We have to wonder if, after the Coronavirus pandemic breaks, we will say the words, “I’m too busy,” ever again.
Whether you’re working from home and saving your commute, or you’ve been laid off and are grappling with a whole new day to day, everyone seems to have some spare time on their hands. We’ve been handed this shiny, untapped gift. So…what are you doing with it?
Looking to your phone to find inspiration as to what to do with your time probably led you here, so we shall not disregard the phone as a powerful tool. But we will call out social media (we think it can handle the bad press). If you find yourself suddenly wanting to bake bread just to show the world you can, you might want to ask: do you even care about bread?
What else has captured hours of your time because it made you feel relevant on social media but maybe not fulfilled otherwise? We’re all guilty of it on some level. Instead, let’s use this time to actually slow down and get to the things that were begging for our time when we didn’t have it.
Time is the silver lining the universe gave us during this pandemic. Let’s be sure to utilize it.
Recalibration of Rituals
It only takes a few weeks to make a new routine. How’s your isolation routine? Are you proud of what you’ve been up to these last few weeks? Have you tapped into your personal to-do list, or have you become a bit too comfortable clocking hours on the couch with your phone in hand?
Whether you’ve been consciously directing your new isolation routine or not, it’s well established at this point. Maybe it’s time to have a talk with yourself. A real, honest, hard to do check-in. Are you prioritizing social media trends over your own physical or mental health, possibly putting off your goals? What rituals don’t serve you right now?
Rituals come in many shapes and forms. Scrolling Instagram for two hours while drinking a coffee can become a ritual. Staying in your sports bra all day can become a ritual. Spending 4 hours on Zoom calls can become a ritual. If you have goals, want to learn something new, or get to those things on your wish list, you’re going to have to recalibrate what’s important to you. You’re also going to have to get rid of your time-sucking rituals to make space for the rituals that you consciously want to choose.
HOW does one recalibrate? It’s called accountability. Write down where your time goes every day. Scratch down that daily routine that you’ve created for yourself and take ownership of what’s serving you and what needs to go. Make goals to omit those time-sucking habits and create space for something powerful to take its place.
Shed Mental Weight
Feeding off the idea of recalibration, the next step is to ditch what doesn’t serve you for a mentally healthier you. Take note of topics and situations that weigh you down. That weight can be lifted, but you’ve got to dive in to figure out how.
One example is a conversation about a relationship that needs closure. Uncomfortable? Sure, but there’s no time like the present to make yourself feel lighter and shed that mental weight. Mental weight can come in a variety of ways, sometimes a nagging chore or a basket of paperwork. Consider just doing the task, you’ve probably thought of doing it for a longer accumulative amount of time than it would take to accomplish it.
No matter what’s consuming your brain, this is the time to look in and find a solution.
HOW does one shed this mental weight? Turn to pencil and paper. Write down what eats up your mental ram and makes your human processor slow. Once you’ve put words to these concerns, it will be apparent that each requires its own kind of solution, such as a tough conversation, meditation, or a counselling session. This is about finding clarity and letting go. Your mental health always deserves full attention.
Stop Hiding from Yourself, Love Yourself
Continuing to look inward, find and embrace what you love about yourself. One thing is sure, you’ll always have yourself and having the skill to make yourself happy is the most valuable skill. If you’ve made it this far down the list, you’ve successfully recalibrated, made some new routines, ditched some mental nags and now have extra time for love.
Who better to give it to than yourself?!
Uncover what you like about you, such as your ability to laugh at squirrels running on the fence out your kitchen window; your need for laundry organization; that you adore stretching before you get out of bed or that you always have mismatched socks. Whatever these skills or quirks are, embrace them! Love them. Allow them to make you happy. Be on the hunt for these silver linings.
The sooner you realize who you are, quirks and all, sans ego, the easier it will be for you to love yourself and for others to love you right back – the authentic kind of love.
Gosh darn it, we all need an extra dose of that these days, don’t we?
Bring the Backburner Forward
Time to ditch the phone and tackle the wish list. Assuming from a mentally stable and recalibrated standpoint (see points above), you’ll be able to pull from the long to-do list or start working towards your goals. Sounds easy, but we know to-do lists are daunting to the eye.
HOW does one start this process effectively? Start small. Write down daily desires to and something to accomplish by the end of the week. That’s it. Each day one thing gets crossed off, and one “bigger” or more time committing “thing” on your to-do list gets some love. Keep the steps small and ride the productivity highs. Visually and digitally track your projects and to-do lists with an app like Milanote or Monday, it’s oh-so-rewarding.
Time to Motivate, Not Procrastinate
It’s a bit of a caveat here, but pretty please remember you did all of this hard work to accomplish some projects and rewrite your isolation routine with an emphasis on utilizing the gift of time. Don’t let it slip away with procrastination. Recognize that deadlines can seem hard without outside pressure or a known timeline, so make one for yourself, then find someone to help hold you accountable.
Pandemics with silver linings don’t often happen (thank goodness). Take advantage before the hustle and bustle are back. In hindsight, you don’t want to realize that your time in isolation was all about sweatpants and scrolling.
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