Most of us have never experienced anything like this. The coronavirus has been detrimental to the health of a growing segment of the U.S. population – and the wellbeing of many small businesses. Whether you’re a small business owner, have aspirations to be one or are just looking for a better opportunity, determining your options may seem difficult right now.
With recent changes in the economy and in business, you may also be finding yourself in need of a job, or are worried that you might. But think about this: In the 1600s while quarantined during a major pandemic, Issac Newton developed the Law of Gravity after seeing an apple fall in his garden. During The Great Depression, Leo Fender lost his job. In his new-found spare time, he turned his love of radios into an amplifier business and invented the first electric guitar, now famous as the Fender Stratocaster. Sometimes the best ideas come during challenging times – use this to your advantage.
Now is a good time to find strategies to adapt to the current crisis and be productive in every situation. Here are five ways you can invest in yourself.
Invest in Your Perspective
In times of crisis, the health of your family and yourself are obviously your most important focus. While things may seem to be overwhelming, keep a healthy perspective. Think about all of the things going well in your life and focus on the positive. Although this current chapter may seem like a stopping point, use it to your advantage.
Pause, take a deep breath and contemplate the things that contribute to your happiness and wellbeing. This may include spending more quality time with your family, embracing an exercise routine and reading at least one inspirational book each month. Giving yourself the opportunity to be fully present in the moment will help you to explore alternative paths and develop ideas to improve yourself personally and professionally.
As the old adage says, one of the best investments you will ever make is in yourself.
Invest in Ongoing Learning
Especially in challenging situations, it is important to never stop learning, even if you are typically a leader and teacher. Becoming a lifelong student keeps your mind sharp and helps you progress throughout your career – and life. Today’s technology offers many opportunities to expand your knowledge and gain new perspectives.
Podcasts are growing in popularity for a number of reasons, including the mobility factor. You can tune in and learn while working out, doing the laundry, walking or just relaxing on the couch. Here is a great list of the 40 best educational podcasts in 2020. Also, consider taking online courses at your local community college or trade schools. You can fit classes around your schedule and work at your own pace.
Invest in Your Mind, Body and Soul
Expanding your mind is important, but in times of uncertainty, nurturing your mind, body and soul is the key to vibrant health. Chronic anxiety and stress can take its toll on your body, both mentally and physically and can often lead to depression and illness. Look for ways to find a mind-body-soul balance: meditate, keep a gratitude jar, try your hand at journaling or even go on a nature walk.
Another option is to practice mindful eating. This discipline relies on mindfulness, a form of meditation, which helps you develop awareness of your experiences, physical cues and feelings about food. Dietary experts say there are many benefits to mindful eating, including greater enjoyment of your dining experience, portion control and relaxation.
Ever wonder why many little children seem so carefree and happy? Take time to play. Go for a jog with the dog, play board games with your kids and belt out your favorite 80s song for family karaoke night. A fun distraction helps to relieve stress and inspires new ways of thinking. This is 2020 after all, so also utilize apps. For your daily Zen, there’s Headspace, which makes meditation simple. Other good apps include Talkspace, Moodfit and Yoga Studio: Mind & Body.
Invest in Your Creativity
Now is the perfect time to get your creative juices flowing. If you’ve already created your small business, you have a head start on coming up with new ideas for products and services. Continue to invest in your creative self to develop solutions that might not be readily evident.
Creativity is a skill you can practice and learn. Using your imagination and finding ways to express yourself can help you develop problem-solving skills for your personal or professional life. Create a vision board, which can be used for plotting your new life path or outlining your dreams. Another way to stay on the creative path is to compile a list of 100 things. Created by Litemind.com founder Luciano Passuello, it is an easy technique in which you state your issue or question at the top of a piece of paper then create a list of 100 solutions or answers.
There are many other fun things to try: play a musical instrument, sculpt or paint. Whatever creative outlet you are pursuing, know it does not have to be perfect. You are not trying to be an artist. You are practicing creative thinking as an investment in yourself.
Invest in Your Present and Future
With so many uncertainties in life, it is imperative to set new goals for your personal and professional life. Now is a great time to change things and consider planning for a new business or enhance the one you have. Technology will play a key role in your process – think of it as your personal investment coach. Among the many apps that can keep you on track with your goals include Strides, HabitBull, Coach.me, GoalsOnTrack and Lifetick.
As you strategize, develop a “personal brand”. Think about what you want to be known for and determine what steps you need to take to make that happen. If you have a small business or are thinking of starting one, think about creating or enhancing your website. It will serve as the hub of your business and the face of your professional brand. It’s important for your website to elicit a first good impression with potential customers. Plan to have an online store for your brand, too. As we have seen in recent months, eCommerce is a critical element that ensures your business is always open even when your store isn’t.
Taking the time to invest in your present and future will take some of the uncertainty out of life while helping you prepare for better days ahead.
While times may be challenging, use this time to gain a fresh perspective and determine the things that make you truly happy. This will inspire the decisions you make moving forward and lead you toward personal and professional fulfillment.