Dealing with the COVID-19 Slump
Are you tired yet? Of the unending days, the hectic responsibilities of kids and work, and the same day in and day out? Remember the movie Groundhog Day?
I hear you. I am there. I am one of those who is fortunate enough to have a home, food, my children. Who is not a healthcare worker or who has to leave the home during these uncertain times. All I have to do is stay home and hunker down. Keep my sanity. And keep my kids occupied. While trying to get my entrepreneurial efforts off the ground.
Of course, everything is relative. But I have found myself in a slump. The unending days, the cries for homework and teaching help, the same meals. The urge to help local businesses by ordering in and spending money, but the same urge to save, because you just never know.
So how do you deal with it? Some people say learn a new skill, others say give yourself a break. I am in both camps. Some days I am pumped up to learn something new and I bound out of bed determined to teach myself or my kids something about the world. And then the enthusiasm fades as the reality of the day and various responsibilities drag on and pull me down. Or something happens that just takes the wind out of my sails. Other days, it is enough that I just get through the day.
So, how do you do it? How do you get over the slump and the unending days that are melding into one?
Accept that some things are out of your control.
You just have to accept the fact that some things are just out of your control. The pandemic was out of your control. The government response is out of your control.
My experiences with investing in the stock market (which I cannot control) have given me a good way and framework to deal with the uncertainty that has now been transposed on my daily life. So, I have learned to only focus on what I can control and to let the other things I cannot control go.
Can I control my to-do list for the day? Yes. Can I control my attitude? Yes. Can I control if I spend time with my children? Yes. Can I control the time I spend on my business? Yes. So, I focus on those things.
Can I control the government’s response to the pandemic? No. Can I control how fast we come up with a vaccine? No. Can I control the stock market? No. So, I let those go.
I surely have opinions on all these things, but I don’t focus or fret over them – and if I find myself doing so, I take a step back, a deep breath, and then ten minutes to read a book. Or go outside for fresh air. Or snuggle with my children. Or watch a quick part of an episode of TV.
Have a schedule and include yourself on it.
Have a schedule of what you need to accomplish that day. But also write down one thing that you will do for yourself.
It can be ten minutes of watching a show. Ten minutes of reading. A hot shower with the door locked. A walk outside for fresh air.
Just write it down and do it. For yourself and your sanity. Because you need to take care of yourself to get through this time period and its challenges.
Model who you want to be.
Be optimistic, brave, and flexible. A wise man mentioned these words and as I heard them, I realized that I had the choice to be these things. To model these traits to my children, my peers, my family during these tough and uncertain and unfamiliar times.
Do I feel this way all the time? No. Definitely not. But I can make a conscious effort to do so and it goes back to what is in my control. I keep myself positive and optimistic, and that feeds into my actions and my surroundings and lifts me (and my children) up during these challenging and trying times.
Focus on your goals.
Have a goal out of this. What is your end goal while you are sheltering? Have a goal and stick with it through these challenging times.
My end goals? Keep myself and my children healthy and occupied until life gets back to a new normal, and also grow my business. That’s it. And everything that I do in the interim keeps me on track, focused, and supports those goals.
And that is how I am keeping my sanity and getting through the COVID-19 slump. By focusing on what I can control. And giving myself a break. And focusing on myself and my health.
I have learned to deal with uncertainty. And that uncertainty is the one true certainty. Will offices open up? Can we travel? Will schools open? What will the kids do for the summer?
The world has changed. At least for now. There will always be a pre-COVID time period and a post-COVID time period. We are living through a global pandemic and we will never forget this time. But time goes on and this time will pass too.
When we get out this situation – and we will one day – life will get hectic again and you need to ensure that you are the strongest possible person you can be – mentally, physically, emotionally – to deal with life and maybe a new normal when it gets there.
Don’t let yourself be overcome by the COVID-19 slump that threatens to overcome you in the meantime. Harder said than done, but something worth striving for in these uncertain and challenging times.
Shalini Ahmed has over two decades of experience investing in the stock market. Her Wall Street career has spanned across prestigious firms like Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Putnam Investments, and Goldman Sachs. Her company aims to motivate and teach women how to invest.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Ms. Shal Ahmed, CFA, has over a decade of professional experience on Wall Street, from being an analyst in investment banking, to researching and marketing stock investments as a Sell-Side equity research analyst, to suggesting tactical asset allocation strategies across asset classes to clients, to being an Analyst on the Buy-Side, helping to research and recommend stock investments to internal Portfolio Managers for multi-billion dollar portfolios. Her Wall Street career has spanned across prestigious firms... Continue Reading
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