricaded themselves in (or, at times, been instructed to self-isolate - or else) to avoid the physical threat of a potentially deadly virus. The media hype that has accompanied the crisis has created an ever-more terrifying drama in which existential anxiety has turned to outright panic. ‘How can we find God in this?’, ‘Will our economies collapse?’, ‘What about my job?’, ‘Are we all going to die?’
The effects have been worst for the poorest people and communities in the world. The lockdown may have created a risk of real starvation that outweighs the risk of infection. For such people, life means hanging on by a thread. Reaching out to God is a daily, essential, way of solace, sense-making and survival. It puts our worries about empty supermarket shelves into humbling and challenging perspective. The recovery post-virus will take time, care and support. Many have faced their darkest fears and find themselves weakened, damaged and hurting. Healing at all levels will be needed soon.
Sadly, for some, the isolation posed by Covid19 has further-darkened domestic prisons. Since the order to self-isolate, we hear of an increased number of cases of suicides, domestic violence and child abuse. Experts say the cause is a lack of access to social provision and support systems. Even access to the help of loved ones has been reduced by efforts to ‘flatten the curve’. Others have experienced little change to their daily activities, other than rolling out-of-bed to walk a few feet to their home office. Some haven't have to roll out of bed at all, if they are on furlough. Amazing how one event can impact on billions in such a way that its identity can be recognized everywhere by a single name.
As the push to re-open the global economy begins, we must know that our personal experience with this pandemic is distinctive in its physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and relational impacts – yet it is collective ashes we all must rise from. How we heal from the viral setback will depend on our own identity and locus of power. For some, healing cannot be done alone. We must be willing to help each other heal by extending a hand to those in need. We must continue to connect in ways that may yet feel far-fetched, or old-fashioned. If Covid19 has given anything positive, it is a new appreciation of how we need one-another to withstand such forces and to thrive, despite the pain.
Nick Wright is a psychological coach, trainer and organisation development (OD) consultant, based in the UK (www.nick-wright.com). Tara Parker is a change agent, organization development (OD) consultant and soft skills coach, based in the USA (www.elegantdiscourse.net).