The initial waves of disorder, chaos, and anxiety surrounding the stress of social distancing have worn off for me. I’ve gotten used to the fact that I’m spending 16-18 hours a day in my bedroom. I complete nearly all activities from the comfort of my home, and it’s starting to feel normal. When I go outside, it’s serenely quiet, and I’m trying to capture all of these memories because the world will be loud and rushed again in the future.

During the first week of social distancing, I struggled to adjust to my new routine. By the second week, I decided to focus on accepting the current circumstances of our new normal and think about ways I can take advantage of this unprecedented time.

Here’s what I’ve learned after two weeks of social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak:

Now is a great time to think about priorities.

With each passing day, I’ve started to think about my regular daily routines and commitments and have been evaluating them one-by-one. The reality is, some parts of our lives may not be fulfilling, and now is the perfect time to identify those parts. There is something so humbling about spending so much time with oneself that we can learn what truly fills our hearts with the most joy. Choose the parts that bring you joy – the ones that light you up and make you feel fulfilled.

We always say we don’t have time, but the truth is, we don’t make time.

I have been guilty on multiple occasions of claiming that I didn’t have time to make a phone call, help out a friend, or complete a chore. With more free time than ever on our hands, it’s time to own up to the fact that there’s a difference between not having the time, and not making the time. Sure, our usual schedules are much busier, and perhaps there are moments where it really might feel like we don’t have enough time. I hope that we will remember how life felt when we rushed less. I hope we will make time for all the little things when our lives resume as usual.

You cannot control what happens, but you can control how you react to it.

You can do yourself a favor by controlling how you react to the unexpected. You always have control over how you react. Going to the grocery store has been a stressful experience for me. Seeing empty shelves and a lack of available inventory immediately triggered my panic response. This week, I reminded myself that I don’t have to feel stressed out when I go to the grocery store if I don’t want to. I stopped allowing my thoughts to wander and fearing that I might eventually run out of food. I am in control of how I feel and react to this situation. We are all in control of our reactions.

We won’t ever get this time back, so make the most of it – whatever that means to you.

Most of us are finding ourselves having more free time than we’ve ever had and may ever have again. Time is the only thing we can never get back, and we should make the most of it. For some, this will be a season full of extra rest. Others may want to be productive either personally or professionally. Some will develop new hobbies and interests during this time. No matter how you choose to spend this time, do in your heart what’s best for you and don’t forget to make the most of it.

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