Three Major Mental Effects of this Pandemic and How to Counter Them!

By now, it should be a solid year Cambodia has declared the attack by the current pandemic. The first outbreak was detected in Siem Reap last year. For some reason, we survived a few outbreaks. Still, the new wave, dating February 20th, proves stronger than ever, taking a few Cambodian lives already. As a result, I had the time to reflect on the mental effects COVID-19 might have caused us, even non-patients. Brace yourself as the next paragraphs may transcend your realities!

1- Procrastination is Real

We have come to tolerate the tardiness of our work. When we reached a stable phase and looked back, we go, “Why shouldn’t this have been done earlier?” Oddly enough, we forgot we were the one to allow it to happen that late! Despite this unwanted procrastination, I’d say we need to update each other of our commitments, no matter how late they may be. Better still is to keep ourselves busy with online education, as mentioned in this previous post!

2- Moral Injury Affects us all

As elaborated in this article, moral jury would have rather affected war veterans, who could have other saved their fellows. In this modern time, due to fast infection, we couldn’t even stay by our loved ones in the last minute. Worse is our inability to bury the deceased, discomforting some religions. I believe if any measure is taken by our medical authorities, this rather means well to us, the living. This compliance will not only keep us alive, but also other lives safe – physically and morally.

3- The New Normal is More Virtual than Physical

This part feels unfamiliar to some, when one has been so used to face-to-face interactions. Although a previous post of mine addressed online interactions, until now, I realize these have not benefited my works that much. How many of you have gone on Zoom, disabling your video feature and acting as if you care about your colleague(s)?! I understand that muting yourself in such conversations may keep them from hearing unnecessary noise. Still, for an “empathic” compromise, I’d suggest the callers show their faces – if not videos – in the beginning and end of such e-meetings.

To sum up, we are still facing some uncertainty of this pandemic and its long-lasting trauma. As we are spiritual beings, virtuality does not seem that bad, especially when we still care about our causes: family and work 🙂 After all, let us bear in mind to not use COVID-19 as an excuse to stop moving forward in life.

PS: Sorry I have no bonus video for this post. But you may feel energized again after reading this article. It covers mindfulness at workplace shared with me by Narin from MastermindClub 🙂

Five Productive Ways to Maximize Your Isolation!

Does isolation rhyme with lack of productivity? It doesn’t have to! You may go now: “Only five?” Well, I can go for more tips to maximize your quarantine days. Yet, for the sake of your Internet routine, let’s explore for the time being the following ways 😉

1– Watch Films

Well, I mentioned “films” because they designate a variety of content such as movies, documentaries, short films! In my case, I’ve been added to a pro-arthouse cine-club online group, in which the curator (also my brother-in-arm) selected various films for us to watch. To alternate his choices, I enjoy my own selection every other night! Wait, you don’t have to come from a film background to indulge in films at home. Sources? Well, here’s a loose (paid) list: Netflix, iFlix or in Cambodia, Soyo or JaikonTV. And the following are some freebies:

“Waste Forest”, a short documentary under Let’s Document Cambodia

i- 1,150 Free Movies Online

ii- Classic Thai Films

iii- Japanese Latest Indie Films

iv- Let’s Document Cambodia (documentaries produced by our Sunflower Film Organization)!

v- TED Talks.

2- Read Books

Without generalization, this tip seems to suit introverts! You love to dive into deep thinking or analyzing your experience from texts. So books feel more aligned with your space. If you already bought some books, but lost the luxury to read them, now is the best time! If you find hard copies hard to buy around, e-books should come in handy, over your devices. For instance, currently, I’m reading “Scale Up” by Verne Harnish, in e-copy, to help me prepare our DancingRains movie production start-up better. Here are some free sources:

Access to some free spiritual ebooks

i- SimplyE (app)

ii- ManyBooks

iii- GetFreeBooks

3- Learn News Skills

Have you downloaded these (self) education apps without regularly checking them out: Khan Academy, Learning, Coursera, just to name a few? And after a few days of home quarantine, I found a couple more like Skillshare and edX! My preference is movie-related subjects. I bet you can find yours in those platforms. Be careful: some courses need paying. But if you find them worth your money, why not invest your time in them?!

Some of my selection

4- Strategize Your Next Moves

Well, this feels to me like the most critical, yet productive part you can take from your self-confinement. We all need to work and earn money for our living. Yet, before this COVID19 happened, I bet most of us have bluntly been enslaved to our desperate routine. I personally make a daily habit to meditate in the morning, and a yearly habit to travel solo. Now that we should not travel that much, I suggest you spend your quarantine days reflecting on your life, business, or career. But don’t get stuck in your past so you should craft out future plans carefully. These plans should avoid past mistakes and benchmark best practices from people around you or new experiences (as partially described above)!

Even reading such quotes can also uplift your days!

5- Blog or Journal Down Your Days

Hehe! That’s what I’m doing now, funnily with you reading this post! I just can’t feel any more productive, self-rewarding, valuable than writing out my thoughts and sharing them with curious minds like you. If confidential, your notes may be kept to yourself, just because some emotions need spilling out of our mind. Some psychologists even recommend us to hand-write our journals. Anyway, the choice is yours, as 10 minutes of such daily write-ups will do more good to your day than not. If you don’t have that luxury of time, commit to a weekly log like in my blogging case!

Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash
Oh yeah, those are not my hands!

That’s all from me. Share with me other activities you’ve carried out since the first quarantine day in the comments below! Then, our fellow readers can also apply them to maximize their days and lives 🙂

PS: If you wish to access more free sources of those materials, inbox me when you can 🙂

PPS: My next post will address physical isolation x quasi-virtual interaction.

Jambok Hoas: Fly Zone

I got to know an ‘adventure’ man under the name of Rithy THUL a couple of years ago over Internet. But we never met until the last BarCamp Phnom Penh in 2010. Ever since, our “real” relationship has been formed and more cemented online.
Introducing me to TEDx
Little did I know about TED or TEDx. All I know is that Rithy was part of the organizing team with other expats. I was encouraged by an American team mate in 4K to apply as a speaker. Then, I said I could talk about something more general than 4K itself: Self-Education. As luck has it, after my presentation at KYE Talks, TEDx organizers invited me to speak in February 2011. Needless to say, I keep receiving ripple effects until now.

Jambok Hoas Trip
Rithy kept amazing me with his initiative to bring young Cambodians from different backgrounds to go for adventure training at Jambok Hoas, in Preah Vihear province. Some applicants withdrew their application only after realizing that the tour would be organized in that province! So I’d say all the 16 people that chose to still come, were called “brave” enough to overcome this first tiny fear.
We arrived to the training site on May 14, with no or little clue of what was going to happen to us. We bet that only Rithy knew it all because he went through these trips so many times already.
“Fly Zone”, that’s how we call ourselves, who attended that training trip. We believed “Jambok Hoas” to be a zone where we could fly! Of course, we didn’t disappoint ourselves with this name.
Although there are many activities we went through, I’m raising here only a few that were deemed important to me.

Wall Climbing. The truth was that I never climbed straight up, especially when I was the first to go up there with no clue! I made my own attempts to go just half-way up. Oops, where was my strength gone? I must take a big rest and almost give up until Rithy called me from below and told me what to step on and catch. Finally, I was on top of the world. What refreshment!

Gibbon Swing. This activity looked easy. Yet, some participants took a long time just to make one single move. As our facilitator said, it was all about decision. I didn’t decide to catch the first swing presented to me. But I did successfully hold the second swing. Yeah, I made it!
Giant Swing. It’s not the same swing, though, because I learned to let go and fly my way around.  Know what I sang enthusiastically? “I’m flying without wings!”

Jambok Hoas Fly. You know that the cable is safe, but you are not decisive enough to throw yourself out there to feel the joy of taking the risk. But as in other exercises, all risks were calculated with adequate backup rescue equipments!

Teamwork: What I witnessed and experienced more personally was dish washing and personal care. Although we come from different walks of life, we already felt the need to help each other without discrimination. When we did this, much room was left to fun and excitement throughout the entire camp! Another activity I learned about team work most was “giant shoes”. We were put to wear the same shoe and step ahead once at a time. Luckily, I was on the winning team. A lot was discussed about “game ethics”. But all we admit was that both groups reached their goal, however fast they were.
Old Folks. What also highlighted this adventure was that I managed to meet two old friends like Chhorvuth and Sak. How time and this training has changed them. I now have more “reasons” to love them as human beings.
Lessons. If I was asked what lessons I learned from Jambok Hoas trip, here would be my answers:
          Decision: Fear stopped me from taking the risk that actually can yields benefits to what I’m doing.
          Social/business: I’ve found my true self. I am more a business entrepreneur, rather than a social entrepreneur. I believe people are born equal with the same rights and opportunities. If you can’t get what you want, fight for it to reach the top. Don’t complain, envy other people or ask them to do you justice. You have to do your own justice!
          Team Spirit: I’ve never lived so strong a collective spirit as in Fly Zone. Most of us remain in touch until today, at least on Facebook. Some chose to continue the adventure with a half-marathon race in June 18 and other team trips/projects.
          Brotherhood: Almost like team spirit, I see it more as a closer relationship with each other built over time. A Khmer proverb says this best: “At home, you have different mothers. In the wood, you have the same mother.”
Now Rithy has gone to the US after having me help him with his last project in Cambodia, KhmerTalks, as a time keeper! I don’t mind that because I was the one who had the power to stop each speaker if they exceeded their time limit. And, yeah, I keep growing through a real adventure: LIFE.

It all boils down to my most favorite quote: “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all” – Helen Keller.