Even though things have reopened, for the most part, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives, from remote working and at-home learning to job loss, unemployment, and health concerns. It can be difficult to manage a change of this scale, but the simple fact is that we need to get through this trying time and into the next phase of life, and some things just can’t wait “until COVID is completely gone.” The key to doing this in a healthy fashion is to accept what we can’t alter, make the best of what we can, including our own mental and physical wellness, and finding the silver lining.
Guest Blogger Kent Elliot of At Home Aging presents some tips for improving your wellness.
Your Health and Wellness
You have it in your power to be in charge of your overall wellness. Taking a holistic approach to eating right and exercising often will not only make you feel better physically, but it can give you an emotional boost as well. Make time every day to be active, and make stress reduction a non-negotiable part of every day. For you, this might mean meditation, relaxation breathing techniques, or learning a calming mantra. Once you start focusing on yourself, you’ll find you’re much better able to manage not only your own stress but the stress of those around you as well.
While it may not feel like it in the midst of daily chaos, you actually have more control over your time than you might think. The key is in managing that time wisely. Employ some of the tricks of busy executives by delegating tasks where appropriate, such as having older kids help younger ones with lunch or homework or asking a spouse or housemate to manage laundry and housekeeping during the week. Hire out tasks if possible, like errand running. Most importantly, literally build “extra” time into your schedule that you can use for overflow, the unexpected, or on yourself.
How You Shop and Eat
It’s ever-so easy to click “add” on every comfort food in your virtual shopping cart, but it’s time to reframe that thinking. Start visualizing healthy, fresh, whole foods as comfort foods, and develop appealing new ways to prepare them. Meal prep can be a great time-saver in general, even more so when you’re working with healthy ingredients. You’ll begin to find that when you’re well-fueled, you think, feel, and act differently. According to the Sleep Foundation, a healthy diet and exercise can help you sleep better, which can add to your overall stamina and focus during the day.
Your Career Path
If you’re overworked and juggling a career and kids or elder care, it can feel overwhelming. If you’re currently out of work, you’re likely stressed in a different way. Many people are finding themselves in one boat or another at the moment, making this a good time to step back and evaluate your short and long-term employment goals. Maybe you’re best served staying put and working with your supervisor to find a schedule that balances with your family obligations; alternatively, it might be time to start a job search, looking for something that feels fulfilling and rewarding. Doing a little research will, at minimum, give you a feeling of empowerment and choice.
Where You Live
Life changes can happen suddenly, and you may find you need to make a move or renovate during the pandemic. Consider using a qualified real estate professional to help you assess finances, narrow the scope of your search, and find appropriate properties in your neighborhood of choice. In addition to deciding about location and price range, add some joy to the process by checking out the latest design trends you can incorporate into your new space. Do lots of research about different dimensions of renovation, from how to meet your needs to its impacts on resale value. Moving or renovating is a great time to put into practice the saying “Out with the old, in with the new.” Consider your move a fresh start, both in terms of where you reside, and in your mental outlook as well.
The pandemic has changed the way we live our lives, but there are some positive elements that can be gleaned from the process. Self-care, personal wellness, and an ability to accept that which is beyond your control are essential elements to forward-thinking and living.
Few may remember it today, but the Happiness Movement got its start because the use of Gross Domestic Product or GDP (the sum of all goods and services produced in a year) by governments leads to inequality. In the last four or five decades, our reliance on GDP to guide economic and social policy has lead to the suffering and misery of people who do not get richer as GDP rises, but instead, get poorer. It reinforces racial inequality. It legitimatizes injustice. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and our justice, social and cultural systems celebrate the rich and blame the poor. To make matters worse, those who get poorer can least afford it, and those who get richer lose touch with how bad things are for the poor. Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi, three economists, summed some of these findings up in a report conveniently known as the Stiglitz -Sen-Fitoussi Commission Report.
The genesis, purpose and aim of the Happiness Movement is to measurably define inequality and then, using a measurement-driven-approach, find and implement solutions that cure inequality through improving people’s wellbeing.
While the Happiness Movement may seen like a frivolous endeavor aimed at making already happy people a little happier, it's just the opposite. It is as serious as the words of the US Declaration of Independence, which heralded a revolution that changed how governments operated globally: all people have an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is economic and social equality.