Raise your hand if before the world was shaken by the coronavirus pandemic you were always on the go. I know I was. Rushing to the office, rushing through a sad desk lunch, rushing to meet your friend for happy hour before rushing to the gym. Life used to move so fast that it was a blur half the time. Our previously packed schedules had us on autopilot, going through the motions of work, play, repeat without taking a moment to breathe. 

As we’re all well aware, that’s no longer an issue anymore. Over the past few months our reality has been redefined. Birthdays have been celebrated over Zoom, ample banana bread has been baked, and every episode of Tiger King has been streamed. But in between the attempts to distract ourselves and occupy the empty spaces in our routines, we’ve been left alone with our thoughts. For hours on end. 

At this point, many of us are feeling restless. We’re tired of being trapped in our tiny apartments. Even the introverts are desperately in need of IRL social interaction. But until it’s safe to do otherwise, we’ll be continuing to stay in — so let’s look for the silver lining. Quarantining offers us the rare opportunity for introspection.

We put every effort into checking in on our loved ones and sharing our best advice. But how often do we extend that same compassion to ourselves? How often do we sit down and ask: How am I? What are my dreams, what are my fears, and what kind of person do I want to become? 

How much longer we’ll be self-isolating for is unclear, but until then, let’s try to cherish this slower pace of life with some self-reflection. Grab your drink of choice and a journal, and spend some time having a heart to heart with yourself. With these conversation starters, you might just learn something new — about you!

If you could change one habit, what would it be?

So much of who we are and what we accomplish is a result of our daily habits. Whether you’re a nail biter, ceaseless snacker or procrastinator, we all have the tendency to do things we’d rather not do. But the good news is we’re in control of our actions. They say you can make or break a habit in 21 days — and there’s a good chance we’ll still have some free time over these next few weeks. Give it a shot, because if not now, when?

How would you define your relationship with social media?

There are healthy and less healthy ways to spend our time on Tik Tok and Twitter, and your screen time has most likely skyrocketed since the stay-at-home orders began. Do you feel like you’re in control of your scrolling? Are you caught in a comparison trap whenever you open up Instagram? Take note of how you feel after spending time on social media, and find a way to be improve upon that mood — whether that means unfollowing certain accounts or even deleting an app altogether.

Visualize yourself in five years from now. Who is that version of you?

Pretend that you’re introducing yourself five years from now. Are you an entrepreneur? A published author? A CEO? Don’t hold back in this dream elevator pitch, because you might be surprised with your answer. Beyond your career, how else have you evolved? What are your hobbies? Where do you live? Try to be as specific as possible — the power of manifestation is a real thing.

How would you rate your love life?

Whether you’re isolating with a partner, in a LDR, or riding out the quarantine while single, your love life is probably on your mind. Are you wishing for a steady relationship — or wishing you were flying solo? Ask yourself what it is you really want, because sometimes societal pressures can skew our idea of an ideal life.

Would you say you’re more of an optimist or a pessimist? 

All of us experience less than stellar days, but we can choose not to dwell on the negative. How do you typically cope with mistakes and disappointments? Be honest. If you’re more the glass-is-half-empty type, don’t give up. By identifying your outlook on life, you can train your brain to see the brighter side of situations.

What would you change about your career?

This pandemic has caused many of us to re-evaluate our careers. Think about your current work situation and ask yourself what, if anything, could be different. Are you overdue for a raise? Does your company’s values and mission still resonate with you? If you’ve been laid off, would you consider making a switch into a new field? Once you know where your heart is really at, you can start to tackle these challenges and make the necessary changes.

Have you been kind to yourself lately?

Our overall happiness is often a direct reflection of our inner thoughts. Are you more likely to build yourself up, or beat yourself up? When you don’t follow through with that workout or you get passed over for a promotion, how do you respond? It’s so important to be just as good of a friend to yourself as you would anyone else. The things we tell ourselves really do matter.