You always have a choice

Occasionally, we do go out, watch a movie, enjoy a meal outside, much like millions of people across the world do.

Usually, my days are quite packed. I start my morning cycling or playing football. Then a quick shower, a speedy breakfast and then it is a hop skip and jump to office. After a good day’s work, it is a quick walk back home, and then it is time to spend some time with my family. Occasionally, we do go out, watch a movie, enjoy a meal outside, much like millions of people across the world do. On weekends, one goes out, meets family/friends and then there are vacations which are about filling ourselves with different experiences.

However, neither life nor business is as usual today. 24th March 2020 was a watershed moment in the annals of Indian history. The first 3-week national lockdown was just announced across the country.

For me and my family, the first 3 weeks were relatively easier. If nothing else, the novelty of the situation we found ourselves in was stimulating. We figured how to get food without going out. We figured how to use technology to work. We discovered Zoom, Webex, Teams etc. and learnt how to mute and unmute ourselves (one of the most important life skills today). We were fortunate to have relatively easy access to essentials. And I was fortunately working for Britannia Industries, in the business of food which is essential. Days became busier with work as we grappled with new ways of working but days were also productive and fun, and there was a heady feeling of working our way out of adversity.

There were some minor sacrifices one made in these 3 weeks. There was no more football or cycling outside. There was no walk to office. There was no eating out with our family. There was no physical meeting and bonding with friends and colleagues. But in 3 weeks, we hoped (unreasonably) that we would have tided the storm a bit.

However, predictably things have gotten tougher. While one has gone out a bit, one goes out only if necessary. It almost felt that so many choices had been taken out of our hands. To compensate emotionally, we used mealtimes to celebrate. We spent time on video calls with friends and family beyond office hours too. We watched a lot more Netflix.

Predictably, the body soon started giving signals. I got a backache for the first time for not using an ergonomic chair. I put on a few pounds too given the absolute lack of movement. I even got reading glasses (but I guess I was due that one anyway).

When I was talking to my wife about this, she told me that I was losing track of my health. I first disagreed saying that I really didn’t have any choice regarding my lifestyle. She replied saying “You always have a choice”

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Then I made a list of things I could do. There are many things I put in that list which I never got to doing but there are some things which I did that made a big difference

1) I spent every day in the morning walking 10 km. Inside my house. Yes, that is actually possible.

2) I spent my time on that walk talking to my brother in the US and my parents. That also made it fun.

3) I took control over my diet. I chose to snack more sensibly. I started choosing what I would eat and how much I would eat. I started eating on time. I ate lunch over my work calls, but I never delayed my mealtime. I looked forward everyday to my mid-afternoon snack of Green Tea with NutriChoice Digestive Biscuits

4) I kept my phone away after 7:30 pm every day. I spent more time with family and with self.

This made a big difference to my health. I felt fit, refreshed and I felt connected to the ones who mattered.

Life is always going to throw some challenges at us from time to time. In these moments of adversity, one is hearing so many stories of optimism and inspiration as well. We can be negative in these times. But we always have a choice to be positive. We may be forced to be confined to our homes more than before. But we always have a choice to be active. And that is the key thing. YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE!

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COVID-19 lockdown


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