When life slows down, you get to focus more on yourself.

Life might feel like it’s been put on pause lately. With current health concerns, you likely aren’t going out as often. Maybe work or school has been canceled for a while. Any big plans such as traveling, concerts, or events have likely been put on hold. Life has taken on a different, slower quality for the time being. That being said, we still have the opportunity to live our best lives.

Over the past week, I’ve been fortunate to reflect on things I want to change, and I’ve managed to make some progress even as I stay home. It’s easy to feel like your life has to always be busy and productive, but there are times when doing less is the best course of action. Here are a few ways to spend your time that are worth considering:

1. Learn a New Skill

Living a little slower means you have more free time on your hands. This is a great time to learn something new. Is there something you’ve wanted to learn that you wrote off because of a lack of time? Now may be the perfect time to give it a shot.

You may not have access to in-person classes or facilities, but most of these problems can be worked around to fit your space and skill. With YouTube, Coursera, Skillshare, and other online resources, there is almost certainly someone that knows what they’re doing offering to teach the things you want to learn. Additionally, these resources are usually affordable. YouTube is free, Coursera and Skillshare offer relatively cheap options along with a few free courses.

Most of these courses let you learn from the comfort of your home. You can finally learn how to paint, work on your drawing, or experiment with cooking new meals. Learning keeps our brains active and our lives interesting. It might be the perfect antidote to any boredom that might arise as a result of having less to do.

2. Connect with Friends

Before social distancing began, I found myself focusing more on schoolwork and writing than I would have liked to. Schoolwork is important and writing has emerged as something I would love to do for a career, but I don’t think they should come at the cost of ignoring my friends and the relationships I find important. I realized that practicing social distancing was barely different from the life I was living before, and I don’t want that to be the case.

It’s weird to think that everyone else getting separated from their friends was the step that allowed me to engage more with my friends. Not seeing them at all has been such a small shift that it is barely noticeable. Instead, I’ve managed to have some great conversations with a little help from modern technology. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve had deep conversations, the ones that I truly look forward to having. Maybe this is your moment to reach out as well.

Maybe you got really busy and focused on work to the point that you started overlooking relationships. Maybe you just lost touch with someone and have been wanting to contact them but felt it would be too awkward. Now is the perfect time. People are home, they have less to do, and everyone could use a little support. Your call or message might make their day, especially if they haven’t been contacted by anyone else recently.

3. Do Nothing

When things are busy and we’re trying to be productive, it’s often hard to justify doing nothing. We get frustrated with ourselves for wasting time. We don’t want to look back on our day and see that we only completed half of our to-do list. Our need to be productive often overwhelms any desire for relaxation.

With things being a little slower, your to-do list is likely a little shorter. This is a great opportunity to take some time for yourself. You can binge your favorite show, look for a really good movie, read a book, or literally just sit and relax. This is a chance to let your expectations fall to the wayside. Allow yourself that opportunity. At some point, things will go back to normal and you can return to your productive lifestyle then if you would like. For now, focus on the things you can do at home that will fill your cup.

Live Through This Pause

Your normal life may be put on pause for a little while, but you can still make the most of it. Spend your time doing things that light you up and fill you with energy. Connect with friends that you haven’t seen in a while, along with those you don’t see enough through a phone call or text. Allow yourself to take things slow and enjoy this time. Accept that your life will be different for a few days or weeks, but that it doesn’t have to be worse than it was before.

In the same way you might pause a movie to put on comfortable pajamas, make some popcorn, and grab a warm blanket, use these days to focus on your own needs whole-heartedly. Within the anxieties, worries, and restrictions this virus has brought, you have been given the small gift of a little free time. It may not equal out, but it is something. How do you want to spend it?

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