With the current pandemic situation, countries worldwide had instituted either a full or partial lockdown. This lock down has affected billions of people’s life as well as their livelihood. This includes me who felt the impact of the lockdown. Business appointments are being cancelled; travel plans are being curtailed. We are limited in our freedom of movement and are required to stay home.
Sometimes we can really feel stressed up, anguish or helplessness during this period. We may ask ourselves: What is going to happen to my job? How about my children’s school? Who is going to teach my kids? How about the monthly family expenses? With the mandatory stay home period, how can I adjust and adapt myself to this situation?
I really do not have the answers. To me, I decided to just take it one day at a time. During the first few days, it is a chaos in my house. I am trying to set up my work-space, teaching space and at the same time trying to manage time for work, kid’s home study, kid’s play and preparing for meals. Miraculously, I started to adapt to all these things. Bit by bit things started to take shape and adapt my life to the new circumstances. In fact, after a week, I felt that this situation could well be an amazing opportunity to do the things I really wanted to. 7 wonderful things happened during this period:
- Keeping to my running / fitness goal
I used to fit my running schedule into my work schedule. I will try to complete my run as soon as possible so that I can rush to attend my next work appointment. Now with most of my work’s activities being curtailed, I have more time to focus on my runs. I feel more relax during my runs and I get to choose what time that I wanted to run.
In addition, without evening work appointments now, I get to sleep early. This allows me to be able to wake up at early dawn and run. I get more time to stretch, warm up and warm down. This can further reduce the probability of running injuries, so I can train harder.
- Develop a new valuable habit
Due to social distancing measures, we are advised to avoid coming into close contact with each other. Although running is neither a team nor a contact sport, there could still be a situation of a crowded track or park. In order to reduce my social contact with people, I have to make an effort to “isolate” my runs. I figured out that by waking up very early to run I can avoid contact with people. I started to commit myself to wake up at around 5am to go for my runs. After days of such early morning runs, I started to develop the habit of waking up early. I have always wanted to wake up early to run previously, but my attempts have not been successful. Now I am “compelled” to wake up early, thus it has supported me in developing this valuable habit.
This new habit has given me with more time as well as more energy to tackle my day’s work. I found myself having considerably more time in the morning to accomplish various tasks, and more time to focus on what I really need to do.
- Reading and learning
If it is not for this circuit breaker, I really struggle to find time to read. Every day is a balancing act of taking care of my children, handling work appointments and trying to keep up with my runs. I have neglected one of my most enjoyable reading hobby.
During this period where my schedule is less hectic, I get time to pick up a book and slowly enjoy the contents of it. Reading not just is a good way for me to relax, but it is also a good way for me to draw life’s inspiration, work ideas and knowledge.
- Doing the things, I have procrastinated
There are things on my to do list that I have been putting off doing. Especially those that are very tedious or those that requires tremendous amount of time to accomplished. Usually after a day’s work, both my focus and energy would have been emptied by the day’s toil. By evening, either I do not have the time to start doing them or I do not have the energy to tackle them. I tell myself it is ok to put off doing the item till the next day. Soon, the next day turn out to be weeks and even months.
Now, with a less intense work schedule, I can put my best energy to tackle these items. One by one, those items get ticked off from my to do checklist. Having accomplished those items, it further frees up my mental capacity to tackle more items.
- Keep stock of my finances and rethink it
One of the biggest fears for most people now is the ability to pay for family expenses during the lock down or stay home period. Thus, it is critical for me now to take stock of my finances and know where I stand. What if this crisis drags on longer than what I have expected? Will I have enough finances to tide through the difficult period. If not, what should I do now?
In fact, today’s situation is a good reflection of how I have been managing my money. By taking stock of my finances it provides me with clarity on how I can plan for my future especially if another similar crisis where to hit.
This situation has makes me to realize how I have been earning my income. Do I solely depend on employment income? Or do I also receive passive monthly income to supplement my daily expenses. I am glad that years ago I have invested in various assets that can generate income for me during this crisis period. Now, it is time for me to review if these steams of income are ample for me and if they are well diversified. You can read more about what I learn years ago about money in this article that I wrote.
Lastly, this is a perfect opportunity to invest. Prices of stocks or assets may have fallen substantially from its peak. With lower prices today, it is an opportune time to see which assets is good to pick up now.
- Rearranging and decluttering
Working from home (plus having to be at home) almost all the time, requires me to set up my house for different purposes. For example, a functional home office, a conducive classroom to teach my son (for home schooling) and an airy place to do all our physical exercises. Hence, I took this chance to rearrange my house for the various purposes. The first step to the process is to declutter my stuffs. Stuffs that are no longer useful or needed, this is a good time to dispose them off. Cabinets, drawers, storeroom that require tidying up are done during this period. With all the decluttering done, I have a clearer mind to handle all the tasks ahead of me. This makes my place more pleasant and in turn makes my thoughts clearer.
- Keep touch with friends and family
Now, with my immediate family staying in the house for this entire period, there are numerous opportunities for family bonding. I get to have more time to talk to my boys and my wife. We get to do more things together like learning together with children, cleaning the house together, play together, cook together etc.
Due to social distancing measures, we are not be able to visit our family members living in another house. I have adapted myself by doing a group video call to my close family daily. During non-crisis time, I used to give myself the excuse that I am too busy to do it. Now I get to call them it daily.
I have also reach out to my friends and check out how they are doing. This period is really a great time for me to reconnect with friends, draw encouragement from each other and ride out this crisis together.
The Silver Lining
I believe we are all faced with the different challenges, stress, together with uncertainties during this crisis. Some of us may even wonder, can we even ride through this crisis safely. Nobody will know exactly when this crisis will be over, and how will life be like after that. All these anxieties are tangible, moreover it could really make us lose faith in life and become worrisome.
I do believe the greatest gift that we are endowed today is the gift of having a personal choice. A choice on how we choose to react to any situation. Yes, the circumstances can be difficult, but we can choose to have fun going through it. Just like being on a roller coaster ride, you can either choose to feel the stress of all the “G” forces or enjoy the entire ride.
I do believe if we choose to make full use of what we can do in this present crisis, once the crisis is over, we can find being more positive, better prepared, well-managed and mentally stronger. We never know that this could be the best time to plan, strategize and move ahead in life!
I do believe every crisis can either build us up or tear us apart. The choice is ours to make.