We all began 2020 with various plans. Whether it was to travel, socialise more, attend a conference, or have a huge wedding. Unfortunately, the world has been saddled with a ‘plague’ called ‘COVID-19’. We as humans can attest to the fact that no one likes unpredictability or losing the power to control their future in one way or the other. For uncertainty, always breeds anxiety. But there is something that losing control does for us as people. It enables us to take control of the only thing we really have power over - NOW. So, this very moment or second is all we can make the most of while we still even have it. Hence, the following are ways we can prevent the fear of tomorrow from destroying today and rather using this very moment we have to create the future we so desire.
Some people cringe at the sound or sight of this word. Especially if it’s a habit that wasn’t built early in life. HuffPost stated in its article, The Reading Habits of Ultra-Successful People, that some of the world’s richest people like Bill Gates read 50 books per year. Similarly, men like Mark Cuban read 3 hours every day. People who work full time or multiple jobs may feel defeated at the sight of this. But guess what, social distancing has finally given you the time you never had to do what you could never do. Research shows that reading helps with depression, anxiety and Dysthymia. Though reading is a cultivated habit, experts say it can take 18 to 254 days to form a new habit. Why not give reading the shot that it not only deserves, but you also deserve.
Someone may ask if this means sitting and just thinking about yourself. Well, sort of, only this time in a way to enhance your self-awareness and productivity. Remember when you first fell in love, desired something, or looked forward to a trip, a new house, the arrival of a baby or a new job. You managed to spend a considerable amount of time daydreaming about it even without noticing. Research shows that people are capable of spending up to 4 hours a day lost in their thoughts. This is something which can easily happen during a season like social distancing. So why not use it to think about your decisions or activities since the year began? Be it the kind of friends you have, how you can be a better mother, father, sibling, leader, partner, boss or employee. Being self-aware comes from the ability to reflect on the actions you take and whether they are impulsive (driven simply by emotion) or reflective (driven by substantial reasoning).
Science shows that majority of our behaviour is driven by the subconscious mind. Hence, we are unaware of some of our behaviours 90% of the time until others tell us or it creates a specific desired or undesired pattern in our life. So, take the time to really assess your output and life conditions, and whether they reflect the kind of person you want to be. This will give you the opportunity to improve or change for a better you, today, and the days ahead.
Engage with resourceful material
Thank God for YouTube! Today we can learn how to knot a tie, do our hair, cook, play a musical instrument or learn about world history. Apple is always finding new ways to upgrade their products. Well, guess what? The best product you have is yourself. So why not add value to that? There are puzzles that improve your cognitive ability, interesting documentaries on the web and even free one week or 5-day online courses you can take to learn a new skill: even if it’s just the basics. Prager University’s website has free 5-minute videos on several topics ranging from economics, finance, business management to psychology. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to upgrade your knowledge and add more value to your life.
If exercising is already a part of your daily or weekly routine, then that’s great. However, we usually limit exercising to going to the gym or doing an online workout. But taking time to clean our homes, bedrooms, doing gardening, washing the car are all great ways to improve our health. These activities also allow you to get double results of not only being healthy but completing a task that improves your daily life in general. So, if unable to go to the car wash due to social distancing, take time to wash your own car. It’s even fun to do it with your family or partner. You can spare your nanny or gardener from health risks during this time by doing some of the work yourself. If you look at it as exercising, it takes away the nuanced feeling of it being a difficult chore. You can engage in chores as a family or even teach yourself how to make a new meal, change a light bulb, paint your room, tidy your closet, etc. There is no better way of learning than by doing it yourself. It’s also one of the best forms of cardio.
Spending time with family
The hustle and bustle of life makes it difficult for couples or families to spend quality time together. Going to work, church, weddings, conferences etc. have become an escape for many. Especially when communication is not your strong suit. Don’t allow this precious time to then pass you by. If you don’t have board games, try to buy a few, or even uno cards. You can take time to call friends you haven’t spoken to in a while or have that long overdue conversation with a partner that has been on hold due to the distractions of a busy life. You’ll not only learn things about other people by doing this, but interactions and relationships help us learn a lot about ourselves too.
This season, as the world battles with COVID-19, humanity has been given the blessing of realising what truly matters in life - people. Likewise, social distancing which the virus has compelled us to impose on ourselves has given us the blessing of solitude. Solitude is an opportunity to increase your altitude. Thus, whether you are binge watching shows on Netflix, making videos on Tik-Tok and Instagram, or spending time with family; remember to take time to add value to yourself. So that life after social distancing can be a reflection of an opportunity well used.