Coronavirus – Useful Hints & Tips from a Hong Kong Mum
Coronavirus seems to have smothered our lives over the past few weeks. Whether you are browsing the internet, stepping out to buy groceries or having a random conversation with a friend, this all-pervading virus threatens to show its ugly face in every waking minute of our lives! I mean isn’t it enough that it’s causing all this damage to our bodies, making us physically sick and even killing some of us who are too weak to fight, that now it is taking over our minds?
I was well-armed and prepared to battle this virus. Hand sanitizers, masks, basic hygiene products and foodstuff all bought well in advance and stored safely in my house. I was also well prepared for the fact that my boys, including my husband, were going to be at home for a good number of weeks coming up ahead. So I spent a good few hours cleaning up the house, throwing away unwanted things, creating a sense of space and tidiness for the ‘work from home’ norm coming up. I had it all covered. But what I forgot in all this careful planning and calculation is to give a thought to how my mind would be affected.
I must admit that while I love going out and meeting people, I’m equally at ease being in my own company and yet these past few weeks of social distancing has created a turmoil in my mind. For I can still do my regular workouts and keep my body fit, but with my business at a standstill and no physical social interactions it gets challenging to stay in a positive frame of mind all the time.
Do you know that humans are born into social groups and live their entire lives as part of a society? The social element, therefore, cannot be easily removed from the evolution of an individual. And yet we are asked to do just the opposite? Social distancing!
It’s not just China and Hong Kong anymore; the whole world is going through this crisis. And strangely enough, being one of the first few countries to have gone through this ‘experience’ I get asked for ‘advice’ by other mums – friends and followers around the world on how to manage this difficult situation. While honestly there is no quick-fix solution to this, but as a Hong Kong mum having been through this experience for the past six weeks, I am happy to share some helpful hints and tips to help keep your mind and body alive, healthy and kicking!
Do NOT read every bit of news article available on COVID-19
Carefully choose your source of information – the constant updates on information, precautions and warnings about Coronavirus can make it difficult to separate the facts from fake news. Did anyone hear about toilet paper queues or sanitizers being wiped-off shelves during SARS? Probably not, because of the minimum spread of social media and lesser panic attacks! So choose a trustworthy source of news and limited your frequency of updates – disable those notifications!
Have a routine
It’s tough to maintain a routine when everyone is at home, and there’s no sense of urgency for any activity. Still, in order to maintain normalcy and have a sense of purpose, it’s very important that you maintain your usual waking and sleeping habits, exercise and eating schedules. Write it down if it helps everyone in the family. Home Learning is a boon as I use that as a backbone to our daily routine.
Polish off those household tasks
If you are like me who always postpones cleaning up that kitchen cupboard or organising the toy shelf then here’s your golden opportunity. It’s a quick way to fill in that excess time during the day, keeping you both mentally and physically occupied. Besides getting rid of the dust you can also get rid of items you no longer need creating more space in your house.
Finish your work backlog
As with the house also focus on your work. I work from home and always keep those tedious admin tasks pending. Bills need to be uploaded, papers need to be filed, accounting backend needs a clean-up. And it’s not just pending work that needs tackling – how about using this time to plan your next marketing campaign or focus on a brandbuilding activity? Who knows this forced change will bring about a genius business idea to fire up your business in a more productive direction!
We all know about the positive effects that exercise has on our brain. So build in an exercise routine in your day. Even if you can’t access the gym or run outdoors, do simple exercises like cleaning your home, dancing to music, running up and down the steps or on-the-spot jogging or jumping jacks to pump up your heart rate and get the adrenaline going!
Schools have shut down, but we are lucky to have ‘e-schools!’ Yes it is a bit crowded at home now that school has moved into your space, but you can make the best of it by allocating different zones to your kids where they can do their work without any disturbances. Give them the necessary tools and equipment, encourage them to take breaks (off-technology), provide healthy snacks and get them to do some physical activity before they sign off for the day.
Sign up for an Online course
The most important thing is to keep your brain cells stimulated during this ‘quiet period.’ One way to do that is to enroll yourself into an online
course that will help you build your skills and knowledge. It could be work-related – ‘Digital Marketing’ is on my top 5 ‘tolearn’ list, or it could be a creative course that you had always wanted to do! Well, here’s your chance!
Take this time to hone on your creative side, take advantage of these quiet moments and relax. Listen to music, play an instrument, do yoga, breathing exercises, anything that will help enrich your mind and keep boredom at bay.
Get on the phone
Forget WhatsApp chats. Now is the time to pick up the phone and “talk” to people. Call up your school mates, friends, family, neighbours. You will be amazed by the sense of camaraderie and positivity that can be shared using this old-fashioned medium of communication.
There’s always a silver lining to any dark cloud and here’s yours. In our normal lives, most of us have our activities and jobs to keep us busy, and we struggle to find some quality time together as a family. Now here’s your golden chance! Plan those family lunches, dinners together at the table, play board games, have a fun quiz night, watch a family movie – get back to the ‘old-fashioned’ family routine by the fireplace and bond!