No one can deny that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way the world works. One positive of the current dynamic that we can harness to improve our lives: While waiting for widespread vaccine distribution, we still have time to focus on things that weren’t even in our line of sight a year ago.
Instead of wishing away the rest of the pandemic by watching series after series on Netflix while eating junk food, why not use the time to our advantage? Why not devote energy and attention to our mental and physical health?
Remember that regardless of what we do during the pandemic, the time will pass, so we might as well make the most of it.
Think about healthy, productive and stimulating ways to use time so that when we look back on the pandemic, we’ll realize that we actually made the most of it and developed new habits – a mentally and physically healthier way of life – so it doesn’t end up being the worst year, after all.
The fabulous coaching question coined by Scott Eblin helps frame intentions:
“What can we or should we be working on or doing today to put us in a better position one month from now, three months from now or six months from now?”
Here are eight undertakings to consider now that can put you in a better position post-pandemic:
- Earn a new career certification: Whether you’re one of the lucky ones or were laid off, enhancing your knowledge and skills while you have more free time on your hands can help you land a new job or move up the ladder in the near-future.
- Eat more wholesome, home-cooked meals: With extra time to meal plan, think about how you can improve your nutrition and build in healthy choices to your post-pandemic routine. How about baking protein-packed muffin tin omelets into your morning routine instead of actual muffins?
- Create a system to better organize your budget and expenses: Keeping a finger on the pulse of your finances will help you be more aware of your spending and better manage your money. And bonus: You’ll be more prepared every tax season, so you waste less time compiling expenses to write-off.
- Develop a sustainable fitness routine: Rather than only working out when time allows and you feel up to it after a full day’s work, for example, you could establish a new boundary that gives you the time and space you need to work out every morning, right after you wake up.
- Uncover your desire to learn a special skill that you’ve kept buried: Diverting your attention to a hobby – whether painting or piano or golf or baking or hiking or community service – can relieve stress, improve your health, and lead to better work performance, from boosting creativity and productivity to fostering a more positive attitude on the job. It also puts a point in the “life” column in favor of work-life balance.
- Read books: Reading books benefits both your physical and mental health. And needless to say: You learn stuff (and knowledge is power, as they say). Research shows reading:
- improves brain connectivity
- increases your vocabulary and comprehension
- empowers you to empathize with other people
- aids in sleep readiness
- reduces stress
- lowers blood pressure and heart rate
- fights depression symptoms
- prevents cognitive decline as you age
- contributes to a longer life
- Declutter: Get rid of things you don’t need. Order not only reduces chaos in your environment, but also in your mind. Research demonstrates decluttering reduces stress, helps fight depression, makes it easier to focus and even leads to eating better! Donate, sell or trash unneeded items before you add anything more to your collection.
- Network, network, network and network some more: Give thought to key relationships from your past and be intentional about reaching out to as many of these individuals as possible. You never know when you might need help, with what you’ll need help (a connection to a job opportunity? an introduction? career advice?) nor who could help until the time comes. And you don’t want the first-time-in-a-long-time that someone hears from you to be when you need something.
Whatever we want to achieve while our social activities are limited, we can be kind to our future selves and, as Nike says, just do it! There is no better time than right now to take steps in the right direction.