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  • Karl Grech

10 Ways to Make Yourself Useful While Stuck at Home


Just a few months ago, we had no idea our 'world' would be confined to our homes! COVID-19 crisis has radically changed our lives. This crisis is a powerful reminder of how important freedom is - and how much we need human connection! Remember you are not alone. Because what is DIFFERENT here is that everyone is impacted! Your neighbour, mum, boss and friends as well as your counterparts around the world are all going through something similar.

So, it's important to remember:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. Viktor E. Frankl

This is the challenge each of us must rise to! If we're going to be stuck at home, we may as well make the most of it.


Here Are 10 Things You Can do to Make Your Life Better while Physically Isolated:

1) Create a Healthy, Supportive Routine

When we feel powerless or helpless (as so many of us do at the moment), one TREMENDOUSLY 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 a 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:

  • 7 am - Wake-up

  • 8 am - Breakfast

  • 10 am – stretch break & mid-morning snack (kids are loving it)

  • 11 am - Talk to a colleague or catchup with a friend

  • 12.00 pm - Lunch

  • 1-4 pm - Learning project or creative time

  • 5 pm - Make & Eat Dinner

  • 7 pm - Talk to close family

  • 8 pm - Reading, Journaling

  • 10 pm - Bed

Be sure to include food preparation, social time, exercise and outdoor time and some learning or creativity so you get some benefit from this challenging time.

It's also important to distinguish weekends because it's too easy for weeks to blur together. So, make a looser schedule for your weekends. For example, you could include:

  • Sleeping in/later bedtime

  • Brunch

  • "Treats"

  • Movie night with popcorn or food delivery to support some local restaurant

  • A virtual happy hour with friends/family or colleagues

  • A larger project, perhaps some art, craft, gardening or home redecoration.

So, create a routine for a sense of control and mastery over your environment and life circumstances. Reclaim what power you can over your own life, because with all this uncertainty it's important for you - and especially important for children - to have predictability.


2) Build Your Physical Strength, Fitness Levels or Flexibility!


Building your physical strength is powerful and health-boosting! Not only is physical strength and flexibility life-affirming and good for our health, but feeling more physically powerful helps us feel more empowered and less helpless in life too!

So add some physical activity into your schedule - as little as 15 minutes daily. Maybe by the end of this you'll be fitter or even be able to do 50 (or 100!) press-ups!

There are many options to boost your physical strength and health. Here are some ideas:

  • Take a workout use Nike Training Club App - for beginners, experts - with equipment and also with no equipment whatsoever.

  • Follow a local trainer such as Keith Micallef (a friend) Self Defense & Fitness Bar who creates circuit training workouts.

  • Use this time to work on your fitness with short and simple live workouts you can do from home. Unlimited weekly classes via Zoom focusing on strength and flexibility. These are short facilitated by Becky Gatt, Physiotherapist and Running Coach, are effective and easy to follow workouts given live over Zoom, suitable for different levels and aimed at improving strength and flexibility. A great way to keep fit and relieve stress! Sign up here.

  • Learn do a press-up or push-up or plank. Then see if you can get to 10 (or more - depending on where you start)!


REMEMBER: BEing stronger = FEELING stronger and more in control! And building your PHYSICAL strength or fitness = REDUCED feelings of helplessness!


3) Learn with Non-Fiction Books:


Use this time at home to educate yourself with non-fiction books. There is so much to be gained - like self-confidence, negotiation skills, how to have difficult conversations and much more.

What keeps you up at night? There's probably a book about that! What do you wish you were better at? There's probably a book about that too!


Here are some book ideas to get you thinking:

  • Up-skill yourself with "Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most" by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen.

  • Be more productive or creative with "The Now Habit" by Neil Fiore and "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel Pink.

  • Get personally inspired by "Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts" and "The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brene Brown, or "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl.

  • 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.

  • 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) Gain a New Skill with Online Learning:


There are so many opportunities online to gain a new skill and they're growing by the day!

Grow your personal or creative skills or choose a new skill to learn and take back to work with online training providers like LinkedIn learning or Udemy.

There are many other providers.

If there's a skill you always wanted to learn, search for it. But be sure to read the course descriptions thoroughly, check reviews if there are any - and check money-back guarantees as you need to!


And with so many learning options ranging from FREE to tens of euros to the low hundreds of euros, there will be something out there just perfect for you.

I am offering a mini-course called 'Managing Offsite Employees' use Promo Code COVID19 in the Coupon field on the payment page to gain FREE access. An opportunity for Managers & Team Leaders to learn how to support & manage their remote team members

5) Explore your Life Vision:


Rather than watching endless news streams, you can choose to focus on a bigger picture - your future. What do you want from the rest of your life? What would you be disappointed you did NOT do? Where do you envision yourself in 10 years?

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 a change. Soon, we'll all be super-busy again - and a vision might be just what you need to 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!

You can get creative and create a family vision board — also called a dream board. This is a collection of images which represent your goals and dreams for the future. These collages function as a visualisation tool. Visualisation or imaging is a powerful exercise that helps you better see and plan for your goals. By seeing a vision board regularly, you engage in a visualisation exercise without even having to think about it.

And if you'd like some help with creating a vision for your life and to help you to achieve your personal goals, I'm offering a free discovery call. Just book in a discovery call here to set this up.

6) Be in the moment:


At THIS moment you are OK. You are safe. Take one day at a time. One hour or even one breath at a time if you need to.

This tip is about being super-present, not thinking ahead or remembering the past, but practising BEING.

This is a PRACTICE - meaning you will have to do it over and over again - bringing yourself back to the NOW. Over time it gets easier, and it's a great skill to have to take back to "normal" life.

So when you notice you're worrying, feeling twitchy and want to pick up your device and find out what the "latest" is about the COVID situation, say to yourself, "It's OK. At this moment, I am safe. At this moment I am OK." You can also add or say, "At this moment, my children/wife/husband/family are safe."

Improve your emotional wellbeing through a course in mindfulness starting Saturday 25th April at 4 pm visit event page Mindfulness of our emotions organised by Mindful Bubbly Me Petra Spiteri (a friend). Mindfulness is scientifically proven to reduce our tendency to worry, burn out under stress, improve our mood and relationships.

EXTRA TIP: Reduce or minimise how often you watch and read the news! And DON'T read or watch the news (or articles about COVID-19 or similar) just before bed!

7) Laugh


Distracting ourselves from our fears is a valid technique for feeling better!

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?

  • 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.

8) 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.


9) 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 meaningful life. 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'm offering a Values alignment and Review Sessions. Just book in a free discovery call with me here to discuss how I can help.

10) De-Clutter

I bet 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.


Organize your closets, your garage, your books, your photos, office, kitchen equipment. Whatever needs organizing. Or perhaps you need to go through your receipts or file your taxes!


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: a) Things to DUMP, b)Things to DONATE (and if relevant to pass on to specific people).

  3. When you're done, put each pile into bags or boxes, and then once this crisis is over 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!


If you want to declutter your life, now is a great time to start. I'm offering coaching sessions, you will identify what is holding you back so you can reset your habits and refresh your life. Just book in a discovery call with me here to set this up.


Wrap-up

So, which of the above ideas resonated with you? The areas I am focusing on are enhancing leadership & interpersonal skills and helping you grow your confidence through coaching. 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 current and strange COVID-19 situation will end. And when it does, 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!

I'm Karl a Performance Coach & Leadership Trainer for CEOs, Managers, and ambitious individuals. I help clients enhance leadership & interpersonal skills and grow their confidence by supporting them through coaching.

As a trainer and coach, I facilitate training in leadership, coaching skills, communication, customer service, and train-the-trainer. I am a certified coach, member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF), trained in PRISM brain-mapping tools as well as the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology.

Get in touch contact me today to schedule a no-obligation discovery call with me here to set this up.

Email coaching@karlgrech.com

Whatsapp +356 7905 0478

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©2019 by Karl Grech.