We are experiencing unprecedented times and events in our lives right now but there’s nothing that we cannot overcome collectively. Together we will get through this and beat this virus as well as the fear and market turmoil it sparked.
While we are doing our part to social distance from potentially spreading virus unknown to us, there are things we can do to best utilize time at home that we will be glad we did once the pandemic is over. Here’s a list of things we can all use our time for while we go about our lives as normal as possible.
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1. Stay home to flatten pandemic’s curve can save lives
By the time a given community has a confirmed case of coronavirus, it is highly likely that as many as 1000 people already infected. In order to contain the virus, we cannot wait until a confirmed case to start staying home.
Given the spread and cases growing rapidly at global scale, the least everyone can do to help flatten the curve is by staying at home. It is to protect yourself, your family, your community.
Even you think you are healthy and won’t get sick, think about the difference you make by not spreading the virus to more people. Let’s protect others who are vulnerable to this virus especially seniors and people with medical conditions.
2. Stock up on necessities but don’t hoard
Many cities around the world have ordered self-isolation or quarantine or even lockdown. To lessen the need to go out for essential or grocery shopping, every household should start stocking up necessities.
In California where we live, I think we’ll need to stock enough for about a month given the quarantine order has already been in place.
Stock up to the amount that you need, but don’t selfishly hoard unnecessarily out of fear.
Supermarkets that we go to have started putting limit for essential foods and household goods, we are limited to 2 bottles of 1 gallon milk of any kind per household.
While I know we will easily run out of milk since my 3 year old drink at least 32oz daily, we just have to adapt to this new circumstances and make adjustments ahead with or without alternatives.
3. Stay healthy and reduce stress
While we all are practicing social distancing and staying at home all day, it is important that we continue to stay healthy. That means keep your exercise routine but do it indoor.
Cook at home and eat nutrition foods.
Avoid binge watching that compromises sleep at night, because sleep is the #1 most important thing you need that boost your immune system in order to stay healthy.
If you are sick, for the sake of people around you in your house as well as anyone outside when you do go out, wear a mask. When it comes to flu and cold, sneezing can sometimes be hard to predict and control, you want to avoid any droplets getting to your loved ones and others.
Do any activities that can help you reduce stress, practice meditation or listen to music or whatever that works for you to stay calm during this difficult time. For example, try this breathing exercises for stress relief and wellness suggestions offered by The John Hopkins Hospital.
Lastly, don’t be panic.
4. Offer help to families, friends, neighbors, communities
Check on your families, friends, neighbors, communities and offer help. A little bit care means a lot to people in stressful time.
I live in a different country and far away from my parents, I feel helpless for not being able to take care of them whenever they need help the most. Even though they tell me they are fine, I still wish I could do more.
It is an opportunity to give back and show gratitude, so help generously.
Everyone of us has the power to shape the world even as individual, be kind to one another.
5. Be open about asking for help
In the same token, if you are the one who needs help, ask. Open conversation with somebody whom you trust. Don’t feel that you are all alone because you aren’t.
For small business owners who is facing financial difficulties, look to your regional SBA (Small Business Administration) offices to apply for loans and disaster assistance. If you need money sooner, credit cards may offer temporary relief.
Anyone who is feeling distress due to coronavirus outbreak, can call 1-800-985-5990 or visit SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline for counseling 24/7. Wherever you are located in, there is a local helpline in your country you can call if you need someone to talk to.
6. Teach your kids independent learning
As a parent, I’ve always yearned for more time with my children at home. I feel much relief that my kids are now home with me without leaving for school at times like this. I have no complaints about having them all day every day. It is a blessing to be able to spend this much time together.
We keep Monday through Friday like normal school hours getting up for breakfast then spend the rest of the day time for online learning and school work. Believe it or now, my kids have homework assignments from teachers through Google Classroom that keep them rather busy the whole time. I see this as a great lesson for self-discipline, independent study, innovative learning for students of the high-tech age in this 21st century.
While they feel bored at times, I am hoping they will totally find something to do on their own. I believe boredom is healthy for kids to develop problem solving skills and creativity.
If not, there’s always Khan Academy to help your kids learn anything for free. They are a non-profit organization. Check out this daily schedule they created specifically for the school closures.
7. Upskill your career and learn new skills
For people in the workforce feeling a bit of uncertainty, instead of worrying about what you can’t control, take this time to improve yourself now on hopes to further advance your career when everything is back to normal.
With any extra free time, you can update your linkedin profile in order for recruiter to match you with job opportunities you are interested in. When did you last update your profile in job boards and professional networks?
It is also the best time now to learn a new skill, there are plenty of educational resources online that are free like Skillshare.
8. Create multiple income streams and make extra income
Like the famous saying, don’t put all eggs in one basket, diversify not only your investment portfolio, but also your income stream as well. Create multiple ways to make extra income without relying on a single income will help increase your chance towards financial freedom.
Even though you have a job now, it may not be guaranteed until your retirement or beyond, it is wise to add other side gigs and create passive income so that in the event that you lose your job, you still have a cushion from your other income streams to alleviate any financial burden.
9. Managing money and expenses wisely is more important than ever
During this unprecedented period of difficult time, managing your money wisely is more important than ever. Whether you are able to keep your job, it is still very important to cut down on your living expenses.
Look at subscription services that you might have at one point signed up for but over time has not fully utilized then it is time to stop that subscription. Recurring costs can really add up over time and you’d better off using that money for emergency savings or investments.
Speaking of emergency savings, if you don’t have an emergency fund, start putting into action plan now how you can put money aside for it. Start small and save regularly, consistency is key to reaching financial goals.
On a related note, if you have bills with high interests, try to pay them off first. Instead of spending with high interest credit cards, consider applying for 0% APR credit card if you can to help pay for any essentials for now but only if you know you will be able to pay down the balance before the zero interest period expires.
10. Think long term about investment strategy and plan to buy
Everyone understands about the simple concept of buy low sell high when it comes to stock investments. So if you have been thinking about making equity investments, and you are lucky to have cash on hand, financial downturn creates a great opportunity.
With that said, only invest with the money that you won’t need for the next 5 years. Make plans to buy quality shares of solid companies that you feel will grow and still be around in the next 10 years or longer.
Instead of buying stocks lump sum, since we don’t know how the market is moving still, up or down, a better approach may be to spread out the investments. Going in by small steps rather than all in with one shot.
Avoid going in without a plan and a goal, because if you are easily swayed every time the market swing either way, you are not going to make the best investing decisions.
How are you feeling? Are you still able to stay productive? What do you find most helpful for you in getting through tough times? Share any tips you have! Would love to hear how you’re coping where you are.