Right now, the coronavirus known as COVID-19 is continuing to spread, and more cases are continuing to develop. This has inspired a widespread response to protect everyday American lives, from social distancing rules and stay-home rules to closing businesses and even Senate plans to send relief checks to many households. Meanwhile, quarantine is a fine opportunity for you to practice some new habits, and break old habits along the way. Many Americans keep themselves very busy and have full schedules, but bear in mind that “busy” and “productive” are not always the same thing. Now, while under quarantine with many hours on your hands, you can take this chance to do some serious self-assessment and make any adjustments to your lifestyle that you deem prudent. By the time the quarantine is over, you may feel reborn.
Quit Any Bad Habits
The very concept of habits has been rigorously studied: how our brains develop them, how long it takes to learn a habit, how many of our actions are habits, and so on. Entire books have been written on the topic. Bear in mind that there are no neutral habits: they will either benefit your life or harm it, whether on a small or large scale. So, why not use this quarantine as a chance to study yourself and determine which habits are more trouble than they are worth? This can greatly benefit your time management skills, interpersonal skills, finances, health, professional life, and more. You might be seriously sabotaging yourself in all kinds of ways and not even realize it, because habits soon become automatic and thus invisible. It’s time to shed light on them.
What are some examples? Let’s start with health, a universal concern. Smoking cigarettes is a staple example of a bad habit, and for good reason. Estimates say that around 90% of people who suffer from periodontitis are smokers, not to mention smoking’s association with lung, throat, and mouth cancer. Smoking also damages the lungs and reduces their capacity to absorb oxygen from the air, and smoking also causes premature aging in the skin. Meanwhile, other bad health habits include excessive drinking, which can cause poor sleep and harm the liver, as well as eating too much fast food or highly processed foods. Such foods have a lot of added sugars and fats that only harm your health.
Many Americans also have poor spending habits, routinely buying many small items or services that they don’t actually need. All of this adds up fast, such as buying fast food or alcohol, lottery tickets, coffee, a lot of movie tickets, and the like. You don’t necessarily have to eliminate these things, but try to cut back, and see how much you can save up as a result. Every penny counts.
You might also have bad habits at work. While under quarantine, you can reflect on your office work and realize how much time you spend chatting with co-workers, reading newspapers or magazines, hanging out in the break room, or browsing the internet for fun. Some estimates say that the average sales worker only spends 90 minutes per day on prospects, out of an entire eight-hour day. Imagine how productive you’ll be once you diagnose and eliminate those bad habits once you’re back in the office.
Update Your Will
This is not a fatalistic or macabre topic at all; in fact, your will has less to do with your own mortality and more to do with your estate (money, possessions, etc) and the law. Take note that many Americans take the idea of a will too lightly, and that may include you. Even many senior citizens neglect to have a properly written will, not to mention younger generations. Overall, about 71.6% of all Americans do not have a written will, and that can cause some serious issues once those people pass on.
Why? If a person perishes without a will, then their assets may be abused by one party or another, such as dishonest family members or creditors. If the deceased had some outstanding debts of any kind, the creditors may take a lot or all of the estate if there is no will to stop them. This may be especially true if the deceased owned a business and had debts related to that. So, you can consult an estate planning attorney and have your will written professionally and in a legally binding manner, so your estate will be handled correctly when the times. This will work for everything in your estate: money, family heirlooms, jewelry, cars, your house, any commercial property you own, or even your privately owned business. For family members under the age of 18, you can appoint an adult to watch of that child’s share (in your will) until they reach their majority.
Build Some Furniture
This is easier said than done for some people; some are not so handy or don’t have access to the materials. But suppose you do? If you have a garage or workshop on hand and the right materials, you can feel good about building something during quarantine, and this will pass the time nicely. You don’t need robotic assembly arms to make a wooden chair or table; just look at the Amish. Despite using no power tools or modern technology, the Amish always use hand-crafting methods to make their items, and 100% of all Amish goods are proudly made by hand. And Amish good are famous for their durability and reliability across the nation. If you’ve been meaning to catch up on a woodworking project, this is a fine time to finish your projects, and you can use the furniture yourself or give it as a gift to someone. Don’t forget painting and putting varnish on wooden furniture to make it look nice, and be sure to have proper ventilation and lung protection when doing this.
Home Cleaning and Tidying Up
This is another topic where many Americans may be falling behind. If you are not going to work or college classes, why not take advantage of your free time and clean up the place? You are going to spend a lot of time at home, so you may as well make it the nicest place it can be, and you’ll feel good about the results. Both for safety’s sake and to make the place nicer, you can clean up every surface, from wiping down the kitchen counters and sink to mopping the kitchen and bathroom floors. And don’t forget the rugs and carpets, either, which can be a lot dirtier than they look. Such carpets absorb a lot of dirt and germs with their fibers and thus emit VOCs, so become more diligent about vacuuming it all. Once that is done, use a carpet cleaner to wash and shampoo all the carpets and remove all the dirt from them. This makes the carpets look, feel, and smell fresh, and VOC emissions will be much lower.
Meanwhile, this is a fine chance to tidy up and organize the household. You will have your work cut out for you; the typical American home has an incredible 300,000 items in it, big and small, but you can handle it. Consider organizing and decluttering items by type rather than room, since the same types of items might get scattered across the household. Clothes are a major category, not to mention books and magazines, children’s toys, paperwork, hobby items, and sentimental items. Once items of the same type are gathered, you can take full stock of just how much you have, and the results might surprise you. You and the other members of the household can carefully choose what to keep and what not to, and donate spare clothes or books to goodwill and charities nearby. This allows you to better use and appreciate what is left over, and as a bonus, a clutter-free household will be much less stressful. Often, homeowners are stressed just by the presence of clutter or messes, whether or not they are digging through that stuff to find lost items at the moment. A decluttered, organized household can “breathe” better and feel more natural.
It is no fun to be under quarantine, and you may be quite anxious to get back to work or back to your college campus. But don’t despair; this is a great time to assess your life and determine what should stay and what should go. Often, Americans make themselves too busy for that kind of effort, but now is your chance, and you’ll be glad that you tried it.