What to do in this time of crisis?

Published on: July 10, 2020, by Young-Suk Ahn Park

Image by Marisa Sias from Pixabay

The current COVID-19 crisis has drastically changed the life of all of us. The way we get education, the way we work, the way we shop, the way we interact with others is very different from how they were on early 2020.

The situation has forced us to accelerate the adoption of online technology.

Unfortunately many companies unprepared to transition to online services will get deeply
impacted. The degree of impact can vary depending on the sector, but the truth is everyone has been affected in one way or the other.

"Never allow a good crisis to go to waste"[EMAN].

That is exactly the type of crisis we are living today. We do not have the luxury to let this crisis go to waste.

This is the time to adapt, improve, become more agile and resilient. This is the time to clear our mind and prepare ourselves to be able to see opportunities within the turbulence, use the tide in our favor to push our boat to new horizons.

Indeed it is not easy to know what to prepare, even what to do next, but there are guides to help us stay fit physically, mentally and emotionally allowing us to navigate though this crisis.

Five Things to do During Crisis Time

The first rule is not to be too over ambitious. If we try to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3 seconds, for sure we will burnout in no time.

This this TEDx video Stephen Duneier correclty argues that to achieve a goal, the surest way is to apply marginal improvement. Going tiny step at a time.

That is the approach we should take to make small changes in our habits that make up our life.

1. Invest in your mental wellbeing

The uncertainty, the negative projection of the economy compounded with the social distancing is creating a profound adverse effect in the psychology of the people [NCBI].

But we can prevent the development a mental diseases through simple activities. For example writing journals or small essays about your thoughts and feelings can be therapeutic. Studies shows that writing a bout negative experiences helps your mind and your immune system [PENN].

Likewise, meditating, or even just a simple act of taking few minutes with yourself, being mindful, helps with the performance of your brain.

I also suggest you to do a short retrospective before sleeping, praying at the end of the day is actually a form of retrospect. Double point for you if you write down the reflection!

Another good suggestion is to listen to spiritual lectures or any other activity that nurtures your mind and spirit.

And don't forget to spend quality time with your family! Time with your children and significant other can be spiritually fulfilling.

2. Exercise Daily

OK, I know you heard this before, several times. But with the lock-down order in place, it is so easy to neglect our body. The mind and body is very closely connected. If your body suffers your mind will suffer too. If your mind gets ill, your body will start deteriorating.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, get up early in the morning, while the air is still fresh, and exercise. If you prefer to stay home because of the virus, you can still do push ups, planks, abdominal workouts, etc.

If it is difficult for you to make the habit, you can make it gameful, use the if/when-then technique. E.g. when I am done with restroom, I will do 20 push-ups. Another good technique is Pomodoro, which has proven to be effective for increasing productivity: pause for 5~10 mins for every 25 mins of work. During the break you can do those small workouts.

3. Grab Book and Read

The lock-down should have given you additional spare time in your day, as you no longer have to commute. Those time saved, invest it reading books.

Reading elicits curiosity, increases knowledge and fosters imagination.

Reading a book takes time, therefore you would want to be be good at choosing books. There are good sources that you can go to to find good books for you: book club, reviews, award-winnners (Pulitzer, Newbery, Caldecott, etc), classics, best-sellers, etc.

These are few of my recommendations:

These days, you can buy ebooks which give you the benefit of less paper wasted, no delivery needed, and if you have a e-reader, you can carry many books without the weight that pains your back. The Kindle Paperwhite is a nice option, if you are avid reader, it may be better alternative than tablets as it is lighter, cheaper, and since you cannot play video games there, you will have less distraction. 😉

If you would like to give your eyes some break, you can also listen to audio books. There are many audiobook services such as Audible, libro.fm, scribd.com, y storytel.com.

If you reside in United States of America, you may benefit from registering in a community library. You can rent books and audio books for free using the Libby app.

4. Practice Creating Thinking: Reframing, Repurposing, Lateral Thinking

If we stay most of our time in one single location, i.e. the confinement of the house, we will naturally fall to monotony, repetition of same daily pattern. These routine can yield shallow, banal thinking.

To avoid falling into this mindlessness, auto-pilot mode, we should practice activities suggested for mindfulness.

Try reframing. In any given situation, analyse possible causes and and implications, and try imagining the reverse, say considering the effects as the causes.

Test yourself with the challenge of 30 circles. The objective is to convert as many circles as possible to a recognizable objects. E.g. a circle be a face, another a pie, etc.

Make an habit these small internal mental challenges: reframing, repurposing, lateral thinking on every day life. Who knows, one of those thinkings could result in the next billing dollar business

If you need inspiration, the TED.com videos are excellent source.

5. Interact with People

The COVID-19 has popularized the phrase "social distancing," but to be precise, we should call it physical distancing. We should continue maintaining the social connection.

Based on the studies [WEBM], the effect of loneliness on the health is comparable to smoking 15 cigarets per day. The gravity of COVID-19 is that the psychological damage that the anxity can cause is amplified by the social distancing.

The technologies allow us to keep the social interaction with families and friends. Tools such ass Google Meets, Zoom, WhatsApp, KakaoTalk, Skype, etc. can serve as alternative to physical interaction.

Notice that I have not mentioned social network such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and others, as those can cause adverse effects to loneliness [HARV].

Bonus: Start a New Project

Since we are living a very unusual time, start a curious project that you have not done before, something uncommon!

Few ideas for inspiration:

Well, that's how this site and YouTube got started. 😎

REMEMBER, start small, keep the rightm, be consistent. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


Published on: July 10, 2020, by Young-Suk Ahn Park

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