Conflict in the Time of COVID

Conflict in the Time of COVID

Conflict in the Time of COVID

The COVID-19 crisis has added immeasurable stress and anxiety to everyday life -  whether your business is closed or still open and whether your loved ones are near or far away.  This is exponentially true in the case of conflicts.  A business or interpersonal dispute – a source of stress under normal circumstances – can feel like a crushing burden when also trying to survive and plan in the time of coronavirus.

By Ehsan Ali and Alnoor Maherali

We at Venn Mediation want to help move your conflicts toward a satisfying resolution. Here are our top tips for managing a conflict during COVID-19. 

First, acknowledge WHAT you are feeling. During a crisis, we tend to convince ourselves that having a conflict with another person or entity is totally unjustified.  We can ignore our concerns and simply try to soldier on.  Though this may come from a noble place, we can only avoid a problem for so long before it starts bubbling up – coming out in unintended or even magnified ways. 

Be aware, others may not be able to acknowledge your feelings in general and more so during COVID-19. People have their own issues and may be too exhausted from the mental and physical toll this crisis is taking on them. Acknowledging your feelings means allowing yourself to feel what you feel and accepting that negative emotions are normal and a regular part of life.  Once you have done that, you will be better able to raise your issues with the other person in a productive manner and move on to the next step.    

Second, know that you will get through this.  In the midst of a conflict, everything can feel like life or death. And when there is an actual pandemic afoot, it is hard to disentangle the fear and anxiety of one’s individual dispute from the fear and anxiety we are collectively dealing with.  Even the simple disruption of daily rhythms in your business or personal life can cause a daily jolt – your body and mind revving up for activities that are simply not happening.

In these moments, once you have acknowledged your feelings, remind yourself that this too shall pass.  You might not be able to take steps beyond physical distancing to protect yourself from COVID-19, but there are steps you can take in your business or personal disputes to resolve them. Even when things seem dismal – we can still work to make a better tomorrow, together. (P.S. a big thank you to all medical staff and essential workers - you are our heroes).  

Third, take time for yourself. Conflict can absorb the entirety of our attention. Our neurochemistry is wired to direct us towards dealing with potential threats.  But part of knowing that you will get through this is remembering that there are other things that need to be dealt with. Whether it is keeping your business running as best you can, or keeping the household clean and your loved ones fed and safe - your conflict is not the entirety of your identity; you are so much more than that. 

Finally, get help when you need it.  There should never be any shame in reaching out to loved ones or professionals when you need a hand.  That goes for your mental health as well as your conflicts. With traditional legal options on hold, it can feel like there is no avenue to deal with your conflicts.  Practiced facilitative mediators, like Venn Mediation, can help you move your conflicts to a better place; enhancing understanding, exploring options, and finding a path forward that works for you. And as Venn Mediation is proficient in online mediation, we can help you resolve your conflicts from the comfort and safety of your own home. 

Disputes are never easy, but dispute resolution does not have to be hard.  If you are dealing with a conflict, COVID-related or not, contact us about the nature of your dispute. We are based in New York but do online mediations as well. We would love to help. 

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