We had gone through half of the year and this pandemic is still here. Do you feel like that 2020 was robbed from you and it has ruined most of your plans? This global distress has created a central theme of depression, anger and anxiety to most of us. We can’t help but lament at the restrictions, fears, broken plans, economic decline & businesses closing, unemployment & being laid of from work, churches, major establishments & schools closing and the general sad new normal. We are anxious and fearful everyday of what lies ahead. When will this end, we asked. We are afraid that we or our loved-ones might get the virus. We are scared of the future. Are we going to be like this forever? This panic is causing a stir in our consciousness, creating as sense of instability towards our attitude to our work, our relationships , ourselves and the current circumstances.
This emotional crisis brought about by this vicious pandemic can cause us to use our defense mechanism to combat these. Defense mechanism are behaviours people use to separate themselves from unpleasant events, actions or thoughts. There are several types of defense mechanisms. Mosts would gravitate towards Denial, Repression or Regression. Some would use Projection or Displacement to address the negativity that is what is going on like getting angry at the government or a certain country or projecting towards your spouse or children especially being coop up together at home all day. But one defense mechanism, Sublimation, creates a negative circumstance by turning that energy into sometime positive.
I am inspired using Sublimation as a reaction to what is going on around us. Half of the time, we can still allow ourselves to escape that the realities of the current world with Netflix, Kindle and Audible. We can indulge ourselves by sleeping until noon or staying up late watching shows of our choice. But I am still very hopeful that all of this sad circumstances will end soon. Would it be great to come out of this, better and more improved, like a 2.0 version of yourself ready to conquer the world with a fresh start.
I thought wouldn’t it be great to at least give 1-2 hours a day to upgrade and better ourselves as we hopefully emerge from this pandemic. Here are 5 ways we can upgrade to a 2.0 version of ourselves during this quarantine:
- Enroll in Online Course at Ivy League Universities like Harvard, Yale, etc.
If you want to level up your knowledge and skills in your current profession or you want to change career and obtain certificates from your new career path, you can enrol at awesome online educational platforms like edX and Coursera.
edX was founded by Harvard and MIT, home to 20M learners worldwide with prestigious educational institutions apart from Harvard & MIT, like Stanford University, Brown University, Berkley University of California, Australian National University, University of Toronto and many more.
Coursera was founded by Daphne Ng and Andrew Koller with a vision to providing life-transforming vision to anyone, anywhere. It is a leading online learning platform for higher education to 66M learners around the world with more than 200 top institutions across the globe, namely Yale University, Arizona State University, Google, National University of Singapore etc. Here is an example of the certificate once you have finish the course.
The great thing with these platform is that they are free online courses with extensive range of subjects and specialisations to choose from. It is easily accessible on your laptop, tablet and on your mobile phone. They have an app version for you to access your course on the go. You only pay for the course if you want to obtain the shareable certificates which can be a great addition to your resume.
I took a course in edX the AP Psychology 5: Health and Behavior under Dr. Steven J. Barnes at University of British Columbia. The course was offered in a self-paced format and was divided in 4 parts. I enjoyed the classes and the quizzes were tough. I am also currently taking a course in Coursera on The Science of Well-Being under Dr. Laurie Santos at Yale University. It is a 10 week course. There are videos of the lecture alongside the beautiful (and brainy) Yalie students and short quizzes weekly. I am having so much fun with the course so far. If I were to choose, I like the interface and format of Coursera so far but I am yet to try more courses from both platforms.
There are other venues to learn more stuff online like Udemy, special masterclasses from experts of our interest. Try to seek out what you want o learn from. I still continue to attend webinars for my work as a doctor to continue and upgrade my medical knowledge with new studies and updates from experts in the medical field.
2. Work towards your Fitness Goal & Dream Body
With the disruption of most people’s regular work schedule with most people working from home & the fusion of the work-rest environment, we often tend to forgoing our regular fitness regimen & schedule. We often resort to finish a bag of Cheetos while glazing over the TV or on our mobile phones during lull times. Some people would say that it seems to them working from home can be more exhausting than working in their offices, burden by the tasks of homeschooling the kids and the lose of boundaries of work & rest. The exercise and healthy diet has fallen by the wayside. Many commented most people have gained more weight during quarantine with all the junk food bingeing and canned food diet.
But we still got time to remedy this. We can still indulge ourselves with longer rest time and Netflix bingeing but lay off the Cheetos. Use your time at home to find healthy recipes that would be your go-to meals and snacks. Get to know what your body craves and what foods works well with your body. Also learn about the timings that you are most likely to get hungry and the portion sizes on the different times of time.
Like for me, I know I get my morning slump by 10ish at the morning. I would usually have my breakfast at that time. I know that I eat before 10 AM when I am not usually hungry but just eating for the sake of eating or the thought of that breakfast seems like a good idea but I am not hungry, will not reduce my slump or hunger pang by 10ish. I will still crave for food by 10ish which increase the calories I have taken for the day. I also know my body feels better if I eat a whole-food plant based diet instead of predominantly meat dishes. Eating highly processed foods would make me lethargic (I assume for most people too) and eating breads or gluten products make me bloat. I feel better if I eat my heavy meal during lunch and eat less especially during dinner. Get to know your body and what works for you because every body are different from others.
For exercise, allot at least 20-30 mins of sweat time to whatever you feel comfortable time with. It could be aerobics , HIIT, Tabata, yoga, dancing, running, skipping rope, dancing or strength training. Choose the exercise that you love and that you will stick too. There are wonderful free resource in Youtube for you to choose from. I use Asana Rebel for my daily yoga or I just find some dance cardio exercise at ACTIVE by Popsugar, which is absolutely free.
3. Start an Online Business
This pandemic resulted to people losing their jobs and traditional businesses closing. It is sad to see family’s & friends’ livelihood and source of income affected by invasion of this virus. I’m one of the luckier ones that’s working during this global crisis because I work in healthcare. But everywhere is still very unstable. It would be good to have a back-up plan to hang on to in case worst comes to worst. I have seen friends and family starting thriving businesses online. They identify the needs of the community and provide products that would cater to those needs. Hint: Face Masks , Face Shield, PPEs and Alcohol. I have a friend who started to sell yummy breads & pastries and many people are ordering from her. J and I also decided to have a fall-back strategy just in case we need more extra income. We don’t know if salaried will be reduced which we saw in other companies. We started an online wellness business that provides US-based high-quality supplements, weight-loss shakes and skincare. We are happily earning US dollars per week. If you want to know more about the business, we can gladly share with you so you can earn as well.
4. Start a Vlog or Blog
If you have always wanted to start a vlog or blog before, this is a perfect time to do it. You can showcase your quarantine recipes you concocted, your beauty & fitness routine, inspirational blog, movie or show reviews, etc. My sister who is the one encourage me to blog , started to revisit her sleeping blog site and started blogging again. Please check out her recent Down Under Series blog posts about her vacation in Sydney Australia last year.
5. Nurture your Green Thumb
Taking care of plants and having plants in our homes have a soothing calming effects. Most people have gotten into the trend of being plant-lovers creating an instagrammable greenery inside their homes and outside their backyards. One article even called it the Plant Love in the Time of Covid 19. People are sharing how much caring for plants are helping them cope in these times of uncertainty. Few of the popular plants to care for at home are the “easy” plants like aloe vera and cactus. A coworker friend of mine has given me an aloe vera plant which Naj is assigned to water every other day. You can also choose to grow herbs and vegetables which save you a trip to the grocery and save money as well. You can also have flowering plants to add colour to your home. If you want to get a tan, create a garden in your front lawn or backyard. So you will see beauty that came out of this sad crisis.
You can choose any of these 5, you can do all 5 or add more of your own. Everything in life lies on the perspective of things. We can always look for opportunity to create some positive out of a negative event. Stay strong! We can do this. Take care everyone.