I’ll be honest, I’m one to sugarcoat things pretty often. But it’s undeniable that everyone’s life in some way shape or form has changed in a negative way. Whether it’s a monetary loss, struggling with online school or working, or the loss of a loved one in the middle of this strange time, life changed for every one of us.
I will never call this “the new normal.” Living this way will never be normal, and I look forward to the day when the word “pandemic” is a term of old.
But the world keeps spinning. I was raised to always find ways to better myself. During this time, I faced my own set of circumstances and struggles to overcome. But in the end, I need to keep improving my body, my brain, my attitude, and my life. Here are a few things I’ve learned that may help others as we continue to work and educate ourselves in the midst of COVID-19.
Mix Up Your Day
I was constantly waking up tired every morning during the quarantine with little motivation to go through the same schedule, day by day. Remember that episode of Spongebob where Squidward moves to a town where everyone is just like him and he does the same activities every day which he ends up hating? DON’T BE LIKE THAT.
Every day, do something you’ve never done before. And it doesn’t have to be anything major. Minor changes can make a huge difference in your attitude and energy when you get out of bed in the morning. Drive a different way to work. Sleep on the other side of the bed. Find a new exercise for your triceps. Do homework or exercise in a different room/area. Build a new playlist to listen to.
When you have something to look forward to every day, you wake up in the morning with energy and sometimes, even a sense of purpose.
I started going for morning walks with my mom or brother. Every day, I try to take a new path and see parts of the neighborhood I’ve never been able to take in before. Another fun new thing to do is try different food. Prepare yourself a lunch or dinner you’ve never had. There are great recipes on Facebook, Instagram, and all over the internet.
Just thinking of little things to make your day slightly different can be fun as well. Make your life an adventure. You don’t have to do extravagant things to make that happen either. New experiences can brighten your day.
Learn Something New or Old
People always preach to “learn something new!” Okay, well sometimes, I don’t want to learn something new. Most things I don’t know how to do are difficult to learn (since I don’t know how to do them) or you need to spend money to get involved in the activity. While learning a new skill is valuable, why not relearn something old?
Back in high school, I learned to play the guitar and piano. I’m pretty sure it annoyed my dad to death as I played chords in a nearly unrecognizable pattern in an attempt to learn my favorite songs. But I got the hang of it and I loved it. After years of college and entering my career field, my guitar collected dust in the corner of my room. In April, I decided to get back into the grove and played my guitar a couple of days a week.
It was almost liberating not only picking it back up pretty quick but also doing something I loved again and learning new tricks with something I had a foundation of knowledge with.
Find something from your younger days and make time for you. Fall back in love with a small passion again.
I recently fell in love with Sudoku, a brain game I couldn’t stand as a kid. I pulled out my old Nintendo DS to play “Brain Age” and decided to give it another chance. Two hours later, I looked up and noticed I wasted two hours on Sudoku and I still had deadlines to meet.
Oddly enough, something I didn’t enjoy as a kid, I found intriguing years later. Take a shot at something you didn’t like and see if you’ve acquired a new taste.
Just like exercising your muscles, you must find a way to make your activities fun (hence why I hate running). This includes mental activities as well. Not only might you find a new hobby but you’re building yourself a better brain in the process.
Another thing that is hard: making school fun. Especially this strange world of online school. And give teachers a break. Some of them just don’t know how to make online learning fun in the way their superiors require them to teach. It’s hard. So why don’t you challenge yourself? Find a way to make online learning fun right now.
GOOGLE IS AMAZING. And Bing. And Yahoo. And Duck Duck Go. And so many more.
Have a question? Ask the internet! Want to learn how to invest in the stock market? Ask the internet! Interested in how anything works in the world? ASK THE INTERNET!
The internet is a resource we can all use to increase our knowledge or just have a good time. Below are some of my favorite free resources you can use to extend your knowledge or find new things to become interested in.
If you’re a music lover, “radio.garden” is an incredible resource. It gives you a globe and lets you tune into almost any radio station in the world. If you want to listen to your favorite station from when you were growing up in another state or when you studied abroad, you can find that station here. You can even look around different countries and listen to how local music and tastes change from country to country.
As someone who often spends too much time on social media, “stayfocusd” is a browser extension most of us need to download. You block sites that keep you distracted. You can tell the extension that you don’t want to be able to access Facebook, Twitter, or any website for a specific period or amount of time to keep yourself on track with work or school.
If you love to learn, “EDX” has thousands of free online courses from Harvard, MIT, and universities across the world for you to access. Learning something new can be difficult but this is a site has tons of topics you can learn more about.
Have you ever wanted to access the US Congress Archive or indulge yourself in new music or books? “Archive.org” is a ginormous archive of free music, books, images, software, and even old versions of websites. You could spend hours here, but it is also easy to find something new/old to get involved in.
Are you an avid gamer? “The Internet Arcade” is part of Archive.org that has old web and arcade games from across time to indulge yourself in. There are a ton of fun old-school games and you can even search to find one of your all-time favorites.
I LOVE Photoshop. I HATE Photoshop’s price. “Photopea.com” is a free version of Photoshop you can use to either learn a new skill, or just have a little bit of fun. You don’t even need to download the app, you can use a platform that looks nearly identical to Photoshop on your web browsers.
These are just a few things that I’ve learned over the past five months to make my life better as well as my well-being. Push yourself to love your life every day and find those things that make you happy. It’s not an easy thing to do but the key to keeping yourself motivated is by keeping your brain active. So find something you love, and make time to take care of yourself.