At the time of writing this, news has just come in from Delhi that the third wave has set in. It almost feels palpable; a collective groan emanating from the heart of every tech park, commercial centre and home in every city in India. There had been a brief glow of sunshine, and we’d risked a bit of hope that maybe… just maybe… we’d dodge the 3rd wave after all. No such luck, it would seem.
Are you asking yourself if the pandemic is ever going to end?
Yes, it is going to end, say experts. We might not completely eradicate Covid-19, but we’ll eventually see it recede into an endemic virus – much like the flu or the common cold. When that happens, it will stop being the planet-stopping force that we have seen this far. But we don’t exactly know when that is going to happen.
Whereas worrying about things we cannot control is futile; now feels like the right time to turn our attention to things that are in our control.
There are 3 areas in which we can take full control of our lives, right now.
- Personal action
- Precautionary action
Taking a break from your computer screen, and eating a nutritious lunch is the first step to a healthy gut and body. You could also consider taking a 60-minute lunch break, and include a mini-workout before eating. We know it’s tempting to reach for the TV remote during this time, and you might think that you are giving your mind a break, but that may not always be so. Swapping one screen for another is essentially just building up your mental and physical fatigue.
You don’t have to have a home gym with special equipment to take care of your body. There are plenty of online videos by experts showing you how to make use of just your bodyweight (callisthenics) and small empty spaces to achieve your fitness goals. Whether your goal is ripped muscles, flat abs or just staying in decent shape, there’s a living-room workout made just for you – waiting to be tried every day.
Just to give you a bit of a nudge, here’s a video of a workshop we did.
Remember also that sleep is just as important. Inadequate sleep can wreak havoc on your body and mind even in the best of circumstances. For those who have trouble falling asleep, there are numerous free apps you can try.
Employers and HR can gamify physical fitness by setting up small, achievable challenges for your workforce, and motivating them through a leaderboard.
Avoiding stress traps
This starts with being good to yourself. You can learn to meditate, practice mindfulness, disconnect for a while every day and just reflect on your thoughts. If you find it difficult to get something done, ask for help where possible, or just be patient with yourself and start afresh the next day.
Limit your intake of news from media and social media. If you feel overwhelmed by bad news, make it a point to step away from it all for a day or two. Be wary of fake news, both receiving and forwarding it.
It pays to remember that reducing stress is the key to a happy life both now and post-pandemic. And it all starts with taking control of your actions.
Avoiding non-essential shopping and travel
Obvious enough, but let us face it, we are sometimes guilty of taking this lightly until the Government or local civic bodies start to enforce curfews and lockdowns. Instead, we can just as easily set up our own measures for doing what we can to stay safe for ourselves and for the sake of our friends and families.
By now, we all know the value of masking up, and keeping our hands sanitised and off of our faces. We just have to remember that we aren’t only protecting ourselves but also taking responsibility for stopping or arresting the spread of the virus.
Now is a good time to look over some of those finer details in your health insurance policy. You can top up your base policy with a COVID-19-specific cover; there are options that cover both hospitalisation and home treatment as well. The latter can include the costs of oximeters, oxygen cylinders, medicines and consultation charges of medical practitioners, and so on.
India’s insurance regulator IRDAI recently released a statement confirming that all Covid health insurance policies will cover Omicron infection treatment as well.
Inevitably now, we’ve made our tryst with the video call, love it or hate it, it is here to stay. But that doesn’t mean it must always be about work meetings. Essentially, it is a tool and what matters is how we use it. You might be working in isolation, but you are working in isolation together with your teammates. Catching up over a call while having a cup of your favourite flat white, or Friday evening Zoom calls over drinks can help you feel connected to your colleagues.
Having clear lines between the working part of your day and your life, and communicating them to your teammates and manager is essential to staying healthy. While not classified yet as a medical condition, the W.H.O. does recognise ‘Burn-out’ as an “occupational phenomenon”. It is the result of chronic workplace stress that has been poorly managed. Working long hours all the time has been known to reduce professional efficacy as well. Take time out for life, and continue doing at least that one thing that rejuvenates your mind and soul.
Yes, there is a fair share of uncertainty, and everyone is trying to cope with frustrations of some kind. But there are still many things (and people) in your life to be thankful for. The fact that you have a job, or that you have a family that cares about you, friends who have your back, you have skills and opportunities to use; remembering and acknowledging them can help you get through dark times. Simple gestures of kindness and appreciation to your loved ones and colleagues can make life better, even in times of crisis.
What to do if you are experiencing symptoms?
Experts recommend you stay home and contact your doctor. Remember, most people with COVID-19 have had mild illnesses and have recovered at home. For more information, check out the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 webpage.
For Plum members:
You can get free consultations with a doctor through Plum Telehealth. Log in and book a consultation.