If you’re like me, you’re experiencing COVID-fatigue at this point. It’s been more than a year since the pandemic started. Listening to (or reading) about how COVID has affected the world as we know it is exhausting, draining, and depressing. I think most of us didn’t think it would last this long. I know I didn’t.
I’m a Senior Travel Consultant (with over 30 years of experience in the travel business) and I had spent a good chunk of 2019 working with clients on an amazing journey which was to start in January 2020 in Russia and then take them to China, India, Morocco, Jordan and Easter Island.
(my specialty is F.I.T., aka fully independent travel….which means, when a client wants to do an epic journey, they come to me and we plan it out together, I book all the various components and if there are any problems, I handle them on behalf of my client)
Cases of Corona-virus had been reported in China at the end of December, but at that time, we didn’t know how severe it was. Was it just the media blowing things out of proportion or was it something to truly be concerned about?
As it turned out, it certainly was something to be concerned about….so, long story short, I had to undo all the work I’d done for these clients (by the way, undoing reservations is much more labour-intensive and time-consuming than making reservations). To say this was the most heart-breaking trip to cancel was an understatement.
Then on March 15th, the world realized the severity of the situation and lockdowns and quarantines began.
For the following month, I handled nothing but cancellations and with no new business coming in, I took lay-off in April 2020….thinking, at that time, that the situation would pass (the “situation” being COVID) and that I would be back to work in a couple of months.
As COVID continued to rule our lives, my recall-to-work-date got bumped to October, then to December, then to January, and most recently, to July 2021.
Did I mention that I have over 30 years of experience in the travel business? That means that for over 30 years, my job has been one of my top priorities.
Of course, my first priority was (and still is) my daughter but she’s 30 years old now, independent, and has lived far from me for several years. Of course, she will always be my first priority.
Second priority is the rest of my family.
My third priority was my job.
For well over half of my life, I have woken up every day with a purpose.
I had a (mental) list of things to do once I got to work…..research for clients, communicating to clients regarding their trips, booking trips, invoicing trips, sending requests through to various suppliers on behalf of the client, dealing with insurance issues, etc.
My work days were, from the outside looking in, the typical “9 to 5”, but my days never ended at the end of my shift. I would often be at work for 14, 15, sometimes 18 hours per day (not with my current agency, with a previous one).
And there I was, in April 2020, with what seemed like no purpose, with none of those tasks to handle anymore. My internal body clock still woke me up at 7 am, but instead of being eager to get out of bed and looking forward to all I had to do that day, I had to convince myself to get out of bed. I didn’t know what to do with myself. SO much of my life revolved around my clients and my job.
The saying, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” holds true. Despite all the stress, I truly enjoyed what I had been doing in my long career, so it wasn’t “just a job”.
But, I had to pivot. I had to find a new purpose. Ways to fill my days.
This is not to say that I won’t pivot again, and go back to my job in travel, it just means that I feel it’s important to focus on the NOW and not stress about what may or may not happen in the future.
I’ve always been a positive person….not necessarily an optimist, but a realist, and my current reality was that I needed to focus my attention on things that brought me joy, that fulfilled me, that I could share with others.
If you’re experiencing COVID-fatigue and are finding it challenging to convince yourself to get out of bed, maybe consider doing some of these things, which I’ve been doing, and which have helped keep my thoughts on a positive (and productive) path.
Before we dive into it, I’d like to say: be kind to yourself. Now is not the time to put undue stress on yourself. Take the suggestions I’m about to make as slowly as you feel comfortable. What I do is working for me. That’s not to say it will work for you. The following ideas are just being shared here so that if you feel “stuck”, you’ll (hopefully) have some inspiration to try something new.
- Make some art.
If you feel that you have no artistic talent (which you probably DO have, but maybe have had it buried for many years)…
….then maybe you’d like to try a paint-by-numbers kit. There are many of them “out there”, but if you get a good quality one, it’ll make a big difference in your satisfaction both in the doing and in the completed result.
I order my kits from paintbynumbers.shop
(this is not a sponsored post, I don’t get anything in return for mentioning this product, I simply love it and want to share with others)
I love their kits for several reasons:
- the paints are rich and nicely pigmented
- the paints don’t give off any bad odors
- the finished paintings are beautiful
Once you’ve completed the painting, you can either keep it for yourself, or gift it to someone special.
Photo: my completed “Zen” from Paint By Numbers
I tapped into my artistic side back in December 2018, but didn’t have a lot of time for that as my days were long at the office. Specifically I got into acrylic pour art (search it via Youtube and you can learn how to do this too).
In May 2020 I determined to no longer make wall art because it was taking up a lot of space in my apartment (not only the paintings themselves but all the supplies), so I switched gears and started using resin and locally sourced flowers and leaves.
Every morning I’d set out with my little “treasure box” in search of pretty things (I love springtime, everything comes back to life!). It’s time-consuming not only finding the botanical beauties but to preserve them properly too, which was fine by me as it gave me something positive to focus my time and energy on.
2. Make masks or mask-chains.
I soon realized that good quality resin is not cheap, so I had to switch gears again. I also realized that mask-wearing was not going away, so I started making beaded mask chains (I can’t sew, otherwise I’d make my own masks too) and beaded jewelry.
As any crafter will tell you, it’s easy to get swept up in accumulating supplies, and soon the beading supplies were taking over my tiny-space, and putting a dent in my bank account.
So I looked around my space to see what could I use to create something pretty. I’ve always loved collecting pretty stones and shells and more recently beach glass….so I switched gears again and started making wire-wrapped beach-glass jewelry.
So look around you, what can you use to make something? You can keep your creation for yourself, or gift it to someone special, or sell it online.
3. Set up an Etsy shop.
I have an Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/elizabethantonart
Honestly, I haven’t made many sales via Etsy, I’ve experienced better success selling privately, but I still like having my own Etsy shop; it gives me extra exposure and it gives me something (else) to do. Maybe you’d like to set up an Etsy shop too? It’s very easy, and again, will give you something to do with your day. (setting up the Etsy shop is easy, uploading your products and maintaining your shop is time-consuming)
4. Meal prep and make something delicious.
A good way to fill in part of your day, but also to save some time (and money) down the line, is to meal-prep. Preparing a full meal can seem daunting and time consuming, so a good way to make that process easier is to prep things ahead of time.
As an example, I eat salads almost daily, so I make the “base” (wash and chop up romaine lettuce, celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes–I leave them whole) in a large quantity (enough for four or five days) and then keep it in a sealed storage bowl.
When I want to make a full salad, I simply take some of that “base salad”, and then add what I feel like having that day….maybe an apple, cheese, bacon, seeds, etc. I don’t put the dressing on the salad until just before I’m going to eat it.
At the same time I’m meal-prepping for my week of salads, I also shred up some cheese, I slice up some onions and carrots, because I know I’ll be using those ingredients throughout the week.
Make pizza! If you’re not sure how to make pizza, check out my previous blog post as it’s super-easy to make pizza at home (it’s also healthier, cheaper, and once you get used to making it, faster than take-out or delivery).
Or you can make a big pot of soup! I’ll have a future post (coming soon) on how to make chicken soup (so easy, cheap and delicious!) because this too can fill part of your day, as well as filling your belly, and the bellies of people you love.
5. Get organized……and let things go.
My last blog post was about cleansing….why not take this time to go through your things, see what you no longer use, or what no longer brings you joy, or is just taking up space in your home….and then get rid of it.
You can either list it for sale online (Facebook Marketplace as an example) or take it to a donation center.
Not only will this give you something to do, it will bring in a little income while at the same time keep those items from ending up in the landfill AND save someone else some money too. It’s a win-win-win.
Other ways I’ve filled my days (in no particular order):
- searching for a vehicle to convert into a tiny-home-on-wheels and learning how to do that
- staying in touch with my friends (since we’re in a pandemic, this is done virtually)
- Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter – I don’t spend a lot of time on these, but I do need to maintain my accounts
- keeping my living space clean and tidy
- going for walks (again, keeping socially distant)
- reading (I love the Libby app) and listening to audiobooks and podcasts
- taking care of and snuggling with my furbabies
- “Netflix and chill”…..it’s important to give ourselves some “down time” (not too much, because that rabbit-hole is easy to fall down….and stay down)
As you can see, there are many ways I’ve found to fill my days. To be honest, I’m not sure how I’ll adjust once I return to work lol, but I know I WILL adjust, because if there’s one thing this COVID-era has taught me is that we MUST adjust.
So there you have it…..five ways to fill your days during the COVID-era.
Thanks for giving me fiveish minutes of your time today!
I hope you found some value in this.
If you have a suggestion that might help someone struggling during this time, please feel free to leave a Comment.
Of course, constructive criticism is welcome but please know, Comments are moderated and if they are found to be disrespectful, they will be deleted.