Did COVID-19 Quarantine Sanitize Your Life?

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

The quarantine periods of the past several weeks have been a God-sent opportunity for some executives to get some rest and reflect on their busy lives.

For some, it has been a nerve racking period of worrying about job security, pay cuts, and business shortfalls due to the lack of sales.

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Whatever the lockdown must have represented to you, I would like to share with you some of my experience of an extremely busy life of working in the corporate sector while juggling a full scale home-front.

During my first years as a staff in the banking industry, I worked in a department that consisted of fifty-five women. About seventy percent of these women were married and some had children. Having children meant that they also had nannies or other domestic staff who helped with the home front.

These women seemed to come to work with consistent complaints about their domestic staff. Some days, they even had to take a day or two off work to sort out issues on their domestic front. Based on the frequency of problems that they seemed to face on the domestic front, I assumed that perhaps they were not very good at managing their domestic staff and that the problems arose as a result of their poor relationships with their domestic workers. Click here to tell us more about your business and how we can help you grow...

Then I got married, had children and I needed domestic staff. After six years of hiring and firing various domestic staff, I came to conclusion that the domestic staff terrain is rather complicated.

In the past six years, I have used my experience from the previous six years to change my experience of domestic staffs. I have also used my experience to practice putting my person first no matter the level of stress, pressure or hostility in the workplace.

In the next few articles, I will be sharing some of my experiences, tips and advice with you in the hope that you will be able to avoid some of the pitfalls that hampered me in the early years of my learning to manage my personal life and domestic front along with a fulltime career.

Practice You First

During some of the most hectic days of my working in the corporate sector, I came to the realization that a lot of high-flying corporate individuals tend to think they are superman or superwoman. They ignore important health signals wishing it would eventually go away.

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They become so timid and intimidated by their boss that they put themselves into various kinds of danger in a bid to please the boss, meet a deadline, or keep up with the workload.

In the drive to meet and exceed expectations, they often exceed their personal physical limits and as I have seen on many occasions, they meet with sudden tragedies.

This becomes even more prevalent in an environment where the job market is extremely competitive, workplace culture is somewhat hostile, and the societal norm is to keep up with the Jones’. Click here to tell us more about your business and how we can help you grow...

It takes a drastic incident for many workers to come to the sudden realization that being able to stay alive is more important than the next promotion, or that their employers can definitely go on without them.

Employees have had road accidents while returning late in the night due to falling asleep on the wheel. Others have ignored life-threatening symptoms until it was too late, while others have seen their marriages become history as a result of running after the next promotion.

These issues are even more prevalent in the Financial Services industry. There was a time when it became the norm for employees to slump in the office, have a heart-attack when they got home, or even go insane while at work. The level of pressure exerted on corporate employees in Nigeria is something that should be closely looked at and employers need to be able to see the big picture and implement workplace culture that reflects some level of human empathy.

Always remember that you need to stay alive in order to do the job. So do the following:

1. Find out what medical services are available through your office.

Is there is any at all whatsoever? Find out if you can get annual medical check-ups. If there is no medical services provision or HMO, then sign up to one by yourself.

When pregnant, do not take your ante-natal programme lightly like I have seen some ladies in the banking industry do. I have seen ladies who missed their ante-natal appointments to avoid issues with their boss and then when the time of delivery came, certain issues surfaced that could have been detected during the ante-natal programme. Some of these issues turned out to be fatal.

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Secondly, ensure that you are receiving ante-natal care and birth services from a qualified obstetrician and gynecologist. I have seen high-ranking corporate officers who lost their lives becomes they went to get pregnancy-related health care from their medical friend who happened to be a qualified medical specialist but not a qualified obstetrician and gynecologist.

Your pregnancy period is not the right time to be sentimental or ignorant. Do your vetting and leave the rest to God.

2. Take time to recuperate.

In October 2009, the news of the death of the 42-year-old Managing Director of SAP India subcontinent, Ranjan Das, shocked the world. Ranjan Das was an avid marathon runner and a fitness enthusiast who took his physical fitness very seriously.

However, the prevailing narrative was that the brilliant high-flying young man had been sleeping an average of 4 to 5 hours each night. Apparently his untimely death was as a result of sleep deprivation. Dr. Shailesh Thaker speaks about it in his blog post of January 3, 2013.

As a human resource professional in the financial industry, we had corporate employees who slumped at airports, at the office, at home and at other places. A careful look at these persons lifestyle often revealed a life of serious levels of stress, serious heart conditions, sleep deprivation, or some other crisis that was ongoing in their lives at the time.

My husband has tried rushing a colleague in the banking sector to the nearest clinic during the onset of a heart-attack. Unfortunately, the colleague died before they could reach the clinic. Another of his colleagues slumped and died in the office after one of her clients closed his account with the bank where she worked.

In another instance, my husband and another of his colleagues had to bundle one of their staff to a nearby clinic after he ran insane in the office due to extreme levels of pressure and personal issues at home. They had to sedate the man for three weeks in the clinic before releasing him to go home.

Sleep deprivation is very dangerous. Some of the long term effects may include memory issues, poor cognitive abilities, mood changes, high blood pressure, weight gain (surprisingly), and risk of heart disease.

God created sleep as a system for your body to recuperate and heal. Don’t take it lightly. I have seen young men spend nights playing video games or watching movies after a long day at work. This is not healthy.

One of the ways that you could manage yourself better to avoid undue stress and sleep deprivation includes:

- Reduce the brightness of your phone, tablet and laptop screens once it’s evening. Also avoid spending your night hours on screen. Not using screens at least one hour prior to bedtime is highly recommended.

- Keep a notepad by your bedside to write down thoughts, worries, or reminders as they come to you in the moments prior to your falling asleep so that you don’t spend your bedtime ruminating on them.

- John Maxwell says that he made a point of duty to be in bed by 11 PM at the latest after he survived a heart-attack. If you need to wake up before 6AM, I believe this would be a good rule of thumb to follow.

If you commute to work each day, then think of how you can move closer to your place of work. The money you spend on transportation, the toll on your health, and the time that you burn in traffic could quickly add up to the difference in rent.

I have had colleagues who woke up at 4AM every morning for decades to go to work. They often got home after their children had gone to bed. I am not so sure I could live like that as I have also seen the high price that some of them eventually paid for affordable housing or affordable schools. What’s the point of saving money that you won’t live to enjoy?

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3. Adopt healthy eating habits.

This third one is a no-brainer but it still amazes me how ignorant corporate individuals are when it comes to what goes into their mouth. Some persons extend the poor eating habits to their children thinking that they are allowing their children to enjoy things that they did not enjoy when they themselves were children.

However, what they are actually doing is training their children to cultivate poor eating habits that they (the children) may never break away from even when they become full adults.

Because your food comes from a well-known restaurant, fast food or hotel, does not mean that it meets the nutritional requirements for what should go into your mouth. You may not have time to read a nutritional book. I have several of them and I wish I could tell you that I have read them. But I do take time to Google what is good for my body and what is not. I also try to research what they call super foods so that I can add them to my meals.

As a very busy person with immense work pressure, these are three main things that you can do to improve your diet right now:

- Add superfoods to your diet. These include: parsley, beetroot, millet, berries, leafy greens, green tea, eggs, legumes etc. I make millet ‘pap’ and I can have this for dinner. I blend beetroot and parsley with pineapple and ginger to make a refreshing smoothie that is both filling and highly nutritious. I also add parsley to pasta, rice, potato or yam dishes. Note that the parsley should not be overcooked.

- Avoid high-sugar foods and drinks that give you a sudden burst of energy and then allows you to crash suddenly. It still amazes me how addicted executives are to artificial juices in packets, pastries, and snacks that are high in sugar content. The only juice in a pack that I would recommend is cranberry juice. There are a few healthy can or carton drinks our there but you really need to know them.

- If you smoke or drink habitually, find a way to stop doing so. Needless to say, smoking is not healthy and indulging in alcohol, especially liquor, is also not healthy no matter the excuse. Some of the harmful effects of long term drinking of alcohol include: shrinking brain, blackouts, liver damage, infertility, malnutrition, thinning bones etc.

In the next post, I will share with you another tip on how you can maintain your work-life balance without destroying either. This time I will share certain technology tools that can help you to organize both your home front and your work-life seamlessly such that you appear in charge and actually are in charge of your work-life balance.

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