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De-stress during distress

Over the last few days it feels as if the world will come to an end, courtesy the corona virus pandemic. Social distancing and home isolation is what we have been advised to strictly practise. And, for the right reasons. That said, home isolation is easier said than done, thanks to the super hectic lifestyle we are used to following over the years. Besides, as humans, we are social animals needing active social interactions. If this in itself is not stress inducing, there’s additional stress seeping into our minds driven by fears of job losses, pay cuts, portfolio drawdowns and so on and so forth. Even if we are spared of the virus, this stress may end up impacting us even worse!

At such times, it’s extremely important for us to take steps to contain our anxiety, while patiently waiting for the tide to pass. I’ll share how I’ve been attempting to navigate this over the last couple of days. It’s helped me so far and hoping it helps a few others as well.

At the outset, keep telling yourself daily:

“The world hasn’t come to an end. This is just momentary and this too shall pass.”

  • Social media distancing This takes the top slot in my ‘to-do’ list. STOP reading and believing into all that fake and negative news/rumours that keep floating around on social media. It could end only depressing you. By now, you already know what you needed to know. As a responsible individual, DON’T fall prey to all these and do not be a party to spreading false information and fear either. I’ve myself done so, unknowingly, and have learnt from my mistakes.
  • Workout daily – Choose the workout style that you prefer. It could be Yoga, HIIT, Zumba or anything else. But, DO workout daily. Without wanting to use any technical jargons, workouts release happy hormones, lightens the mood and most importantly, helps us keep in shape. For all those who are not used to working out, starting this regime could transform you into a fitter and better looking individual. Why not surprise your colleagues and friends, once the world returns to normalcy? Sounds nice 🙂
  • Build a new skill set – You will never (hopefully, not in our life time) get such an opportunity again. With such massive time at your disposal, try and acquire some new skills. A lot of online resources are available out there. Pick one. It could be something (a new course) that could help hone your profession skills or skills (cooking, for instance) that help you become independent, may be. Introspect and identify the skill set that you aspire to build upon. Trust me, you will thank yourself in the future.
  • Music and dance therapy works – Just like how workouts release happy hormones, listening to music and/or dancing have proved to have a similar effect on our moods. Plug in those headphones and listen to the music that you have always liked, but never really managed to find the time to listen to. You don’t have that excuse any more. Better still, sing along with the song you are listening to. For all that you know, you can impress people with your improved vocal cords  by the time we get over this crisis. Isn’t it?
  • Read everyday – Whoever has said that books are our best friend, is right. Books always give us company and enriches our mind. Not to mention, it also helps to widen our perspectives of life. Not only does reading help divert our minds, it goes a long way to make us smarter and more knowledgable. I’m not an avid reader, i confess (other than capital market news, views and reports). However, I’ve decided to incorporate this in my daily schedule and have shortlisted a couple of books (non-profession related) which i hope to read.
  • Play online games – I’ve suddenly discovered that playing games can be very stimulating. The challenges that some games throw up keeps the intellectual aspect of the brain alive. Research studies have revealed how strategy games help in improving the cognitive abilities of our brain by way of better memory, faster processing speed etc. It’s easy to switch off the brain cells and not do anything in this environment. But this can prove to be disastrous, once we resume our duties going ahead. And don’t we get a kick after wining a game or two? Research studies explain this – winning increases testosterone, which in turn increases the chemical messenger dopamine, and that dopamine hits the reward network in the brain, which makes us feel better

Besides working from home, I have scheduled separate slots for each of these activities. That said, I try not to be too harsh with myself and take the liberty to rejig the activities, depending on my moods :-).

How have you been holding up? Happy to hear.

Cheers!!!

Sudhir

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