In my wildest dreams, I never imagined living through a scenario with a virus turning the whole world upside down.
Everything was fine — and then it wasn’t. No time to properly prepare for what was coming: stock the appropriate provisions; situate loved ones; or comprehend the consequences of life in quarantine.
A month in quarantine has been a crash course in life with less. We’ve learned we don’t really need all the bells, whistles and distractions that consume us every day. When all of that is removed, we find ourselves focused on the things that really matter — family, health, community, and our basic needs.
Good-bye forever to the “old normal,” and welcome the “new normal.” We can take the lessons learned from this crash course and use them to amplify the things that truly matter in our lives.
6 Habits That Make “Now” Better And Jumpstart Life After Quarantine
1 – Prioritize time: If we have learned one thing during the Coronavirus it’s how to use FaceTime and Zoom. Suddenly, all those in-person meetings are being replaced by digital ones — and it’s effective. Moving forward, be more selective and replace “time-sucking, unnecessary, in-person meetings” with digital ones. You can use the time you would have spent looking for parking on a project that really needs your attention.
2 – Hydrate properly: Now that we are all working from home (WFH), we have an opportunity to create hydration habits that boost productivity and wellness. Most of us are walking around in a state of partial dehydration making us hangry and unfocused. Drinking more water is a free, easy and effective way to improve our productivity and mood. Start each day with 10 oz of room temperature or warm water. Drink 10 oz of water every hour for 10 hours each day. That’s it! Anyone can create this habit to help improve focus, curb cravings, and manage stress.
3 – Essentials delivery plan: Being quarantined has changed the way we shop; no more mindlessly strolling the aisles figuring out what to have for dinner. We are planning meals, making lists, buying what we need or getting things delivered. This is the perfect time to create delivery plans to simplify your life and optimize your time. I have accounts for the things I use consistently; environmentally safe household cleaning products, non-toxic personal care items, healthy snacks and, most importantly, clean-crafted natural wine. I also pre-order from the organic farms that participate in our local farmers’ market. Office supplies, non-perishable groceries, specialty items – anything you use consistently — should have an account and a delivery schedule.
4 – Detox your kitchen: At first, we all went crazy stockpiling, as if quarantine was going to be a full lock-down situation. Now we have an opportunity to use what we have and figure out just what we need moving forward. This is the perfect time to detox your kitchen and get rid of things that are expired and no longer serve you. Starting with the refrigerator, remove everything and clean the surfaces. Look at expiration dates; if it’s expired throw it out. Establish a plan for using the items going back into the fridge. Do the same thing in the pantry and spice cabinets. Dry and canned goods that are old, or should have never been purchased in the first place (sugary, processed or junk foods), can be donated to local food banks. Take it a step further and organize your cleaning products to make use of what’s already opened and dispose of things you will never use. Examine all your cookware. Old non-stick pans should be replaced with eco-friendly ones, plastic storage containers should be replaced with glass, and that collection of fast food containers you will never re-use should be placed in the recycle bin. Pretend you are moving when the quarantine is lifted — dispose of things you don’t need, use, or for which there is no plan.
5 – Control the input: Too much information is overwhelming! Too much news, too much social media, too many emails — they all amplify stress. Create healthy boundaries with information to maintain balance. Schedule when and where you get your news. Pick your own trusted sources for news; be it NPR, the Associate Press, C-SPAN, Reuter’s, Fox, whichever news sources that stress you the least. Be conscious of just how much time you spend listening to or watching the news and put a limit on it. Do the same with social media. Schedule times to check and respond to social media. Mindlessly scrolling the feed is a time suck — and stress amplifier! DON’T DO IT! Dedicate time on your email to removing your name from list serves. Now is a good time to edit email and get off those lists that don’t bring value. We can never get back the time we spend deleting spam; better to spend valuable time getting off lists we never signed up for in the first place.
6 – Fiercely guard the first and last hour of each day: Reserve this time for family, personal reflection, reading, prayer, conversation or the practice of being fully present. Prioritize this time as being essential for health and happiness. Keep it free from distractions such as cell phones, computers and other electronics. The first hour of each morning sets the tone for the day. Use the first hour for activities that align you with success. Create a positive mindset by making time for meditative thought, setting priorities, hydration, and movement. The last hour of each day sets up restorative rest and should be relaxing and stress free. Productive days depend on a good nights’ sleep. Use 2 hours out of 24 as time for intentional centering to help you accomplish your “big picture” goals and take care of your physical, mental and spiritual needs.
Quarantine isn’t optional, but you have endless options as to how you spend your time in quarantine. Maximize this unique time-out from the “rat race.” Pull back and take a big picture view of your life. Now is the time to break habits that do not serve you and create powerful habits that align with your goals. Value this time. Take control of the countless distractions that hijack your attention from things that really matter. Now is the perfect time to set yourself up with a life you love, that loves you back.