If COVID 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. Most of us essentially 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 that COVID took away from us.
Travel the World
Most flights were grounded during the height of COVID as unnecessary travel was discouraged around the world. Although the virus isn’t gone by any means, it is arguably much safer now (not to mention easier, with fewer restrictions and required testing) to get on a plane. Whether your dream spot is Hawaii, Spain, or Vietnam, why not finally book that vacation? Go ahead and get back to exploring other countries — just wear a mask and 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, most of us missed human connection the most. Even the most introverted of people have some social nature at their core, and we were certainly all deprived for a couple years. So now that you can, grab drinks with your co-workers, invite your neighbours over, and reconnect with your university 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 COVID 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, 24/7 toxic political coverage can just get you feel 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 selfcare. Now that gyms and yoga studios are open again — 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 hardship. 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 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.
Make a Bucket List
There must be a list of activities you want to try out. Even if it’s a series of projects you’ve always wanted to do, now is as good a time as any to go after what you want. Your list doesn’t have to be anything too crazy; just ask yourself what you would feel proud to say you did or accomplished if looking back on your life in 20 years. If traveling is on your bucket list, why not take part in festivities and cultural events abroad? Maybe what you really want is to open up a business.
Whatever It Is, Go for It!
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