Women of the Pandemic: Let’s value the little things in life and remember ‘nothing lasts forever’, says Deepthi Ravula
About a year ago, in February 2020, when Hyderabad was hosting Bio Asia, an annual Lifesciences conference in Hyderabad, we were working with our partners to support the visiting the Swiss delegation. One of the delegates dropped off saying that she feared she may have the coronavirus. That was the first I had heard of the coronavirus. Little did I know that It was only the beginning, and it would soon change the world as we knew it.
Soon, several countries started going into lockdown with India doing the same to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It changed the way we worked; we focused on ensuring the wellness of our own team, our entrepreneurs, our family and most importantly ourselves as individuals. This was key because as a leader, and as a mother I needed to take care of my own physical and mental being so that I could help others cope with this unprecedented situation. This came with the realisation that the new normal was not just "for now" but had changed our world for good.
Personally, I coped with the new normal by talking about my fears and realising that others shared my experiences and feelings. I spent more time with friends and family, mainly with my children, took rest and exercised whenever possible and broke up my work into doable tasks, and asked for help when I needed it. The first thing I did was to leave perfection at the door. It was a lot of unlearning and relearning, but I can happily say that the past year has only brought me back stronger, wiser and at much more at peace with myself.
One of the biggest demographics affected by the crisis was children. They lost a year of active learning, peer-to-peer interaction. While it’s certainly an overwhelming and scary time for everyone, we ensured we always reminded ourselves to be thankful and appreciative for the things such as the ability to work/study from home and care for each other, when many other parents did not have this flexibility.
We created a schedule that included time for work and free time. We worked on finding age-appropriate assignments online, such as worksheets, that children could work on while we tried to complete work tasks. We made it equally important to schedule time to do things we enjoy, even if only for brief periods.
Juggling work and family
At work, we ensured we had a lot of conversations with the team and ensured we had more awareness of fears that my team was feeling, concern for mental and physical wellbeing, and confidence in their plans. We kept our own working hours for the team to only about 4-5 hours of the day as March started and then slowly ramped up to full working day as May approached. We moved from remote working to working in office from May 2020 itself. We did this because more of our staff were working mums who were spending juggling office and housework. We did this to ensure that we kept working hours to a limited time so that our team had a break between work and home.
The key takeaway from the pandemic is that I had no idea what I was doing. No one does and that’s okay. We’ll soon be looking back on this crazy time and appreciating the strength we didn’t know we had. I hope, as a society we will take the good out of this, watch out for each other, respect every profession and value the little things in life and take solace in the saying “nothing lasts forever”.
Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan