It is safe to assume that COVID-19 took us all by surprise. We all thought that this was a false signal sounded by alarmists but little did we know that life as we know it would be changed forever. If there’s one thing I know from studying human history, is that we are resilient in nature. We’ve battled world Wars, various pandemics and natural disasters but we are still on this rocky planet, still surviving, and excelling. COVID-19 is no exception, and I can assure us all that this will also pass away like its ancestors.
Here are some lessons that I have learnt during the pandemic. Most of these lessons are generic, and are experiences we are familiar with. There is no better time than now for us to draw lessons from these experiences.
1. Wake up Early
I lost control of the days. I couldn’t tell the difference between weekend and weekdays. How can a man live like that? I needed to regain control of my ship. An easy way to ensure waking up early is sleeping early. The “Stay At Home” government directive means that we are likely to treat everyday like a weekday, but when I made the conscious effort to respect my alarm, the benefits were immediately noticeable. I was more productive, had more energy and I could take advantage of the extra time to do something pleasurable. Slowly your body gets used to it, and a routine is formed. Remember, a quick afternoon nap never hurts anyone.
2. Eat Healthy
There’s a popular saying, “Health is Wealth”. Accordingly, this is a time for us to take conscious effort at ensuring the high quality of our health is maintained. Doctors have advised that we shouldn’t come to the hospital just for any flimsy reason, therefore we are responsible for our overall well-being. Our immune system have been called to a battle that they are not prepared for, hence we have to fortify our bodies with the right nutrients. I’ve realized that its cheaper and convenient to eat unhealthy junk food but I’d advice that we think about both the long term and short term repercussions. We must treat our bodies like the temples they are.
3. Challenge Yourself
The effects of the pandemic has meant that our lives have spiraled into a boring routine that can prove difficult to explain. I found myself in a merry-go-round of tasks that kept on replaying like working from home, playing video games, Netflix and grocery shopping. This was torture for an hyperactive person of my nature. I needed to break the routine and add dome spice into my day. I decided to challenge myself. I’ve been nominated by friends to participate in a number of social media challenges like the 10 Km run or 50 push up challenge. These are all good, but the most effective challenge is one which is made by you yourself.
Make a deal to reward yourself when the challenge is passed. Do not cheat. Only reward yourself when you have passed the test. If there is one person you should not deceive, its yourself. Writing this piece was one of my many challenges to myself; getting out of my comfort zone by doing the unconventional. Challenge yourself today.
4. Acquire New Skills
First of all, it is worth remembering that the current situation wouldn’t last forever, and we would be back sooner or later to or rapid and busy everyday lives. But for now, we are free. What do I do with all this new found free time I ask myself? There is a saying that “No knowledge gained is wasted”. This speaks volumes especially in today’s world where a variety of skills are required in the workplace and social interactions. There is no doubt that the post COVID-19 workplace would be different from how we left it, and new skills will be needed. Only people who are ready to invest and learn new skills will thrive. There are free online courses on LinkedIn, Harvard Business School, volksuniversiteit and many more institutions available for us to benefit from. Use your free time judiciously.
5. Physical Exercise
I can’t overstate the benefits of physical exercise. This has immense health benefits; mentally, physically and physiologically. Our new dormant lifestyle comes with consequences. I can testify that I have gained my fair share of kilograms during the lockdown. Finding time to take a walk outside, running in the park, cycling to the grocery store or yoga to keep your body in shape till life returns to normalcy. Personally, I like to exercise outside as a way of getting out of my apartment and as a way of getting Vitamin D. Remember to social distance.
6. Keep in touch with friends and family
In times like this, keeping in touch with family and friends haven’t been more important. Remember to check up on colleagues at work or at least send them a message to wish them the best. Social distance is meant to keep us apart, but coming together (although virtually) can do a lot to boost morale. I am more connected with family and friends than ever before thanks to social distancing.
Recently, my colleagues and I held a Microsoft teams online meeting, where we had lunch together and caught up even though we were home. Alone we do so little, together we are stronger.
7. Spoil Yourself (Occasionally)
All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. Occasionally spoil yourself, wake up late, eat fast food, be lazy and do what you feel like doing. It’s a bit counter-intuitive as it goes against all the initial lessons outlined but we aren’t robots and hence can never be perfect. Take a break occasionally as a reward for following the first six lessons.
Let me know how you are dealing with the lockdown. And feel free to drop any other tips that I can add to my list.