All over the world, people are working hard to keep all the balls in the air. Working from home (or having to look for a new job) while trying to keep children educated, entertained, and fed can test the skills of the most talented multi-tasker. Add in the need to maintain relationships with your friends, family, and significant other and it can be extremely exhausting and overwhelming.
Ultimately, the aim for a perfectly managed lockdown life is not only impossible to achieve – it can be extremely harmful. For the sake of our mental health, we need to let go of perfection and start making time to work on ourselves.
This may be easier said than done, but there are ways to minimise mental fatigue and the frustration that might be bubbling under the surface. Now’s the time for some change management through self-reflection and non-traditional self-care… While adding another project or activity to our plates might seem like a recipe for disaster, when executed properly, learning something new can provide a structured way to ensure a feeling of purpose and fulfilment.
Why now is the best opportunity to adapt and learn
Some ‘me’ time
Pursuing a new skill or qualification takes the kind of time and commitment that you might not take for yourself for other, more indulgent activities. When you are watching a lecture, reading for an assignment, or participating in a classroom discussion, that kind of distraction is the break your mind needs to feel energised again. You have specific tasks and deadlines that can be the perfect distraction from the non-stop news cycle of gloom and doom.
This can also let you off the hook for the online social engagements that you don’t want to attend but haven’t had a viable excuse to decline. ‘I’d love to, but my study group meets at that time’ can be more palatable for your happy hour Zoom crew to understand than ‘I can but I don’t want to.’
Albert Einstein played his violin whenever he was stuck on an idea. Sir Isaac Newton was sitting under a tree when he discovered gravity. Archimedes discovered the principle of buoyancy by taking a bath. For years, all great thinkers have known that the best way to find an answer is to stop thinking about it and do something different. Neuroscientists call it ‘Combinatory Play’ – aka finding the Aha moment.
Cognitively, being stuck in a rut can mean that your brain’s neurons are literally stuck in the same neural pathway (like a traffic jam) and this can prevent you from solving a problem. When you change to a new subject – like doing a Negotiating skills online course – you are re-routing these neurons to take new pathways ( or taking a less congested route), thus opening yourself up to those ‘Ahas’.
Lower demand equals lower output. Economically, the workforce is taking a dramatic downturn. For anyone who has held a stable job for a long period of time, experiencing a decline in the amount of work we do, or the loss of a job can impact our self-worth in a big way. With so much of our lives in flux, we can quickly become despondent without activities that make us feel that we are a contributing force.
We need to be able to adapt to change. By exploring online learning opportunities, you are keeping your day productive and reducing mental stagnation. Finding a course with an interactive component – like scheduled and synchronous class times – can give much needed structure for your day (and a reason to change out of your pajamas.) There’s also an essence of hope when working on a new project. Achieving a new qualification can be the key to reorienting your mindset to be optimistic and enthusiastic about the future.
It may feel overwhelming to consider pursuing further education right now. But there will never be a perfect time to start working towards your dreams. At USB-ED, we offer personal development courses online in universally relevant topics such as Negotiations Skills and our Essentials of Coaching Programme.
These topics are beneficial to anyone wanting to pursue continuing education at a less stressful pace. These courses are also a part of our Executive Development Programmes so these credits can be added to a broader qualification.