In my last blog, I showed you, through the pyramid of Maslow, how important our health is. Only when we are healthy, we can have the opportunity to do and make things of our lives. In this blog, I want to include the Life Cycle. Because we are still living in a major pandemic and it still has a lot of influence on us, I will also relate this life cycle to our pandemic. It can expand my professional view in relation to how we can deal mentally with the pandemic that is happening now, but also later to what we can do when our mental health is triggered and our security, the second layer of Maslow, is falling away again. Next to that, I will also provide insight to how the GGD can respond to this and can use the cycle.
Retrieved from: Frank Crucq
The cycle of life
The picture above shows the Life Cycle of Bert Coenen (translated by Frank Crucq). Looking at the cycle, there are 4 routines we can go through: Balance, crisis, transformation, and control. When you have something under control, you often create a balance, this balance is simple because you have it under control. This is, therefore, a transition from control to the balance you create. Sometimes this balance is disrupted by circumstances and there is a crisis. This crisis is often spontaneous, which is why you often cannot control it. This affects people. In the Lifecycle, we see that in a crisis we often immediately look for our control again, in order to be able to find a balance again later. This is what we do regularly. However, what we actually have to focus on is the transformation. Release the control you want to have over everything and transform into what is necessary. Reflect on what went wrong and try to be innovative to learn from these mistakes.
The cycle of life in a pandemic
At the moment, we are literally in a crisis. I think that this cycle can be applied to both society, but also to the GGD. First, our society. We are in a spontaneous crisis that no one expected and we have to adapt to change. We will not be able to live in balance for a while. Instead of immediately seeking for our control, we should focus on what is important now. Like, help. Help to the people who are struggling and still living in fear. But also help to the elderly who are now not allowed to leave their home, but need their groceries. Take the values of the problem and respond to them. Just like all restaurants now have their food delivered to your home, because they are not allowed to have people coming to them. Be innovative. Like I also mentioned in the previous blog, we are slowly reaching the top of Maslow’s pyramid again, I think that means that we are slowly adjusting and transforming into the new lifestyle that this pandemic has created for us. And once we are transformed into this life style, we find our control again.
It is now also important for the GGD not to immediately focus on control, but first on the transformation. Looking back again at Maslow’s pyramid from my previous blog, the second layer of safety on health must now go well with people. And it is partly the task of the GGD to help with this, since the GGD wants the inhabitants of West Brabant to be healthy, safe and happy (ggdwestbrabant, 2020). The GGD wants to help citizens take care of themselves and their families as much as possible, but they think that the citizen’s strength should be central. People are often happier when they can have matters in their own hands, but when this is not possible, the GGD’s will be there to help them when needed. This pandemic is an example of a time where those people cannot do it themselves and need an organization like the GGD to step in.
But also as an organization that suddenly had to change everything internally, it is important that they do not immediately want to solve everything as quickly as possible to regain that control. It is a company that is suddenly very much appearing everywhere, and that can also put a lot of pressure on them. Many employees had to change their regular tasks to tasks to help fight this corona and that can also be challenging for them. It is important that they look at their possibilities, and not feel too much pressure in getting things under control as quickly as possible, because in a crisis as this where it in unsure how long it will take, trying to have control over it can be very exhausting. It can be better to just find ways to work with it, transform the crisis into a new workstyle, and adjust.
I have shared my insights with the GGD and asked what their thoughts were based on the information I have given them. They told me that they are not yet focusing on their roles as organization after the virus, because they now have quite a leading role at the front of everything that is going on (Korven, 2020).They first want to focus on that instead focusing on what to do after. Furthermore, they did mention that since about 2 weeks they started up an innovation team, but it is still quite unclear what exactly they want to do with that as they are still very much aiming most of their actions on short term situations and focusing on the vulnerable groups.
Nonetheless, I think the innovation team is already a big start. Even though that they are still in “crisis mode” and trying to work things through per each day, they have been realizing that instead of focusing on taking control, they should look at possibilities and opportunities in this situation and see how they can transform. It is important that they do not stand still as an organization, but that they try to approach things in a different way, thus, transform. And the innovation team shows that they are starting this now. Personally, I think that they should even make use of this leading role right now, because it gives them an opportunity to share their voice and exchange their knowledge even more.
I think that right now, they are still looking for that control, but they are also starting to realize that it might still take some time to get everything back to normal and therefore, changes need to be made. Mark Rutte did mention that we have to prepare ourselves for a 1,5 meter society (Bhikhie, 2020), that might also be a start for the GGD’s innovation team.
Cycle your way through
From this blog, I can conclude that things are always easier being said than done. It is very difficult to try and let go of your instinct, where you want to take control again, and look for the things that can be done differently to transform and make changes, but it is important to not stand still. Try to adjust to the new situation. I think the life cycle is an important model to keep in mind for every time your control fades away end you end up in some sort of crisis. Many people like to have something to hold on to, which is why they are aiming for control. However, the Lifecycle shows that it does not always have to be control, it can also be the transformation or difference you want to make that will later give you that control again. Try to look at the important aspects that are needed in your crisis. Just like realizing how important it is to find possibilities in difficult times to still get some income for your company, or how, if GGD looked at the possibilities in this situation, they could realize that their leading role that is causing for pressure right now, might be there innovative way into helping society. It, does not always have to be too difficult, it can, sometimes, also be like riding a bike: to get balance, you have to keep moving. You just sometimes need to adjust to the road you are cycling on.
In my next blog, I would like to put my focus on mental health a bit more and how youngsters are dealing with a lot of social- and performance pressure right now that is probably causing more mental health problems among this target group. This blog gave me more insight on what to do when our mental health is triggered and things are changing, in organizations, but also in society. My next blog will focus more on the mental health of the young adults, to expand my view on the cause of their issues.
Bhikhie, A. (2020, April 9). Rutte nederland moet zich voorbereiden op anderhalvemetersamenleving. Retrieved from nu.nl: https://www.nu.nl/coronavirus/6043769/rutte-nederland-moet-zich-voorbereiden-op-anderhalvemetersamenleving.html
ggdwestbrabant. (2020, January 27). over de ggd. Retrieved from ggdwestbrabant: https://www.ggdwestbrabant.nl/over-de-ggd
Korven, I. (2020, April 19). (C. Schute, Interviewer) Breda.