If you’re one of the millions of people who have been asked to shelter at home during the pandemic, your life has most likely changed drastically. Unless you are going out for essentials, you are staying put. While this might be a tough adjustment, and for some an even seemingly impossible one, it’s not necessarily all bad. After all, we won’t always be quarantined. Eventually we will return to our previous lives and will be able to look back at this time as something that made us stronger.

As with anything, there is not a one size fits all formula for navigating this situation. We all need to feel our way through it and each develop our individual coping strategies for the here and now. This unique situation is giving us time to figure out how we can learn and grow, how to find light in darkness, and showcasing the things in life that truly matter. 

Let’s start with what NOT to do. Let go of comparison to others, self-shaming, or belief that there is one right way to do this. Practice total self-acceptance.  Accept everything about yourself, your current situation, and your life without question, blame, or pushback.  You cannot fail at this—there is no roadmap, no precedent for this, and we are all truly doing the best we can in a difficult situation.

Instead, let’s focus on expanding what is beautiful about our lives and eliminating what no longer serves us. What skills and strengths can we intentionally cultivate during this time? What behaviors do we want to shift? What do we want to leave behind in our pre-Covid19 existence? How can we transform when we come out on the other side of this?

If we take the time to plan what we want to transpire during this time, what do we want to achieve, and build that into our daily activities, we can make it happen. Some days we may need to throw those plans out the window, binge on Netflix or take a long nap, and that’s ok. A general progression of working towards our goals is perfect. 

Here are some ideas of how to expand on the light within your life and shed darkness while self quarantining:

Indulge in self-exploration. You have the answers about what you want to keep and what you want to discard. You just need to unlock this knowledge. Try one or more of these activities to determine how you want to transform. 

  • Reflect on your best and worst day
  • Record your dreams
  • Ask yourself, What would I do if I had three wishes?
  • Determine your deeply held values
  • Identify your limiting beliefs about yourself
  • Keep a daily journal of something positive that happened to you during your day. 
  • Keep a gratitude list
  • Make a very basic “To-do list” that you can check off to help you feel that you made progress in your day.
  • Look at old photo books as these will help you re-visit things that brought you joy and possibly help you make future plans.
  • Research on-line something you’ve always been interested in learning more about but never have the time 

Reflection creates the environment for change. Daily life is complex and fast-paced, and it’s difficult to change habits when constantly on the go. This is a perfect time for reflection. Reflection through journaling provides an opportunity to observe actions and emotions with detachment.

Lasting change requires practice.  Once we have identified patterns of behavior we wish to shift, we have the ability to change them. This will not happen overnight and it requires practice. Like any new skill, consistent repetition is crucial to truly mastering it. Identify concrete actions aimed at changing behaviors that no longer serve you and integrate them into your life. With practice, new behaviors replace old patterns, and positive results promote lasting change.

Well-being supports success. Self-discovery and change can be difficult or overwhelming, even when you’re not in the middle of a pandemic. In order to dig deep and truly transform, you need to build in self-care to boost your well-being. What are sources of joy that you can bring into your daily life? Take bubble baths. Practice yoga. Give yourself a mani-pedi. Give yourself back some of the energy that you constantly expend on the external world.

Each day is a new day. People often feel locked into a certain way of being based on their past actions. The outside world reinforces this, as families, colleagues and communities are often slow to notice change. They see what they expect to see and inadvertently encourage us to revert back to old behaviors. The world is closed until further notice. We are not surrounded by this reinforcement so this is an ideal time to transform. 

If you want to make positive changes in your life, slowing down is one of the best ways to do just that. And, this quarantine is forcing a lot of us to slow our roll. Slowing down gives us time to process the world around us. Reflect on our lives. Think more clearly and honestly about the decisions that we make in our lives. To simplify. We can use this time to emerge from the quarantine stronger than when it started.