How to use COVID-19 quarantine to find more happiness in life
You’re smiling from ear to ear. It’s hard to describe why. But for some reason, you’re just really happy. You’re on the top of the world. And for just a brief moment, all of your problems seem to melt away. It could be the beautiful sunny day. Or that you’re on the way to see that special someone. Or maybe it’s that workout you just crushed. Whatever the reason, you’re feeling happy, fulfilled and full of joy.
Have you ever felt like this?
I usually feel this way right after exercising. Training my body is something that brings me an immense amount of joy. Whenever I’m feeling down or depressed, I use exercise to help me get back on track. And a quick workout is guaranteed to make a great day even better.
But now, with most of the globe quarantined, people are missing out on the things that once brought them such joy. With gyms closed, restaurants serving take-out only and employees primarily working from home — it’s difficult to even find a reason to leave the house.
Obviously this is isn’t ideal. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t use this extra downtime as an opportunity to build a happier life. With some thoughtful review and intentional action, you can build a life that has you smiling more and feeling fulfilled at the end of the day.
1. Follow the rules
First and foremost, COVID-19 is deadly and dangerous. It’s a real threat and not to be taken lightly. Follow the guidance of your local authorities. Stay inside. Keep your distance from other people. Exercise daily. The faster we can stop this thing the faster we can get back to our normal lives.
2. Listen to your brain + body
Life has undoubtedly changed significantly as a result of this crisis. With all the shutdowns and closures, we’re left yearning for the freedom to do what we want, when we want do to it.
While this certainly is not ideal, it does create a golden opportunity to step back, review your life, and identify the things that really matter.
And because you’re no longer living life how it once was, you’ll have a great perspective to see what’s working and what isn’t.
A. What do you miss about your life?
Is there anything you really miss about your pre-coronavirus life?
- What can’t you stop thinking about?
- What made you feel alive?
- What couldn’t you go a day without doing?
- What made the day feel complete?
It could be as simple as going on a walk with that special someone, running on your favorite trail or even just eating at a local restaurant.
Regardless of the activity, write down all the things about your old life that made you happy, fulfilled or put a smile on your face.
B. Next, review your current life.
Conversely, are there any aspects of the quarantine life that you really do like?
- Not having to commute to work?
- Cooking your own meals?
- Spending more time with family?
- Or even just having a great excuse to stay in and watch a movie.
It can really be anything. Just make sure you take time to really think about all the all the aspects of your new life that you love or make your day feel more complete.
C. How do these things/activities make you feel?
Lastly, review how all of these activities make you feel.
This is the most important part of the process.
Identify all the activities that make you smile. That bring good vibes and positivity into your life. That make you happy and make your day better.
Write them all down in a notebook or diary to review later.
Moreover, try to identify why you feel this way? It could be because of increased productivity, connecting with a loved-one or doing something you didn’t think you could.
In identifying the why, you can more easily connect with the feeling and emotion of that activity.
3. Take (intentional) Action
This is the fun part.
Now that you have a list of things that make you happy, just to go out and spend more time doing those things.
And avoid the things that make you unhappy.
It’s pretty much that simple.
As best you can, fill your day with all the things that make you happy. The things that brighten your day and make you you feel fulfilled.
Now obviously there’s going to be things that you have to do. Like going to work or paying bills.
You can’t simply stop doing these things. But you can intentionally take action to fill your day with more of the things that make you happy. In an effort to move closer to your perfect life.
And, as are all things in life…happiness is negotiable.
Let’s say you really like working from home. Once things go back to normal, chances are you won’t be allowed to continue doing so. But, since you’ve already proven that you are just as effective from home — maybe you van discuss with your boss working from home three days a week.
This would be three less days of commuting, three more lunches at home and hopefully countless more hours spent with loved ones. All things that will build a happier, more fulfilled life.
There seems to be a misconception about happiness — that one day you’ll eventually ‘make it’ and suddenly become happy. I don’t believe that.
True happiness comes from enjoying every day. And finding joy in the things that you fill your days with.
This whole ‘quarantine situation’ is not ideal. It’s taken away a lot of the freedoms we once enjoyed and has us cooped up inside wondering when we’ll get our life back.
However, it does bring with it a golden opportunity.
An opportunity to take a step back and really dissect your life. To take a deep look at both the good and the bad. What’s working and what isn’t. An opportunity to build a better life.
If you can identify the things that actually make you happy, you can then intentionally focus on filling your day with more of those things.
The goal is to focus on doing things that make you feel alive. The things that put you in a great mood and make the rest of your day better. The things that you can’t live without and if left undone, make the day feel incomplete.
All in all,
Use this extra downtime as an opportunity.
To gain perspective in your life.
To review what’s working and what isn’t.
To seek clarity.
What is it that actually makes you happy? And what’s merely an illusion of happiness? Or rather something providing short term satisfaction?