Personal development strategies to live your best life, even during Covid
Updated: Sep 27, 2020
Were you feeling stuck in life or at work before Covid?
Were you looking for some missing piece to help you feel more fulfilled, and that feeling has only intensified since Covid?
Were you feeling guilty wishing there was something more to life and the guilt is stronger now with Covid around?
Covid seems to have brought a lot of pre-existing problems to the surface, which SUCKS. But you know what? You don't have to give up on your dream of making a change.
Just because circumstances in the world have changed, doesn't mean you can't still feel more fulfilled and live to your full potential.
Regardless of circumstance, you can always strive for more. Especially because the "more" you're looking for isn't a job, money, relationship, or experiences. It's a state of mind.
You can still live your best life, even during Covid, with these personal development strategies:
1. Catch yourself in the "I'll be happy when ..." thought trap.
If you tend to think that life will only be better when … then your happiness depends on the attainment of some thing or some circumstance and you will always be disappointed when you don’t get the outcome you want.
It’s not the attainment of goals that makes us feel good, it’s the feeling we get when we attain them.
Which means you can access the feelings you’re looking for anytime. You don’t have to wait for things to change.
And how do you do that?
Focus on the joy in the pursuit of a goal. Pick a goal you know will be fulfilling and enjoyable to work towards and that keeps you engaged, present and feeling fulfilled as you pursue it.
And for goals you don't get to choose or can’t change, practice shifting your mindset as you pursue them. If you’re looking for a new job and the search isn’t engaging, fulfilling or enjoyable, look for things within the process that bring you flow - maybe it’s connecting with others, trying and learning new things, or thinking creatively.
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and coaching are based on the principle that our thoughts create our emotions, not our circumstances. So practice new thoughts.
2. Prioritize personal development.
Many of us think that personal development is indulgent or unproductive compared to the things on our to-do list. The problem is that now is no different than ever before: our to-do lists are never ending. In fact, they may even be longer with all the at-home clean up projects going on in our culture.
Ask yourself: is your to-do list a procrastination strategy for self development? What is the real reason why you’re avoiding looking inwards? What well-being concepts or habits have you always wanted to try that could be a good place to start?
Choose some things you want to work on and add them to your schedule. Build them into your routine.
If you need a framework to follow, check out my "Positivity and Mental Well-Being 19 Daily Habits" download here.
3. Work on your self-awareness
During this stressful time, I’ve heard from clients that they’re feeling pressured to accomplish things and/or feel restless, unsure of what to do with themselves.
My advice is to pay attention to what your body and mind are telling you in those moments. Try a meditation or simply take some deep breaths and turn down your thoughts, turn up your intuition and tune into your body. Before taking action, slow down and listen in.
What do your mind and body tell you about what they really need? A break? Some self-care? Accomplishment?
We are used to such a fast pace of life and are often slaves to our schedules, which leaves us little time to turn inwards and severely limits our ability to pay attention to our needs and those of our families. Now’s your chance. These are life skills we are rarely taught and hardly ever practice.
When we act based on our needs we are acting purposefully and consciously, living life with intention.
What better way to feel fulfilled and at peace?
4. Practice emotional awareness and self regulation.
When you’re having an emotion in response to something, practice letting it be. Become aware of it. Acknowledge it. Validate it.
When we slap on strategies and techniques to ‘cope’ or numb uncomfortable emotions, we’re just putting on a band-aid. Negative emotions knock at the door of your consciousness until you answer, say hello and even invite them in.
Once you are aware of your needs and emotions, then you can practice self regulation, which basically means, consciously choosing how you act in response to an emotion.
How do you want to act in response to the emotion you feel? The goal isn’t to eliminate it or criticize yourself for feeling it. It’s to accept it and then make a conscious choice about what you want to do next.
Strategies to practice emotional regulation include mindfulness exercises, meditation, self-compassion exercises, loving kindness meditations, grounding exercises and more. Google any of these for ideas!
5. Indulge in your passions.
I fully realize, and can relate, that many people aren’t feeling productive right now. They just can’t seem to get themselves to focus or do much of anything. That’s because your subconscious brain is preoccupied with keeping you safe, which takes a lot of brain power away from your capacity to do other things.
To bypass this you can ‘trick’ your brain into feeling safe, which is where suggestions to limit your news exposure and regularly reach out to loved ones become essential.
Establish some regular habits that make you feel safe. Yours might look completely different from others. That’s ok. Focus on making you feel safe.
Then, work at dialing up your positive emotions by engaging in your passions. Read more about the reasons why that's so beneficial here.
What are some hobbies you’ve been wanting to try that excite you? The pressure is off - if there was ever a time to pick up that guitar and teach yourself a new song, this is it!
6. Take time for yourself.
If you’re a parent working from home and/or in a job that has ramped up in response to Covid, it is crucial, just like it always has been, to prioritize self care. If you’re really burnt out, you might need to follow these 5 steps to hit the restart button.
7. Make your current job more fulfilling.
If you’ve been finding it hard to motivate yourself to work from home, it’s ok. It’s possible that this situation has made you realize that your current job doesn’t really fill you up.
Now might not be the time you want to start searching for a new job but there are ways to feel more engaged until that time comes, like something known as "job crafting".
Job crafting is about redesigning your work so that it feels more fulfilling.
Make a list of all your job tasks that currently give you energy and flow. What skills and strengths are you using in those times? How can you use those strengths and skills more often?
What are some tasks you find daunting or tedious? How can you change the way you do them or the mindset you have when you do them to make them more interesting and meaningful?
What are some projects you’ve never gotten around to but were always excited to try?
For more reading on this topic, visit:
8. Live in alignment with your purpose
In my group workshops, I teach participants that the key to getting unstuck is to uncover your unique purpose and live it.
In case you didn’t know, your unique purpose is to be yourself - to be as you as possible and share that with the world around you.
Covid doesn’t stop that.
Find a greater sense of purpose by contributing to the world around you - your tiny family, your circle of friends, coworkers - it doesn’t have to be on a huge scale.
Try the activity on page 8 of the Get Unstuck and Find Your Purpose worksheet and see what new idea you come up with to explore as a fulfilling new hobby or project.
9. Hone your growth mindset.
A growth mindset means you believe things can always improve.
Don’t let Covid keep you stuck in a fixed mindset where you believe nothing can change and you have no power over things.
A "woe is me" mindset will eventually bring you down. It might be necessary for a time to heal, recover and bounce back, but make sure your attitude does bounce back - or forward - to something more along the lines of "I've got this".
To make the shift, think about what you can change right now. What can you learn? What can you practice?
10. Honour your values.
You don’t have to change who you are right now, you just have to adapt your behaviours. Make a list of your top values and brainstorm ways you already are or would like to honour them. Explore ways to realign your life with your values here.
11. Persevere with your goals and habits.
Take time to revisit your goals and habits and be gentle and compassionate with yourself as you adjust them. It feels like the world is frozen in some ways, but you don’t have to be. Read this blog post for suggestions on how to design new behaviour goals to ensure your success.
12. Remember your WHY.
Playing small feels safe right now at a time when all of us feel unsafe to some extent. Putting yourself out there right now is hard. What are the benefits of continuing to pursue your dream during this time? For you and your loved ones? Keep these reasons at the forefront of your mind.
13. Flex your creativity muscles.
Think of all the new and innovative ideas this situation could prompt in your daily life or project/side hustle. How can you think outside the box? This challenge can be motivating rather than depressing. What are some solutions you can see to challenges that excite you?
14. No pressure.
Most importantly, don’t feel pressured to do any of the above. If you need time or a little self-compassion to allow yourself to feel overwhelmed, zoned out, emotional, whatever, do that. But if you feel lost, stuck, or listless, pick one of the points above that resonates with you and try it out.
I’m always here to help you push through any struggles you might be having. Book a free 30 minute consultation call with me here.
The last client who booked a free call wanted some advice on how to maximize the limited time she had to study for a course, finding herself struggling to focus. We brainstormed 3 strategies to keep her on track.
Try it here.