The current situation may not allow you to think beyond what’s going to happen tomorrow or next week but, the better you’re prepared for a post-coronavirus future, the better it will be for you when the dust finally settles on the pandemic. Truth be told, nobody knows how this will all turn out. However, one thing we do know is that life will never be the same again. To help you equip yourself for the days to come, we’ve put together a few ‘essential lifestyle changes’ that you can implement today that will help you in the long run.
#1: Learn to Have Fun Alone
Those of you with families are extremely lucky, and we hope these dreary lockdown days have made you realize that. But if you live alone, you need to find ways to keep yourself engaged.
Here are some ideas:
- Learn how to play solitaire and other one-player card games. They’re not only fun but they help while away the time and stave off boredom. That’s important.
- Try online gaming; for example, play Rise of Merlin, where you can play for fun or for real money. You also get access to a large and growing online community and feel a part of something when you’re home alone.
- Learn how to make your favorite dishes using YouTube videos. You don’t have to become a cordon bleu chef to have fun; start simple, like making a pizza with your favorite toppings or baking an easy-to-make sponge cake.
The reasons for learning to have fun on your own might be obvious to you, but there are several other benefits as well. For example, you’ll learn how to enjoy your own company, you’ll be expanding your mind, you’ll learn a ton of new things you can do by yourself, and you’ll learn to be more introspective.
Be warned, though; it’s not always easy to learn to be comfortable with your thoughts. One of the reasons people engage in social activities is to take their minds off their innermost thoughts, some of which can be truly eye-opening but scary at the same time. There are a number of resources online to help you deal with disturbing thoughts and feelings. The important part is for you to get through it as quickly as possible.
The biggest benefit of this in a post-coronavirus world is that you’ll learn to be happier with yourself than you’ve ever been. It will aid you in dealing with serious mental conditions like feelings of loneliness and low self-esteem. And that’s going to be far more important than you may realize at this particular point in time.
#2: Upgrade your Remote Work Skills
From a practical standpoint, money is probably on your mind right now. If you’ve been furloughed or let go and you don’t want to take a front-line job to make ends meet, you need to find something you can do online. There are several sites like Upwork and Freelancer that offer remote work jobs for qualified people.
It’s also very important that you upgrade the skills that will get you better and better online jobs. You need to get comfortable with remote work tools like Office 365, Slack, Zoom, and others. The future of the global workforce is going to lean heavily toward the work-from-home or WFH model, and you need to prepare yourself for that.
Here are some ideas for what skills you can consider adding to your repertoire:
- Content writing – blogging, ghostwriting, work-for-pay, etc.
- Call center skills – customer service, technical support, etc.
- Online teaching
- Computer programming and coding
- Transcription – Medical, legal, etc.
- Digital marketing, SEO, social media marketing
- Video editing
- Mobile app and web app development
- Financial analyst
You don’t have to go way out of your comfort zone to invoke your remote work skills. Find something that’s related to what you already know so the transition is that much easier. For example, if you’re an accountant, that’s already what’s known as a “transferable skill” in HR parlance. It’s easy to transition from an in-office to a remote position because you already possess the knowledge and experience.
On the other hand, if you’ve been an hourly wage employee, you may need to extend your knowledge to other realms. Try something you might be comfortable with; for instance, if you love social media and you’re constantly on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you can consider learning social media marketing. There are tons of online courses and free resources for you to skill-up in these areas.
#3: Find a Hobby you can be Passionate about
An extension of learning to have fun on your own is to find a hobby to really sink your teeth into. Have you been considering starting a hobby but were just too busy to actually do it? Now is the time. The Internet is a vast repository of information, and you might end up surprising yourself by how good you can become at something just by learning from YouTube videos.
As an example, consider Julius Yego, who learned how to throw the javelin by watching videos made by a world-famous javelin thrower. Do you know how far he went? In 2015, he picked up a gold medal in the Beijing World Championships. Imagine that: he became one of the best people in the world at doing something just by watching YouTube videos and practicing what he learned. This is Yego in Beijing after the win.
Consider Cara Brookins, a stay-at-home mom from Arkansas who built their family home with the help of her four kids who, at the time, were 17, 15, 11, and 2! With zero experience and a hard-won loan from a local bank, Brookins converted a tornado-hit property into a beautiful 5-bedroom 3500-square-foot home with a garage for three cars and even a two-story treehouse! Here’s what the Brookins family built. Isn’t it a beaut?
You don’t have to be a Yego or a Brookins but there’s nothing stopping you from becoming good at something by learning from YouTube tutorials and other Internet resources. Who knows – you might just be the next huge Internet star.
#4: Connect with Others, Especially Family
At this crucial turning point in all our lives, it’s vitally important to connect with the ones we love. Call your mom today. Mend that broken relationship from years ago with your former best friend. Visit your grandma in the nursing home or retirement home. Talk to – and listen to – the people from your past who you never gave a second thought to.
Don’t forget that man is a social animal and no man is an island. Those aren’t just platitudes. We need emotional sustenance from others and give some sustenance in return. The proof of that is the validation we seek on social media platforms. Haven’t you ever posted something and then watched the likes like a hawk? We’ve all done that, and it reveals a lot about how we actively seek acceptance from our peers.
Incidentally, social media is actually distancing us from each other. We assume that just because we’re connected online to somebody, we’re really connected mentally. Not true at all, unfortunately. Having someone on your phone isn’t the same as having someone in your home. All social media does is to make us voyeurs into other people’s lives and validation-seekers for our own experiences.
So, go out and actually connect with the people in your life. You can do it digitally during a lockdown but, when things are relatively back to normal, put some effort into reestablishing your familial and social connections.
#5: Save Money and Invest Safely
There’s never been a better time to save money and pad your future. The majority of people around the world who still have an income are already finding that their reserves are building up over the past several weeks because they’re only spending on essentials. Many are realizing just how much discretionary spending they’ve been doing.
That said, don’t invest in risky ventures. Stay away from the stock market; instead, find an investment vehicle that will work in your favor, albeit over a long-term horizon. Ask your bank for their top-earning savings products that are also low-risk. Consult a financial advisor who has experience guiding clients during economic downturns – we’ve had quite a few in the last three decades or so!
On a final note, we encourage you to follow the tips shown here so you can be prepared for a world where the memory of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 still lingers. The world has suddenly slowed down, so let’s take this opportunity to move fast and get ready for the years ahead.