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Staying strong during the COVID-19 lockdown

An Airman jogs at the Heritage Park track April 1, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England.  The COVID-19 lockdown has resulted in the closure of gyms, but it has not prevented Airmen from obtaining physical exercise and keeping their bodies fit to complete the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

An Airman jogs at the Heritage Park track April 1, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. The COVID-19 lockdown has resulted in the closure of gyms, but it has not prevented Airmen from obtaining physical exercise and keeping their bodies fit to complete the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Airman 1st Class Juan Lomeli, 100th Maintenance Squadron aircraft ground equipment apprentice, speaks with relatives on his cell phone outside his dorm room April 1, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. Using technology to keep in contact with friends and family enables one to maintain social engagement in spite of the physical isolation faced by many in the COVID-19 lockdown. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Airman 1st Class Juan Lomeli, 100th Maintenance Squadron aircraft ground equipment apprentice, speaks with relatives on his cell phone outside his dorm room April 1, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. Using technology to keep in contact with friends and family enables one to maintain social engagement in spite of the physical isolation faced by many in the COVID-19 lockdown. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

RAF Mildenhall, England -- --

The COVID-19 lockdown in the United Kingdom has restricted many of the freedoms we normally enjoy, but during this time of quarantine, physical distancing and heightened sanitary practices, it has provided me an opportunity to establish some beneficial routines.

 

I initially thought it would be a challenge with the gyms closed to complete my normal workout, but I realized after several days in lockdown that my home and the outdoors provide everything I need to stay fit. Running is the primary activity I use to get exercise, and it can be done outside on a track or the streets. I have also substituted lifting weights for pushups, which I can do almost anywhere. Although I am disappointed that I can longer go to the gym, adjusting how I exercise ensures I remain in good shape and am capable of meeting the demands of the mission.

 

Staying in contact with family members and friends is another way I have made the lockdown more bearable. Due to the global nature of the Coronavirus pandemic, many people around the world are adhering to the same standards imposed to contain the virus. The similar circumstances I am experiencing along with my friends and family allow me to connect and sympathize with them about my concerns; whether it’s calling them on the phone or sharing a video call, technology lets me remain socially engaged, even though I may be physically separated. Having these daily conversations has helped reduce my sense of isolation and contributed to me staying focused on my responsibilities.

 

Unwinding with an enjoyable activity is another way I stay resilient during the COVID-19 lockdown. I like listening to audiobooks, music and completing school work - hobbies which can be done while adhering to physical distancing measures. I’ve found that focusing on these things is a healthier option than spending time on stress and anxiety-producing news updates. Engaging in these pursuits helps me to sustain a well-balanced lifestyle and energizes me for when I am called upon at work.

 

Adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic has required me to be flexible, as many plans I’ve had and routines I’ve established have been interrupted. I’ve made adjustments in how I complete the mission, and I will need to do the same in my personal life. I find the advice of Franklin Roosevelt reassuring and a good yardstick to measure my actions and expectations against during this time of sacrifice: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

 

I hope others can benefit from my experience so far, and use this time as an opportunity to become mentally stronger and less affected by challenging external conditions.