Those of us who are of a certain age, we do not expect to experience many “firsts” anymore. Most of us feel we’ve seen, done, and heard it all. I personally can say that for the first time in my life, I have heard the word “unprecedented” used more than ever before, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, aka Coronavirus 2019. When the events of 9/11 happened, to some of us, that was unprecedented, but then there are those who recall the attack on Pearl Harbor. When the recession hit hard in the early 2000’s, for some of us, that was an unprecedented turn of events. But then we are reminded of the Great Depression back in the 1930’s, when around 15 million Americans were unemployed, and many banks went belly up. Unemployment Insurance was in its infancy and some Americans had to resort to bread lines and soup kitchens for food.
Fast Forward to 2020, and the current situation we’re all in, and there are certainly some things that resemble challenges from our past. However, there are also some fundamental differences between those times and the challenges we face with the Covid-19 crisis. While sickness, death, despair, economic uncertainty, and even racial disparity are the common thread in just about every one of our country’s plights, there are some things that make this one different. One of those things is the virus itself. The Coronavirus hit the world hard! The deadly and highly contagious nature of this virus has prevented people from comforting and even grieving our loved ones in traditional ways. This, together with travel restrictions, stay at home directives and a huge blow to the status quo, they are all part of the reason why the only word that truly fits what is happening is in fact, “unprecedented”!
The thing is, like those bleak historical events of our past, this too shall pass. We are seeing signs of it as the number of hospitalized people, and deaths are declining. As the Spring season gets into full swing and Summer fast approaches, there is an air of hope. As of Memorial Day weekend, many parks and beaches have opened, with restrictions of course. Soon the process of allowing certain “non-essential” businesses to open will begin. There will be restrictions for those as well. Restaurants, Salons, and retail stores will open, but adherence to strict guidelines, such as 50% occupancy and requiring face masks could make it difficult. We in the fitness industry are anxious to see gyms and health clubs re-open, but for now will have to continue providing workouts, and training clients via the internet. Gym goers will have to continue working out at home or outside a little longer. (Some States have allowed Health clubs to re-open, check your local resources regarding this)
What are your thoughts? Are you anxious to get back to your favorite places, or are you apprehensive? There is no right or wrong answer to those questions. In fact, I can understand if you’re a little of both. Which is why I’m offering some unsolicited advice on how you should approach things.
These are my 4 Ways to Prepare for Life After Covid-19:
As I write this article, Covid-19 in the U.S. alone has had 1.61 million confirmed cases, and has claimed over 95,000 lives. Worldwide, there have been 5.11 million confirmed cases and over 333,000 deaths. These statistics are staggering, and they tell us just how serious the situation is. It also tells us that as much as we want things to go back to “normal”, in all likelihood, there are just some things that will never go back to the way they were. So, what this means is we all need to re-evaluate some things. We may have to re-think our priorities.
Politics- whether you’re happy, or unhappy with the way the country’s leaders have handled this crisis, whatever your political leanings are, this is an election year, and you need to re-evaluate what you’re going to do with your vote.
Finances- Some 36.5 million people have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. If you’re one of the unfortunate ones, or if you’re not, you might have to re-evaluate your money situation. Have you been putting away enough money for times like these, and even retirement? What will you do when you get back on your feet?
Health- many people take this for granted. The average American does not do routine medical and/or dental visits. Even though routine physicals can lead to early detection of serious conditions, and good dental hygiene can be good for heart health. Poor eating habits, smoking, alcohol abuse, lack of a fitness regime can all be nails in the proverbial coffin. The good news is, I have seen a great many people running, biking and taking walks these days. As an instructor, I personally have been giving fitness classes online, and more people are taking advantage of them. Perhaps most of you have become more health conscious already! However, if you have not been taking time to do things that are healthy for your mind, body and spirit, this is the time! Our Thursday night Zoom fitness classes, and On-line Personal Training are excellent places to start (wink wink).
#2 Stay In Touch
Physical interaction is a “touchy” subject these days (Pun intended). However, there are some who long for the good ol’ days of a few months ago. The time when things like a handshake, hug, or just talking face to face were not things to fear. I’m optimistic that one day we will get back there, but for now, we have to be safe, and settle for “virtual” affection. Digital platforms like Zoom, Instagram, and House Party, have all seen incredible surges in usage. This crisis has forced all into the digital age, and as much as we shudder to think about grandma and grandpa “Netflix and Chillin’”, the good thing is, they have finally learned their way around things like FaceTime and Google Meet.
Through it all, we have managed to come together, even when actually getting together isn’t possible! There are therapists and doctors caring for patients using video conferencing. Virtual parties, workouts, happy hours, graduations and even weddings are just a few ways we are using technology to fill the void. My advice is, when this is all over, don’t lose touch. Do not let the hustle and bustle of life, as we get back to it, keep us from enjoying each other’s company!
#3 Stay Positive
The Past few months have been rough on us as a society. However, I have seen this crisis bring out the best in people. Most of us have made the best of a terrible situation. Whether you’re an “essential worker” on the front lines, a teacher, like my wife, having to learn how to use technology to teach the children, or just parents having to work from home while keeping your kids engaged, you have found ways to cope. Somehow, you’ve managed to keep your heads up through it all. Play it safe, and take one step at a time. Keep that positive attitude and be patient as things get slowly back to “normal”.
#4 Make Plans
No one knows what the new normal will look like in the coming months. The uncertainty of how things will progress is getting to us all. However, one thing that keeps us moving forward as a society is optimism; planning for a future that is not promised to us! To be frank, life is a crap shoot, pandemic or no pandemic.
There’s an old Yiddish saying, “Mann tracht, Un Gott lacht”. Simply translated, “Man plans, and God laughs”. Whenever we make plans, we really do not know if things will actually turn out as planned, but that has never stopped us before, and it shouldn’t stop us now. So, go ahead and plan your vacations, weddings, and holiday celebrations. We all could use some things to look forward to.
And God could always use a good laugh!
Stay safe, stay healthy, and God bless.