The NEXT Normal
The NEXT Normal
Aug 4, 2021
How self-care during the pandemic brought us closer to our neighbours, our colleagues and ourselves
Play • 27 min

In this episode of The NEXT Normal, we explore the changing meaning of self-care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we adopted puppies, scheduled sessions on the exercise bike, and developed at-home spa rituals but the definition of self-care remains misunderstood. The hosts of The Next Normal share examples of how self-care has evolved in their personal lives and professional environments, and relate the shifts to what life could look like moving forward.

Ujwal Arkalgud, CEO and Cultural Anthropologist of MotivBase, leads the discussion in this show and serves up a definition that takes self-care to a deeper level beyond bubble baths and vitamin-infused food products.

[05:04]- “What you'll realize, especially in North America, in the US and Canada in particular, it's all about understanding oneself better because self-care is really about understanding the things that trigger a sense of anxiety, stress, mood, swings, even depression, whatever it is that I am struggling with, trying to understand, not just what triggers it, but what I can do, the different aspects that contribute to it and what I can do to alleviate some of those feelings… .”


Challenge Factory President Lisa Taylor shares remarks on the shift that she’s seen happening in the workplace with employers taking keen interest in their employees’ physical health and wellness perhaps to an even greater degree than before.

[07:06]- “We've seen budgets increase in the area of being able to help teams have more holistic analysis where they go through a stress assessment that has nine dimensions that helps them understand, is that a relationship that's causing them anxiety or is it their personal physical health and wellbeing? What is it that's actually at the heart of some of these things and give employees the language so that they actually can bring these things up within a corporate setting.”


Dave Hardy, President of Hardy Steveson and Associates, acknowledges that, through our pandemic self-care practices, like going for walks, we’ve come to covet the local park and rural areas sparking a need to preserve them.

[ 13:34]- “And we see the usefulness and the importance of [environmental design] in this pandemic. What we really need to look at is how do we use the parks? How do we preserve them? And my concern is that sometimes we are having, as a planner, I'm seeing a worshiping of density and sometimes those non-dense parts, rural areas, are so therapeutic to us and have to continue to be so in terms of other pressures that we have to deal with in cities.”


Sarah Thorne, President and CEO at Decision Partners, highlights the importance of facilitating self-care for others and suggests that getting to know your neighbours by name and meeting them where they are in the moment is key.

[17:48 ]- “I found it's really important to ask people, how are you doing today? I think it's a better question and it's a more honest question than ‘How are ya?’ Just kind of a throwaway or how are you today or have a good day, but how are you doing today? Because one of the things that certainly I've experienced, I expect you all have too, is that, my friends, my family, my colleagues going through this pandemic, it's been, different people have had different days. Some days are tougher than others to get through. And sometimes for really no apparent reason. There's just days that are tougher than others. ​​And I think that just taking the time to ask people, how are you doing today is so powerful and it's such an important connection to where you are and who you're with.”

In next week’s episode of The Next Normal, Sarah leads the conversation into recovery planning and ground-level opportunities for innovation. Where are the opportunities? What were the learning moments and how good will we be at taking advantage of them?

Have comments questions or ideas for our hosts? Feel free to drop us an email at hello at StoryStudioNetwork dot com.


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