An anonymous American general stated that “morale” (of the troops) is what happens when the soldier believes that his army is the best in the world, that his regiment is the best in the army, that his squad is the best. best in the company and that he himself is the best soldier in combat. According to sociologist Alexander Leighton, “morality” is the ability of a group of people to act persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common goal.
A friend said that this “quarantine” is being more difficult, but that he did not know how to explain why. Children are at home, but remote education is more oiled. Teachers are more experienced, it works better. The business slowed down, but this time it didn’t stop. There is a greater expectation of transience, of the behavior of the pandemic numbers. There was no serious case in his immediate circle. He therefore questioned what justification he had to complain about. “It must be accumulated fatigue,” he said.
This is not just an example, but an increasingly evident social feeling. The idea that the new normality after all may not be what we expected. That we will have to deal with restrictions, anxieties and masks for longer. That the reorganization of society will be more demanding, disruptive and slow than what we could have anticipated. The cards are shuffled, but we still don’t know which hand to play this game with.
While the world realigns itself on its axis, time passes melancholy and disorderly, overlapping days become weeks and months and in an instant it is Easter, again. A study carried out in Israel concluded that half of the active adult population had some type of emotional disorder associated with the pandemic, even if mild, and distributed in three main categories: feeling of disorder; difficulty adjusting to the new reality; and concern for you and others. What was already known, therefore.
The “medicine”, something simplistic, presented for a better adaptation to this form of emotional fatigue, consists of a balance between healthy eating, physical exercise and time for activities that give pleasure. However, if eating and physical exercise require the same effort as the past – initiative, knowledge – the recreational and recreational activities are conditioned by isolation, limitations of interaction, circulation and access. Compliance with these rules, beneficial to the common cause, results in increased anxiety.
In addition to this challenge is the need to introduce new work routines, in what has been described as the integration between personal and professional life – “integration” and not “balance” as we used to use this expression. Technological dependence, physical distance, chain of tasks, productivity and achievement of objectives are, when applicable, transformation challenges that many companies hope to be able to incorporate in the future. For this they are taking advantage of this period of “forced” learning, which, however, is far from resembling a scenario of normality, even for mixed remote work regimes.
In combat, high “morale” is crucial for soldiers not to give up fighting, but there is an underlying principle that must be understood. “Morality”, as a group effort to achieve a common goal, does not aim to annul the individual’s survival instinct, but rather to encourage an attitude of cohesion and interdependence, based on the sense of duty. Here it is clear that for this analogy to work it will be necessary to go a little further.
In the military, there are instruments to raise “morale”, associated with comfort, protection, purpose and confidence in leadership. These instruments are no different in civil society, with an additional factor: access to activities that give pleasure, to the said balance that would result today as the main emotional evidence that this is a transitory situation. These are relatively simple principles, within the reach of governments and institutions. Accumulated tiredness quickly becomes discouraged if these principles are not present, and if discouragement is installed, the effort to reverse the state of morale is more demanding.
We know that the consumption of non-essential goods, partly diverted to online, was one of the main factors of compensation for the work effort, but it was also an element of the search for pleasure, in the impossibility of living and traveling. However, this escape mechanism is not expected to be as effective as it was last year. Like two proverbs that come up against their contradiction, if it is true that human beings adapt easily, it is equally true that they resist change. In part, this resistance is the source of tiredness and somewhere in the intersection of these two realities – adaptation and resistance – is the solution to this problem.