COVID-19: Understanding what you can and can't control + the importance of cross-referencing facts

COVID-19: Understanding what you can and can't control + the importance of cross-referencing facts
COVID-19: Understanding what you can and can't control + the importance of cross-referencing facts

Everywhere you look, there's talk of Coronavirus. In the news, social media, work discussions, and even when you pick up groceries from your local shop. It's a topic that is so pertinent to discuss as it's rapid proliferation has impacted all our lives in such a short space of time. And, while it's vital to keep these discussions going, it can be easy to get caught up in a detrimental vortex of fear and anxiety.

As a journalist, it's my job to consume media all day, every day. Which is why I believe it's crucial to organise your media consumption into helpful, versus unhelpful categories. This exposure to Coronavirus-related content extends to real-life conversations too (albeit cyber). In an attempt to disrupt the apocalyptic mindset, I've penned some thoughts that you may find useful when consuming information about COVID-19.

Decipher reputable sources from "fake news"

There's a journalism code of ethics for a reason. Trained journalists are required to uphold high standards of reporting and ensure all information distributed to the public is accurate and factual. Unfortunately, some media outlets (naming no names) fail to meet these standards and consequently generate fear among their readers. On the contrary, light-hearted news stories are also spreading untruths. Photos of swans flocking to Venitian canals and animals "returning to their natural habits" showed up on the internet as a "good news story", with critics soon debunking the sentiment of the posts, claiming that these animals always inhabited those areas, or the photographs were taken elsewhere. We know that posting on social media and receiving a multitude of likes and praise can lead to positive self-esteem, but the sharing of untrue information can lead to a blanket distrust in all news platforms. 

For updates on COVID-19, visit websites such as The Australian Department of Health or The World Health Organisation (or media publications which cite data from these sources). Take all other information with a grain of salt. It's always wise to cross-reference the facts you learn about before sharing them online. 

Talk to someone you trust and avoid internalising your concerns

COVID-19 has enforced a lot of lifestyle changes on us all – you're not alone in this. Being in self-isolation or practising social distancing can disrupt our interpersonal communication, and the ability to maintain routines. If you're feeling concerned, or need reassurance that you'll be okay, then keep the communication lines open. Call friends, family and colleagues to check if they're okay. Encourage working from home video chat conferences with your colleagues to strengthen team morale. And as always, the Australian Government's National Coronavirus Helpline is available 24/7.

Understand what you can and can't control 

The next few months bring a lot of uncertainty for us all, but you can't prepare for the unknown, so there's no point worrying about what is outside your control. 

Things you can't control could include:

  • How long this pandemic will last
  • What the Government will announce next
  • Other people's panic-buying of grocery goods
  • Whether other people follow the rules of social isolation
  • Job security (keep in conversation with your employer to stay informed of their next moves if possible)

While the things you can focus on could include:

  • Checking on people in your social circle and community to see if they are okay (always maintain social distance and safety precaution)
  • Keeping positive and well informed
  • Refraining from sharing inaccurate information on social media platforms
  • Your own social distancing
  • Following advice from the WHO
  • Finding innovative ways to boost working from home productivity and fun activities to do at home
  • Follow best practice health and safety measures 

Find morale boosters to help with social isolation/working from home/loss of work to avoid feeling overwhelmed

As everyone navigates their own Coronavirus journey and its individual impacts on employment, socialising and the disruption of routine, its more important than ever to implement habits and routines which boost morale. 

These could include:

  • Set up video conferencing with colleagues, friend and family
  • Dedicate a bit of time to fitness and/or meditation
  • Start some of the hobbies you have always wanted to do but haven't had time (painting, cooking, woodworking, learn a language)
  • Sign up for a free course online
  • Support local businesses by purchasing from their online store
  • Set yourself some goals
  • Create a schedule to reintroduce a sense of routine
  • Clean your home 

Businesses are adapting and yours could too

We've overcome global pandemics in the past, and we will again (especially if everyone plays their part in self-isolating). Some media commentary suggests that industries are crashing, while others shed a more positive light on how businesses are adapting to the situation. While not all companies have the ability to operate remotely, many are adopting creative techniques to change the way they undergo day-to-day operation. 

Some of the few innovative techniques we've seen companies utilise:

  • Moving to strictly online sales
  • Video webinars and video conferencing
  • Pivot the focus of your on-the-ground/face-to-face strategies to a digital process
  • Blog and Linkedin posts providing transparency around the safety measures their company are taking, and their thoughts for the industry 
  • Streamed performances
  • Offer free courses or tutorials online
  • Work on your 'next steps' strategy for once the situation improves

Professor of Corporate Communications, Paul A. Argenti established a list for effectively communicating with your employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Communicating through the Coronavirus crisis

  1. Providing resources such as cleaning supplies or food for those in quarantine
  2. Providing information to the local media to help to calm the communities down and while also enhancing your organisation’s credibility
  3. Providing transparency about what is happening within the company rather than going radio silent

Final takeaway

As always, now is a great time to show kindness, strength and to do your part for the community by staying home. 

Olivia Round

Olivia Round

Olivia Round is the Features Editor of Olivia specialises in news reporting, in-depth editorial content and video + podcast interviews with industry experts.

COVID-19 Coronavirus


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