Update: My personal experience over the last couple months

Let’s be real, the last couple months have been absolute craziness. From strained international relations in January, through the wildfires in Australia to the ongoing Corona Pandemic, I think its safe to say most of us wouldn’t have pictured this future as we celebrated into the new year 2020. Over the last couple months, I think, more than ever, people had very different experiences in their daily lives depending on their profession, their age and geographical location.

For me, the corona crisis tore a little hole in my daily life – coming from my project at Yale straight into my next lab rotation in the DKFZ in Germany, my daily life was very ordered, “repetitive” and routine-based. Wake up, Lab, lunch, lab, workout/swim, sleep, repeat. Despite the repetitive nature, I really enjoyed the science and the everchanging intellectual challenges it brought with it, so I never had a boring or dull day. Fast forward a month when the corona crisis is in full flow, and I’m stuck at home, with no real routine, and no deadlines to hand in university work. On top, my master thesis plans are headed out of the window because labs are closing down and reorganizing projects.

Now I still count myself very lucky to live in a country with a great health system and I’m grateful for the people who work on the frontlines to battle the corona pandemic, as well as the health of my family and mine – yet I can’t deny the hole Covid-19 blazed into my pathway and the toll it took on me.

What I came to realize late in march after a couple weeks of directionless contemplating, is that at every moment in life, I had a goal or an objective – small or big – but I had one, and I am not used to the absence of it. What I realized, is that I needed to keep challenging myself, needed to progress, because my personal happiness comes from going forward. With that in mind I redirected my energy into fitness, as that’s one of the few things Covid-19 didn’t completely restrict. I started everything from home workouts to hill runs, HIIT training and lifting, improvising with my weights and equipment with anything I could find at home. I usually train 3 to 4 hours a day, with one rest day a week. At this point, I think its important to mention that I used to be a competitive swimmer, and 4-hour workout units used to be my normal. So in some way, this was me going back to a version of myself before science became my focus in life.

Now, 8 weeks into this lifestyle, it restored my routine, my feelings of satisfaction of having accomplished something in a day, and the mental challenge of struggling and improving myself. I don’t think this lifestyle is sustainable in the long run, as I will have to refocus a lot of my energy back on science once I’m back to work, but in the meantime, sports have given me a purpose and routine that I’ve come to love and rely on.

With that, I hope everyone is safe and healthy and looks after themselves in these tough times!

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