Thursday, April 30, 2020

a foundation rocked | Feeling The Effects 2020 & The Three Essential Keys for a Road to Recovery

By Dominick Hiddo

The last time we posted here was a little over 3 years ago. At that time, our current President of the United States, Donald Trump was just elected and beginning to establish his presence as a future leader on a global scale. At the same time, we were saying goodbye to another leader of the American people: President Barack Obama. As they are two very different leaders, we can only expect two different expressions of the world as a result. President Barack Obama inherited a record high unemployment rate in November of 2008 of 14% from President George W. Bush. President Donald Trump will likely have a similar number or even higher in the months to come: especially as the global economy begins to reel back and learn how to adjust to the new reality caused by the current Covid-19 global pandemic. Throughout these respective presidencies, we've had global health concerns with anthrax, SARS, Ebola and salmonella. And if we venture further back into history, we will find our timeline filled with many other concerns like the West Nile Virus, the AIDS epidemic, Polio, the Spanish Flu and many others throughout our short, yet dense American history. Then on top of it all, there have been the decades of natural and man-made disasters and crises: the 9/11 terrorist attacks, blackouts, earthquakes, massive floods, tsunamis, economic recessions and depressions, heavy pollution, hurricanes, effects of climate change: quite frankly the list is unending. If we have directly or indirectly experienced any of these things, we know the effects these global shifts and abrupt changes have had on our mind, body, spirit, and on the immediate environment around us. They rock our foundation.

Whether you have first-hand experience in these life shifts or have learned about them, you know the long-lasting effects these crises, disasters, and pandemics can and will have on our society and our entire being. The first 4 months of the year 2020 has definitely been one to remember in such a short amount of time as it has been littered with more than we bargained for: including the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus leading to a global death toll of over 220,000 people and over 3 Million cases worldwide and counting. This outbreak has had such a wide-reaching impact that it has caused our entire global economy to experience unprecedented slowdowns and shutdowns in most countries. The impact has been felt by many industries: particularly hospitality, retail, travel, restaurant, nightlife, and all forms of commerce and trade. I'm sure there are many discussions happening right now between all leaders from cities, countries, governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities abound regarding the effects this has had and will have in the months and years to come.  Our foundation has been rocked. We had been growing at such a rapid pace that is was bound to all slow down.  When our foundation is rocked—in addition to a world slowdown—we must also bow out and align to that slowdown so that we can rebuild and reestablish our foundation. There is no sense in running through a pool that is filled with viscous liquid. 

In order to rebuild, we have to understand the needs of our current foundation with respect to the current footing: especially if they differ from what was once needed: both internally and externally. The fact of the matter is, the old foundation was probably ready to come down. When a foundation is truly strong, there is no falling. Maybe it will shake and have its strength tested. But, it will not come crashing down. In these times where our foundations are tested, we ought to utilize this period to add strength and value to all that is around us and all that we are in this world. 

Here are three essential keys on the road to recovery and the questions we must ask ourselves as we rebuild, analyze and strengthen our foundations:

Diet, Health and Safety - Are we healthy and are we taking good care of ourselves?
There are many people that have been affected by this pandemic socially and economically. But without good health, the happiness that we would normally seek in these material gratifications will come up short in filling our cups. In New York City and many other major cities around the world, all non-essential businesses have been closed in order to slow the spread of the virus and encourage our society to focus on health and wellness. We must use this time to ensure our families, our friends, and our own body is well. If you have actually contracted this virus, follow the CDC and guidelines set forth by your respective local and state governments: and get yourself to immediate care of your doctor or the hospital if needed. If you have been in contact with someone that has contracted the virus, make sure you self-quarantine and take good care of yourself. If you have not been exposed to the virus or anything else and do not display any symptoms of being sick whatsoever (but your anxiety levels are out of this world because of the news, the constant talk about it, and the global attention towards it), just continue to take good care of yourself and your family. Additionally, it is important to eat healthy, especially right now. Clean and healthy foods are not only essential to our wellbeing, but they also aid in keeping our body's immunity strong.  Vital immune boosters like fresh (not frozen) fruits, vegetables, and grains are a great place to start. Some lean meats that are farmer's market fresh—and free of antibiotics and other chemicals—are okay every once in a while as well. The main thing here is that you want to consume foods and beverages–like herbal and root teas, smoothies, juices–that help support your body's natural process of building strong immunity while enhancing strong blood flow for all your internal systems. By consuming the correct mix of things specific for your body, you aid the body in enhancing it's protection from all types of viruses, ailments and sickness: and it was designed to do just that.

Lastly, practice good hygiene, clean your home often, disinfect areas that can be a magnet for germs and wash your hands (and moisturize them because they get dry with repetitive hand washing). The CEO of Slack Technologies, Stuart Butterfield, said so beautifully in a memo to his employees, "Take care of yourselves, take care of your families, be a good partner. It is fine to work irregular or reduced hours. It is fine to take time out when you need it."

Money - Are we conserving our funds, managing our spending, and consulting advisers as needed?
The world we live in has many vices: many of which can beautiful, fun and life enhancing, but many others can be detrimental to our foundation if we are not mindful with our consumption. We all know this, but we play in a bit of it all anyway.  With most of the world on pause, there are many things that are currently not available to us: great restaurants, fitness clubs, specialty coffee at our favorite cafes, etc. And with many things currently not available, the way we spend will change for the time being, and can potentially change for the future. If you happen to live in a big city like New York and rely heavily on transportation, it is very likely that even your spend on subways (and even Uber) has reduced significantly: and the same goes for those that would normally jump in their car everyday as I'm sure the gas bill is not as exorbitant. For those of us that usually spend on breakfast and lunch outside of the house in delis, cafe and cool eateries, even those costs have been pulled back. This is all considering the fact that many of us are working from home and not interacting in the ways in which we have grown accustomed. So with all that in mind, save your money. Many of us already have rainy day funds: some have a much larger accumulation than others. However, if you are working remotely, you should be eating at home everyday and saving all that excess money for you and your family. If you have never made coffee at home, now is the time to learn: here is the coffee maker we have, and the espresso pot I love! And if you are not a coffee drinker and you prefer fresh juices and smoothies, use this time to buy a juicer and a blender if you don't already have one. If you don't know how to cook, learn (or get someone to do if for you). The costs of indulging in the city can add up, so let this be a time to learn this lesson. Let your financial decisions during this time be ones that add value to your life.

Additionally, make sure you are watching your investments if you are involved in the stock market in any capacity. If you are not experienced in navigating these turbulent times, this is a great time to partner up with one of the many fantastic financial adviser firms (or friends) out there that can help you meet your needs. Everyone needs a little help: even the experts. 

Lastly, do your research on the aid that is being made available for small business and individuals during this time. Under the CARES act, there are many things that the government has allowed for during this time in the form of a credit. Talk to your accountant and learn more here at

Sanity - Am I doing what I need to do for my mental health and physical health? 
First and foremost, as important as it is to be in the know and aware of current events, the media intake during this crisis in the world can be grossly overwhelming and stress inducing. It can be very hard to distinguish the truth from sensationalism. Remember to monitor your consumption and take it all in moderation. Know what's going on—and enjoy the beautiful distractions around you—but take the time to separate yourself from television, phones, social media, etc (Here is a little encouragement if you need it). 

Next, make sure you are spending time cultivating your internal foundation and your inner life. When you are not working and pains of quarantine are hitting hard, make time to play games like scrabble, do puzzles, read books and informative articles, essays or journals. Make time to write and gather your thoughts. While some of us live alone, many of us share our lives with our family, our children, our spouses, our partners and our friends. In those moments when you just need a break from the demands of others, do the things that make you feel whole and energized again. Get on a video chat and connect with friends, family or even seek out companies that are doing cool things: like wine tastings, salsa parties, or virtual dance parties. You could also take a free class online from a highly acclaimed university like Harvard.

Lastly, physical fitness is key. Physical health and mental health go hand in hand. As the weather is getting nicer and many fitness centers and group classes are currently closed, find a nice park, playground, or in your own very own backyard to do a calisthenic workout. Another great option, is running or going for a long walk. Also on YouTube and on Instagram, there are so many different workout classes, yoga classes, and mediation classes shared by a wide variety of instructors: some for free and some for a suggested donation. 

Recovery takes time. And while these few things can help in mitigating life's challenges, the full length of time of this recovery period is relatively unknown. So in the meantime, make smart decisions, take good care of yourself, and keep your foundation as strong as possible. 

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