Complex Adaptive Systems and Surviving YOUR Pandemic Months

For my regular readers, I can hear what you may be saying: “Two blogs in one month?” Unheard of! Well, drastic times call for drastic measures. How can we steer clear of the PANIC that follows a REAL and present danger?

You might be familiar with the complex adaptive system (CAS) theory of organizations. As healthcare clinicians, first responders, any and all risk-averse industries, we study change and do our best to mitigate the fall-out from when we don’t read the signs and change course expediently enough. However, just as you cannot predict when the apple falls off the tree, nor when the crocus blooms, it’s only normal to plan to control CHANGE, of any kind, not just in a CRISIS.

Ironically, 2020, the year of vision, causes us to focus ALL of our attention on several truisms that we may have let go of, in the heretofore hustle and bustle of what we used to claim as daily life.

Let’s look at the complexities April has to offer each year, which take on an ironic tone, in time of national and worldwide stress and suffering:

• TAXES, of course, might be #1 groan you emit as you turn the page on your calendar, which no one seems to celebrate, except the CPAs and accountants! Filing taxes this year is bitter-sweet: Many, MANY of us are living on a sudden shoestring budget but we’ll have more time to submit our files (July 15).

• April is…wait for it… “National stress awareness month.” (Come back to this line when you top laughing.) Did you know that?? A logical result of taxes due; NOW, in pandemic season, even more so!

• Also, the 3rd week in April, not surprisingly (yes, right after the 15th), is called “National organize your files week”! You might need to give yourself some slack about this one if you’re working overtime like any of our healthcare or service industry professionals, who keep us afloat in trying times, or just having to work at home and homeschool or take care of other family members.

What about the GOOD NEWS?

• It makes total sense that the fourth week in April is called, “National Karaoke week.” Yowsa…another pre-determined yearly week of recognition that takes on extra meaning! Hopefully, by then, we’ll have reason to let our hair down, shake it up, and relax after all the April stress. Even if we don’t yet see the COVID19 statistical curve dampen by the end of April, we might do virtual karaoke just to keep our spirits up…like they’re doing on balconies in Italy! That reminds me: Have you seen the wonderful eruption of virtual video choirs online?! Here’s one I adore, with thanks to my friend, Maila Putnam, JD, who recommended it; True Colors by Camden Voices.

There’s old wisdom that recommends we install celebratory rituals in our life, for many reasons:

• to honor accomplishments and heroic acts,

• to give us something to look forward to during the uncertain CHANGE of seasons,

• to give us a sense during of security during a CRISIS that “This, too, shall pass.”[Persian adage]

The old adages sound simplistic when the world is reeling from the single greatest threat to humankind we have ever seen. Millions of people suffering at once, physically and mentally. However, we need to stay hopeful to keep our spirits up! I’m reminded of what one Biblical writer said, “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”[Phil.4:11-13]

So, how are you doing, personally and professionally? How are you keeping a semblance of balance? Feel free to comment here or email me with your thoughts:

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