How to Boost your Personal Growth Anyway While Stuck at Home
Well, here we are. Most of us didn't think we would still be in the Pandemic Winter a third year in a row. This COVID-19 crisis has radically changed our lives and I have to say the winters with restrictions and dark days are really much harder this year. While things are certainly improving in terms the loosening of restrictions, in much of the world (especially where it's winter and extremely cold and dark), it's been a bit harder to stay motivated, wake up and be positive, and feel like we're moving forward in life.
So whether you're indoors this winter due to restrictions, or maybe things are closed where you are still, or you're recovering but still are stuck at home, here are some ways you can still make the best use of your time by focusing on your personal growth even when it feels like there's nothing to do but watch Netflix. There is always something you can do to improve your situation even if it's with small steps.
There is an amazing quote by Viktor Frankl that I always go back to when I feel everything is out of my control and I have no way to change my circumstances.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
There are some times in life where everything feels out of our hands and we feel powerless to change. However, we are never completely helpless. It's these times that can teach us the most about how we manage ourselves. This is the challenge each of us must rise to and find ways to adjust to the situation.
If we're going to be stuck at home, we may as well make the most of it and try to find ways to boost our personal growth anyway. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it's that we not have TIME to work on ourselves and figure out who we want to be and what we need to get there.
1) Create your morning routine
Whether we've suffered loss or sudden uncertainty, feel stuck, or feel like everything is out of our control, (I can tell you from personal experience!), the first thing you CAN have control over is your morning routine. This took me way too long to learn and was one of the most life changing things I ever did because it was the first step towards having power over my day. It might sound funny, but when you consistently do this on a daily basis, your life starts to change.
Especially, when we feel helpless (as so many of us do at the moment), one EXTREMELY easy thing to do is to create a routine or schedule.
While we're all stuck in anxiously waiting at home, it's easy to lose our sense of time. Days can begin to blend into each other. A routine can give us an anchor and greater sense of control over our lives. And if you have children, creating a routine is especially important to give them a sense of normality.
This routine or schedule can be as simple as adding in a FEW of these during your workweek:
Wake-up & Make your bed (it's already an intentional action you do and you've already accomplished one thing!)
10 minutes of Meditation
10 minutes or EFT Tapping for the morning
5 minutes Journaling intentions for the day
10 minutes of Yoga - I love this one by Kassandra
5 minutes of morning stretching
10 minutes of jumping rope
10-15 minutes of taking the TIME to eat breakfast or drink your coffee :D
Creating a morning routine helps you regain a sense of control and mastery over your environment and life circumstances. In this way, you can reclaim what power you can over your own life, because with all this uncertainty it's important for you - and especially important if you have children - to have predictability. Plus, managing your time better in a schedule with a morning routine and plenty of breaks while working from home can help prevent burnout.
2) Build Your Physical Strength, Fitness Levels or Increase Your Flexibility!
Building your physical strength is powerful, good for yourself, and it's good for your self esteem as well! Not only is physical strength and flexibility life-affirming and good for our health, but maybe unsurprisingly, feeling more physically powerful actually helps us feel more empowered and less helpless in life too!
So add some physical activity into your schedule - as little as 30 minutes daily walking around the block. Maybe by the end of this you'll be fitter or even be able to do 10 (or 100!) push ups!
There are many options if you're interested in boosting your physical strength and also your health while at home. These days, it's pretty easy to order a yoga matt online and quickly set up an exercise area with your laptop, phone or connected TV.
Here are some ideas to try:
Try yoga practice - this is my personal favorite and it's excellent for strength-building, flexibility - and creating a sense of calm! There are lots of online options. Here is one with everything from 10 minutes for beginners to an advanced practice. Sarah Beth Yoga on Youtube has more (free) yoga videos than I can count
Try online fitness classes on Youtube - for beginners, experts - with equipment and also with no equipment whatsoever. Here is a quick 10 minute one from Pamela Reif. PopSugar Fitness has many options to choose from. You can also find apps that send you daily reminders and new workout sequences.
Try to walk everyday - Studies show that with only 30 minutes a day, it lowers your blood pressure, reduces risk of chronic conditions, maintains a healthy weight, improves your overall mood, and helps you to feel less stressed.
REMEMBER: Being stronger = FEELING stronger and more in control! And building your PHYSICAL strength or fitness = REDUCED feelings of helplessness because you're also gauging your progress and you can see and feel the results!
3) Learn a New Skill:
Instead of watching TV Series, why not use this time at home to educate yourself with non-fiction books or a course online? There are so many things you can learn by reading to improve yourself in areas where you know you might need some help - like self-confidence, negotiation skills, health (sleep, nutrition), how to have difficult conversations and much more.
Take language classes online - these days, the virtual classroom opportunities are endless. Why not use the time to your advantage and take up a new language. This can be especially helpful if you're thinking of moving abroad and need to start learning the language of the country you're moving to or if you just want to learn something new to be able to chat with people from other countries. Try Expat Language School to start with for convenient, affordable online classes in many languages focused on speaking and course learning.
Take a skill class online with Udemy or Coursera - From marketing, writing, guitar or singing, there are many free or inexpensive online classes to choose from.
Ask yourself the questions: What keeps you up at night? There's probably a book about that! What do you wish you were better at?
Here are some book ideas to start with:
Learn to be more productive or creative with "The Now Habit" by Neil Fiore or "A Whack on the Side of the Head (How You Can Be More Creative)" by Roger Von Oech and "Getting Things Done" by David Allen.
Get personally inspired with "Dare to Lead: Brave Work", "The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brene Brown, or "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl.
Learn about mindfulness with this list of best books for mindfulness and meditation.
Up-skill yourself with "Non-violent communication" by Marshall Rosenberg.
Learn about the human mind with "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell or "The Whole Brain Child" by Daniel J. Siegel MD and Tina Payne Bryson, PhD.
Get healthier with "Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams" by Matthew Walker PhD.
Be more confident and discover your strengths with "The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance - What Women Should Know" by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman" or "Now, Discover Your Strengths (How to Develop Your Talents and Those of the People You Manage)" by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton.
Finally, read a memoir! Choose someone you admire, get inspired and learn how other people think - and live their lives.
Reading one book will expand your mind, reading several of these books is going to make you more interesting, help you learn new skills - and maybe even make you more employable too!
4) Explore your Life Vision:
Rather than spending countless hours on video games and binging Netflix why not focus on the bigger picture - your future. What do you really want from the rest of your life? What would you be disappointed you did NOT do? Where do you envision yourself in 10 years? What could you start TODAY that would make you proud of yourself later on down the line? Is it a hobby? A skill?
Having a clear vision of how you want your life to be is a powerful motivator. A vision helps us work towards our goals, take action and make change. Figuring out vision might be just what you need stay focused!
Here are 5 questions to ponder or journal around to go deeper:
What do you desire or yearn for in your life?
How do you want to feel?
What do you really, really want to be different in your life?
What would have happened in 3 years time such that your life is spectacular and you feel magnificent about yourself?
What's your dream for this lifetime? Imagine you're 90 years old and looking back over your life; what did you do that made you proud and happy?
TIP: Remember to think possibility not probability! Don't limit yourself and your ideas because you don't believe something is likely. Instead believe it's possible - and even if you don't get all the way there, you may get close - or even find something better along the way!
Do you need some help figuring out what you want?
If you'd like some help with creating a vision for your life, I'm offering a discounted Happiness & Life Audit for just 59 EUR for a limited time. We'll do a one hour session to look at a few areas to see what's working and what needs changing in your life.
This is a great first step if you're not happy where you are but you don't know how to move forward. As a life coach I'll help you with your next steps and figuring out how you can move forward!
5) Focus on Laughter and Good News
Distracting ourselves from our fears is a valid technique for feeling better! Or try to find the good things that are happening in the world. Stay away from intentionally upsetting yourself with horror, fear, or violent entertainment as it will not help your brain find positivity. There is enough drama, violence, and scary stuff happening that so many people suffer from constant anxiety - why do it to yourself on purpose? Think of your brain as an emotional part of your body - what are you feeding it? Are you filling it with gratitude, happiness, joy and good feelings? Or are you filling it with crap? :)
Laughter releases helpful chemicals in our bloodstream - Endorphins (our natural "happy" drug) and Dopamine (part of our bodily "reward" system).
What are your favourite comedy shows?
Is there a comedian you like whose standup videos make you laugh?
Netflix and similar have so many watching options, so find something that makes you laugh!
IMPORTANT: We should NOT use over-use laughter as a distraction technique. And it shouldn't be used for ongoing and persistent fears in regular life. But for a situation like this, where this isn't much that any of us can do other than sit and wait - distraction can be a great coping mechanism.
Also, need some good feels?
Check out this Youtube video with some good recommendations!
Here are some of my favorite feel good videos
Random Acts of Kindness Caught on Camera 1
Random Acts of Kindness Faith in Humanity Restored
6) Start a Journal!
If you've always wanted to journal, now is a good time to start. More than just keeping a record of your day, a journal can help you explore and sift through your feelings and experiences and learn from them. It's a great way to get to know you.
It's great to choose a beautiful notebook, but the most important thing is to just get started. Here are some prompts to get started with:
Today I am feeling _________. I think this is because __________.
One big thing I have learned during this crisis is _________.
I remember the last time I was stuck in the house _________.
One thing that's surprised me recently is _________.
What matters most to me in life is _________.
Describe your ideal day _________.
"A journal is expressive by nature and it contains feelings, emotions, problems, ponderings and it is more reflective on the meaning of life being lived." Lynda Monk
You may find this How to Journal article from the IAJW (International Association for Journal Writing) helpful to get you started.
I love journaling and being able to look back on where I was a few monrths ago or years ago. It's also a great way to set your intentions and go back and see if anything has progressed.
7) Live Your Values
When we know your values, we understand what motivates and drives us. When we build our lives around our values, we create a life that is meaningful. Finally, when we align our actions with our values - we're being truly authentic. It's a very satisfying and fulfilling way to live.
And living your values could be the single most important thing any of us can do right now.
Here's an exercise you can do:
List your values on a piece of paper or in your journal.
Give each value a score ___ / 10 as to how well you are living that value in your life now (where 0 is not at all and 10 is full-out).
For the scores that are 8 or more - great!
For the scores that are 7 or less out of 10, ask yourself, "How could I express this value more in my life right now?" "What could I do differently or approach differently, so that I feel good about how I live this value in my life?"
For example: You have a value of creativity, but you're only managing to 'go through the motions' right now and your score is 4/10. Ask yourself how you could be more creative during this time - whether it's cooking, gardening, art or writing or helping your kids do something creative, or even watching a documentary about someone creative you admire...
If you don't know your values, now is a great time to learn. I offer value and life alignment sessions where I'll coach you through seeing where you are right now and where you might be out of alignment with what's truly important to you in life.
“Peace of mind produces right values, right values produce right thoughts. Right thoughts produce right actions.” Mark Richardson
8) Do a De-Clutter!
Depending on when you read this article, you might be getting ready for spring and ready to get rid of all the extra stuff you realize you don't need. If you're like most of us, you have some organizational things on your to-do list (like going through winter clothes, sorting out toys to donate or tidying the laundry closet, garage or shed) that have been on there for a while. Use this isolation period to get them done!
Getting organized and de-cluttering allows us to exert some control over our lives - and therefore feel less helpless! Plus it'll feel amazing just to have it done and it can feel like an extra weight being lifted off your shoulders.
Look around your environment. What needs organizing? Start with your closets, maybe your garage, doing a digital cleanup of your computer, office, kitchen equipment. Whatever needs organizing. Or perhaps you need to go through your receipts or file your taxes!
- If you need some inspiration (and great clothes-folding tips) you could check outthe Marie Kondo website for inspiration!
Don't know where to start? Check out a simple 3 Step Method to go through your stuff:
1. If you're keeping it, be sure to DECIDE where it will "live" from now on.
2. If you're not keeping it, create two piles:
- Things to DUMP
- Things to DONATE (and if relevant to pass on to specific people you know who might want or need what you're getting rid of).
3. When you're done, put each pile into bags or boxes, and then you can get rid of what you no longer need.
- TIP: You don't need to do any of this 'in one sitting', do an hour a day - you'll be surprised how much you get done if you keep it up for a week!
9) Try online life coaching to figure out your next steps
The one benefit of the Pandemic is that pretty much everyone realized there are many things you can do in the privacy of your own home via ZOOM, Skype, or Google Meetings. One thing the time at home taught me is that it's still possible to set things up for the future even though you don't feel like you have power over everything.
These days, everything is online including Life Coaching and EFT Tapping Sessions, and many people (including myself! I also have had life coaches and it was amazingly helpful!) decided to try life coaching. It's not only for celebrities and rich people anymore it's now affordable for many people.
If you've been thinking of trying it but aren't sure where to start or what exactly you need, you can set up a free discovery call with me to chat about how we can help you move forward.
On a personal note, I've been doing online courses since 2020 and this last month I've really been doing a massive de-clutter. I was amazed at how many things I have that I didn't use, forgot I had, or they were just disorganized and I couldn't find what I wanted when I was lookig for it.
Believe you have the skills and power to tackle this situation and you will! Choose to make the best of a difficult situation and no matter what - you'll find a way.
This will get better and things are moving forward even when it doesn't look like it, you'll be proud you made the effort to learn something - whether it's about yourself, fresh knowledge, a new skill - and who knows what else!
ANDREA HUNT - Online Transformational Life Coach & EFT Tapping Practitioner based in Munich, Germany
I'm an accredited transformational life coach from Animas Centre for Coaching UK and a member of the International Coaching Federation. I'm also a Level 2 practitioner in EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) and a member of AEFTP (Association of Emotional Freedom Technique Professionals).
If you're not sure where to start transforming your life, you can download my free ebook on How to Start Your Personal Growth Journey.
Are you ready to change your life, let go of old beliefs, empower yourself for a mindset shift to move forward? Mark Batterson says: You're always one decision away from a totally different life.
If you're interested in booking a free 15 minute discovery call for transformational life coaching, EFT Tapping or checking out my services page click here.
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