I have been thinking about out of our comfort zone these days. We are in an extraordinary situation. We can also call it a worldwide crisis. In three weeks, all restaurants have been closed, the clubhouse in my complex closed, the gym closed, the pool closed, the shops closed, the office closed - so everything that I enjoy with my people in Johannesburg has been closed. The virus we are fighting against is forcing all of us to stay at home, and rightly so. We need to do our part to reduce transmission of the virus, flatten the curve and limit the number of new cases so we don’t overwhelm the medical resources.
And now we are in the lockdown, which means no more of even going outside in your own complex for a quick run or walk. Currently in South Africa, you are only allowed to go out for essential purchases such as buying food or getting medical treatments. Staying at home is the best thing that we can do right now for ourselves and for our fellow human beings to prevent the spread of Covid 19. Everybody would agree with me that our home is ideally our comfort area. Isn’t it? Ideally, it should be.
I would never imagine that I reflect now about staying at home as an out of comfort zone experience. My home is always my comfort zone, where I can find time and my space to rest, to regenerate myself and to distance myself for some amount of time from all the business and social life, where I regain my deepest energy to get myself ready again to go out, socialize, work, work out and have some out of comfort zone experiences for individual and professional growth.
Naturally, we are social animals. Across all cultures, races, ages and genders, humans have basic needs for social and emotional connection. Currently, we are limiting ourselves from being near our loved ones. But please don’t forget: Social distancing doesn’t mean stopping socializing altogether. I call this phase physical distancing and doing more digital socializing. But still, it is a challenge for nearly all of us. Some of you have kids at home and still try to work productively while taking care of your babies, some of you have may some relationship issues…. stuck at home, trying to figure the relationship issue out and still trying to perform for the outside world. Some of you may be completely alone, and if you are a sport and nature addict like me, you can’t go out and train properly in the nature. All those limitations are challenges for us, which demonstrate my definition of an out of comfort zone experience as well.
When you check the Maslow hierarchy of needs pyramid, the first need is the physiological one. The second one is safety. Now, we don’t feel safe and may worry about our own and our family’s health. The third basic need is love and belonging. Now, most of us are far away from our family members and loved ones, trying to maintain social distance. This situation can cause feelings of anxiety to some extent. As there has been a time before Corona, there will also be a time after Corona. The world is changing. We are going through massive individual, digital, economic and environmental transformation phases. Fortunately, there is still room for answering the fourth and fifth needs, which are esteem and self-actualizing at home. Being proactive about your mental health can help to keep both your mind and body stronger.
I want share with you my personal hints for this phase:
1. First of all, accept things when you can’t control or change something.
I love this video, which shows us a positive perspective by questioning the thought process of worrying. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YRjX3A_8cM
2. Don’t push yourself to the hardest and put high pressure on yourself to maximize your efficiency at home We are now in an extraordinary situation, and so accept that may you feel sad, or a little bit bored. Accept also that you may gain a little bit of weight and feel not so free as before this period. Its OK when you sleep a little bit longer or don’t cook your best food ever.
3. Mediate and find time for reflecting The world is like in a pause bottom. Use this time to reflect yourself, your needs, emotions, thoughts. Mediation helps you focus and find your inner balance. https://balanceapp.com/ I recommend you the balance app, which is free for a year because of the pandemic crisis.
4. Exercise for 30 minutes minimum every day. Exercise will help you activate your mind and body and feel yourself fitter and happier. There are nice YouTube videos (Zumba, HIT Training, bring sally up bring sally down challenges).
5. Learn new things and take time to try new digital tools Watch, for example, some Ted Talks or download new apps, new digital tools such as Mural, Zoom, which inspire you and give you some further perspective. I would also recommend the following books to read:
· The Secret by Rhonda Byrne,
· Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
· The Secret Letters of the monk who sold his Ferrari, Robin Sharma
· 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman
6. Socialize digitally and distance yourself physically Speak every day with your colleagues, join Zoom parties at the weekend, create WhatsApp groups to stay further connected with your family and friends.
7. Try crazy things and have fun Don’t take yourself and life so seriously. Sometimes, it is also important just to let go and have fun. Last weekend, I transformed my balcony into a small pool. It was so fun, and I know it was a crazy action. Nothing happened to the neighbors, and I am still happy 😊
8. Boost your immune system, stay healthy I strongly recommend the Wim-Hof method - a guided breathing exercise with cold showers. Doing this exercise on an empty stomach every morning will boost your immune system and activate your concentration.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tybOi4hjZFQ Furthermore, drink every morning a ginger tea with cinnamon, lemon, pepper, turmeric and honey.
Keep calm, stay strong and stay at home 😊 Sending love to the universe.