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Mindful mornings, remote work and family workouts

By Jamila Cross,


COVID-19 has impacted our daily lives and routines in a short space of time. We are a few weeks into our nation’s official response to this unprecedented public health emergency.

Our language of this crisis has made terms like ‘social distancing’, ‘pandemic emergency’, ‘immune system’, and ‘well-being’ our new normal. What Trinbagonians may oftentimes seem to dismiss with the proverbial ‘God-is-a-Trini’ attitude has arguably not been the disposition of citizens nor the government.

Trinbagonians are experiencing a revolution in the way we engage with our families, work, and daily lives which has given those with access to technology a new paradigm in the way we do everything.

The world sporting fraternity has postponed, or cancelled, major sporting leagues around the world, mass participation events, collegiate sports, and the big one, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Prior to the announcement of the postponement, The International Olympic Committee’s President Thomas Bach stated: “The health and well-being of all those involved in the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is our number-one concern. All measures are being taken to safeguard the safety and interests of athletes, coaches and support teams. We are an Olympic community; we support one another in good times and in difficult times. This Olympic solidarity defines us as a community.”

The Olympics were scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9. We await further announcements in the coming months as the world’s top athletes continue their preparation with great uncertainty; for many it may be their last opportunity to seek Olympic glory. These are certainly extraordinary times!


Technology, friend and foe

A week ago, I entered the St Mary’s College pool for my morning swim with my fellow swimmers at the Trinity Masters Club—a mature group with an enduring competitive spirit.

A week later, a decision was made by the board to keep the pool closed until further notice. My hectic mornings of school drop off by 6 a.m. and entering the pool by 6.30 a.m. has been relegated to managing my household with three out-of-school children and ‘YouTubing’ videos on how to work remotely with kids.

I have to smile, because for months I have not been able to enjoy the true beauty of living in the hills of the Northern Range, and this week for the first time I was able to experience mindful mornings.

While remote work has been adopted by many organisations, technology has been friend and foe. I find myself more constantly connected, with more virtual meetings, and perhaps as it is the first week of transitioning employers want to ensure that work plans and ‘deliverables’ are met.

I am mindful about my mental health and my ability to manage my expectations of being a mother, professional and everything in between. Week one was overwhelming, and I have set up a routine that includes mandatory family workout, a dip in the nearby spring, and breakfast all before I begin my workday at least three days this week. A bit draconian, but necessary!

This new season, potentially at least until April 20 allows me to be more mindful in an era of burnout. Less time in my commute to and from work will hopefully allow me more productive time both personally and professionally. The lessons being learnt already would be, if I can successfully deliver from home, is it really necessary for me to work in the office?

Some jobs may never have this option, but for many currently working remotely, it may force organisations to rethink the whole concept of staff productivity in terms of targets and outcomes and less on clocking hours.

For many of my fellow weekend warriors, and professional athletes, training has changed. Coaches have the opportunity to integrate technology, training apps, and monitor the progress of their athletes’ individual programmes virtually. While the sheer camaraderie of training with your teammates, or clubs can never be understated coaches and athletes have been adapting quickly and incorporating technology in their workout plans through fitness wearables, and virtual training sessions. Be safe, stay healthy!


Jamila Cross is a triathlete, former professional footballer for Sevilla FC women’s Club Spain, and mother of three boys Tishad, Akim and Santiago. She is the founder of the Mariama Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation raising the storytelling bar for the Caribbean’s female athletes.