Lesson 1 – Saving for a rainy day
These are unprecedented times. Governments around the world are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Knowing full well that by imposing lockdowns on their countries, this will save life in return for economic ruination. During this period, farmers are dumping their perishable harvest due to the disruption of supply chain. Some will go under, while others will struggle for years under a mountain of debt.
Companies that have overextended themselves are forced to either scale down or, sell off their assets on the cheap. Think Uber, who will be closing 40 offices around the world and laying off a quarter of their workforce globally.
This pandemic has taught me something about sustainability. It is not hard to do well during good times. But when shit hits the fan, what happen next? You may have known of someone who were layoff during this period. Often, the consequences can be dire. The financial, psychological and way of life can be disrupted. Particularly if that person is the sole bread winner or have overextended themselves financially.
This reminded me the importance of saving for a rainy day. This simple wisdom can ensure your sustainability and save you plenty of sleepless nights under the stars. In some culture where spending on instant gratification is the norm, this simple wisdom may hold little appeal. Perhaps it is not too late to start yet.
Lesson 2 – Empathise and care for elders
During ordinary time, most of us can be busy with our own life and rarely had the opportunity to know our elderly neighbours or parents well. Yet during this lockdown, I find myself having more time to communicate and understand my retiree neighbours better.
I used to think that for retiree, every day is a Sunday and given their relatively long lifespan, there is no fear of death. I was perhaps too self-centred and ignorant. Nothing can be further away from the truth.
Retirees, parents or elders in our neighbourhood has their fears and concerns too. Many of them maybe watching the television and being bombarded with the number of confirmed cases daily. Given that most of them are no longer young, the consequences of them being infected with corona virus can be severe. Their fear is legitimate, and I started to better empathise our seniors and retirees.
Being a senior have their own set of challenges too. Health and mobility are common issues. Loneliness is another one too. There are many retirees, particularly in Asia who have neglected in picking up a hobby or forging a social circle outside their workplace. It can be either due to the long work hours or neglect.
As a result, many of them maybe poorly equipped to handle retirement. This may potentially exacerbate various mental health. Sustainability goes beyond having financial resources or environmental conservation. It is about your future and our society too!
Lesson 3 – Develop healthy habits to cope with stress
The last 3 months of lockdown has given me plenty of solitude to reflect on my business, read and journal. While it has not been easy dealing with the news and impact of the COVID19 outbreak, I learnt that I wasn’t the only one going through it.
I am grateful that I am able to put food on the table while building up my business. Below are some ways that I have learnt on coping with challenges.
1. Writing a journal helps A LOT. By penning down your fears and thoughts, you can better process your emotions and manage your psychology. I have been doing that for the last 6 years and the benefit is tremendous.
2. Having a social circle as a support structure. I am grateful that over the past 3 decades, my friends have been around through plenty of ups and downs. Can hardly imagine how I would have managed without their friendship, patience and listening ears. Humans are social creatures; no man is an island.
3. Spending time in nature. Over the past few years, I started spending more time hiking in the nature. Alone time in the greeneries (without electronic device) allow me to discharge all the negative energy that comes from living in our today society. Having technologies all the time may not be a good thing.
This period can be a challenge but COVID19 can potentially lead you to better things around the corner, if you are willing.