I consider myself an optimistic person, but what happens when our ways of receiving happiness are challenged?
It’s crazy to think that literally a month ago I was attending classes on campus, stressing over a test, and looking forward to spring break and the rest of the semester. Then, life turned upside down and next thing I knew I was moving out of my dorm and interacting with my professors over Zoom. My heart breaks for high school and college seniors who had their last classes without even getting a chance to say goodbye.
Towards the end of last week, as I managed going "back to school," I had an epiphany of sorts about getting adjusted to this new normal. Even though it seems like we have all the time in the world, time is a weird thing that gets away from you in the blink of an eye. I decided to create a schedule for myself because I want to make the most of family time while expanding my creativity and prayer life and remaining successful in my studies. We'll see how this structure works moving forward.
I feel like God has granted me the tools, through my conversations and classes, to form a fresh perspective. It’s like He has laid all of the cards on the table and is prompting me to pick the ones I desire to carry in my pocket. I want to share those cards to you (in no particular order). Take what you need.
1. Count your blessings
Coincidentally, one of the lectures in my Interpersonal Communications class last week was about happiness. The professor (an adorable older man with a kind heart and wise soul) outlined 15 "rules for happiness." This was one of them, and I think one of most important ones. He said we should write down 5 things each day that we're thankful for. It's easy to fall down the black hole of bad news. By incorporating this practice, we can choose to focus on the good.
2. Explore hobbies
Is there something you've been wanting to do but never felt like you had the time? Well, most of our calendars are completely free so now's your chance! It can be anything – painting, reading, sewing, gardening, you name it! My dad mentioned wanting to learn how to play the saxophone! While that was meant as a joke, it's certainly getting into the spirit of things (just don't know how he'll get his hands on one lol).
3. Take care of your health
On top of staying home (which you should already be doing), you need to do good for your body. This means exercising! Even if it's just walking your dog around the neighborhood, any form of exercise will benefit you in the long run. I played Just Dance yesterday and dusted off our Wii Fit board to mix things up a bit. Luckily, the Internet is home to thousands of at-home workouts that don't require owning weights and allow you to break a good sweat. Also, don't forget to practice self-care! Treat yourself to a face mask, a warm shower/bath, or even a nice at-home manicure. Fuel your body with yummy and healthy food! It will thank you later :)
4. Get outside
Whether that be sitting in the sun for a while or exploring nature trails (while staying 6ft from other people), a little bit of fresh air and Vitamin C is good for the soul.
5. Do something for others
Although most of us are fortunate to be at home, there are still people that have to go to work everyday. The least we can do is show our appreciation for them. This can be on a bigger scale, like people in NYC and across the world clapping for healthcare workers during shift changes. It can even be as simple as writing a thank you card for your postal worker or leaving a big tip when you order takeout. Recognize the hard work of teachers and support small businesses. These small acts of kindness can make a big difference.
6. Reach out to friends and loved ones
We all have a desire to feel connected and that may feel hopeless right now. However, it is vital in order to maintain our relationships. Even though we can't hug each other or hang out in person, it's nice to feel loved. A simple phone call or text could make someone's day. As weird as it may be, seeing your friend's face virtually once in a while is better than not at all. No one should be alone during this time.
If you have any other tips, please feel free to share them below in the comments! And if you're looking for some positivity, I highly recommend watching John Krasinski’s YouTube series "Some Good News" (Episode 1 linked below!)
Let’s stay informed and wise by staying home right now, but also not let fear win and steal our joy. Make sure you take time to turn off the news to laugh, dance, and create! Get out in the rain, get out in the sunshine, this is only a season and it will get better! :)
(This quote is quite fitting for right now, from the Broadway musical "Dear Evan Hansen".)