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The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the whole world by surprise and has left us in a state of shock and despair. The illness curve is touching the peak, with a death toll exceeding 100,000 globally.

As a result, health systems across the globe are overburdened, stock markets are collapsing and companies are facing bankruptcy. Lockdowns have been considered as the most viable option to curtail the virus transmission.

To all of us, it is definitely a worrying situation because lockdowns have hindered activities across all sectors. At the start of 2020, nobody ever predicted that countries would be pushed to shut schools, colleges, universities, offices, industries, businesses, wedding halls, places of worship and public places, impairing social lives at large.

During this difficult time, professionals are compelled to work from home and are opting for online meetings, while following physical distancing. People are trying to stay connected with family, friends and neighbours through technological innovations. This difficult time has finally made us realize that nothing in life should be taken for granted, and thus we should remain grateful for all the little blessings.

While the ongoing crisis situation has restricted our freedom of movement, it is offering us an ideal time to reboot, and reflect on our lives. Let’s try and make the best of what the crisis is offering us. Because it can potentially provide an excellent opportunity to achieve goals that we kept longing for, but didn’t get a chance due to other things in life. These goals include opting for a new hobby, learning a new language, losing weight via yoga/weight training/aerobics, revisiting a long-forgotten project (personal or professional), and learning a new skill such as cooking, playing a musical instrument or an indoor sport, etc.

In this challenging time, we can look for opportunities to reconnect with our grandparents, old friends and immediate family members, using different technology. Even though the physical space of worship is not accessible during these days, we can still remain regular in the practice of our faith as a best strategy to remain hopeful and resilient during these hardships.

To help minimize the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on students, various online platforms and universities are offering free online courses for students and faculty on a variety of topics. We must embrace this opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills to hit the ground running once we return to normal routine. Busy professionals are often found complaining about insomnia and disturbed sleep patterns; this time can also be spared for maintaining adequate sleep hygiene.

Most importantly, it is an opportunity to reflect on our own self, while seeing the world through a different lens. For example, reflecting on the fact that we work not just for income and perhaps our profession is an important source of our identity, and it fulfills an inner desire to contribute and make a difference. The lockdown period can be availed for self-reflection to bring out the best in ourselves. It can potentially give us ample time to decide what we want to be in the future. And, how we will change direction so that our future career satisfies our latent needs apart from earning money.

During and post-lockdown, we must consider how to rebuild ourselves. Where will we be in six months, a year, 10 years from now? It is anticipated that, once this lockdown is over, the economy is going to topple and there will be a huge recession.

There are a number of possible futures, all dependent upon how governments and society respond to Covid-19 and its economic aftermath. Hopefully, we will use this crisis to produce something better and more humane. But we may slide into something worse, like delays in graduation, problems in execution of field related-research activities, hindrances in completion of construction projects, etc.

As the Covid-19 virus continues to spread at an alarming rate, we must encourage ourselves to find alternatives and appreciate life as it unfolds. As the only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability. Therefore, a positive attitude is essentially needed for better survival as we rebuild and reposition ourselves while coping with Covid-19.

The writers are faculty members at the Department of Community Health Sciences, Aga Khan University.