Reflections of a Credit Suisse MD who spent 8 weeks shut in a room
Yves-Alain Sommerhalder is no stranger to solitude. The Credit Suisse managing director, who was promoted last year to run the global trading solutions business, says he's spent eight weeks in quarantine in the past 12 months. And he's currently in quarantine again.
Sommerhalder is based in Zurich, but travels in and out of Hong Kong frequently. Whenever he goes to Hong Kong, he encounters the administrative region's 21-day quarantine, under which individuals must stay holed-up, alone, in a government mandated hotel.
In a post on LinkedIn, Sommerhalder offers some thoughts on how to handle this kind of existence. Arriving in quarantine with jet lag is a recipe for grumpiness, he says - but if you plan well and have the right mindset, it can be bearable.
He advocates renting sports equipment for your room, bringing scented candles to offset the potentially damp smell aroma, ensuring you have a wide array of comfortable clothes, bringing vitamin D tablets to offset the lack of sunlight, and having a stack of books.
Most of all, though, Sommerhalder says you need to plan: every hour of his day is planned from, "from morning to the time I go to sleep." This includes work, but also studying (on YouTube), exercises and meditation. "Admit somewhat freakish," says Sommerhalder of his strict regime.
He's also focused on being more healthy when he emerges from quarantine than when he went in. He's on a diet and has lost 5kg; he hasn't drunk wine for two weeks, and he's cutting down on coffee. "This is one of the few times in life where you are more in control of your environment," Sommerhalder says.
Lateral thinking helps too. Sommerhalder has discovered that the hotel ironing board makes a far better table than the hotel desk does.
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