Over the last six to eight weeks, we've have had a number of things taken away due to COVID-19. Where we go, how we shop, who can work, how many people we can see – or even if we can see them at all – have all made an impact on how we are living day to day. Honestly, just turning on the computer or TV is an instant reminder of all that's been taken from us. In the midst of all this negativity, it sure is easy to miss the gift.
Yes, I did say gift.
Now before I explain, let me just preface this by saying in no way am at all intending to minimize the hardships many are going through right now. These are most definitely very real, very raw and are taking a toll on the mental and physical health of the general public like never before. And in spite of all this, there is always something good to be found if you look for it. And I do believe what you look for, you will find. Sort of like Google. Whatever you type in the search bar will come up. If you're only looking up how many people have contracted the virus or scouring news reports for recent charts and graphs on death rates around the world, bad news is all you're going to get. By the same token, if you were to search for how many people have recovered and the related stats on that, you'll have a number of things showing up that will make you smile. For whatever reason, society as a whole, tends to search for what is wrong more often than looking for what is right. And in the midst of looking, searching and cross-referencing doom and gloom, many have missed the gift.
Ever have a parcel delivered and the postman tucked it under a chair on your front porch, or behind the post and you didn't see it for a few days? You'd placed the order yourself so you knew it was coming. But for whatever reason, you got distracted, forgot the expected delivery date and didn't look for it when you grabbed the mail out of the box. Meanwhile, you're struggling to make do with what you have, wondering when it will arrive, when it was right there the entire time, kind of like we are with this virus.
The gift I'm referring to is time. And next to health, time is the most valuable gift you could ever receive. And whether it comes by force, strategic planning, or totally by chance, having an extra chunk of time each day is priceless. Think about it. How many times before COVID-19 have you said, “I wish I had more time for ____” or “I wish I had time to do ___ again” or “Where does the time go?” We've all said these, likely not thinking there was anything we could do to get those minutes back. And now we have them. The question is, what are you doing with them? I invite you to fill in your blanks.
If you've found yourself bored, frustrated, sleeping more, binge-watching TV or noticed your phone's screen-time report climbing higher each week, it could very well be there's a bunch of time you could be using for things that make you smile. Or laugh. Or think. Or learn, stretch and grow. Things that you've always wished you had time to do but couldn't. This isolation situation has brought on emotions ranging from fear and dread, to gratitude and peace, to apathy. And regardless where yours are, it seems each emotion also came with a little bit of limbo. The place where, if we choose to camp, will waste those precious minutes we have been given.
So today I challenge you. Organize those photos, pick up that instrument, read (or write!) that book, paint that fence, take that course, cook with your kids, have a family game night, start eating healthy, plan that vacation, start that business. Dust off those dreams. Use your imagination. And decide today that when we come out the other side and you look back on this time, you'll be grateful for how you spent those minutes, and not regretful that you squandered them.
For support, motivation and practical tips and strategies to use with your health and in life, join the 8 Weeks is All it Takes group on Facebook.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.