LIFE LESSONS FROM THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC – So, what am I learning from the lockdown?

The corona virus has laid bare issues about our levels of preparedness against crises situations. Humans have been caught napping, but for the right reasons. We’ve become too detached from nature. When I heard about this virus, I wasn’t particularly surprised because there are so many wrong things we’ve done to nature, which have had catastrophic impact on the environment, for example climate change due to air pollution.

Our resilience, courage, and character and how much we appreciate others and the environment around us, are all signs that humanity needs to self-introspect. When the lockdown hit our shores few weeks ago, never did we expect to remain ‘trapped’ in our homes for such a long time. From the onset, many of us thought this was a typical virus, like others, that comes and goes without incident. To our surprise, COVID-19 gave a clear signal that it was here to stay.

By staying at home, we achieved two key things, protection from infection and spending quality time with our loved ones. Indication is that everything went well during the initial weeks after the pandemic broke out. However, once we surpassed six weeks, I personally, began to feel anxious, agitated and claustrophobic. In my entire career, this was the first time that I became office-bound, let alone home-bound. My entire working life was based on travelling and being out there in the field. Now that I have been confined to a single space, 24 hours, the pandemic has opened-up a dark room in my life.

In the beginning, I seem to have adjusted well and developed my own coping rhythm. I didn’t feel too much mental strain. I adjusted mentally and physically, by transitioning into a different mode of thinking. This level of preparedness and consciousness helped me to ride the tidal waves and whirlwind of noises within and outside of my home. Internally, it was about the ability to manage feelings of irritation from loved ones. Externally, it was about developing the ability to handle a stream of daily negative news emanating from social and other media platforms.

I was forced to look within and asked myself, is this pandemic a good or a bad crisis? This self-introspection was in no way any attempt to downplay the devasting effect the pandemic has had on the lives of millions of people across the world. I even posted on social media about the potential impact on various industries and sectors of the economy, especially the hospitality and travel industry. By sharing some of these experiences, I realized that the pandemic is a catalyst for something bigger than us. As it took centre stage, this pandemic has exposed how vulnerable and fragile we are as individuals and institutions, and society in general. I have listed below some of the key lessons and coping mechanisms that enabled me to navigate through the storms of the pandemic.

THE FIVE (5) Cs

Consciousness – Consciousness is about being aware of others and the environment around us. It is about connecting with the environment (nature) and God as sources of inspiration and strength. Silent prayer. Being aware of my heart beat, being aware how blessed we are to have abundance of the air we breathe.

Choice – I accepted or acknowledged that this pandemic is real and dangerous. I made a choice to heed a call to fight the pandemic and complied with a set of government regulations, sanitizing, wearing a mask, etc. That is, being safe and taking precautionary measures, keeping physically and mentally fit.

Courage – I had a desire and courage to do something for myself and people close to me. I assisted with advisory (on how to cope during the pandemic) and offered some financial support. The impact of job losses was quite evident, even during early days of the pandemic, around December 2019.

Creation – Physical exercise is important to me, so I created a structure, a pathway or roadmap for myself. Our homes are now sanctuaries for everything; from sleeping, eating, exercising, to relaxation, imposing restrictions on the available spaces. Not everyone lives in a mansion or a 1ha property. My daily regime involved daily walks in the morning through narrow garden paths, breathing crispy, fresh air from the garden. My regime was structured as follows:

  • Waking up at 6.30am
  • Drinking a hot mixture of ginger, garlic, turmeric, cayenne pepper, apple cider and lemon, including vitamin C
  • Doing 5 laps around my complex (15 minutes)
  • Walking 10 times up and down the stairs (10 minutes)
  • Doing light indoor exercises (30 minutes)

Commitment – The above-mentioned daily regime came with some challenges. Before the lockdown, I used to attend gym in the afternoon. The lockdown then changed my structure, including my training format. Seasonal change (winter) also posed difficulty as I wake up early, to ensure that I can make time for my virtual office working hours (8.00am). My dedication and commitment seem to be paying off. My energy level, spirit and overall physical and mental wellness, have spiked. I feel blessed.

Life Lesson: Success comes with consistent application. We need a daily routine to steer away from the whirlwinds and storms of life.

“Consistency is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals”

  • E. James Rohn