Thanks to COVID-19, we are all now living in a world that was beyond imagination just a few short weeks ago. For most of us, nothing in our old lives could have prepared us adequately for lockdown.
Yes, we are all caught in the same storm, but we are a long way from being in the same boat. Nor do we know when the storm will pass, or what kind of world it will leave behind when the tide falls back.
This uncertainty is the one thing that we all share. It's the ultimate test of our resilience.
Fortunately, we live in a world where technology – and artificial intelligence, in particular – can help us in the race to to develop a vaccine. One that could, quite literally, save the human race.
Google's DeepMind AlphaFold project, for instance, is 3D-modeling the protein structure of COVID-19. Without the AlphaFold code, this would take longer than the age of the known universe to perform!
So while we sleep, eat, play, and stay home, war is waged nonstop on the Coronavirus. Meanwhile, our governments wrestle with the public health and economic fallout.
Our job, the bit we can control, is to keep the home fires burning; to keep ourselves and our families afloat. So far, in my experience, the number-one thing that helps me to cope with lockdown is structure.
To begin with, I kind of envied people furloughed at home. Now, I realize how lucky I am to be occupied with work and focused for eight hours a day. It feels reassuringly normal to be roused by my alarm clock, to be busy, to look forward to lunch and the end of the working day.
And by the time I've been for a run or a walk, showered, cooked, eaten, and cleared away, it's well into the evening.
Time, to be honest, is not dragging for me. But I can see how easily it could be different without a purpose, a reason to get up. By now, I would most likely be keeping some very strange hours: up at noon on a good day, and up all night watching movies and a zillion box sets.
I've often thought it would be great to stop the world so I could get off for a few days. To gather myself, rest, and clear my head without missing anything. Well, now I know you can have too much of a good thing.
I also know I couldn't have lived like that for long. Guilt would have got the better of me and self-motivation would have kicked in.
Luckily, I'm also a born optimist. I always believe things will get better. And with the right attitude, approach and effort, they do. This too shall pass.
We wanted to know how you are getting through lockdown. Here's a selection of some of the best tips and advice we received from our friends and followers on social media.
Our Facebook friend Galal Fahmy is treating this "time out" as a gift to do something positive with.
He told us, "The lockdown has taken its toll on everyone, physically, emotionally and mentally. But I don't believe that the answer is to succumb to the dark side of the quarantine.
"But rather we can engage our creative energies into our passions. We can meditate to explore deeper sides to our self, learn more about the world, spend more time with our loved ones at home, and reflect on our past and future steps carefully."
On Twitter, Janish Surana is also reaping the benefits of looking inward. He said, "Have taken up meditation. Getting up at 6 a.m.. Reading and learning about blockchain technology, electric vehicles, and graphene. Family. Daily chores. Quite busy these days. Smiling face with open mouth and smiling eyes."
Spirituality is also key for Minty Zeyya, who commented, "Keeping my body active and challenged, mindfulness in all daily routines, staying connected with loved ones. And of course mostly to stay connected with myself spiritually."
On LinkedIn, Izabela Twardowska revealed that she's focusing on the physical and emotional. She said, "Keeping active, making sure I do something for myself and others every day, staying connected with friends, family and team members."
Taking the practical approach is Adeiza Ahmed. "Making use of the time to keep busy learning new skills and more about myself" is helping him to cope, he told us on Facebook.
Many of us are delighting in the extra time we have to spend with our friends and families, either in real life or online.
Faruk Abdullah Shohag is "reading books and watching movies! Quality time for family." As is fellow Facebook friend Mohammed Salman Ali, who said, "Spending valuable time with family. Watching series and writing stories."
Wendy Kelly is getting organized to make the best of her "new" time. She tweeted, "I'm scheduling time to get some fresh air by walking, as well as scheduling some virtual time with friends and family (e.g. movie night, happy hour)."
Consultant Helen Lawson is flourishing in the "new normal." She said, "I'm so lucky to feel like I'm positively thriving through lockdown. I think a huge part of that is that as a well-being trainer and consultant, I'm getting to help others. Seeing the impact of that creates such a high.
"I'm one of maybe only a few that have the real luxury of finding this time enriching. My thoughts are with everyone less fortunate for whatever reason."
Empathy is the watchword for Wendy Barned on LinkedIn. She said, "Basically catching up on the things I didn't have time to do before. A lot of self-reflection on how I spent my time before lockdown.
"Connecting with people in a way of true caring, by actually reading and taking in their messages. Then responding with questions to find out more about them as a person."
Some folks are doing their best to take the whole thing in their stride – like Jessica Melton, who told us on LinkedIn, "Doesn’t seem to be much of an impact for me because I can and have worked from home. However, the kids being home all day, along with home schooling and the other jobs that a parent has, along with a full-time sales job, gets overwhelming at times."
This theme was echoed by Nicola McCall, also on LinkedIn. She said, "Strangely, isolation feels familiar to life as an expat. In that time I learnt to be self-reliant, work at home, cope with lack of communication and contact, be housebound (with a baby/toddler).
"As an expat, I learnt so much about my values and needs. I feel it is seeing us through this period of being at home well. Of course, there was no pandemic occurring around us when we were expats. But there were a number of personal and professional trials (often in a second language) that we had to deal with, while living away from our normal support networks of family and friends."
Do you have any more tips or advice about coping with lockdown? Add your thoughts in the Comments, below.
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Take up free online courses
Great idea to use the time well and broaden your knowledge and skills!
I'm lucky enough to have a private yard space which we've started getting ready to plant. It's been nice to be outside when I can getting some space ready for vegetables to supplement our groceries later this year and tending to the spring flowers that have already come up.
I agree that it's also been nice to take part in some of the free actives to expand our minds that have been made available. Courses, lecture series, gallery viewing, etc. It's been amazing to experience some of the things that we might never have been able to before because of various types of restrictions.
Thanks for sharing how you've kept yourself busy during the lockdown period. I love the fact that you were able to take advantage of things (like visits to museums) virtually that you might not had the opportunity to see otherwise.
That’s really nice post. I appreciate your skills. Thanks for sharing.