Now’s your chance. The free time you were waiting for. You can finish all of those projects. Start working out. Learn a new skill. Reconnect with your family. You can finally write that novel you’ve been putting off. But alas, you’re a week in, and all you’ve successfully done is watch all of Tiger King and drank a lot of wine. And to top it off, now you want to kill your family.
Whether you’re working from home, laid off, trying to manage a household of kids, or stuck by yourself, this isn’t really a “vacation” for anyone. We’re all having to get used to the “new normal,” and in these times of intense change and uncertainty, we tend to either Flourish or Perish.
Being quarantined, and furloughed, I’ve seen a million posts on my daily scrolls through Instagram telling me what I should be doing with my newfound free time. Then another million aimed at making me feel better for NOT “flourishing” in this time of uncertainty. In the end, though, some influencer or celebrity isn’t going to be able to tell me what I should be doing. The same goes for you. If you want to truly use this time in a way that is fulfilling and productive, you’re the only one who can figure out what that means.
So here comes the easy part. Think about your life.
What are you missing? (how easy it is to start with the negative, right?) What do you think would make you happier? What are you proud of? What do you feel genuinely grateful for? If you’re struggling to figure out how to utilize your new free time, start by looking into what’s already there.
Try putting it into writing, try telling someone. Can you break down what you’re looking to achieve, gain, or change in these next few weeks? If you’re able to clearly break it down for someone else or to put in writing, then you’ll better be able to identify it for yourself.
So, the hard part? Do something about it.
Steve once told me that he’s not the best at working out (yea, probably a moment of weakness on his part… but he said it) but that he’s good at it because he does it every day. So, if you want to write, park yourself at the computer and type out a paragraph or two, every day. Want that toned body? Tune in to a free online workout class every morning (or call up steve if you’re really serious about it). If you want to reconnect with your family, don’t expect that you’ll suddenly be able to hang out with an angsty pre-teen for weeks on end without wanting to pull your hair out, maybe you start by preparing dinner together or working on a puzzle… you guessed it, every day.
It’s ok if after this has settled down and you’re heading back to work, that you don’t have a manuscript to forward off to publishing houses worldwide. It’s ok that your bikini body is only tankini ready, or if your kids are just as eager to get away from you as you are for them.
But if given the opportunity to flourish or perish, don’t believe for a moment that your only option is to perish because you don’t have what it takes to flourish. Do what you love, what’s important to you, what you’ve been putting off…. And even if it’s just a little bit, do it every day. Take this time to create habits and to start. Take this time to learn how to flourish.