The COVID-19 pandemic has sent the world into a level of uncertainty that many of us have never experienced.
It's easy to get caught up in the chaos and challenge of how this is impacting us individually as well as collectively and now more than ever, we really need to maintain a calm head and make the most of the time we are faced with either through self-isolating, working at home or finding work if you have been made redundant.
Having been through redundancy twice, I fully understand the anxiety and stress being in this situation causes. I know it affected my self-confidence and my self-worth and it can set you back so far if you allow it to.
Remember, that the reason for your redundancy was out of your employers and your control and there are unfortunately thousands of people in the same situation. So, my recommendation is to get as much advice as you can on how your government can support you financially until things do eventually return to normal. Think about your network and who you know that may be able to help you navigate through the different packages that are available for your situation.
However, it's also important to remember that we will come through this situation and when we do, we all need to be prepared to pick things back up as quickly as we can. So, what can you do right now that will give you back the self-confidence and self-value that you may be feeling right now?
I've come up with some tips to make the most of your time at home so that you can feel productive, improve your mindset and enhance your employability skills.
12 Tips to Make the Most of Your Time
Read those books you've been meaning to! Rather than sitting in front of the TV watching the constant news updates about the virus, grab that book that you bought months or even years ago and has been sitting on your bookshelf or bedside table and take 30 minutes when you get up and before you go to bed and get reading. Try to focus on reading books that will inspire and motivate you, make you laugh or improve your knowledge.
How about writing a book? You don't have to have a novel or autobiography to write although if you do, that's great too, but every one of us has knowledge or experience that we can share in a book. E-books are a great way of sharing your expertise and they are so much easier to write now. I have written a few myself and I use a platform called Designrr.io which is really simple and intuitive. It allows you to convert all sorts of content into a book, so you don't even have to write anything from scratch. For example, if you are great at writing blogs you could use Designrr to turn them into an e-book.
Communicate with your network. Whether its friends, family or work colleagues - we're all in the same boat right now, so it's really a great time to support each other and get advice on what you can do in a particular situation if you're feeling stuck. Creating a support network is one of the best ways to maintain your mental health and to motivate each other. Think about having a regular video call each week so that you can discuss your challenges, work, family, health and any other ways you can help each other or do more for your community.
Undertake online training courses. Need to improve your skills? There are so many fantastic online resources and training platforms which you can access to learn and improve those vital knowledge gaps so that you can get the promotion you've been waiting for when the workforce returns to normal. It will look great to a new employer when you can show on your CV that you have spent your time learning and improving yourself.
Create an online training course. Again like with e-books, you could turn your knowledge and experience into an online course. There are various platforms out there such as Teachable (which I have used), Udemy, Reed Online Courses, Tabletwise and more, where you can share your course with people who want to upskill and improve their knowledge.
Have a clear out! Well it is spring now, so I'm pretty sure your wardrobe, your kitchen cupboards, the freezer, your kids toys, your shed or loft (if you have one) could definitely do with a clear out. I know that this is something I will be undertaking in my house whilst I have some spare time. Giving your home a clear out will help you have a sense of achievement for doing those things that are really easy to put off.
Support key-worker professions. So, we know that there are a range of professions which have been classed as key workers and they will be required to keep working to maintain those essential services we will be relying on during the pandemic. This inevitably means that those organisations will also be under pressure to maintain services when their staff may also have to self-isolate or become seriously ill. Do some research to see if there are any roles that you could apply for, or if you're a freelancer or consultant is there any operational support you can offer to help them keep running as efficiently as possible.
Update your social media profiles. Particularly LinkedIn if work is an essential for you right now. Many employers will look online at your profile before they consider offering you an interview, so you want to ensure that your profiles really reflect what you want people to know about you, be they personal or professional. Delete any posts that are not relevant and start sharing information that allows you to stand out to any potential employers.
Extend your cooking skills. We all need food and although there is a challenge with panic buying right now, things will hopefully come back to normal in the shops soon and if you're at home and have more time, it's great to try new recipes and experiment with foods you haven't tried before. Go online and find inspiration from your favourite chefs, supermarkets and friends and share your recipes on your social channels too so that you can give others some inspiration.
Start a new hobby. What have you been wanting to learn about and have kept putting off because you haven't had time? If there was ever a good time to start a hobby, this could be it. Are you the creative type? Do you love animals? Maybe you want to become a collector? Whatever hobby you'd like to start, being able to take your focus away from the Coronavirus for a short time will help you feel more at ease. Who knows, it may end up becoming more than a hobby if you end up loving it more than your actual job or profession. Which leads me nicely into...
Start your own business. Again, this may be something you've been putting off becaseu you haven't had enough time to write a business plan or do some research on your idea. Also, if you've been made redundant, this is also an opportunity for you to think about turning your hobby or your knowledge, skills and experience into a business. One of the services I offer is a Business Startup Success Programme. Having started my business off the back of being made redundant a second time and helping new entrepreneurs start and grow a successful brand, I understand the challenges and how to overcome them. So, please feel free to get in touch and find out more if this is something you are considering.
Stay fit and healthy. Last but not least, you may be stuck indoors but exercising at home or in your garden so that you can stay fit and healthy is probably one of the most important things to do right now, especially if you have children at home with you. Try to spend 20 minutes to half an hour at least three times a week exercising. Again if you don't have a routine, using online resources or exercise dvds will help you to maintain a healthy body and mindset.
More importantly than anything else, we all really need to pull together to keep ourselves safe, to work from home where necessary, to self-isolate if we have symptoms and follow the UK government guidelines (or the guidelines from your country if you're reading this from outside of the UK) of only making essential trips out staying 2 meters apart so that hopefully we can get through this as quickly as possible.
The future outcome of this virus is not something we can predict, but we can do our best to control our actions right now, being productive by making the most of the time we have and, being kind and considerate to each other - especially our healthcare and key worker employees.
Wishing you all the best and extending a virtual hand if you need any support.