By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson

These are challenging times. COVID-19 has forced companies to lay off numerous workers. If you find yourself struggling to adjust to the changes, you are not alone. Those who can thrive in uncertain times have these traits in common.

“C” is for Creativity

When life gives you lemons make lemonade.

But what else can you make? If you have found yourself laid off or furloughed, list all your skills, abilities, and things you like to do. Brainstorm about industries and companies that might need your unique talents and apply for those jobs first. Maybe you have a new business idea. Some crafty people have recently turned their attention to making and sewing masks. Explore the “what ifs.” Be innovative. Try new things.

“O” is for Optimism

Limit your intake of bad news.

If you tune into any 24-hour cable news channel, you’ll likely find nothing but COVID-19, political division, crime, and violence. Maintaining an optimistic outlook is critical when faced with adversity. Look for optimism on social media. Be open to expanding your social network by making new professional connections on LinkedIn. Use the time you spent commuting learning something new. For example, my daughter is learning Spanish using Duolingo.

Become an agent of optimism and help others. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Seek out those who make you laugh and enrich your life.

“P” is for Perspective

Though it may seem that quarantining, social distancing and the pandemic will last forever, the truth is, it won’t. 

Shakespeare wrote plays during the bubonic plague. What are you doing during this time? What have you learned about yourself during this time? Perhaps you’ve discovered a new skill as you have had to home-school your children.  Realize all of the different struggles that many have had during this time. Some have lost their jobs. Others have continued receiving chemotherapy treatment as they battle various types of cancer. Some have lost loved ones. Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a moment to realize that life may not be as bad as we thought. Be introspective and gain a new perspective.

“E” is for Engagement

You don’t have to walk through this alone. Stay engaged.

Some have discovered new ways to be productive–like finding new enthusiasm for cooking, gardening, or crafts. Connect with friends and family by phone or visit them virtually via Zoom or Facebook Video Chat.  Thanks to the internet, the world is literally at your fingertips. Watch inspiring Ted Talks or Some Good News from John Krasinski. Visit museums virtually from the Louvre to the Van Gogh museum.  Take a free class online from Harvard University or Coursera.  Whether it’s exercising your brain or exercising your body, self-care during these times is vital. Share your newfound joy with others and help them as well. These are just a few ways you can stay engaged with the world even when you have to remain sequestered at home.

These four traits—creativity, optimism, perspective, and engagement–will build your adaptability and resiliency and help you not only to cope but thrive during these difficult times.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a creative career coach helping her clients transform their lives and work experiences. You can reach her at [email protected].