Ah, good ol’ 2020…a year that means so much to so many. A year that altered our perspectives, pulled us out of our comfort zones, and launched us into a time of transformation.
There is a good chance you have been deeply affected by COVID-19.
Maybe, your job has gone completely virtual for the first time in your life. Maybe, your job is bravely fighting this virus on front lines. Maybe, you’re a parent and struggling with managing school in your house (this sounds crazy even typing it). Maybe, you’ve lost your job unexpectedly and are lost emotionally. Maybe, you’ve had the virus yourself or know someone who has.
And if someone close to you lost their battle with the virus, I am so deeply sorry. This is a time that we will tell our grandchildren about; a time so painful and raw which has quickly shifted our mindsets, opinions, and ways of life.
I’m of the opinion that no one truly knows if this is the “new normal” or just a trying time in our lives.
Nonetheless, I would like to share my personal takeaways with you 7 months into COVID, in hopes that it sparks your own reflection.
1. We must hold relationships near and dear to our hearts.
Does anyone have a Wilson volleyball yet? Let’s face it, social distancing can be downright lonely. While I understand the underlying premise behind it, not being able to see our beloved friends and family in person is painful.
But, we can make this isolation period more manageable by staying in touch with our beloveds virtually.
In the past few months, I have reached out to people that I haven’t talked to in years; it has been reinvigorating to reminisce over memories and connect about our daily lives.
Luckily, people have also reached out to me for the same reason.
This is usually how it goes:
“Hey how’s it going?! What have you been up to?!
“I miss you though”
“Miss you too, friend.”
In other words, we get to the true meaning of friendship so much quicker….and it is beautiful.
When in doubt, reach out…and the right people will make you feel better. I have learned that truth the hard way.
It’s also a time to meet new friends. I’m sure I’m the last to know, but I had no idea how easy it was to meet like-kind friends virtually. I’ve joined tons of groups related to blogging, positivity, and healthy habits via Facebook and Twitter. I highly recommend googling a group of your choice to meet friends you don’t even know yet! I have listed my favorite virtual groups below.
Tony Robbins Comeback Challenge(A lively bunch focused on encouraging others and making action-focused moves)
Vegetarian & Vegan Recipes (People who share their personal victories with vegetarian/vegan food and help others with inspiration for their next recipe)
Add to Bucketlist (A group of people who love to inspire others by their personal travels that are absolutely breathtaking and drool-worthy)
Positivity Pledge (I created this public group during COVID for those that may need a boost of joy…all are welcome!)
2. Your local surroundings should inspire you, in some shape or form.
Why do you live, where you live? Do you have family or friends close by? Do you live near nature? Are you able to enjoy your favorite hobby consistently?
While local trips to the grocery store can serve as quite the rush, it isn’t enough.
It has become blatantly obvious of the other local perks you have at your disposal.
For the first time in our lifetimes, we have been exposed to an independent and self-driven lifestyle when it comes to recreational activities and hobbies.
We are not guaranteed movie theaters, malls, or concerts. So, how do we make our own fun? How can we entertain ourselves? It could be a grand adventure, if we let it.
I have learned a huge lesson in that external thrills and attractions don’t compare to outdoor natural beauty.
We are personally grateful that we live 20 minutes away from vivacious rivers and parks as well as hours away from jaw dropping nature in the Pacific Northwest. I long to be more connected to earth and nature moving forward.
The real question is, where could you live that has the power to consistently fill your heart with joy that is 100% in your control?
3. We’ve entered an era of services, newfound skills, and hobbies.
There are tons of industries consumers engaged in prior to COVID that may be altered forever. Who else has cut their own hair, which typically costs $50.00?
Who else has engaged in movie nights at home, with all the thrills of candy and popcorn from a movie theater, for half the price?
And now you can eat that buttered popcorn and candy without judgment? (not that we really cared anyway). While new industries will pop up, some of the services that were purchased prior to COVID-19, will subside due to convenience, comfort, and cost.
It’s important to highlight the skills people crave to gain. Tons of people are actually initiating “learn how to do that thing they always have wanted to do and never found time for it.”
One of my favorite new skills took a whopping 20 minutes and was surprisingly easy. Hello, homemade bath bombs with aromatic smells and beautiful flower petals. W
hy is this hobby great? It is low cost, as you likely have a few of the products that you need at home (i.e. baking soda and essential oils).
On a master level note, I have also initiated home projects that I’ve been putting off for no other reason other than I wasn’t ready for that type of commitment.
My work-from-home situation nudged me to initiate my dream of having a “white colorful office.”
Although I had to pause the project for the rest of the room, I’m quite pleased with the setup so far!
4. It is a perfect time to embark upon a meaningful quest.
Unless you’re going through a major challenge, there is no need to waste this time period by endlessly perusing social media, drinking alcohol, or watching tv. Those are activities that can be embedded within larger quests in small doses.
Get lost in a quest that is long and makes you feel satisfied when you think of it. What do you love learning about? What do you want to give back to the world? What is your biggest strength that could help others?
For me, my current quest was my very own book-a-thon. I’ve always enjoyed reading casually as a pastime; however, the way I chose books was quite sloppy.
To make matters worse, I read inconsistently and felt like a phony. This time, not only did I conduct extensive research on books themselves, (AKA ensuring the books were on the Goodreads Top 100 Books of All Time list) I also purchased them all at once, so I knew I had something waiting for me as soon as I finished one of them. This is the type of momentum that I crave.
Here are a few books on my book-a-thon list in case you want to join in on the fun!
- Buy Year of Yes on Amazon ($12)
- Buy The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank on Amazon ($5)
- Buy The 4 Hour Work Week on Amazon ($14)
- Buy The Book Thief on Amazon ($7)
- Buy All The Light We Cannot See on Amazon ($14)
- Buy Daring Greatly on Amazon ($13)
- Buy The Language of Flowers ($13)
- Buy When Breath Becomes Air on Amazon ($14)
- Buy Big Magic on Amazon ($14)
- Buy 1984 on Amazon ($14)
- Buy Lolita on Amazon ($14)
- Buy Catch 22 on Amazon ($14)
5. Positions are considered essential or non-essential.
It’s a question I never really thought about, until now. What positions are critical to making life move along?
What can we not live without..and what are the positions to support that? I don’t know about you, but the way I view grocery clerks transformed from “just another human” to “thank you lord for being willing to work here.”
The way we view what positions are essential versus non-essential has completely shifted the way we view our day. I am so grateful for people in essential positions who keep our world flourishing. They have always been that way, I . was just too ignorant to see the truth.
6. We have a new awareness of germs.
No, I don’t want no germs. Germs can’t get no love from me. I like to channel my inner TLC voices when I think of germs now. Get away!! ::insert sassy badass voice::
Prior to the pandemic, I drank off of people without thinking and didn’t wash my hands as much as I should have. I personally believe the focus on germs will benefit us long-term.
I have completely transformed into a germaphobe….and I like it. To make things a little more fun and less dull, I’ve even recently gotten into fragrant hand sanitizers to give myself a zippy boost during the day.
p.s. I’m happily awaiting products to support germaphobic humans like myself in the future. Can’t wait to meet you touch-less technology!
7. It is okay to indulge in purchases that bring you joy.
I know it’s not becoming to promote materialistic purchases, but, hear me out. I’m not saying it’s a good idea to buy a brand new Porsche to self-soothe a past void. I’m talking about small buys that brighten your day and bring you joy instantly, every time.
For example, I was eyeing a 52 lists for happiness book for months and couldn’t justify the price. Last week, I saw the book was finally on sale and bought it instantly! Every time I fill out a journal entry, I feel rejuvenated.
My other favorite recent low-cost yet high value purchases are:
- “Real Simple” Magazine which shares inspirational hacks and simple pleasures. Get 12 Issues of Real Simple for $5 On Amazon
- An Old-Fashioned Recipe Box to store recipes from people that I love. Buy Recipe Box on Amazon ($14)
- My mini garden is flourishing! Get a Similar Seed Variety Pack on Amazon ($14)
8. Establishing a routine can keep you going.
I once read that your routine should mimic a race in that there are clear start and end times.
Providing physical and mental boundaries is important. After wearing pajamas for my first 3 weeks and inconsistently living my life, it got old….FAST!
It is really important to do something in the morning that gives you a jolt of energy. Whether it is hot lemon water, celery juice, taking a bath, or practicing a little self-care, find something that you love and stick with it.
One low-cost yet high-reward activity I complete every morning is finding a refreshing & citrusy face wash. It is a ritual I complete that gives me hope in the morning and reminds me to appreciate little moments throughout the day. I’m loving a kale & spinach superfood cleanser lately; it wakes you up.
At the end of my work day, I religiously work out; most recently, I have become obsessed with riding my bike and perusing neighborhoods near and far. I feel as cool as the 10 year olds scurrying around!
I have a newfound appreciation for my local area and love relishing in gorgeous landscaping and vertical gardening displays.
I have enhanced the activity by listening to an uplifting podcast, such as Super Soul Sundays or the Tony Robbins Podcast. Most importantly, it is something that I look forward to…and that can make your day better.
Do you do something every morning and night that you love? If not, make a plan right now. Make a move!
9. Challenges can bring out the best in people.
I am in awe of how many people I know that have offered their money, time, and support to help others in need.
Whether they’re in the healthcare industry or drop off of doughnuts to your nearby hospital, I am touched and inspired to do better by caring people. Here’s a few ways to help the helpers.
10. Taking an active stance to be more present can make you view life in a different lens.
Gone are the days where we run multiple errands in the morning and attend events at night aimlessly. I have truly appreciated this time where things are slow and you can reflect on what events truly matter to you.
Somehow, things are different now. I never ride my bike without gazing at the sky in all of it’s beauty. When I look at any grocery cashier or someone in scrubs, I make a concerted effort to smile at them directly….as if they know I am eternally grateful for their service.
In other words, life is beautiful…if you’re present enough to appreciate it.