Author: Mru Patel, Founder and CEO eWealthTech
The oldest emotion of mankind is fear, and the strongest type is fear of the unknown. For the past few weeks, the whole planet has been experiencing fear of the unknown, due to the coronavirus outbreak. The virus is not dangerous because it’s worse than other viruses, bacteria or other health-related issues, it is dangerous because it’s unknown and we have no past experiences dealing with it. The even scariest part is that it can mutate, which means that after creating a vaccine the virus could have already mutated and it wouldn’t have any effect on it. We have millions of people dying every year because of cancer and HIV, but nobody panics because we know what it’s all about. But in any condition, fear can be overcome, if the situation is handled sensibly. Every cloud has a silver lining, and if we respect the medical and lockdown recommendations we can all help fight the virus by doing basic, simple things like staying at home (as much as possible) or wash our hands (which should have already been a habit for all of us). Also, an active brain is an active body. Keep your mind occupied with positive things, and now, while you are in lockdown at home, let’s see how you can spend your time in a useful and even happy way.
Keep yourself busy and focused during isolation and lockdown period
Staying at home can get boring or very overwhelming sometimes. It could have two extreme effects: you either get closer to family and partner, or you distance more due to the constant minute scrutiny of everyone’s weaknesses. What you can do is focus on strengths and help each other’s weaknesses. Build your tolerance and patience levels, especially with your partner and loved ones.
Also, with the current market conditions, it’s very depressing to see your stocks, wealth or pension savings going down and even wiped out if leveraged. Make no mistake, they will continue to fall further, so what you can do is embrace the worst, stop looking at the prices and investment constantly and accept the fact that you can’t do anything about it. Trust me, the last thing you need is more health problems due to stress. We’ve been through recessions before and we have survived. Money comes and goes, but the most important thing is to stay cashflow positive for the near future and stay healthy. Stress kills, so avoid unnecessary stress.
Organise your day usefully
This is also a good time to do the stuff you have been putting off for long. You can start with the easiest ones for motivation, like sorting out the food cabinets, fridges, freezers, garage, attic, filing systems, etc. Now is the time to start having good habits, so backup your mobiles and laptops, add virus checks on all devices and keep them updated. Many people don’t do it at all, and putting my technology hat on, I must say that I highly recommend backups and virus checks regularly. It’s healthy to keep these devices as healthy as your body too. Don’t open yourself to be hacked or scammed by the cruel bad actors out there. Get hold of all your bills and put all your paperwork in order. You will be surprised how much you can discover that was overlooked before. You can also find better deals, especially for your insurances, loans, mortgages, mobile phone, home telephone plus other utilities. Shop around and compare various sites.
Stay active at home
If you are a person that enjoys having an active life, plan the day like a workday. If you are working from home, have a focused two hours work, then 30-60 minutes break for personal stuff and this can continue till bedtime. Staying at home could be unpleasant for some people, and if you are in this category, behave as if you were in the office, but don’t forget to have some balance of quality time with supportive close family/partner around you. Try a strict regime of avoiding distractions like munching snacks, especially sugar ones, at regular intervals, or too much couch/TV time, especially during the focused time.
Food is very important for survival, but now it’s not the end of the world. So, instead of queuing up at 6 AM in front of the supermarket and empty all the shelves in 30 minutes, let’s think of this in a rational way. I always keep stock of main ingredients like spices (turmeric, garam masala, cinnamon, etc.) pulses, various beans, fresh garlic, ginger and chilies. All good for metabolism, as well as for the much needed immune system. Also, you can take other natural supplements to improve your immune system if it’s low.
Now that you are at home and you have time, change the menu as much as possible and experiment with new cuisines. Don’t overbuy an eat pasta or rice daily whilst it’s easy to cook, it’s not a balanced diet, and with inactivity carbs and sugars turn to fat and introduce other health issues. Stay away from buying processed and tinned foods as much as possible. Keep a good variety of vegetables always on the menu. Supermarkets are NOT closed, just need to be sensible to go out once a week and plan the shopping. So, stock up good, healthy food, but don’t buy the whole supermarket.
This is a good time to learn how to cook. Anything. It will keep you busy and contribute to your health when you give your body freshly cooked food. Challenge your mind to be adventurous, as an active mind stimulates an active body too. Plenty of YouTube videos and recipes at your fingertips. Be adventurous or ask a friend. I love cooking and can cook most world cuisines popular favourites for my taste buds. Drop red meats or keep to a minimum. I eat fish 3 times a week and mainly oily fish like mackerel, sardines and salmon. Try not eating too much red meat as it’s hard to digest. Hard for me to say this, as I was strictly non-vegetarian for nearly 3 decades. Currently, my diet is 30% vegetarian, pushing to 40%. I have probiotics via home-made Greek yogurt with oats, a teaspoon of honey, fruits, chia seeds, flax seeds and granola.
Be more patient and teach your partner to cook, or learn from each other. Cooking and eating together is time worth investing in. In my case, I have a varied menu and always changing menus and recipes. On the other hand, my partner has her 10 favourite things she can cook, so it’s challenging to teach constantly some tips to stretch her comfort zone (often childhood foods). If this sounds familiar, to the point of household arguments, be patient and go through the pain of teaching your partner. It’s a bonding exercise, as well as an investment.
Mix business and pleasure
You are in the comfort of your own home and you are the boss there. Try enjoying your home, perhaps maybe even rearranging and updating it a little bit. Try new hobbies: new language, skill, social media mastery. You have gained time from all that changing/dressing up, travel, office chit chats, coffees and meetings for the sake of meetings, etc. I used to call this Footzie time in the 90s, when we used to (dare I say) operate on windows PC that required constant upgrades, blue screen of death reboots time-wasting.
You can’t go out, but you can have date nights at home with your partner every evening. Communicate with your partner as you will be surprised how they could help you even in your work. Cook dinner together and watch movies daily. It is more intimate than being in a restaurant and movie theatre, so see the bright side and enjoy each other’s company. Focus on the strengths with patience, as mentioned before, as it can easily break a relationship during these stressful times.
Catch up with those movies you wanted to see or started but never finished, or even watch again movies that you love. If you’ve always complained that you haven’t read a book since college due to the hectic office schedule, now you have no excuse for that. Read the books you’ve always wanted to read but never had the time to do it. Pour a glass of wine or a cup of tea, make yourself comfortable on the sofa and detach from the tension of the real world by stepping into the realm of storytelling. You need a break from coronavirus news, so switch the TV off and read some good literature. Or even bad literature. There’s always something to learn from any book.
Look after your health
Keep the home clean and disinfected. If you step out for shopping or whatever, do not shake hands or touch your face until you return home and go straight to the washroom to clean hands with soap and water. Even touching lifts and door handles is not safe, hence it’s very important to keep a good hygiene. You can keep a hand sanitizer with you and use it while you are outside.
You have more time to relax, but don’t become a TV couch potato. It’s not difficult to do some exercise at home. Amazing how Yoga has become so popular now, as you don’t need to go to a gym. Plus, it has many other benefits for your physical and mental health.
There’s only so much news you can stomach. 24×7 on listening to new virus cases or deaths is hardly inspiring. Keep news to a minimum. Watch other news like stock markets, cooking shows, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, movie channels, to escape from the same old virus updates that can be depressing for some or stressful for others. There’s no point looking at people that constantly need someone to blame for anything and criticise all the time, getting into arguments and debates. Be at peace, as stress really makes matters worse on all counts, especially reducing your immune levels. Sleep and catch up with rest, especially if you have hectic travel lifestyle, with different time zones. Relax, rest and charge your batteries for whatever is coming. You need to stay healthy for your loved ones and have the energy and strength to overcome this.
Let’s beat coronavirus sensibly by being extra active mentally and introduce habits of eating and resting healthily.