COVID and your career

It’s funny how the things that were unimaginable two weeks ago have become our new normal (at least temporarily). As our home, New York City has progressively shut down, my family and I have been actively practicing social distancing and we quickly calibrated our schedules and our routines to adjust for working from home and suddenly homeschooling our young children.

One of the things we have all faced is adjusting our habits. Our spinning classes, happy hours and daily lives have changed. As a habit junkie, I sat down to review my habits and identified five I could adjust while we face COVID-19 to help keep me healthy, growing and – let’s be honest – sane. These are the five habits will help you thrive as we face obstacles and restrictions to defeat the pandemic.

Daily Runs (or Walks)

If you’re a fitness class junkie, the closure of your favorite studio or gym might have felt like your parents were selling your childhood home. You lived there. I personally had a well established running, spinning, pilates and yoga schedule in place for as long as I can remember.

Because outdoor activities are still okay, as long as you maintain distance from others, this is a daily escape from the apartment and much-needed movement. You don’t need to wrack up lots of mileage each day, but get outside and keep moving. Luckily, the Spring scenery is starting to emerge and the beauty outdoors can easily make you forget anything bad is happening. 

Notifications Off

Admittedly, I learned this one the hard way last weekend. Pouncing on every push notification and update, I ended up making myself anxious – and panic buying chocolate covered almonds (because #priorities). 

While staying informed is important, it doesn’t mean that you needed to know what is happening every five minutes. By simply switching notifications off, or leaving your phone in a drawer or another room, you can maintain a more positive mind frame and avoid a lot of the noise that is happening.

Remove One Task a Day

While you may be saving time with a commute, keeping your work hours to a normal amount, or maybe even less, is crucial right now. Being ambitious with your time is noble, especially when there is a lot of adjustments that need to quickly happen no matter your industry or role.  But in reality, you will likely find yourself less productive because of the circumstance.

Even if your productivity does not suffer, rest is essential to keeping you healthy. Instead of overloading yourself on work tasks, overload yourself on self-care tasks.

Opportunity to Grow

You have a necessarily empty social calendar and only so much binge-watching that can be done before you question the integrity of your grey matter. This is an excellent time to focus on expanding your knowledge and skills.

Have you always wanted to learn how to play guitar, but never had the time? Now is the perfect time!

Have a stack of books you’ve been meaning to get to? Enter bookworm mode for the next few weeks.

Been meaning to grow your leadership skills at work? Find a course and take advantage of the time you have right now. Once the virus is contained and eliminated we will still be facing unsteady times economically as we cannot escape the impact of what happened. Investing in your professional growth right now will pay off in dividends no matter what happens next, and will help poise you for the next step in your career. 

Find Gratitude

Practicing gratitude has so many benefits, including making you happier and more resilient. Commit to finding even one thing per day that you are grateful for – it will train your brain to look for the good and will help you be more optimistic.

It can be as simple as ‘my coffee smelled like magic’ to as deep as ‘I’m happy my dad is still healthy.’ Find those things and treasure them.

No Matter What

This circumstance is temporary and time is fleeting. A few weeks is a blip in our lifetimes. Focus on following the guidelines you are given by your government(s), stay healthy and safe, and for the love of fluffy puppies wash your hands. 

Commit to making a delicious lemontini out of the lemons we’ve been given. Because seeing and seizing the opportunities you have right now is much more fabulous than the alternative.