Originally posted March 26 2020
This coronavirus pandemic is draining. It feels as though no matter where we turn, the coronavirus scourge has permeated every single part of our lives. One cannot even go outside without being impacted by the eeriness of the atmosphere. And what was once a quick trip in going to a store, has now become a hassle and a production for individuals and families alike.
Most of the world is going into week six of quarantine and staying at home is becoming an arduous task in and of itself. A lot of us are starting to experience cabin fever, and as a result may also be experiencing diminished mental health. I know for me personally, last week in particular was like pulling teeth in terms of mustering up energy to be and stay productive.
Additionally, the isolation is starting to set in if it has not already. Because of how the virus has interrupted the business of our lives, we are being forced to spend more alone time with our thoughts. People who are not physically isolated may also be starting to experience an increasingly hostile home environment.
Week by week it seems as if the coronavirus is constantly changing our lives specifically: how we engage with others and how we engage with ourselves. As such, now is a great time to revisit the survival tool kit and see if there is anything we should be adding to our repertoire.
Focus on Yourself
Being forced to spend time with ourselves is a scary prospect for some. Some purposefully create a life that avoids them having to spend too much time with themselves.
Some of us have a hard time dealing with ourselves. We have traumas, moments in life that we may not be proud of, things about ourselves that we do not like, or a Pandora’s box of memories that we rather not open.
Regardless of how we may feel towards ourselves, the reality of our existence is, that no matter where we go, we always have to bring ourselves. The idea of self is pretty oxymoronic of a traditional interpretation in this time, where we are self-isolating and social distancing as a precaution for others.
I would assert however, that in the same way that we are exercising social restraints for the benefit of each other, we should also be taking the time to work on ourselves for the same reason.
If we get better, the people around us can get better.
Now is a great time for us to work on ourselves. The implication behind this is a necessity to engage with ourselves, and to do so well.
How do you engage with yourself when we are not being over stimulated? Are those engagements healthy or self deprecating?
Now is a good time for us to ask ourselves: How a I growing as a person, and do I like who I am becoming?
Spend your Time Well
A major concern for everyone is time. The one thing that no one seems to have enough of is time. It is the only thing that we cannot buy more of; as such it is important that we value our time while under quarantine.
With most of us locked away in our homes it is easy for us to waste time watching television, and procrastinating; But what if we used this newfound gift of extra time on hour hands to do something constructive.
We will never find ourselves in this exact situation again where we have the majority of our time to ourselves. This is a unique circumstance with unique opportunities. Politicians like to say “never let a crisis go waste”; meaning, do not let this unique opportunity pass without getting something important on the agenda accomplished.
If some of us have been, now is the time to stop letting letting this crisis go to waste. We need to accomplish those things that are important to us that under normal circumstances, we would allow ourselves to put on the back burner.
Read that book, finish that project, complete that application, prepare that business plan, whatever it is; before this window of opportunity closes we should make sure we are capitalizing on this time.
Our time is more valuable now than ever before.
Now is a superb time to invest in the intangible, to invest in our relationships.
We all have the opportunity to have more accesses to our loved ones than usual. Speak regularly with friends and family. Social media as our primary mode of engagement is not going to cut it during this time of isolation.
No matter how disconnected we become with the advent of technology, at our core humans are social beings and its important for us to never forget that. Since being quarantined, I communicate with my close friends and family several times a week. I’ve even challenged myself to reach out to new people each week.
It is equally essential that we manage our investment portfolio well:
Do you have a regimen in place?
How do you spend your 24 hours and how is that benefiting you?
What is the desired ROI on your time after all of this is over?
All of these things are important and something that we would not normally take time to consider. I’ve been consistently working out at home, spending more time to take care of my health, and leaning into some of my favorite hobbies like cooking.
We have become use to allowing our schedules dictate our lives; but now is a good time to turn the auto pilot off and get back in control of our lives as best we can.
Protect your Mental Health
Depression and anxiety are two of the biggest mental health challenges most of us are facing right now. Social Isolation can take a huge toll on one’s mental health. Another side effect of social distancing is a lot of us are staying inside for most of our day.
Sunlight is thought to increase levels of serotonin in people while a lack of sunlight decreases it. A decrease in serotonin can contribute to depression.
Additionally, the 24-hour news cycle has become the 24/7 coronavirus live stream. While it is important for us to stay informed with what is going on regarding this virus, the news is also constantly exposing us to negative information that undoubtedly has a negative impact on our mental health.
We have to be disciplined enough to take care of our mental health because our current state of being is not conducive to positive mental health.
What we put into us influences what comes out of us. Avoid energy vampires. Do not allow someone else’s negativity to impact you in any way.
Depression can be insidious, and anxiety can be treacherous. I would encourage each of us in this time to identify mental health struggles that we may be facing and find the proper help.
We are experiencing unprecedented times and we are not out of the woods yet. It is important that we do what we have to do to take care of ourselves, our loved ones, and those in need.
If we are not in a good place we cannot help others get to a better one.
Knowing how to survive this quarantine is essential and the benefits of doing even a portion of what is in this post will outlast immediate satisfaction and gratification. I implore each one of us to work on ourselves in this time so that we are all able to come out of this pandemic better then how we entered.
Join the conversation and share your perspective in the comment section below!