Getting through the lockdown – Harj’s survival tips
With the COVID-19 lockdown now extended for a further three weeks, is it time to binge watch everything on Netflix or take advantage of the time to flourish? Here’s Harj with a very personal take on current events.
“In recent weeks we have seen one the largest single day drops of the stock market in recorded history. This was followed just a week later by one of the largest ever single day increases. So it feels like the volatility of the markets – these wild fluctuations – has somehow seeped into our daily lives.
Similarly, recent virus news has taken us from one end of the spectrum to the other. For example, there was the very sad story of a mother who died from Covid-19 whilst giving birth followed by the heart-warming story of Captain Tom, the 99 year old who (at the time of writing) has raised a staggering £28m+ for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden.
Personally, I find it much easier to deal with the uncertainties around stock markets and the economy. While it may not seem so at the moment, markets will recover. Given time the fluctuations will ease as the true impact of Covid-19 becomes clear and markets will then start to grow once more. So our advice is to ignore the constant barrage of noise about stocks and economies, as things will resolve themselves.
Ignoring this ‘white noise’ is not easy, particularly as we are all spending more time indoors. But for the sake of mental and physical wellbeing, I find it helps by using the time to focus instead on other things.
So here are five things I believe we should all be considering while lockdown is in place:
- Physical health – I have always been a weight trainer so this lockdown is making me miss the gym more than I ever thought possible. Now that going to the gym is no longer an option it’s important to find an alternative that works for you – running, YouTube fitness videos, online yoga, walking, gardening, the list goes on. It’s important to keep active.
- Mental health – this is hugely important and even more so if you live alone.
- Stay connected with friends & family as much as possible, through phone and video calls. We’ve all become Zoom and Skype experts in a matter of weeks.
- Give yourself a break from the news; it’s easy to leave the TV or radio on in the background but a step away from all the noise can be like a breath of fresh air.
- Have a routine; this will be easier in some instances for our retired clients but for those of you still working this may be the first time you have had so long at home, unstructured.
- If things are getting on top of you then speak to someone, despite the lockdown there are plenty of organisations who are able to help.
- Learn a new skill – most people have that one thing we’ve always wanted to learn or do. Mine was to start a ‘better writing’ course (you can decide for yourselves how well you think that went). Lindsey has always wanted to do a Psychology degree. There are various websites (like Udemy, Itunes U) and universities offering online courses for just about anything you can think of – from learning to play the piano through to data science.
- Reading – this is a great time to catch up on all the books you have been meaning to read. If you’re not much of a reader then have a look at audio books or podcasts, nowadays these cover just about every topic you can think of.
- ‘Spring clean’ your finances – we’re financial advisers so it’d be odd if we didn’t mention this. Now could be a great time to look through all your bills and get onto the best deals, check out the latest savings deals or simply tidy up your accounts. For all of you who’ve previously told me “Harj I just haven’t had the time to update my Will or get my Power of Attorney in place” there are a variety of firms who offer these services remotely, so now there’s no excuses!
It’s time for me to go now, as my wife has just walked in with what looks suspiciously like all the decorating things from the garage. However you decide to spend this time, keep yourselves safe.”