How to make the most of a difficult situation: covid-19
In unprecedented times like these it can be difficult to know what to do because like the word 'unprecedented' means, we have never before known or experienced such circumstances. We haven’t got the experience to draw from so we have to make things up as we go along and find a new ‘normal’. It’s scary because it’s uncertain on so many levels.
You may be worried about your own health, the health and well-being of loved ones, your job and financial security or the wider implications for the world. The media doesn’t help us to feel better either as it tends to focus on the negative aspects. However, there are some silver linings to be had if we know where and how to look for them.
Be selective with news
Firstly, stop watching and consuming too much news – we get the same information repeated many times over and there isn’t really much we can do about the situation in other countries. Instead, look for the good news stories; how communities are pulling together (just consider when many people came out of their houses to applaud the NHS), individuals volunteering to help their neighbours and reduced pollution levels.
Create a new routine
If you have to work from home you may find it useful to create a new structure or working routine to help you stay focused and on track. Getting up at a regular time each day and trying to stick to your working hours can be helpful, including taking a proper lunch break. Make sure you don’t get caught up with working late or extra hours. If you normally have a commute to work, use the extra time to do something enjoyable for yourself (such as reading or listening to an audiobook, taking a walk, time on a hobby). It can help to have a specific place set up for your work if possible and to dress as though you are going into the office (or at least get out of your PJ’s!) as this gets us in to ‘work mode’.
Create a home-schooling routine
If you are having to home school encourage your kids to do also create a routine. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go to plan and be aware of the expectations you are placing on your children. This can be a particularly difficult time for kids, especially younger ones when they don’t fully understand what’s going on and can’t see their friends. Don’t lie to them but consider how to explain things in a non-scary, truthful way and encourage them to share how they feel. See it as an opportunity to get to know your child better and spend quality time with them. Play games, go for walks together or do things in the garden.
Enjoy slowing down
I’ve heard many people already say that this situation has forced (or encouraged) them to slow down and do things in a different way. Many people are taking advantage of the opportunity to get out for a walk or jog, which is great for both physical and mental health. If you haven’t already, then I suggest you slow down and take care of yourself. It seems that we will be in lockdown or socially distancing for some time yet so there is no need to keep rushing around.
Tips for making the most of this situation
Declutter and tidy the house. I’ve seen many people post on social media about how they have cleared out various rooms in their house. Now is a great opportunity to get round to all those jobs you keep putting off or just haven’t had time for. Our living space can greatly affect our moods so ensure your house is clear and calming.
Connect with others. We are lucky that we are in an age of digital technology that allows us to video call family and friends. Schedule time each week to connect and have a chat. I’ve started hosting a weekly quiz night via Zoom for family and friends. Remember too, that some people don’t have access to the internet or digital world so give them a call or send them a postcard/letter (it’s lovely to receive something positive through your letterbox). Perhaps get kids to draw a picture to send to their grandparents. We are human beings and connection is vital to our well-being so whatever way you do it make sure you reach out to others on a regular basis.
Reflect on what’s important to you and all the different aspects of your life. What score would you give to yourself for your health? Social life? Family life? Job satisfaction? Financial situation? If there are any particular areas that are low scoring what can you do to change or improve them? Even if that’s after this situation has passed you can start planning for change now.
Forward planning. For those of you who work for yourself or own a small business now is the time to work on your business. Consider other ways to offer your services or products to your clients. What other services could you offer? How can you engage your audience? Catch up on the paperwork and records.
Everyone can plan their next holiday or adventure. Doing this gives you something to look forward to, because remember: ‘this too shall pass’.
Working with a Life Coach at this time can be particularly helpful as they can support you with a range of things, from dealing with stress to planning a new career. Many offer the option to work with you over the phone or online too.