If you've been following the demands of our governor, Brad Little, you’re most likely reading this article while lounging around in your home under lockdown or self-quarantine. What started as a 21 day stay-at-home order has now been amended to a four stage roll out, likely to not be finished until the end of June.
At first, what is going on in the world didn’t seem so bad, did it? You had the opportunity to catch up on shows you’ve been wanting to see. You were able to read some good books without interruption and get a little extra sleep since you no longer have that annoying two-hour, back-and-forth commute to Boise. But the truth is that now, what’s going on is starting to kick in. What once seemed like an escape from reality has now hit you smack dab in the face. Where do we go from here?
Your kids are at home full time because the schools are all closed. You still need to get office work done, keep the kids entertained, play the part of school teacher while being the world’s best super parent, all while keeping your cool. You desperately want to go outside, but don’t want to catch the coronavirus and you certainly don't want to spread it to someone else, especially if they’re older or a small child.
It looks like we will be social distancing for a while. The government says it's only temporary, Brad Little says he is hoping to have things return to normal soon. But there is the slight possibility that the four stage plan will turn into an even longer roll out, depending on how quickly we can contain the outbreak and how those around us listen and respect what is being asked.
Like it is with all things, you now have a choice to make: you can either waste away the moments that make up a dull day or use this time to your advantage. You can continue binge-watching television and munching on snacks or you could embark upon a campaign of self-improvement and helping others. The choice is yours.
It’s too easy to let the hours, days and weeks fly by without doing anything constructive and beneficial. I recently came upon a quote that said “If you don’t come out of this quarantine without learning a new skill or trade, then you were using your time wrong.”
Use this extra time as a gift to be proactive and productive. My advice is take a more challenging path and allocate your time toward being productive and having meaningful endeavors. While I understand that many still need to work from home and have other responsibilities, there is also less time involved with commuting and having to get ready in the morning. The weekends, when you are housebound and bored, will feel especially long and drawn out.
“Think of all of the things you’ve always wanted to do, but never got around to doing,” said an article recently published in Forbes. “It could be learning a new language, painting, writing, taking up a hobby, learning to play a musical instrument or exercising. Put together a schedule that incorporates all of the things that you want to accomplish and make sure you follow through on engaging in the activities. This is a great time to reconnect with family and friends in a meaningful way. Put the phone down and just talk with your family. Ask about their lives and really listen to them,” the list goes on.
You can make this one of the best memories in their lives. Go for long walks or bicycle rides together. At a time of great chaos and angst, they’ll remember how you all got through this together. If you are worried about the safety of your job—in light of the current mess we’re in—or were downsized, you can start an aggressive job search. Reach out to all of your contacts as they are stuck at home too and have no excuse for ignoring your requests for help. Use this time wisely to lift yourself up intellectually. Download and read books that will help you gain more knowledge. Start an exercise routine. If you have weights in your house gathering dust and cobwebs in your basement, brush it off and lift them. Wake up early and go for a run when there are no, or few, people around. Think of how great you’ll feel returning to work looking fit while your co-workers packed on an extra 10 pounds from sitting on the couch eating ice cream all month. There’s nothing wrong with a little introspection. Take some quiet time to assess where you are in your life and career. Contemplate if you’re happy with who you are and what you’re doing, be honest with yourself. There’s no benefit to pretending that everything is going great if it isn't. If you are not happy with your professional and personal life, start developing a strategy to achieve your goals. Maximizing your time to improve and help others is a wise decision. Instead of feeling helpless, sorry for yourself and complaining about the current state of affairs, you’ll gain control over your life.
When it's all over, you’ll enjoy a great sense of accomplishment and appreciate that you didn’t waste precious weeks or months of your life. Remember -- when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you do good. Choose to set an example for those who are around you. We are in this together!