The global pandemic brought to us by COVID-19 placed a lot of countries in lockdown. A lot of hard-hit cities and provinces were put under quarantine in order to slow down the rate of infection and to hopefully put a stop to the spread of the virus. The lifting of lockdown has been extended multiple times in some countries and the final schedule has not been decided yet. Another extension is looming on the horizon as cases in some places continue to increase.
For the highly affected areas, it meant the closure of non-essential shops and businesses. A lot of businesses then resorted to having their employees work from home. Unfortunately, for a lot of people who do not work in businesses with the capability to operate remotely, they lost their sources of income.
A lot of businesses that are offering non-essential products and services also lost a lot of money because customers are practically non-existent during this time. Almost no one wants to buy non-essential goods as everybody is reserving their cash for more important purchases such as food and medicine.
The lockdown in Metro Manila was first announced last March 16, 2020 and it was scheduled to end last April 12. However, due to the increasing number of people getting infected, the government announced an extension of the lockdown until April 30. And then, just a few days ago, another extension for high-risk areas including Metro Manila was announced and it was extended until May 15 (click here if you want to see the COVID-19 situation timeline in the Philippines).
Lockdown extension is also being implemented by other countries in order to minimize deaths and infections from spreading to more people. The whole world is living in uncertainty. We don’t know when the lifting of lockdown will happen and if it will be extended again. It will all depend on the development of a cure or vaccine or if we could flatten the curve in the coming weeks.
I’m not sure if I’m just being overly optimistic, but just like all the pandemics that humanity had faced in the past, I believe that this will soon be over and we will soon be allowed to go out of our homes to resume our normal lives or rather our ‘new normal lives’.
So, while waiting for the next announcement of the government, I think that we should all start to prepare for the lifting of lockdown.
Here are some simple steps that we could all do to prepare for the lifting of lockdown:
Consolidate Our Payables
Before the date of lifting the lockdown is finalized, I think one of the most important things to think of is our financial commitments and responsibilities. Having said that, I think this is a good time to start consolidating our payables. I’m not sure if this is the same with other countries, but here, our credit card and utility companies implemented a ‘Payment Holiday’ policy for its customers.
If you constantly update your bank with your contact information then you should have received detailed information about this. Some fees (such as late fees and interest fees) may or may not be applied so better check the email that you received from your bank to know if you’re eligible for the waiver of these fees.
If in case you placed your payment on hold for your credit cards and other bills due to the payment holiday, it would be best to start listing them so you won’t miss anything once the due dates take effect.
And also, did you incur some debts to your family and friends while we’re in lockdown? I did. This would also be a great time to start planning on how we’re going to pay for those debts in the coming months.
Related Post: Top 9 Reasons Why You Need to Track Your Expenses
Prepare for the New Normal
It might be possible to finalize the date of the lifting of lockdown soon even if we have not found a cure nor a vaccine yet. We can’t put the economy on hold for a very long time as it will also have a disastrous effect on all of us. There’s a possibility that as long as we could flatten the curve, lifting of lockdown may happen and we could all resume our normal lives or our ‘new normal lives’. Wearing a mask and social distancing might still be implemented in some areas even after the lockdown is lifted.
We do not know yet what the definition of the new normal is. But one thing is for sure, we will be adapting our daily lives as we might have to live with the virus until a cure or vaccine is found. Discussions about the new normal are starting to surface around the world as we come closer to the due date of the lifting of lockdown. Here are some of the latest articles that might give us an idea of what the new normal might look like:
- Business World: What Constitutes ‘The New Normal’?
- Forbes: Retail Stores Create The New Normal As Businesses Begin To Open Up
- Philstar: Bracing for the New Normal
- The Guardian: Coronavirus Face Masks: Why Covering up is Becoming the New Normal
- Business Mirror: Digital is the New Normal
Rethink the Way We Do Things at Home
Scientists and other experts in the medical field are slowly learning more about the nature of COVID-19 as days go by. But given that this is a novel virus, there are still a lot of unknowns that we still have yet to uncover. As of now, we know that this is a respiratory disease. And knowing that fact, the best way to survive this is to ensure that we are in our utmost health.
Being healthy does not only concern what we consume (food and drinks) or the number of physical exercises that we do. We also need to remind ourselves that being healthy also means taking care of our environment. Regardless of how much of a health buff we are, if we will keep inhaling polluted air then we won’t stand a chance against this COVID-19. Here’s an article that you might want to read later:
Here’s also a very short video clip of Sadhguru speaking about something that we all know already but seem to have forgotten.
Even if we are still under quarantine, we could already start rethinking the way we do things in our homes. We have to rethink the way we consume things. We have to think about how to live our lives without damaging our environment that much.
- Is it about time we commit to not using single-use plastic?
- Do we have to re-orient ourselves with the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) which we all learned when we were in grade school?
- What about our energy consumption? Is it about time that we consciously think about our energy usage?
- Should we start being mindful of our purchases and only support businesses that are aligned with our values?
There’s an endless question that we have to ask ourselves that will guide our actions in the coming weeks. These decisions and actions that we will have to take will predict the kind of future that we will leave to our children.
Rethink the Way We Do Business
This pandemic disrupted the norm that we are all used to. This may or may not be the last time that we as a specie will face something like this, but this is a great opportunity to rethink the way we do business.
As we all know, most countries implemented the lockdown policy to flatten the curve by minimizing the possible exposure of the population to infected individuals. Putting a country into a lockdown meant the temporary closure of non-essential businesses. A lot of small businesses that provide jobs to a lot of people are now struggling to make ends meet thus affecting the lives not only of the business owners but also the lives of their employees and their respective families and communities.
In the coming weeks, the lifting of lockdown may be announced as it is inevitable. We have to prepare our businesses in becoming more resilient to situations like this. Businesses should also be aligned with the overall plan of the state in ensuring a more sustainable and eco-friendly way of doing things. This may or may not be the last time that we as a specie will come face to face with an unknown virus especially if we don’t change the way we harvest our natural resources. Here’s an article that you might want to read later:
On a lighter note, I think the situation that we are all facing today will give birth to a lot of eco-friendly businesses in the coming weeks. A lot of consumers are now aware that we have to do something to correct our past mistakes and they will be keen on supporting businesses that are aligned to their values.
Improve Our Relationships
The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us how short our time here on Earth is and that we should cherish every moment that we have with each other. This is probably one of the cruelest diseases ever because it did not even allow those who lost their loved ones to grieve and mourn properly as the body of the infected deceased people were being cremated (or buried) right away.
Once the schedule of the lifting of lockdown is confirmed, I’m sure that most of us will be visiting our family and friends right away. This is the best time to rebuild relationships that have been broken due to past mistakes that have had happened in our past. Now is the best time to forgive and move forward.
And this is also the best time to think about our relationship with the person that has always been with us since the beginning – ourselves.
Rethink Our Plan for the Near Future
I’m very excited to know about the schedule of the lifting of lockdown. A huge chunk of my action plans for the next few years was confirmed by the things that I learned from observing everything that’s happening around me during this pandemic. A few of those plans include:
Move to a Less Dense City/Rural Town
I was born and I spent most of my life in the capital city. Metro Manila is a megalopolis with a huge population. As I grow older, the appeal of city living slowly fades away and the appeal of moving to a less dense city or a rural town grows more and more in me.
Most cities that are highly affected by the virus are the densest cities around the world. The infection spreads easily because of the huge number of people contained in a small space. And even without the pandemic, the huge crowd, the long hours of commute, and the high cost of living do not appeal to me anymore.
Live a Sustainable Lifestyle
Years before this pandemic came about, I was already spending tons of time learning a lot about permaculture and sustainable living by reading available articles online or by watching Youtube videos from people who have moved from the city to the rural areas to live a sustainable lifestyle. I think that it would also be nice if I could have more control over my family’s food security and I think that living a sustainable lifestyle will help me achieve that.
Related Post: Stay Broke – My Plan Until I Stabilize my Finances
Be Financially Independent
One of the reasons why I started this blog is to be able to document my journey towards financial independence and to share my learnings with other people. This blog also helped me connect to like-minded people who are also aiming to achieve financial independence and to those who have already achieved it. I realized that those who have already achieved financial independence have fewer worries in situations like this as they are well-prepared to live through this compared to someone like me.
Diversify my Income
This pandemic made me realize how financially unprepared I am. Without the help of my family, I wouldn’t be able to live through this. One of the strategies that I learned from other FI bloggers is to diversify my income. This will help me become more resilient in economic downtimes such as this one. I still have a lot to learn, but this is definitely one of the things that I will prioritize this year starting with building a bigger emergency fund.
Aim to Live More Passionately, Mindfully and Kindly
I feel that I and my family belong to the category of high-risk individuals. The hereditary diseases in my family include diabetes and heart disease. All of my aunties and uncles including my mom is diabetic. To be honest, I’m really scared once the lockdown is lifted, and once we all resume our ‘new normal lives’ because that means that we will have to go out again to continue working thus exposing us to possibly asymptomatic people and increasing our chances of getting this virus.
However, I know that this is something beyond our control. No one could predict how our body would react to the virus. So with or without a virus, I’d like to live more passionately, mindfully, and kindly and I will celebrate every day that I’m alive by pushing myself harder to be able to achieve my dreams.
How about you? Are you also eagerly awaiting for the date of the lifting of lockdown? How will you adapt to the new normal? What are the things that you’re planning to do once the lockdown is lifted?