Unless you've been living under a rock -- which, to be fair, the safest place you can be right now is under a rock -- then you most certainly have experienced, or at the very least, heard, of the COVID-19 global pandemic that has brought the world to a standstill.
The pandemic originated from Wuhan, China, in December 2019, when local denizens came down with pneumonia caused by a novel strand of the coronavirus family, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.
Besides the obvious impact of a pandemic of this magnitude, another aspect of the pandemic is the socio-economic aspect that has been quietly gnawing away at the world economy.
Worldwide quarantines and lockdowns have tipped over the scales of the supply-demand chain that was already on the verge of collapse.
The two fringes of people's sentimentality aren't helping either: on one side, we have the skeptics who think the pandemic is overblown and thus, not take the required precautions; and on the other side, the paranoids who hoard supplies and hunker down for the apocalypse.
Considering things are unlikely to get better anytime soon with even the most optimistic estimates ruling out the possibility of a vaccine for at least 12 months, it is important to neither undersell nor blow things out of proportion.
Here are some things you can do as an individual that ensures that you are prepared for the worst while remaining within the realms of sanity and rationality:
1. Create A Budget Plan
First things first: you need to check where you stand financially. Unless your job allows you to work remotely, it is highly likely that you have been given unpaid leave -- if not relieved of your job entirely.
The first thing to do if such is the case is to stay optimistic and not lose faith. Then, you should get your bearings straight: find how much money you have on your person, how much you can afford to spend, and whether your health insurance can cover your expenses should you contract the pathogen.
2. Cut Down On Non-Essentials
It goes without saying, but in the event of a crisis -- which this absolutely is --, the last thing on your mind should be luxury.
It is important to be utilitarian, to be pragmatic, and to be economical. There is no telling when things are going to get better -- if at all -- so cut down on things that serve no practical purpose. It varies person-to-person, but the first things on your mind should be food, water, and medicine; anything other than that is just another zero at the end of your never-ending list of bills.
3. Don't Hoard Supplies
The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought out some of the worst instances of tribalism and xenophobia, particularly aimed at China. While most of us are frustrated and more than a little inconvenienced, it is important to maintain a semblance of human decency.
The same applies when buying supplies. We all saw the effects of hoarding when medical personnel at the frontlines of the pandemic were short on masks due to people "panic-buying" masks beforehand. Not just masks: reports have been circulating for weeks about empty shelves in stores and a lack of rations, medicinal supplies, and toiletries all over the world.
In this time of panic, it is important not to go overboard and stock up on surplus. Not only is it more economical, but it is also the humane thing to do.
4. Pick Up An Online Job
The benefits of picking up an online job, a trade, or a hobby of some sort is two-fold. Not only is it a necessary distraction in a very perilous time, but it can also help supplement your income.
One of the very few benefits of the coronavirus pandemic is the benefit of time; time that you wouldn't normally have; time to reflect and to comprehend; time to do something productive.
If online jobs weren't already proliferated, it is sure to be in light of COVID-19. Online work has such a niche market that you are sure to find something that suits your interests and overlaps with your knowledge.
5. Draw Up Important Financial Documents
As morbid and unsavory as it sounds, it might be in your and your family's best interests to draw up a Will.
This is going to be tough, as you are going to have to face your mortality and the brevity of life, but better a moment of retrospection and vulnerability than a lifetime of misery for people you care about.
Drawing up a Will will ensure that your assets -- however small or large that might be -- go to the person/s that you want it to go and people you love are taken care of, should something happen to you.
Besides a will, it is a good idea to check all financial documents to take stock of where your assets stand: that includes pending tax payments, bank documents, insurance, and the like.