This is a very difficult time for many people all over the world and all of our lives are going to be affected by this Novel Corona Virus COVID 19 outbreak. We are grateful for the services of doctors, nurses, other medical staff, people working at different stages of the supply chain who keep the supply of food, medical equipment, and other essential items flowing, police and other security personnel, journalists, policymakers, sanitization workers and many more. This is a global war-like situation. The difference is that this war is against some micro-organisms and we can’t even see, hear, or feel our enemies. We do not have any tested weapons to apply against them either. The only known solution to this problem is to “Break the Chain” mechanism, as per most virologists. As a result, contrary to other wars in the history, the general, young population is not sent to fight in the war-zone, but are asked to stay at home, confine themselves to minimize all kinds of human interaction.
But in this deep dark and difficult time we must do anything and everything in our capacity to contribute to the mitigation of this deadly disease. Besides, I would urge all my readers to start practicing all of the non-conventional methods to fight the NCC-19 along with the demon inside us. I hope it will help you and help our planet to step into a better future and more harmonic existence of humans, other life forms, and mother nature.
1. Make your health, your priority
When it comes to a worldwide pandemic and thousands of people are dying all over the world, nothing is more important than your health. Physical health can suffer a lot from being completely out of the conventional cycle of life routine. Change in the level of physical activity, stress, food habit, and sleeping pattern can have a severe impact on your health. Be assured, this too shall pass, but that will not matter if your health is adversely affected. So please prioritize your health today. Take all precautions to deal with illness. Eat healthily, be it lots of vegetables and seasonal fruits. Keeping yourself hydrated is also important, hence drink plenty of water. Try to maintain your normal sleep cycle and do not spend the whole night binge-watching your favorite web-series. Money, success, competition can wait, but your health just can’t.
2. Meditation and self-wellbeing
Both your health and mental sanity are equally important at this point. Meditate at least for 10 minutes immediately after waking up and before going to bed in the night. Plan the day in the morning to be efficient. Tell yourself that you are thankful for everything positive that happened to you that day. If meditation is not your thing and your mind roams around a lot then use it to your advantage. Sit at a quiet corner of your house, find some happy memories down the lane, and re-live those memories once again.
Take measures for your overall wellbeing and concentrate on reducing stress. Try to reduce the consumption of caffeine as it aids in hampering your sleep cycle. Apart from keeping your normal sleep-cycle intact, try to take a few deep-breath whenever you feel stressed. Concentrate on positive things in life and focus on being hopeful. To find inner peace do not lose your trust in humanity. Appreciate the smallest contribution of others. Try to help others in the tiniest way possible to make yourself matter. Take time for yourself and nurture some merry thoughts.
3. Exercise and streatching
These days, you don’t have to wake up early and run to your office or prepare your kids for school. Nobody is running to catch a bus to the university or reaching to open their shops. Life can be sluggish during a lockdown. While we crave so much for a mid-week off-day or a long weekend throughout the year, but we are all missing the hustle and bustle of our working-day routine. While it may look tempting to wake up at 8:55 am to attend a Skype call or join a zoom meeting at 9:00 am, it is undoubtedly bad for you. You are not walking to your workplace from the parking area or taking the stairs in the public offices. Running from one building to another between different classes in the university is in the past now. Kids are not going to the playground and elder people are not allowed to walk in the parks or the banks of the river. To top it all, visiting the gymnasium is a big no-no. Lots of countries have also banned going for a run or riding your bicycle.
Like online classes and working from home, we will all have to find an alternative way to keep our bodies moving. Some countries in Europe have restricted movement inside a 1km radius around the residence. Then going for a quick run is a blessing. Public swimming pools are not open and also not recommended. So, home workouts and yoga is a common practice in 2020. You can also find a secondhand elliptical or treadmill or stationary-bike for home-bound cardio-vascular exercises. Else, order a yoga mat today, which comes in very cheap and gives you exposure to a huge variety of yoga and body-weight exercises. Do not forget to warm-up before you start exercising and cool down in the end. As you are spending longer hours sitting at a chair than usual, stretch your limbs and joints every half an hour between online classes or office calls.
4. Stop being a couch-potato and stay away from electronic gadgets
It is easy to say but extremely difficult to execute in our life. Many of the ways to deal with this quarantine monotony involve the use of internet and electronic gadgets. But balance is the key to a healthy body and mind. So give yourself some break from sitting on your couch, lying in your bed. At the same time give your eyes some rest. Other than your frequent trips to the refrigerator, please move your body as much as possible. You are lucky if you have a garden as a lot of people living in the busiest cities do not even have a balcony. Take a walk to your garden or balcony every two hours. Else, do 10 squats every hour or do spot-jogging for 60 seconds. People who work out regularly are in advantage here, but even for them the one hour of working out will not be very fruitful in the face of 23 hours of inactivity in a day. Try to re-arrange your furniture, set your table in front of the window and stretch your eyes further your mobile and computer screens every now-and-then. Remember, this lockdown will lift someday and you will surely not like to have a heavier or unfit body to fight all the difficulties yet to come.
5. Help your kids feel more secured
This situation is the burning proof that life is not all planned and sorted. Every turn is unpredictable and any of them can be adverse. We love our young ones and protect them so that nothing hurtful ever touches them. The pandemic showed us all that it is not in our hands sometimes. Sometimes, we may not be there to protect and care for our loved ones and they would have to do that for themselves, sooner or later. Take this opportunity to teach them the hard reality. You must teach them things and make them prepared for the worst in the world that they may face sometime in life. Spend time with them and teach them how the world works. Teach them through stories, teach them as friends. Watch a movie that teaches life-lessons with your kid, like “Sound of Music” or “Lion King”. Find ways of entertainment that also serve important messages to the audience. Teach them cooking and cleaning, make them responsible. Make them take care of grandparents or a sick person in the family. Do not sugarcoat harsh realities about life like sickness and death. Prepare them to survive in this cruel world alone, on their own. In the end, even if this situation improves, they will carry these memories for their lifetime. Make this time memorable for them.
6. Donate resources: your time, money, energy, power or GPU
If you are blessed with privileges that thousands, if not more life on this planet don’t possess then this is the time to give something back to the society. There is no lower or upper limit to how much you can donate and neither is any restriction on what can be donated. Donating money for the welfare of the people who have a shortage of it or for the overall welfare of the medical system or backward community is one way, for sure. Besides, you can dedicate some of your precious time and effort to those in need. Spend some time helping people in need of food, work, communication, support, etc. Give a hand in running a community kitchen or lending some groceries to the homeless.
Some unconventional things can be donated as well. One of them is your power. If you hold a position where you have some resources which can help someone, someway, then grab this opportunity. Make some calls to find out about people in distress, or use the little power you have to get some bureaucratic work done for people stuck away from home and family. If you work in the public sector or a private company that provides any kind of service that can be of some use to someone else at this pressing time, then do everything in your power to serve them. Another one is your GPU resources. A lot of public and private companies as well as universities and research institutes are working on epidemic tracking, vaccine invention, medicinal research, etc. These require a colossal amount of parallel processing power and you can help them by sharing some of your GPU/TPU resources from your gaming PC or work laptops. But, please discuss this with your employers or concerned office regarding the legal issues. Also do not forget to check for a scam before donating your computing resources.
7. Be empathetic and compassionate in the face of your own personal challenge
When I traveled to the Netherlands, I heard a story from a tour guide. I don’t know if it’s just a story or there is any truth in it, but it touched my core. There is not a streetlamp or a bridge over a canal in Amsterdam that at least a bicycle is not tied with. Everyone who has been to Amsterdam has several photos of cute bikes, with carriers and flowers tied anywhere and everywhere in the city. They complete the scene and the signature of the city and everywhere in the Netherlands, you can find such scenes.
Every year, thousands of bicycles get stolen only in Amsterdam. But a lot of people do not even make a police complaint and the government does not take any major action against this as well, even if a complaint is registered. While collectively it might look like quite a crime but every theft involves only one cycle. Dutch are friendly, thoughtful, empathetic, and understanding people. They think that the person who is forced to steal something as small as a bicycle, must be needy and no legal action is worth taking such a poor soul. They find poverty as the reason for petty theft and try to take collective responsibility for the poverty of any social section. I was amazed by the sheer sense of compassion for their fellow samaritans and their sufferings. It is said, that hard times like this pandemic brings out the best or worst of every individual. Why not bring the best in you and show some empathy for the victims of the situation. You can be in difficulty, but that does not mean that you shall turn blind towards the sufferings of other victims of the situation.
8. Respect the environment
We are taking care of ourselves, but forgetting the environment in the process. We all have seen in the news and social media, that lots of masks are being thrown away carelessly. This planet needs to heal, and every human needs to practice minimalism to reduce clutter in their life as well as to reduce their carbon footprint on the earth. As we are forced to use masks, gloves, face shields and medical staff are using elaborate protective equipment, we are littering more than usual. So, the sight of water bodies covered with plastic straws is replaced by the sight of drifting face-masks. We must be very careful while disposing these articles of. We must not forget that fighting with the Covid-19 outbreak and extensive lockdown situation can never reverse our collective efforts in the improvement of the environment. Fighting with the economic adversities must not ruin our advancements in making and implementing policies to protect our planet.
9. Don’t compare
One of the biggest concerns in this bizarre situation is your mental condition and maintaining your motivation despite all the negative news and uncertainties regarding your future. If you are feeling insecurities, do not think for a second that you are alone in this. If you are unsure about what is going to come in your near future and can’t foresee your distant future, then you are among millions, if not among billions of other people feeling exactly the same. The kindest thing to do in this scenario is to not compare yourself with others.
A lot of us are sharing things they are feeling optimistic about in social media. We are seeing people sharing comfort food recipes, home workout videos, make up tutorials, baking tips and the list goes on. But all that glitters is not gold. It may seem that they are very happy and their life is very smooth but their struggle is not getting reflected in these social platforms. Do not compare your work performance with your peers as everyone has different struggles. Do not compare your kids with their mates and let them take a breather. The focus of this time should be your survival and not your productivity. Don’t overwork yourself to cover up your damaged productivity. One who has walked in your shoes, only knows your struggle, feel your pain, and understand your dreams. Don’t belittle yourself by comparing yourself with anyone else.
10. Find the silverlining: be optimistic
Life does always find a way. No matter how difficult times we have seen, we always tend to get back our lifestyle after every distraction. If you do not believe me, just take a look at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. After such a huge event, the whole area became inhabitable for years, but plants and small animals have made the place their home once again. Similarly, humans have survived both the world wars but still got back in normalcy. Cities got demolished but they stood back on their legs, time and time again. Love it or hate it, time heals everything. No matter how heartbroken we are, we all have that urge inside us to be happy again. After every cyclone, the next morning, we rise and shine again. This pandemic is no less than the two previous world wars. But we have the advantage of the whole world being united against the same enemy.
We have seen the images of doctors in Italy crying after seeing so much death every day. The scene is more or less the same in all the countries and no one is out of the radius of grief, pain, and horror of this infectious disease. Though the lockdown has temporarily halted our livelihood, we can at no cost, let the virus snatch our morale forever. So concentrate on good news, which can be difficult to find at times. Concentrate on the lowering of hospitalization cases over time and so is the decreasing death rates all over Europe and some Asian countries. Focus on how many countries, like Vietnam and South Korea kept the disease and its death toll at the minimum. Focus on the overall high recovery rate of patients and find news of people getting recovered even in old age. Try to analyze and find the best out of any bad news you receive every day. Do not lose hope, ever. I’m sure, no matter how hard the COVID situation shatters our dreams, we will collect the pieces and build the empire above the ground once again.