The current situation amid the COVID-19 and social distancing lockdown brings to mind Sheldon Cooper, the popular and much loved protagonist of the hugely successful The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon, as we all know, cannot tolerate any sort of change in his routine, he lives a regimented, clockwork type of life.
How would he have reacted/ responded to this situation can be a one-hour special. Well, to be honest, Sheldon would have loved the social distancing part of this situation but the lockdown and restrictions to move, not order his favourite takeaway Chinese food, not go to the comic book store well that would have really gutted him badly.
Most of humanity is currently reeling with the same challenge, of being forced into a routine that they were not prepared for. A few have managed to get accustomed to this, though a vast majority isn’t really ready to deal with his lockdown.
What do we do then?
Here are 10 pointers that can help you navigate these times (maybe even create a new routine perhaps for the foreseeable future):
The first thing one can do in this situation is ACCEPT that this situation is real. We may not like it, though it is in our face now. Resisting it and getting worked up isn’t going to help at all.
#2 Dichotomy of Control
Epictetus, the great Stoic philosopher, has said that things, situations largely fall into only two categories. This simple yet profound philosophy can help immensely not just your actions but your mental and emotional well-being.
- Things not in your control: The lockdown, restricted movements and associated fallout.
- Things in your control: Your response to this situation, how quickly you adapt, so focus on what is in your control and don’t waste time being bitter and upset.
Some things are within our power, while others are not. Within our power are opinion, motivation, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever is of our own doing. Not within our power are our body, our property, reputation, office, and, in a word, whatever is not of our own doing.Epictetus
#3 Re-Align, Re-Prioritise, Re-Design
We are presented with a never seen or experienced before situation, we suddenly have an abundance of time. Yes, some may have got more time than others nonetheless, we have more than we had asked for. Use this golden opportunity to re-design your life, your priorities, your goals. Start planning for projects you had long delayed. Maybe it was sketching, art, writing… anything that you have always wanted to do, but time was the excuse. Just focus on things that matter.
#4 Take Tiny Steps
Don’t get overwhelmed by doing too many things at a time. Author B.J. Fogg, in his groundbreaking book Tiny Habits, has explained that most new habits die down because we take on too much in the excitement of trying new things. We ought to take tiny steps. So if you want to focus on exercising then start with a few reps, don’t tire yourself out that the next time your body will not allow you to do the exercise at all.
#5 Rest and Connect with Self
This is like a reset switch we can hit every day of our lives. Rest adequately, don’t be lazy, but rest. Sleep on time, meditate, spend time with yourself, even if that is 15 minutes to begin with, do it. This one practise can have a profound impact on your overall well-being.
#6 Connect with Others
Spend time with your family members at home, connect via phone, facetime, zoom whatever the means available. Connect with friends, find the joy hidden in these gloomy times, laugh, share, have fun.
I am sure you have a bunch of books you never read, pick them up (or click them open) and indulge in reading. Listen to music, make the atmosphere of your living spaces soothing and calm. And yes, those shows you have wanted to watch on Netflix, Prime watch them, but be cautious do not get consumed by it fully, because that is the last thing you want.
Yeah, get in shape, stay active, there are numerous ways to exercise at home. Do yoga, do push ups, squats, whatever that you can manage without trying to build a body for a bodybuilding competition. Restricted movement is going to slow your metabolism and you need to burn those calories in a good way.
#9 Eat Moderately
Now this is a tough one, you might be in a situation where someone is over zealously experimenting in the kitchen or showering you with love by making lovely mouth-watering dishes. Have them, just show moderation (yeah, this is a tough one, be careful).
#10 Be Grateful, Reflect
Be grateful you are at home, safe, with food, water and most essentials. At the end of each day, reflect for 5-10 minutes of what was the day like? What did I learn about myself? Could be anything just replay the day and see what was the takeaway, what can you do better tomorrow.
Here is a question that you may want to ask of yourself: What am I becoming in this calamity?
Take care, be safe.