The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared coronavirus COVID-19 a pandemic on the 12th of March 2020. The deadly virus has claimed many lives and seems to be particularly fatal to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
This pandemic situation has forced nations to either go into a state of lockdown or impose strict isolation and social distancing rules upon its citizens. The aim of these measures is to reduce the spread of the virus and protect the vulnerable. The news is rightfully reporting around the clock on the virus and its ramifications. There is such a negative fallout – We can’t help but feel anxious and stressed which is even more damaging to our health.
In this situation, there are many other dangers other than the virus itself that we may be susceptible to. Our quality of life has taken a turn for the worst with a lack of social activities and the freedom to be out and about. This means we may be less physically active and face more mental downs and anxiety. Basically, our general welfare is on the decline and if there ever was a time to be resilient, it is now!
Therefore, I would like to share my strategy for staying physically fit, mentally strong and generally keeping busy. We should not cease to improve ourselves just because the world is dealing with a pandemic and we are isolating ourselves from each other.
So Martial Devotees, the way I like to look at this is in terms of the 24-hour day where we need 8 solid hours of sleep. That leaves us with 16 hours to engage in activities that we love.
In these 16 hours, we need to fit in time for exercise, pursuing our passions, working, increasing our knowledge, connecting with others through non-physical means and understanding ourselves. Mark Manson runs an excellent blog on understanding yourself through defining your principles and working out what makes you tick. His articles are lathered with infinite wisdom and are extremely entertaining to read.
As a friend of mine has made me aware, you are either a person who thrives under structure or you are a person who takes on activities spontaneously. For the first type of person, I encourage you to build out a timetable to plan the activities that support the following into your 16-hour day:
- Increasing your knowledge and grow your skills
- Pursuing your passion or hobbies
- Connecting with others
- Understanding yourself
If you are the second type of person, I implore you to start thinking about these and muster the motivation to get yourself into these activities. Immerse yourself as the mood strikes so that you don’t fall into a negative spiral of anxiety and depression.
The next most important thing I would like you to do, is to continuously practice gratitude for yourself, where you are right now and where you are moving towards. Incorporate your innate sense of humour into each activity of your day and walk on the bright side of life. These are proven strategies for remaining resilient and mentally strong.
There is plethora of resources that provide exercise routines and programs. Personally, I like to focus on the upper body, lower body and core:
Upper body: Push-ups
Lower body: Squats
Core: V-holds, planks, side planks
If body weight exercises don't cut it for you. Get some gear that you can use at home.
I personally have been working on my core to improve its stability and activation. I have found really good value in the 5-in-1 Ab-roller set from Amazon which comprises of:
- A quality Ab-roller - Improve Core stability and activation
- A knee pad - Protect your knees
- A jump rope - Improve your cardio
- Grip Strength Trainer - Improve your grip strength
- Exercise Band - Improve your punching speed and strengthen your shoulders, chest and arms
Alternate days for working out and stretching. Stretching will help you recover faster and improve your mobility. C’mon exercise and release those endorphins!
Increase your knowledge and skills
Read, watch YouTube videos, learn to cook. There is so much to learn. Look at what other martial artists are doing to improve their skills. Some of these may directly or indirectly be applicable to you.
How about taking an Online Course and train in a Martial Art of your choosing from the comfort of your own home. It does not mean that your plans to learn a new Martial Art or hone your skills in your existing Martial Art should cease altogether. Improve your foundation and learn the basics in preparation of more advanced training when you get back into the dojo.
Pursuing your passion
For me this is Martial Arts. I love to practice, read and watch martial arts. Immerse yourself into your passions. It is the number one way to feed your soul and improve your state of mind! Don’t have a passion, no problem! Now you have time to find it!
Connecting with others
Social Media has a bad reputation of being a contributor to mental disorders and anxiety. Like everything it can be used for good and bad practices. Connect with others or your loved ones through platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram.
This may not be an ideal situation, but we can certainly make the most of it. Use this time that you have to improve yourself and the space around you. Then when we finally overcome the Coronavirus, we will emerge stronger than ever to begin the work required to rebuild.
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