Take a deep breath. We are now more than three quarters of the way through 2020 – Phew. For many of us, this has been an incredibly challenging, transformative, and life changing year. For better or worse, the last nine months have changed us. And now, looking back, we can see the lessons we’ve learned – about resilience, health, nature and financial planning.
Phoenix Contact always empowers the work flexibility of employees, allowing them to perform their work in a way in which they can manage their own time. In South East Asia, not every company was practicing this flexi-work arrangement till this pandemic landed. Due to this Covid-19, we started to stagger working hours and even work from home (WFH). During your work at the office, you would not know what your parents or kids are doing at home. WFH gives us more time to accompany our family members. Hence on, it’ll enhance your relationship with your family. Ideally, this is the best chance to understand more about your family members. However, WFH will also bring you a negative vibe. Imagine you and your spouse start working from home, your kids stop schooling and even your parents are staying with you. Everyone is living under the same roof; Your parents may need your concern, children may need your attention and your spouse needs your help to do daily chores. As a result, this may cause disturbances in your work and no personal space for your own privacy. Day by day, this may lead to you being unable to concentrate on your work and gradually cause family conflicts.
Other than this, the year of 2020 is not a good year for planned events. A lot of events must either be postponed or cancelled due to this unexpected situation. Holiday trips, vacation plans, or even marriage plans, must be altered. This bad occurrence has stopped us from moving forward and progressing with our life goals. Therefore 2020 has taught us to be more dynamic and flexible. Always come out with a plan B and prepare for plan C when plan A is not working out. We must learn how to accept the reality and try to adapt to this new normal, as being resilient is one of the cherished values we learn in 2020. Communication and tolerance are the values that make us resilient with the surrounding people we love.
Humans tend to take things for granted until they have health issues. As we can see that this pandemic makes us more certain that being healthy is everyone’s priority. The concept of health to everyone is very subjective. For some people, health is merely a trivial thing, but for others, health is everything. Health is something that once lost, we will recover. However, even after recovery, it won’t be as great as it once was. It is easy for people to control their personal health if they are disciplined, but it requires a lot of individual effort to strengthen public health in the communities.
Public health services help detect health issues as early as possible and respond appropriately to avoid the development of diseases. In the early stage of the Covid-19 outbreak, it was rare to see people wearing masks in public as they did not have the knowledge of how to prevent the spread of Covid-19. As you can see, the society and government implemented mandatory wearing of masks for everyone. Promoting how to wear the mask properly, the standard procedures, safe entry and social distancing are just some of the measures taken to combat Covid-19. It won’t be possible to defeat every disease without societal cooperation and increasing the awareness of public health in the communities. Therefore, public health awareness plays a major role in the fight against Covid-19.
Majority of health issues come from unhealthy lifestyles. A healthy lifestyle can enhance our immune system to defuse the threats of virus and bacteria. We would not know when the sickness or virus will strike us, but a good immune system can prevent the virus from infecting our body. Exercise is one good way to build a strong body. We should exercise at least 5 days per week and in between 30 minutes to 60 minutes per day. You can personally join some indoor exercise programs such as Tabata, Yoga or home gym. Since most of us will likely WFH, some of us may find it difficult to separate between work matters and family members as these two unrelated matters are now occurring under the same roof. Many of us tend to forget about their work life balance when bringing work issues back home. These unhealthy habits will lead to mental stress and increase the rate of mental problems. It’s important to segregate your work duties and your family responsibilities to create a healthy lifestyle.
Nearly 3 billion animals were killed or displaced by Australia’s devastating wildfire; at least 31 people have been killed in earthquakes in Turkey, a locust swarm outbreak in East Africa and the thousands of victims caused by wildfire, hurricanes and tropical storms in the U.S. It’s heartbreaking that the natural disasters happen all around the world. However, a recent global pandemic named COVID 19 has infected and killed millions of human lives. This has warned us that doomsday will come soon if we are still ungrateful to Mother Nature.
Have you ever asked yourself what am I to Mother Earth, as a contributor or destroyer of nature? Take a minute to think about this question and you will realize human beings and nature are always linked together. Do you bring your own tableware when you decide to take away your food? Will you ever throw the plastic bottle to the recycle bin after finishing your drink? A mere of these two actions will “green” our Mother Nature during your daily lunch. These are key decisions to prolong and sustain the age of earth and ensure the next generation of human beings can live in harmony with Mother Nature. “The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”
—John Paul II
With fears of a harsh credit crisis and a major collapse in economic activity, the spreading of the pandemic crashed financial & economic markets all over the world. Countries imposed tight restrictions on movement to halt the spread of the virus affecting all industries, especially the tourism and hospitality sector. The retrenchment and unemployment rates have increased dramatically, leading to the economic recession. Those affected victims without proper financial savings will face difficulty to cope with their living expenses and monthly fixed commitments. Thus, proper financial planning is one of the preparations to face this economic crisis.
We should give our budget a makeover. Reevaluate your budget to find new ways to conserve cash. WFH helps us to save the money from transport and entertainment expenses, with the extra money creating a financial cushion. Besides that, always save extra for emergency funds. Saving three to six months’ worth of expenses for an emergency fund is strongly recommended. You may start it by trimming nonessential expenses and dedicating any extra money to an emergency fund. Another alternative for financial planning is investment. If possible, invest more. Many people have seen their portfolios decrease in value, and the stock market will likely continue to experience volatility. If you can afford to, consider contributing more to your retirement savings scheme and other investment accounts. Historically, we have seen that the stock market always rebounds eventually.
What’s your perspective on 2020? Many people have been struggling, saying that 2020 is the year of crisis. John F Kennedy was quoted as saying: “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis’. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity”. Opportunities are created only when we face danger. Therefore, I always believe that every crisis will eventually create new opportunities for us. I have learnt the lessons of year 2020 and am willing to make my change. Now it’s your turn.