There’s no denying it; these are challenging times. And while adversity strengthens character, I don’t think that’s automatic. I’m pretty sure I’m not building any character watching copious amounts of news or binge-watching “Parks and Recreation” for the umpteenth time (even though Leslie Knope is fabulous!)
I want to emerge stronger on the other side of this disaster, but I will have to be intentional about it.
If you are fortunate enough to be healthy and safe but find yourself struggling to manage your thoughts and focus right now, I’d like to propose we give our brains a challenge.
We Have More Time
Many of us find ourselves with more time on our hands. Slowing work, suspended projects, restricted travel, canceled vacations, and eliminated commutes have provided more time. Oh, and there’s nowhere to go! Yes, some of us have the added responsibility of homeschooling, and that’s a big deal. But net, net, many people have more discretionary time.
So what will we do with it?
How Will We Use It
I get it; it’s so natural to feel frozen in suspended animation just waiting until things “get back to normal.” When will that be? How might we use this time right now? Are there things you’ve wanted to do but didn’t have enough time? Maybe you want to:
*learn a new skill
*get in shape
*write a book
*start a non-profit
*organize your closets
*learn how to paint
Allow yourself to think about all those things you “wish you had time to do” and consider what might be possible now.
Brains Like Solving Problems
Our minds are problem-solving machines. But the COVID-19 pandemic is a problem most of us can’t solve. Sure we can do our part to help, but on an hourly, daily basis, there’s not much most of us can do about it. This feeling of helplessness completely freaks out the brain, and it can consume a lot of the brain’s energy and focus if we don’t offer it a valuable redirect.
We need to give our brains a problem or a challenge to focus on that truly serves us.
The 90 Day Challenge
I’ve decided to give myself a 90-day challenge to focus my brain on something valuable, a project I’ve wanted to complete but never made the time. If you’d like to join me, you could start by asking yourself:
Ninety days from now, what’s the ONE Thing I want to accomplish that will have a positive impact on my life?
This can be a small goal, a big goal, it doesn’t matter. Just give your brain something productive to focus on and commit to spending a little time each day to move the goal forward.
There’s no doubt that as a nation, as a global community, we are experiencing extreme peril. If worrying and checking the news every five minutes made a positive impact, I would have single-handedly solved the crisis by now. So I’m constraining my focus to a small change I can make in my life and giving my brain a challenge it can actually solve.
It’s hard to know the right things to say or do in times like these. I only share this idea in the hopes that it might be helpful to you. I’d love to hear what your 90-day goal is and how you are managing through these difficult times. Please stay safe and be well.