Creating a Silver Lining

by Karen Lindsey

While many of us are getting used to working from home and, quite frankly, spending so much time at home, the change is providing us some unique opportunities.  Not only are we being given the chance to consider what’s important to us, we have opportunities to invest in ourselves and our families, and do things we’ve never had the time to do.  Just the removal of commutes for some of us can give us an extra hour or more of time every day we haven’t had before.  Here are some suggestions of things to consider to create your own silver lining and make something good of the social distancing and unusual circumstances we are now in.  Below the ideas are some suggestions to make them happen.

  1. Stay connected and get reconnected.  Many of us are already enjoying this new trend in virtual happy hours.  I’ve gotten to see and hang out with some dear friends across the country I haven’t seen in years.  Keep connected with your local friends you can’t physically be with now and think about those you haven’t seen in a while and would love to spend some time with.  What a great way to help prevent the feeling of social isolation and give us something to look forward to while we’re stuck at home.
  2. Make memories.  I remember growing up in Ohio the blizzard of 1978.  When I look back on it, I have fond memories and feelings of nostalgia.  I’m sure my mom’s memories are quite different.  My dad was stuck out of town and I learned later my mom was terrified about caring for 3 kids on her own.  As we’re dealing with challenges of COVID19, I’m thinking about how to create memories for my 11-year-old son.  When he’s older I want him to be able to look back on this time with fondness as he remembers the fun things we did and deeper connections we made together while stuck at home.  Consider building or creating something together as a family, doing puzzles, sharing fun research on common interests, bake together, take nature hikes, do something for a charity…the ideas are limitless.  Pick a few.
  3. Do something you’ve always wanted to do.  How many times have you thought “I’ve always wanted to do that”?  It could be learn a new language, learn to play an instrument, learn about wine, take a class of some kind, write…again, the options are limitless.  There are so many resources and classes online you can do almost anything you’ve always wanted to do.
  4. Travel somewhere.  Wait…what?!  There are many virtual tours online you can take of museums, tours, zoos, etc.  Check out somewhere new and perhaps research a future trip.
  5. Learn something new.   What are you curious about and might want to do some pleasure research on? Perhaps it’s a subject like a time in history or kind of art, a skill like leadership, communication, cooking or something else creative.  It could be a type of animal or place in the world you’re curious about.  I, personally, have been enjoying watching more Ted Talks like I’ve wanted to for so long.  You could even research a new career path you’ve been considering.
  6. Achieve a goal.  What goals do you have that you haven’t been able to focus on?  It could be a health goal like eating better or exercising more, pursuing a new career, spend more time with the family, something philanthropic.  My son is underweight and we’ve been struggling to correct that while my husband and I are trying to lose weight.  Being at home and doing more cooking and physical activities has helped us all make progress towards our goals.
  7. Get organized.  Is your office, basement or garage a mess?  Do you have clothes in your closet you’re never going to wear again?  Do you have expired food in your pantry and freezer? Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking about all that could get done.  Take it one room and day at a time, and chip away at it.  A lot of us have extra time on the weekends right now.  Think about how good it will feel to have accomplished some organization during this time.

Here are some suggestions to help you get started in creating your own silver linings.  There are only 2 because that’s all it takes to get started.

  1. Pick a couple.  Don’t get overwhelmed by the number of options.  Come up with a short list and pick 1 or 2 of those ideas to start. Consider how much time each might take and the value you or others might receive.  Or just pick something fun and enjoy it.
  2. Make the time.  If you don’t plan for and make the time, you could miss out on a fabulous opportunity while we’re spending time at home.  Work/life balance has been difficult enough for many us as we’re constantly connected to work while at home.  Working at home can make this even harder.  Plan specific times of specific days to invest in yourself and your family. You’ll be so happy you did and you can get out and celebrate when these difficult times have passed.

Karen is an executive coach, leadership development consultant and author of “Leadership Breakthrough:  Leadership Practices that Help Executives and Their Organizations Achieve Breakthrough Growth”

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