I’ve never really thought of myself as a massive optimist and, just like everyone else, I have days where I feel really low and sometimes even helpless. As this coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe, claiming tens of thousands of lives and confining people to their homes whilst simultaneously wreaking havoc on the global economy, I am not surrendering to mass hysteria or panic buying or spreading conspiracy theories.

Amidst all this fear and uncertainty, I feel a sense of calm and moreover, I am overcome with feelings of hope and optimism for the future of humanity – provided we collectively commit to doing better and being better once we emerge from under this cloud.

Of course I have fears just like anyone else. As a mother, my first priority is to take care of my children’s well-being and to provide them with a safe and nurturing environment while modeling the behaviors I wish to instill in them.
As a solopreneur who relies very much on keynote speaking, conferences and corporate training in addition to my consulting services, I am concerned about financial security, just like everybody else right now.

But I understand that I can neither control this situation, nor change what is happening right now and so, I focus instead on controlling my thoughts and my actions. Whether you are on government mandated lockdown for 21 days or longer as we are here in South Africa, or you are voluntarily self-isolating, you can choose to focus on positives right now and recognize that we have been given the gift of TIME.

And here are 3 things we should all be doing with this time:

1. Create

Sure, I know we aren’t all going to write the next great novel! But we all have things we have always wanted to learn or projects we have always wanted to finish or even goals for our relationships that we have always wanted to achieve.
Let’s use this time to create memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.
Always wanted to learn to bake or play music? Been meaning to finish that painting or quilt or scrapbook? Perhaps you’ve been wanting to write or record video or audio content and connect with a wider audience or learn a new skill that will help clinch that promotion.
Whatever it is that you have wanted to create, the chances are that there is a free or super affordable course or video or app out there that will help you to achieve your goals. Go ahead and plant that vegetable or herb garden or learn to crochet or bake macaroons. Your future self will thank you!

2. Connect

Being busy all the time, has become our collective get-out-of-jail-free card. We are always too busy working or trying to avoid burnout and total mental and emotional collapse, so we tell ourselves and others that we don’t have the time to have a 30 minute conversation over a cup of coffee.
We see the self-help books and the webinars and the personal development courses, but we are always too busy to commit to actually doing some inner work. We convince ourselves that we need a two week pilgrimage to meditate and connect with our purpose and our true self.
Yet, suddenly, a novel coronavirus has obliterated those crutches and killed off every single excuse that we have been making and story that we have been telling ourselves about why we can’t connect deeply with ourselves or others.
We might not be able to physically gather, but we sure as hell can get a cup of tea or coffee and FaceTime with a friend or relative we have been emotionally neglecting.
We can have family dinners together and banish the devices in favour of game night or a movie. We can listen to music and have those conversations with our partners that last until 4am. And we can definitely take advantage of all the goodwill of literally thousands of creators and thought leaders who are making personal development courses, meditation, mentoring and coaching either ridiculously affordable or even free. This is also a great time to use social media and our shared global experience, to make new friends and build communities that care about each other’s wellbeing.

3. Clear Out

There has arguably never been a better time to catch up on some Marie Kondo on Netflix and start clearing out the clutter in our spaces. We have an opportunity to pack up and lovingly release all the things we don’t need or don’t use and the things that do not ‘spark joy’.

But it’s not just physical items and stuff we need to clear out – it’s also beliefs, habits and behaviors that do not serve us and do not help us to evolve and achieve our goals.

But it’s not just physical items and stuff we need to clear out – it’s also beliefs, habits and behaviors that do not serve us and do not help us to evolve and achieve our goals.

Know you need to be eating healthier? Use this time to stay home and cook from scratch instead of ordering in. Been wanting to improve your fitness and energy levels? Now is a great time to get started with yoga or Zumba or BodyGroove or that Bollywood dance class you have always wanted to take – and you can do it all at home with streaming services or the numerous fitness apps that are available.

As surreal or dystopian as this pandemic feels right now, I honestly believe that it is an opportunity for us all, globally, to hit the reset button on our lives. We have the opportunity to re-evaluate our priorities and to commit to the things that truly matter. We have been given the time to take a breath, slow down and transform ourselves, our thinking, our beliefs and our behaviors.
Let’s not screw it up again.