If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s not to take life for granted. Time can pass you by and putting off adventures or not fulfilling the items on your bucket list is simply wasteful. Many of us lost a good two years to the pandemic. As life slowly returns to normal, let’s not allow ourselves to slip back to our possibly mundane previous lives. Here are seven tips to reclaim those years the pandemic took away from us.
Travel the World
Most flights were canceled during the height of COVID-19 as unnecessary travel was discouraged around the world. Although the virus isn’t gone by any means, it is arguably much safer now to travel — not to mention easier, with fewer restrictions and required testing. Whether your dream spot is Hawai’i, Spain, or Vietnam, why not finally book that vacation? Go ahead and get back to exploring other countries — just wear a mask, sanitize as needed, and remember those pre-COVID travel safety tips while you’re at it.
At the end of a long work day or stressful parenting week, many of us probably have the urge to lay low on evenings and weekends. But when we didn’t really have the option during the height of COVID, many of us missed human connection the most. Even the most introverted people have a social nature at their core, and we were certainly all deprived for a couple of years. So now that you can, grab drinks with co-workers, invite neighbours over, and reconnect with your old friends.
Say Yes to Opportunities
Remember when going for walks or hopping on Zoom was the highlight of your day? Many of us swore we would live life more fully once the pandemic wasn’t holding us back. You may have to fight your natural homebody instincts but take advantage of the world opening back up by going to the theatre, out for dinner, or bowling! If you’re invited somewhere to do something that piques your interest, don’t let uncertainty, indecision, or insecurity keep you from day-to-day excitement.
Say No to Negativity
These days, we are inundated with round-the-clock, depressing news stories. While it’s important to know what’s going on in the world, constant toxic news coverage can get you down. Engaging in one too many political discussions can do the same. Engaging with toxic people in general on any subject can also negatively impact your state of mind. Be aware of what makes you feel unhappy and avoid it, or at least be proactive and get involved in an issue you feel strongly about (such as climate change or welfare rights).
Take Care of Yourself
Among the many businesses that shut down during COVID, gyms took one of the longest to reopen. This led to a rise in people buying their own machines and free weights for home use, but also an increase in walking or biking outside. Arguably, the pandemic further emphasized the importance of self-care. Now that gyms and yoga studios are reopened — and we can get massages and pedicures again to boot — keep in mind that we all need regular maintenance of our minds and bodies (rather than thinking of these as simply indulgent).
Pursue a Relationship
The pandemic was difficult for everyone, and each demographic experienced different hardships. Single people were suddenly unable to go out and meet prospective partners as freely as before. That meant that if you were unattached before COVID began, you would likely be unattached when the world opened back up. Now that social events are okay again, if dating is something that interests you, get back to it! Create your online dating profile and/or ask a friend to set you up with someone who might share some similar characteristics or hobbies.
Change Your Job
Why is waste time doing something you hate? Most of us work five days a week, which means a majority of our time is spent at our jobs. If you were only staying in a role for the social aspect or because of a convenient location pre-COVID, the pandemic may have made this clear as working from home removed both of these factors. Remote roles have become much more plentiful now. It’s become a lot more eye-opening for people unhappy at work to find what really makes them happy.
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to help people realize what’s truly important. COVID may have kept us all stunted for two years, but it only has a lasting effect if we don’t learn from it and move forward. Now that most restrictions have been lifted, we can all reclaim those lost years by living our lives more conscientiously and purposefully.
Robyn Karmazyn | Contributing writer