When the world feels like it is falling down around you, it can be hard to find the silver lining. Instead of sitting around worrying, though, you can use the COVID-19 pandemic as a wake-up call. Even if you are stuck at home or in isolation, there are plenty of things you can do to improve yourself and become a better person.
1. Evaluate Your Priorities
Facing mortality, whether it is your own, that of a loved one or the impending death of life as you know it can force you to face some hard facts about yourself. Resist the urge to be overly self-critical or judgemental. It doesn’t do anything productive. Instead, take time to reevaluate your priorities and make sure your lifestyle and choices line up with them. It is easy to get off track, but much harder to get back on it. Be patient with yourself and work slowly and steadily toward realigning your actions with your core beliefs.
3. Help Those Less Fortunate
If you are reading this, then you have an internet connection. Millions of people are not as fortunate. Investigate a few of the many organizations that are helping people through the pandemic, and those that have been doing work to help those less fortunate for many years. Find one that you feel a connection to and can support long-term. If you are passionate about youth, look into a reputable child charity that will impact the leaders of tomorrow. Do you love animals? Find out how you can help abandoned, neglected and abused animals through local shelters or rescue organizations. Research supports the idea that getting involved with charitable work and giving brings personal fulfillment and joy.
3. Continue Your Education
Now is a great time to learn something new. Whether you have been putting off a degree program, or you simply want to master a specific skill, there is no time like the present. You will probably have to settle for online classes, but there are plenty of things that can be learned effectively in that format. If the cost is keeping you from enrolling, you no longer have an excuse. MOOCs offer a high-quality learning experience, in many cases for free. You might decide that opting to purchase a certificate can help you advance into a new career, in which case you will likely incur a fee.
4. Practice Self Care
Being at home doesn’t have to mean neglecting your personal care. Sure, you’ll have to forego that trip for a massage and facial, but you can do a manicure and pedicure at home, soak in a hot bath with a book and scented candle, or even try your hand at making a gentle DIY body butter. Whatever helps you relax and feel pampered is a good thing.
5. Focus on What You Can Control
You can’t control everything going on. However, there are things you can control. Focus on them and put your best efforts forward. Taking control back is empowering and can help put the big picture in perspective. For example, you can’t stop the coronavirus, but you can wash your hands, stop touching your face, and wear a mask when you go out to reduce your chance of infection.
6. Maintain Connections
People are rushing to become more self-sufficient during this crisis. However, now is a great time to realize how closely connected human beings really are. It takes some extra effort, but you should work to maintain social connections in new ways. Pick up the phone, schedule a zoom meeting for your book club or use video calls to connect to the family you haven’t been able to see in person.
7. Manage Your Stress
Stress can quickly derail your improvements and plans. Learn healthy strategies for dealing with it. Practice a simple breath meditation, participate in a video yoga or tai chi class, or take a walk around your house, neighborhood, or a local park to help yourself relax and unwind. Just be sure to follow local guidelines when you do.
Life as you knew it is gone for the time being. Instead of letting the fear and uncertainty overwhelm you, use this time for reflection and personal growth, You will come out of it stronger, more resilient and a better person.
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