Reflection in the Time of Covid

By Natalie Irons, Associate Director, Instructional Coaching, UCLA Center X

The two-year mark coming up of the first lockdown due to Covid might provide an opportunity to reflect. While some of us may want to wish away the last two years, I’m wondering if taking some time to think about what has changed since March 2020 could shed some much-needed light on us.

The Waters Center for Systems Thinking provides a self-guided course on Behavior Over Time Graphs that might help with some sense making from the past two years. The graph once filled out with time on an “X” axis of a graph and the changing variables over time on the “Y” axis can show patterns and trends that have happened. Analyzing data in this way can also “tell the story” of the graph as a way to explain what assumptions might be operating. Having both actual data and perceptual data on the graph can also bring greater understanding to a situation.

For example, I listed the months, March 2020 to the present, on the bottom line of a graph. Then I wrote 1-10 on the line representing the Y axis. I took some time to mark my level of stress (1-10) over the 24 months of the pandemic. And, yes, this might seem like a tedious exercise. Yet, after recording the dots, connecting them and noting the patterns, an interesting story started to emerge. Strangely, my highest level of stress was not at the beginning of the pandemic. It reached a peak nearly a year into my work from home situation. Seeing this as data on paper is a chance to consider how I have managed, and been managing, through this time. What a clear way to move forward with some insight about my capacity to address challenges.

What are some of the opportunities you have to reflect upon the last two years? How have you managed through this time? What data might support understanding your perceptions of this time of Covid?