Health + Wealth during COVID-19

by Jessica Delaney, Principal, Engagement + Communications

I have been home and stayed home for more than two weeks. It hasn’t been a hardship. In fact, it has provided some time to reflect and really think.

The Dalai Lama said that the most surprising thing about humanity is: “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

During normal times, I (and I think many of us) are in execute mode. We go, we hop on planes and trains, we juggle multiple projects, we push to meet never ending deadlines and we, or at least I, often long to be home more. And now, here we are home.

I have observed that while some things filled me with anxiety in this age of uncertainly, I have started to try and take the Dalai Lama’s reflection to heart. This time of COVID-19 is a chance to re-set and to focus on our health before our wealth and to live each day fully present. My reflections have lead to doing a few small things to prioritize my health and I wanted to share them with you. As some one who has experienced illnesses that have knocked me down (and sometimes to the hospital), I know that staying healthy now is more important than ever.

  • Walk: Gretchen Rubin, author and podcast producer of Happier has a goal of 20 for 20, or 20 minutes of walking a day in 2020. Try and schedule in a 20 minute walk a day, ideally somewhere with some green, quiet or a view. The good news is that 20 minutes is a minimal goal and if you go for longer there likely isn’t the same amount of email waiting for you when you get home.
  • Water: Actually drink it, every hour to stay hydrated.
  • Vitamins: I have them, but am often “too busy” in the morning and just desperate for coffee that I forget them all together. Take time to have a morning ritual that includes warm water and some vitamins.
  • Sleep: I often get “caught up” on work after the kids are in bed which creates a tired cycle that is fuelled by coffee. But now, there is less work, so I am trying to set a reasonable sleep schedule and stick to it. Imagine eight hours a night at home, not just when you are on holidays?! It’s possible now.
  • Whole food: No, not a dash to Whole Foods to spend $20 on a salad bar (sidebar: anyone think salad bars will exist in the future?), but rather, buy simple food and make simple, healthy meals because guess what? You have time. You’re not picking something up on the way home, you are not dashing to an evening open house or Council meeting. Plan your meals with intention, focus on not wasting food and if a stew takes three hours to make, enjoy it.

My only real goal right now is to stay healthy and keep my little family healthy. I know this has to be number one because without it nothing else can happen. There can be no “wealth” without health. So, my hope to you as we start off another week (yes, it’s Monday), is that you focus on health and today (even if it’s hard), is still a gift.