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Wellbeing learnings after life in Japan during COVID-19

By Craig Keary
Managing Director Asia Pacific Region Tokyo, Japan

The COVID-19 human health emergency is pushing us all to live a more quiet, isolated existence. For me, experiencing this reality in Asia during the initial COVID-19 outbreak brought home the importance of some simple, fundamental wellbeing routines.

At the moment, countries around the world are coming to grips with the COVID-19 fight we have on our hands. We, and what we read daily, are consumed by the big shocks to healthcare, to economies, to workplaces, to our social lives.

Understandably, the comforts and routines which support your physical and mental wellbeing can fall down the priority list during such an intense time. It’s ironic that, during a health crisis, we can forget the importance of self-care.

I was reminded very quickly late last year and early this year, from living in Tokyo when Asia started learning about the ferocity of COVID-19, that it’s of utmost importance to focus on your personal wellbeing during times of crisis. This has always been a personal focus and passion of mine, and it proved to be a strong foundation through a challenging period.

The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, recently issued a piece1 reminding people about the importance of scheduling time for “core human needs” like our emotional, mental and social health. It draws attention to the benefits of structure in a day, which it separates as:

  1. Move: Physical activity.
  2. Nourish: Healthy meals.
  3. Connect: Social support.
  4. Be: Stress reduction.

These foundations can serve you well if you, like me, travel frequently and have a flexible working environment. During this time, that structure – with self care at its core – has ensured I am the strongest I can be during a time of utmost significance for all of us.

As I’ve written about previously, I remain absolutely confident in the capacity for humanity and global economies to fight COVID-19. I saw, first hand, the power in collective action and community in Tokyo. That unified resolve to get to containment is now happening on a global scale, and like pandemics been and gone, it will come to an end.

For now, the best thing we can do is take comfort in knowing this too shall pass, and take care of ourselves so we’re ready for the inevitable recovery.

1 https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/four_things_to_do_every_day_for_your_mental_health

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Craig Keary, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific
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