Happiness is a journey and COVID – 19 is the current stop. In these unprecedented times, how do you stay happy?
To say these times are a challenge is an understatement. Never has the world been turned more upside down, or more inside than out. We, with our fast-paced lives and frequent travels were suddenly confronted with infinite ‘ stay at home’ plans.
To make this time at home a more happier and peaceful one, I would like to discuss some habits of highly effective in COVID – 19.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People in COVID – 19
1. Set a Routine
At times of uncertainty, routines help. Of course, things are slower and you can treat it like a mini-vacation, sometimes. But an overdrawn vacation becomes an endless sprawl of days and nights, quickly turning into a nightmare.
So set a time to wake up (it could be 6 am or 9 am) but decide a time and wake up. Then adhere to a routine of your meals. Pick one day of the week and plan your meals for the entire week. Set small amounts of time for daily activities and also keep to the designated sleep time.
You can always choose one occasion or day to go off this routine, but predictability gives a sense of semblance to the mind and body. Leading to a sense of control in this otherwise unpredictable time.
My Insight: I plan my meals every Sunday morning. I use Google Docs to make my individual charts and share it will all the family members. We all have different dietary preferences.
I have an alarm clock set for 5.45 am every day of the week. The early rise lets me enjoy Bangalore’s beautiful mornings, and gives the right kickstart to my days! Also, I use a myriad of productivity apps to keep my to-do lists checked – Google Keep and Todoist being a favorite!
2. Connect with yourself
For all those who complained they didn’t have time for themselves- well you have time now! And the best person to spend this extra time is YOU!
Use this time to listen, reflect, and repeat. Listen to your thoughts and emotions and reflect on how far you have come. Think deeply about ways to connect to your inner self, through meditation, reading, or music. Tap into your reservoir of energy and creativity. Just be with yourself for a few minutes every day.
Because if I do not want to be with me, then who else will?
It helps to look back..
A great way to look back on your journey is to open old photo albums, diaries, or journals. Browse through previous achievements and even rekindle a few old hobbies or passions. It instills in us a sense of achievement which is very important for well-being.
Sometimes just be in the present…
Sometimes, it’s best to live in the present. If the future makes you anxious and the past makes you unhappy – live in the present! There is a reason it is called a gift. Just breathe and live one day at a time… to know more read Power of the Present.
Other times music and books are the best getaways! They are food for the soul and let us connect to our deeper thoughts and emotions effectively. Books bring perspective in our lives, drive imagination and empathy, along with some much-needed off-screen time.
Or look towards where you want to head in the future…near or far
And then sometimes whilst we collect and reflect our thoughts we must ask these questions to oursleves once in while :
- What brings me joy?
- Which kind of work brings meaning to my life?
- Do I have a clear view of where I am heading in life? In5 years?
- Am I taking joy in small things yet planning and working towards the big ones?
My Insight: So I did all of the above in varying quantities over the first few months of lockdown. I started meditating whenever I felt anxious and rekindled my passion for reading books.
Through this time with myself, the idea of this blog came along. I realized that something that would give meaning to my life, is helping others. And something that gives me joy is, writing. So this idea developed to collaborate the two and start a blog that puts my knowledge to use and helps others too!
3. Be grateful
Blessed are those who count their blessings. COVID-19 left the whole world reeling in one moment and got it together in another. Never has the air smelled cleaner, the cities felt less noisy and families been brought together. We all got time to think, feel and reflect.
And yes, there have been losses. Industries have suffered, many entrepreneurs have closed shop and many at the brink. Some may be able to sustain the losses, others may not. But as humans, our greatest asset is our adaptability. If we can adapt, we can survive.
And not only survive, but thrive. And to flourish we need gratitude. It emits positive emotions which help us think towards what we can do. What we can build and how we can rise from the ashes. Because gratitude starts with what you have, and indeed we have a lot!
My Insight: I practice the habit of 3 Good Things everyday. Every night before we sleep, my children and me list out 3 Good things which happened to us in the day. It could be as simple as watching a good movie or eating your favourite food to finding a good idea on a project you are working.
The idea is to instill both gratefulness for what you have and optimism for what the future holds for you. It is my favorite family bedtime activity. Every journey begins with a single step and the path to happiness always begins with gratitude.
4. Learn or Start something new
In the 24 character traits found in all human beings researched by Father Positive Psychology – Dr. Martin Seligman, a love of learning seems to be in the essentials list. The reason being, it gives us our life meaning & purpose.
As children, we continuously learned and ignited our curiosity. This love for learning helps us reinvent ourselves, adapt, and grow. It makes us feel engaged in things we love to do and gives a feeling of moving forward.
All successful CEOs read books weekly if not daily. All successful entrepreneurs keep finding new ways of reinventing the normal. Why? Because we like new! It excites our senses, gives something to look forward to, and gives a sense of achievement too.
Learning Something New
- Start a new hobby which you can do at home – gardening, singing, reading, dancing, cooking, exercising, writing, etc.
- Register for any online course on a topic that interests you – Coursera & Udemy are great platforms, to begin with.
- Sign up for an online workshop on developing a particular skill or wanting more information on a particular topic.
- Attend an online live class on developing new skills for work like social marketing, public speaking, or even for the above-mentioned hobbies.
Start Something New
Missed opportunities always turn into regrets. If COVID – 19 closed some doors, it opened a few too.
I have seen so many people marketing COVID – 19 essential products, multinationals introducing new ranges suitable to current times, retailers configuring amazing deals for online shoppers, designers finding ingenious marketing strategies on Instagram and so many fantastic online classes and workshops suddenly crop up.
So jump at the amazing opportunities this unprecedented time brings to you. In a way its a whole new world, so let it be a whole new you!!
My Insight: Lately, I joined so many others in learning new dishes to compensate for staying at home on Saturday evenings. So I love chocolate and exotic food. And lockdown doesn’t freely provide either.
So every week I surf through all the beautiful food on Instagram and find some exciting dishes to try! This pattern keeps me satiated in mind, body, and soul!
5. Connect with loved ones
Thriving social relationships are certainly an important ingredient to our happiness and well being. Deep bonds with our spouse, children, and close family and friends make us feel validated and loved.
All human beings have this innate want to be seen for who they are and accepted that way too. Even if there is one person who you know, who accepts and loves you just the way you are – please fold your hands and thank God for him/her! It is your life’s miracle!
Like charity always starts at home, so does love. Never be too busy to try an experiment with your kids, spend a movie night with your spouse, or play a board game with the entire family. Find new ideas to make occasions special. COVID – 19 has opened a whole new paradigm of online entertainment, which is growing by the day.
Attending a Zoom chat has become second nature to all of us now. All those who always lived far away seem to be more connected and with us through the lockdown. Reinvent and find new ideas to engage family members. We are just beginning this new adventure and what better companions than our close family and friends!
For more information, please look at the following articles:
My Insight: A current favorite routine amongst my hubby, kids, and I is picking a movie for Saturday night to watch on Netflix. We make the room dark and chilled and snuggle up to watch some old favorites or the new trending ones. Board games and doing science experiments have always been our thing. Now the latest to add is Ludo King every night after dinner! To know more activities for kids read: 15 Activities To Keep Children Busy during Lockdown
6. Stay Physically Active
Let’s be honest, the COVID – 19 lockdown was a boon for the lazy. It was a dream come true for those whose ideal day would be lazing on the couch and gorging down snacks. But, it was also a boon for those who suddenly had time to work out in an otherwise packed work & social schedule. Like me!
For all those who miss their morning walks, going to the gym, or playing a sport and want some ideas to start an exercise routine – here are a few.
Follow fitness instructors on Instagram. There are tons of workouts that you can bookmark and keep. I love to follow @Mr&MrsMuscle for all my HIIT workouts. And once you follow one, loads come up!
For youtube workout videos you would like to save, just email the link to yourself and label all those emails – Workouts. A simple way to keep things handy!
Arrange an online class for fitness. (You just need a mat and a phone)
Download an app like Nike Training Club to help you with guided, timed full-body workouts.
Make it a fun activity with your partner or kids!
Buddy up with a friend and exchange everyday achievements.
If not workouts, put a reminder on your watch for every hour, and when the reminder rings – walk around the house for one minute.
Try simple yoga stretch routines, easily found online to keep your body active and in shape.
Staying fit and eating healthy is a gift you can give yourself. The exercise gets those endorphins flowing through your body and attaining new fitness goals gives you a wonderful sense of achievement. And an added benefit to this routine will be that, you will look and feel fabulous when the lockdown ends! So start now!
My Insight: Since the day lockdown started, my husband and I have maintained a routine of working out together every morning. Our kids mostly join us too and it becomes a wonderful family bonding time too! Beautiful trees surround our terrace and Bangalore weather makes a perfect accompaniment to this lovely setting. And we always mix different workouts, it keeps us on our toes!
7. Find Distractions
All work and no play will definitely make Jack a dull boy! Yes, you heard it right, take the time to do nothing! Well, nothing essentially productive.
Sometimes we get our best ideas when we are bored. In this digital age, we have no dearth of distractions. From reading Whatsapps forwards to surfing blogs and everything in between is an amalgamation of entertainment and education today. Thankfully for us, when we are locked safely in our houses, we have the internet to save us.
So between all that high intensity focused engrossing work, always take a breather. It helps replenish our minds and come back fresh and rejuvenated. Distancing yourself from things also puts things into perspective. In my personal experience, distractions help a lot.
My Insight: Whenever I am stuck in writing, I always make it point to shut my laptop and walk around my house or surf my phone (I keep it away while writing). Sometimes, a random read of some blog or something happening around me sparks an idea, and I go running back!
Another recent distraction is online shopping! I feel super rejuvenated after it! Well, what can I say – it’s not called retail therapy for no reason:)
Another observation of mine is that in difficult times, resilience helps. It gives us the tools to protect what matters and bounce back stronger than before. To learn more about this, please read the article – Resilience and COVID – 19.
So I hope you feel more comfortable, happier, and look forward to this wonderful opportunity life has given us all!
Wishing you health, happiness, and peace in COVID – 19!