4 Habits That Will Improve Your Life During and After Quarantine
Feeling like COVID-19 has derailed all your goals? Worried about losing momentum or figuring it all out? You’re not alone. This situation is definitely scary and unpredictable, but what if you focused on the positive (and trying to control what you can)? Could you use this time to figure out how to be the best you after this has passed?
Although the current situation with coronavirus is fraught with uncertainty and anxiety, especially as people stay home and distance themselves from others, there is also some opportunity in the midst of the difficulties. There is, in fact, some hope at the heart of what you’re going through right now — because you’ll likely come out the other side into a better version of you.
“While it’s a difficult time, it’s also a chance to take a step back and really look at everything, including what’s important to you,” says Christine Carter, Ph.D., a sociologist and senior fellow of Greater Good Science Center at the University of California Berkeley. “Take this time to think about how you want to be after this.”
Here are some tips on what to consider during this time of reflection, and how you can change some things now, so that these shifts feel more powerful in the months to come:
1. Stick with Your Daily Routine
Structure and discipline sometimes have a negative connotation, but they can be excellent for creating a better foundation for your goals. Now is the time to play around with finding that perfect balance between having a solid structure and trying to be too rigid and load up your days, says productivity expert Tonya Dalton, author of The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less.
“When we’re on the other side of what’s happening, you’ll appreciate having that routine in place because you will have developed better habits because of it,” Dalton says.
2. Create a Space
As workplaces and gyms have closed to get people to stay home, many of us are being creative with how we use our space, Carter says. From home offices tucked into the corner of living rooms to at-home workout areas that take up half the bedroom, the creativity is inspiring.
“This is an indication of adaptability and flexibility, which are attributes you’ll want to hold onto long into the future,” says Carter. “This will increase how much you stay open to problem solving and not limiting yourself.”
3. Set Up Bedtime Rituals
This is an outstanding time to do things you’ve been meaning to tackle. You know, the ones that always seem to fall to the end of your to-do list. Best example? Finally developing better sleep hygiene. That doesn’t just include the time between crawling into bed and waking up, either. It also includes what you do to wind down and the way that start your day.
“Unfortunately, sleep sometimes gets left out when it comes to health behaviors, especially if people think they’re getting enough,” says W. Christopher Winter, MD, president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia and author of The Sleep Solution. “But how you end the day and even how you begin your morning can have profound effects on sleep quality, and that creates a ripple effect through everything, from your food choices to your athletic performance.”
In other words, if you want to be a better you, start by focusing on getting better sleep. You’ll see the benefits quickly, from more energy to happier moods.
4. Embrace Change
As humans, we’re wired to lean toward familiarity and predictability, we love a sense of control. The pandemic situation goes against all of that, leading many people to feel ungrounded and anxious. While that’s understandable, this is also an opportunity to become comfortable with discomfort, suggests Carter.
Maybe you “embrace the suck” when you work out, but how about during times of emotional stress? You can apply that same framework now, and use it to become a better you in the future, one who adapts to change with resilience and gratitude.