After writing the post Even Introverts Have A Hard Time With Social Distancing, I thought to myself “how else can I add clarity while we’re all in survival mode?“. What are some opportunities we can pounce upon to help us transition out of this chaos better? Being 28 weeks pregnant, with a toddler running around, and a husband that’s self-employed, emotions are running super high right now. As a highly sensitive person, this is probably the worst environment I can find myself in because there’s ALWAYS someone either on me or around me. The incessant noise that’s coming out of this house is truly maddening. Did I mention we also have two dogs? But instead of focusing on all of that, I want to reach out and help others that are in a similar or even more maddening situation. So, what are some other things we could all be doing during this time of isolation to come out of it stronger than ever?
While it’s easy to fall into a Netflix routine, I’m going to strongly advocate we use this precious time to actually get ahead of some things.
Yes, even for those of us that are still working full-time from home, opportunities abound.
I started my website when I was working full-time in Corporate America while pursuing my first Master’s Degree in IT Management and being pregnant with my first child. I self-taught myself how to use WordPress effectively, how to write good copy (still learning), and how to create my own designs. Everything that’s on this website is designed and created by me. It took a lot of time of course, but it all started with one step. And then another one. Even when I thought I had no time, I still found some. I might not be as ahead as others are in this space, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and the fulfillment it’s given me this past couple of years.
You never know where an opportunity will take you, so why not take a chance on one?
In this post, I want to tackle the different opportunities this situation has given us. Yes, even those of us who are pulling our hair out trying to come up with new ways to entertain our kids while they’re home. Sometimes we have to search deep to find a silver lining, especially when anxiety runs high, which is why I’m here to, hopefully, open your eyes to the myriad of ways you can use this time to improve your life. While I don’t know what’s going to happen past April 6th (which is when supposedly everything will be open again), I do know that we have 3 weeks of full-on social distancing that we need to seize upon.
All that time spent commuting, going to restaurants, meeting up with friends, etc, has now been handed back to us.
How glorious is that? Understandably so, not everyone is in the same situation, such as freelancers, small business owners, service workers, and everyone else that’s financially affected by this directly. The anxiety is running high, and not knowing when you’ll be able to pay your bills next will definitely put a dark cloud over your head. Just remember that the only thing you can control is what your next right step is (thank you, Elsa, for this lesson). So with that in mind, try to shift your thoughts towards the positive changes you can make right this second. Because sometimes opportunities only hang around for a limited amount of time, and they don’t care about how you feel.
Now, I’m not going to advocate that you HAVE to be productive during this time. We’re after all in survival mode, but if you can spare a few hours here and there, or if you have anxiety about the future, try to take matters into your own hands now, instead of wishing you had started earlier.
I’ve lived with impostor syndrome for a very long time, and the one great thing that came out of it is the fact that I tend to overprepare. If I feel like there’s something I don’t know (but others expect me to know it), I work overtime to catch up. It’s helped me a lot in my career. I’m approaching the time given to me through social distancing in the same way. I’m over-preparing now so that I can step up to future opportunities when they come.
Because regardless of your situation, it’s likely that just like everyone else, you’re stuck inside.
The following is a list of opportunities you can focus on RIGHT NOW. Put down the remote control, stop looking at social media, and invest in your future. Or simply in your near future mental health. Some of these things are for long-term growth (meaning that you need to work on them even after isolation is over), some are for immediate gratification (because we can’t just live for the future), and some are for your overall wellbeing (you can either do them once or more, but either way you’ll benefit from them).
*Disclaimer. I’ve used all of these sites/resources but am NOT an affiliate to any of them so if you use one, great! I will not be benefiting from that.
5 Opportunities To Seize During Social Distancing
1. Learn a new skill
Let’s start with skills because this is where I get the most excited. I’m always on the lookout for what new skills I can add to my repertoire, or LinkedIn to be more precise, to make me more 1. Marketable, 2. Knowledgeable, 3. Confident. No ONE can take a skill away from you, and if you can learn a new one, it makes it easier to learn another one. In times like these, people that have the foresight to see where the future steers towards will be rewarded handsomely. Remember, you’ll always wish you had started sooner, so let that SOONER be NOW. Don’t waste 3+ weeks binge-watching Netflix and looking at the news. Find the relief within yourself so that if you’re ever faced with such a situation again, you’ll have something else to fall back upon.
Here are some skills I think are valuable at any moment in time & my personal recommendations for them:
Good writing ALWAYS pays. I’m not saying you should become a copywriter or a freelancer, but being able to understand what captures an audience can help you in any industry you find yourself in. Knowing how to translate a complicated sentence into a consumer-friendly one is a skill that pays. There are a lot of resources out there for copywriting. In fact, I myself took Marie Forleo’s Copycure class when it opened, but since that’s not possible right now (it opens April 29th), here are some other resources.
1. Kelsey Formost
4. Marie Forleo
Huh? This skill is all about how to communicate with people in general. Most of us can brush up on this skill. It encompasses empathy, understanding, collaboration, conflict management, and active listening for example. We can potentially include e-mail etiquette under this umbrella. Think about some people you have a hard time communicating and getting the message across to. What if you could magically figure out how to finally communicate with them seamlessly? Your life will change for sure! Whether you need to talk to your boss about the current situation and how it’s affecting you, or talking to your partner about what your future holds, here are some resources that can help you in this area.
1. Mark Manson
Bet you didn’t see that coming, huh?! Ok, so tech skills are here to stay, so maybe we should all brush up on what HTML, CSS, and Object-Oriented Programming are but if you’re really not into the technical stuff (I don’t blame ya), there are other things you can learn that will give you a leg up in the market. You can learn about product management, project management, SCRUM, Analytics, or UX to name a few. You can eventually be certified in all of the areas. This would be a long term commitment on your part because you won’t get certified in a couple of weeks, especially without any prior experience. But, one step leads to another, and who knows, maybe you’ll find a new career along the way. Here are some resources to get started.
When was the last time you did something creative? Something just for yourself? I’ve always been interested in drawing and illustrating for example, and not for professional purposes. Learning how to unleash your creativity on a daily basis will definitely pay dividends in the long-term. Maybe you’re interested in photography, acting, music, art, etc. Whatever it may be, go explore that area and see where it leads you! Here are some resources to get you started (I’m also adding some niche offerings by individuals).
4. Peggy Dean
5. Cat Coquillette
Social media/Online Business
You didn’t think I was going to leave this one out did you? Social media touches EVERYTHING. If you know how to use it, you’ll be way ahead of everyone else. Whatever platform you choose, there’s plenty of room for growth. Think about what you could potentially do with this new skill. Do you want to start a blog? Start your own business? Help your clients? Whatever the case may be, learn how to use it to your advantage. That’s definitely time well-spent. Learn how to use Facebook Ads or Google Analytics for example. Maybe brush up on SEO and see how you can improve your online footprint. Here are some of my favorite resources (these are particular individuals I’ve learned from myself).
1. Melyssa Griffin (Pinterest)
2. Amy Porterfield (Online Marketing)
3. Allison (Business Planning)
4. Helene In Between (Instagram)
5. Alex Beadon (Instagram)
2. Focus on your home
I don’t know about you, but I can’t bear to walk into a disorganized, dirty house. It gives me so much anxiety that I start snapping at everyone around me. Then I get into a cleaning frenzy, cursing at the fact that I just cleaned days before. Now is the perfect time to finally declutter (permission to watch Marie Kondo on Netflix) and clear your home of all that junk you’ve accumulated over the years. Your mind will thank you. Not only will you minimize the amount of stuff you need to put away, but you’ll have more space for the things that truly matter to you and your family.
In the past year, I’ve decluttered my home three times. Also, isn’t it spring cleaning time? Go create that space you’ve been meaning to. If you’ve had projects in mind to complete, now’s the time to do so. Add value to your home by fixing it up (youtube is the best resource to help you). My husband and I renovated two homes on our own and we were able to add significant equity to both. Sometimes all it takes is a few cosmetic adjustments which is why I’m adding an interesting resource here to help you add more joy to your home.
1. Aesthetics Of Joy
2. Marie Kondo
3. Assess your finances
This is a biggie. It’s on everyone’s mind, and rightfully so because it feels like the whole world is collapsing. People are losing their jobs. Companies are asking to be bailed out. We don’t know what the eventual economic fallout will look like once we’re out in the clear, or if there will be one, which is why we’re all nervous. When I say assess your finances, it’s much more than just looking at your budget right now and cutting out unnecessary expenditures. It’s about gaining the knowledge of what you can do to be financially stable should this occur again in the future. Because there’s nothing more terrifying than glancing at your bank account where you’re not financially stable.
I do believe that there are opportunities in times like these, and we just need to know how to jump on them. One thing that I’m doing is reading up about the stock market and how it operates so that I can potentially jump in. There are a lot of resources out there to help you budget, manage your money, and invest in the market, and it’s important you find the ones that work for you. I won’t add the ones that I use so as to not cloud your vision, but here are some of the steps I’m taking to feel better about my financial future:
- Look at my past year’s expenses to see the types of purchases I’ve made & the companies I’ve supported. This will help change my behavior especially if I find that I splurge on useless things.
- Figure out a new skill to gain so that I can have something to fall back upon. This goes back to learning a new skill.
- Be more financially literate. As I said earlier, I want to learn more about what makes a company healthy and how to invest for long term growth.
4. Invest in your relationships
Whether you’re stuck inside with your family, or you teleconnect with them, now’s the perfect time to open up the communication lines. Talk about your fears, anxieties, hopes, dreams. If you have children that you can rationally speak to, see what they have to say – and not just about this situation. Communication can happen directly through questions of course, but indirectly as well, while playing a game together or watching a movie that prompts a conversation.
Maybe it’s been a while since you had a date night with your significant other. Come up with one fun thing to do every other day together, or one nice thing you can do for one another. Maybe the only thing you’ve talked to your kids about has been school. Pull up a new game every night and watch how they light up. Honestly, for relationship building, there are plenty of products out there but I want to highlight one that’s definitely more niche and underrated. It brought us all much close together.
1. Vertellis (conversational card games for both love and family)
2. Date night in a box
5. Personal Growth
This can mean a lot of different things. Personal growth could be taking up knitting and challenging yourself to knit a whole sweater. It could also mean sitting down with your significant other and open up about what you’re truly going through. If you’ve been meaning to work on some weaknesses, or even strengths, look up some books or courses that can help you. For example, if you know you have a hard time with conflict management (hi!), see if you can pick up some new techniques and practice by yourself out loud. It’s the perfect time to do so!
Maybe you have a hard time making small talk, look up ways to get more confident or more comfortable with the idea. If you recently got feedback from your manager on some things to work on, work on them! Personal growth applies to anything that you feel you need to get better at. Empathy, patience, understanding, logic, active listening, etc. This is my favorite. I don’t have any particular resources for this one because it’s really personal.
Everyone is approaching this situation with a different perspective and background. Some people are living their best life right now, and some people are breaking down day in and day out.
The most important thing you can do for yourself is to honor your feelings.
I’m just here to motivate or inspire you to make that first step if that’s where your mind is, because this is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, and time we never would have had. I hope I’ve given you some ideas or some things to focus on, as always I’d love to hear how you’re coping with this whole social distancing phenomenon.