2020 was going to be the year — the year you finally travel to Iceland to see the Northern Lights or the year that you were supposed to have the greatest wedding night of your life. In any case, many of us had so much planned for the year ahead only to be met with a great wall that is the pandemic we are facing today. It’s definitely not a situation that anyone would like if they have a choice, but you have the ability to make it a time worth living as well – and right from the comforts of your home!
As the famous saying goes “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” That’s exactly what happened when restaurants had churned out takeaway and delivery menus almost overnight, and events that had gone virtual because there was no way to hold any physical events. The learning point here is this — if you look on the bright side and refuse to dwell and wallow in negativity, you often find that there are opportunities everywhere and things can always be made better. You are the deciding factor – you choose how you spend your time.
Learn New Skills (or hone existing ones!)
Our favourite excuse for procrastination is, “I don’t have time for that!” That sentence might be valid when we had to commute to work daily and have a heavy workload along with other commitments. If you have more time on your hands now because you don’t have to commute, or have less work to do because of the situation, it’s a good time to learn a new skill or hone your existing ones!
Learning new skills takes time to trial and error to find your optimum learning style, and it also takes time to master. So, if you have been bored during this stay-home period, learning a new skill strikes two birds with one stone by using time productively!
Some skills that people have been honing:
- Baking! (search #covidbaking or #pandemicbaking , it’s actually a thing now!)
- IT Skills like Microsoft Excel, which can be good for your professional use
- With more time to practice music, we’re hearing more beautiful sounds over the digital media these days
- Language – explore what free apps can offer to finally learn that language of your choice!
Exploring your creativity brings so many benefits including stress relief and allows you to express yourself. Time flies when you are completely invested in creating. So, go ahead and bring out that painting set that you’ve shelved for a while and get some colours across the pages. For the ones with children in the family, this period is definitely not easy for you because you are now responsible for a larger part of your child’s day, including learning. Art lessons are a good way of spending time with them – creative expression with paint and colours calms children and occupies them effectively. They don’t even have to use paintbrushes, doing finger painting is equally great — just remember to cover up your precious marble floors!
And start ticking them off, of course! Creating lists is great, you spend time creating those lists, you get things into perspective, and you actually get things done! Plus, you usually feel a sense of achievement seeing a cleared list at the end. I mean, you can finally go through that list of films that you have been dying to watch with your loved ones — there’s no better time!
Some other ideas of lists include –
- Reading lists (also check out the 3 books that our co-founder has recommended here!)
- Travel lists – a list of countries you want to visit, along with specific spots so that you can cut down on the research time when it’s finally time to travel!
- A list of things that make you happy – just writing about it can cheer you up
- Grocery list – probably about the only thing that you might not clear during this time (calm down and don’t hoard!)
Home workouts are all the buzz now and there are many studios that offer virtual workout kits. Having more time around the house unfortunately also means that you always feel like eating, so tighten up your belt and equalize the input with the output of energy! There are many pay-as-you-wish platforms offering free IG live yoga sessions (remember that these independent studios are also struggling with little to no income, so contribute where you can), and you can easily just roll out of bed to join these workout sessions so why not!
For an extra boost of motivation, pair up with a buddy and work out together online. That brings us to the next best thing to do with your time.
Ironically, time to hang out with your friends!
At the end of the day, we are social animals and talking to people is still important in our daily lives. But not being able to see our friends doesn’t mean that you just cut them off! Ironically, this is the best period to catch up with them, albeit via digital means.
Many are doing their virtual catch-ups over video calls, and many are even doing exercises together over video conference calls. If you are in a sports team, you are probably already doing that and if you don’t, time to suggest that to your teammates to motivate each other to move a little!
You can also play games together with House Party or watch films together over Netflix Party.*
Donate or Contribute to a Worthy Cause
For those who have been consistently doing volunteer work, that might be on hold now but you can always do good, remotely! Look for causes that you connect with and contribute a little. Charities are hit hardest during times of need because they survive entirely on donations. Some of you might have lost your job or received a pay cut and now find it difficult to donate as you did previously. There are a few things that you can do —
- Check with your choice of charity whether you can lower your donation amount to something that is more sustainable for yourself
- If you have to stop your monetary donation, check whether there are other ways to contribute
- Find out whether there are any causes that you can support in non-monetary ways
- Be alert to the people around you. Some might be forced to live in with abusive family members, etc. If you know something, do take the time and effort to check in with them and offer support where possible.
There are many people who have trouble satisfying even their basic needs, made tougher in this period of uncertainty and turmoil. Remember, make good use of your time and make your best life – and sometimes, that means giving back.
*Resources are not affiliated to August Berg in any way: