Corona Days From an Ex-Submariner’s Perspective
These last few weeks I have been feeling like my life has rewinded back to my military service, 7 years ago, sitting in a metal tube 50 meters below sea level. I can’t see or hear the enemy, and have no clue where it will attack and when. The only thing you know for sure is that everything is uncertain, except your daily routine.
I’d like to share with you my experience in coping with similar situations that we are currently going through, from my perspective as a submariner.
At sea, the only thing we know is our daily routine. It's super important to stick to it in order to keep a healthy, productive and efficient schedule, not to mention - our sanity.
I’m no psychologist, I’m just a person who spent thousands of hours under the sea with zero uncertainty to what the future will bring.
Here are my 6 insights from survival mechanisms we used in the submarines on a daily basis and might help you keep on going while you are stuck at home.
Food is Your Comfort:
The chef is one of the most important people in the submarine. He cooks 3 course meals and bakes fresh challah bread for shabbat, feeding over 40 physically motivated and hungry adults. In case you were wondering - this is not an easy task. Make sure your meals are nutritious, and as tasty and enriching as you can. There is a good reason why a chef is stationed in a military submarine. Food is comforting; food brings people together.
When cruising in the submarine, the closest people to you are your crew members. Throughout the day we had 40 minute meal breaks with our fellow crew members, 3 times a day. Socializing was an essential part of the day. Nowadays - your crew is your family, take this time to strengthen your relations with them, and enjoy this rare quality time.
The most important thing in the submarine is your mission, which should be utterly clear to you; everyone knows their job -on a minute by minute basis. One crew member's mistake could be deadly to the rest or cause significant consequences to national security. Thank god we aren’t in the submarine, but don’t underestimate the importance of your work from home. Be sure you know what your daily or weekly tasks are and try not to get sidetracked by anything. During your “shift” you should shut out everything else and concentrate only on your action items.
As surprising as it sounds, in the submarine, we played XBOX and watched many films, such as our favorite - “21 Jump Street”, even in dangerous waters.
To have fun and enjoy leisure activities is crucial in such times, especially when we are constantly faced with negative news through the media and our friends. Find time to do activities with your family and friends. Yes even alone! Play video games or watch a film, as long as you’re not overdoing it ;).
Stretch your body - stretch your mind:
In the submarine we had one stationary bike for the whole crew. This bike had a coordination list and was occupied 24/7- each time you blinked there would be somebody peddling on that bike. Being confined in a closed space and sitting all day can have harmful effects on us, both physically and mentally. Make sure you save a slot in your day to workout, or at the very least- stretch. It is vital to keep our bodies moving and to get adrenaline pumping through us- this keeps us going for the rest of the day. There are many creative workouts available to you during these times - I’ve even encountered workouts on Zoom (even for groups!). For those who need a trainer or a group in order to workout, you no longer have an excuse!
Feed your brain:
In the submarine we always had our next goal fixed before us; every crew member had to prepare and study to get ready for his next position. The quarantine we have now is a great opportunity to set goals and study more things and expand our knowledge in order to develop ourselves professionally. I’ve encountered many IVY league universities offering free online courses. This could be a great opportunity for you to challenge yourself.
Stay in touch:
In the submarine every crew member was completely disconnected from his personal environment, it wasn’t possible to reach out to our families and friends to share our thoughts and experiences. This should not be the case for you! Use Zoom/FaceTime/Whatsapp/HouseParty to connect with your loved ones (I wish I had this option available when we spent weeks underwater).
I never thought these submarine experiences and insights would ever come in handy in the future, but I guess here we are. I hope I’ve helped you see the opportunity in the situation and the advantages. In the near future, it seems like all of us are “submariners”.
Tomer Yona is Head of Product at YTech Runway. At YTech Runway we provide tools, content and referrals that are helpful to founders, investors, service providers and tech lovers.