Updated: Apr 14, 2020
Remember the time when you would come home from work thinking “This was such a tiring day at work. I really need a break. I’m not sure I can study tonight or do anything sort of productive.”? And then covid-19 walked in and went - “Bitch please!” No more “coming home from work”. Now work is home. Home is life. Home is survival. Everything is being cooked in the same pot, in the same space. Is there time to study now? But… what’s the point of studying if you don’t know if/when you’re going to be able to take the test?
As you can see by the timing of this post, it took me a while to catch up with my thoughts and figure out what works for me. When you’re in this whirlwind, activities bleed into each other. It gets easy to lose track of the fact that you’ve been wearing the same clothes for the last three days, that you haven’t taken a shower for some time, that can’t show your face on the zoom meeting because you’re all sweaty after your morning run and your hair is all greasy. Everyone’s life situation has challenges.
So how is one supposed to find time to focus and study, let alone stay away from anxiety and depression, induced by such uncertainty all around us? Right now it feels like there is a continuous, major storm of bad news raging all around the world. Rather than screaming and yelling back at this barking situation, you need to turn the volume down. While the outside world is going crazy, the only thing that makes sense is to do the opposite. Don’t waste any energy on things you can’t change right now.
It’s time to: Be introspective Be mindful and observant of what’s worth your energy Reexamine your usual ways and habits Take small steps that will make a big difference Find points of connection with your family Check in with old friends, especially the ones you haven’t heard from in a while It’s really bad time to: Be making big plans Be wasting your energy on stuff that doesn’t serve you any good Be looking for faults in people Be beating yourself up Hold grudges Indulge in habits that make you feel crappy after the initial hit As you can see, by shutting down the crazy fast pacing noise, you open this entire landscape in which you have the freedom to do small, intentional moves that will serve you in your life now and afterwards. This is a great time to adopt habits you have been wanting to make part of your life, but had previously been too distracted. Thoughts you think now, actions you take now can help you make a huge difference after this period is over. You can come out of this being YOU 2.0, THE NEXT LEVEL YOU! And isn’t that awesome news?
Certainly, tuning your routine during a pandemic takes some time, and it’s okay to stop studying while you are figuring and testing things out, or generally feel super overwhelmed. But! Don’t let anything from the “It’s really bad time to” category distract you much. Don’t let things that don’t serve you become perpetual excuses for not doing the right things. I know nobody is perfect, and we all make mistakes, but don't let the bad pester. Weed it out.
Now let’s organize and summarize these things into five steps that can help you stop working AGAINST the pandemic situation, and have the pandemic situation work FOR you!
Step 1: Turn off the noise
Step 2: Recognize the opportunity
Step 3: Get connected with the right people
Step 4: Take charge and get ahead
Step 5: Help others
Extra credit: Tap yourself on the shoulder and keep trailblazing
Now that we listed big moves, let’s see how all that can apply to what you do every day. Since we are all different, and some of us are night owls, some of us are early birds, there isn’t one specific regiment that would fit everyone. It doesn’t make much sense to tell everyone to wake up at 5am and start running for an hour. Or to stay up until 1am studying types of brownfield remediation. Instead, let’s list items as components, building blocks that you can then figure out how to implement and configure in your own daily routine.
Things that are good to make time for every day: Waking up and not looking at your phone first thing. That way you’re saying I am the boss of me and my time. Washing your face / Showering / Taking care of hygiene. That way you’re saying I deserve to be and feel fresh. Breathing from your belly – breathe in all the good, let go all the bad. That way you’re saying I take care of myself. Physical activity. That way you’re saying I honor my body. Eating slowly, savor the food you eat. Preferably not frozen pizza or hot pockets. Come on, you’re better than that. That way you’re saying I am grateful and content with what I have. Checking in with people that energize you and make you feel good about yourself. That way you’re saying I am worthy of other people’s time and attention, and I have so much abundance to share with them. Staying hydrated. That way you are saying I listen to my body. Making the most of your work hours. That way you’re saying I am in tune with what I am doing. Learn, ask questions. If you just lost your job, do whatever is going to help you get back on your feet. Don’t despair, there are more people like you, and this situation will not last forever. There are many companies out there that are entirely unaffected by this turmoil. If you lose something, it might be just so that you can find something better. Investing in your progress and advancement (studying). That way you’re saying I am the deciding factor when it comes to my future. Quality sleep. That way you’re saying I deserve to rest and recharge. Time and energy wasters that probably won’t serve you: Binge watching. That way you’re saying My creativity and productivity don’t matter to me. Energy draining people and conversations that lead nowhere. That way you’re saying My time doesn’t matter to me. Feel free to stomp all over me and my time. Fighting with your family members. That way you’re saying My happiness and peace don’t matter to me. Crappy food. That way you’re saying My well being doesn’t matter to me. Smoke breaks. That way you’re saying My health doesn’t matter to me. Mindless scrolling. That way you’re saying My brain is completely okay being fed rubbish. My development doesn’t matter to me. Stressing over what strangers will think of you. That way you’re saying Please, let me be your doormat. I am happy to bend whichever way you want me to. My wishes don’t matter to me. Feeling bad about yourself for whichever reason. That way you’re saying Who I want to become doesn’t matter to me.
It might be overwhelming at first, but consider what you’re saying with everything you do. The best thing is that you still have so much control. Take charge and set yourself up for success. It is crucial to be intentional and not be wasting energy on anything that doesn’t make you happy and fulfilled. Your future self will be thankful to your today self. Clean slate is all yours now, make it beautiful. Make yourself proud.
One day corona virus won’t be as much of a threat. There might be something else that will seem like an insurmountable obstacle, but the progress you make now will give you power and confidence to do anything. Imagine yourself one day in the future being confronted with a scary challenge (such as taking the test). You are going to be able to look back at this moment and say I made the pandemic distress work for me. I'll eat this problem for dinner.
In the meantime, please keep washing your hands, wear masks and gloves, keep the distance. Please do everything you can to stay healthy. Keep the less fortunate ones and healthcare workers in your thoughts and prayers. Keep pushing, keep studying even if you don't have an appointment coming up soon. It will pay off. If you do have an appointment in the near future, prepare as best as you can. It may be a harder to book a retake.
We will endure this. We will come out stronger!