There’s no point in sugar-coating it – 2020 has been one of the most challenging years any of us have ever experienced.
We’ve been trying to manage our work, families, as well as our mental, emotional and physical health, all in the midst of a global pandemic. While we’ve been separated from each other physically, the need to connect has been even more significant, and in fact, it is these real conversations that have helped us the most.
With this in mind, we asked the women of Sasfin to send in their one pearl of wisdom over the month of August, for Women’s Month. There were some golden threads that wound their way through all of these insights, and these themes are reflected below:
Whether it’s spending time with loved ones, or simply going for a run any time of the day in the fresh air – there are so many things that this pandemic has taught us not to take for granted. “I must spend more time with people that love me and do activities that bring me joy,” says Prudence Magagula. Umahani Abbas agrees, saying: “Spend more time with loved ones and give them lots of love and hugs.”
Whether this is their religious faith or hope in a brighter future, Sasfin women have benefitted from the belief in something beyond our current reality. Sumaya Hassen was one of the first Sasfin employees to contract COVID and says: “I would like to thank the Lord for allowing my family and I to overcome this virus”.
While it’s easy to fall into the trap of lazing in bed and attending the odd Zoom call, Sasfin women told us that sticking to a routine is what has worked best for them. Diarise those important aspects of your life and ensure that they happen each day. Aneen van Tonder comments: “I am a routine person and this makes my life and family time so much more functional and effortless”. Keketso Mokoena also thrives on routine: “The routine I adapted also helped me keep my sanity: not working longer than 10 hours a day, exercising and meditating daily and reaching out to friends and family.”
Humans are planners. We like to know what the future will bring and plan every last detail of our lives accordingly, but this situation has taught us to let go of this illusion of control. Lwando Ngwane says: “Take it one day at a time. I would remind myself that this is only a temporary situation and it is not the end.” Althea Hau has also focused on cultivating flexibility over this time, saying: “It is always good to plan but one needs to keep an open mind in that nothing is fixed or certain.” Every day brings a new challenge and it’s about meeting these challenges and adapting our behaviour and our outlook to work with these changes, rather than fighting them.
We all need to admit that our lives before lockdown were too full and too rushed. Most of us did not live purposefully and with intention – instead we rushed from school pick-ups to client meetings, and then through rush-hour traffic to social engagements. Our lives were lived too FAST. Nomthandazo Kunene says that lockdown has taught her to “reflect, reinvent and slow down” – and I’m sure many of us feel the same way.
Whether it’s setting up a daily routine, connecting with loved ones or practising daily gratitude, we hope that this sharing of collective knowledge by the women of Sasfin will be a support to us all.