With the country on lockdown, you may find yourself with idle time on your hands. Some days seem to stretch endlessly before you as you isolate or self-quarantine. You may be at a loss as to what you should do to fill the hours that used to be so full of meetings, deadlines, and productivity.
This time will pass whether you have used it wisely or not. One way to make the most of it is to learn something new - something that you never had the time to learn before. Some skills may take years to master, but now is your opportunity to take the first steps. Think of your new found knowledge as an investment in your future. These skills might help you not only progress in your career but allow you to jumpstart your way into a whole new chapter in your life.
Five New Skills to Learn During Sheltering In Place
Learn a New Language
Becoming fluent in a new language may take more than our social distancing time, but you don't necessarily need fluency to add value to your life and find that you are more in demand in the workforce. And once the travel ban has been lifted, you can go to the country of your chosen new language and be able to talk to the locals.
You can do a Google search for "How to Learn (add language here)", or view YouTube tutorials on learning a language. Also, check out:
Before you begin, you might check out this good advice on choosing a language, at: https://tim.blog/2007/11/07/how-to-learn-but-not-master-any-language-in-1-hour-plus-a-favor/.
Learn Sign Language
Not only is learning a second language good for your brain, it's also a great way to expand your communication skills. This is especially true for American Sign Language, ASL, which according to Healthy Hearing.com is the fifth most-used language in the U.S. Learning ASL may enhance your career and give added benefit to the workplace. Used by educators, first responders, and service providers, mastering this skill could open many new channels for you professionally.
While you are home, take on-line courses such as: https://www.classcentral.com/search?q=sign+language
But first you might want to read the information at:
Once quarantine is lifted, consider taking a sign language course at a community college near you.
Learn How to Build a Website
For a small fee you can learn web development essentials and gain a thorough understanding of HTML and CSS. With the current spike in demand for web conectivity, this is a great skill to have in your pocket.
This self-directed, personal learning program is an all-in-one solution that includes everything you will need to complete high-quality training anywhere. You never know when adding this skill to your arsenal could potentially save a life! This video-based program teaches basic lifesaving skills in about 20 minutes:
Get Started on that Novel!
So you have always wanted to write a novel, but never had the time to start. No more excuses! Grab your lap top and get started:
The best skills to learn durring quaarantine are those that will help you become more hirable as an employee or more self-sufficient as a person once everything returns to normal. There are endless courses available to you on-line. The hard part is choosing which one to start with!
What Are You Waiting For?
If you have toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but responsibilities and life events always seemed to get in the way, NOW is your chance to cease the day and start! You may have sound bites in your head telling you, "You have no talent" or, "You are too old to start now" - but nothing is further from the truth. Playing an instrument is a craft that can be learned by almost everyone. According to Charles Cleyn, a musician, marketer and life-long learner, there are approximately 500,000,000 guitar players in the world! If that many people can play a guitar, then so can you.
No More Excuses
If the reason for not pursuing your artistic talents has always been, "I don't have time", you can now scratch that excuse off the list. During this period of sheltering in place, there is plenty of room in each day for music lessons and practice time. If you procrastinated in the past because there were no teachers nearby, well, say goodbye to that one too. Thanks to the internet, there are endless options for learning to play an instrument.
Pre-recorded video lessons, Skype lessons, training modules, and online exercises are all examples of the new ways musicians can fine-tune their skill, or learn a new instrument, without even having to walk out their front door. There are a lot of advantages to taking music lessons online, but there are a few disadvantages to be aware of, too.
The benefits of online music lessons far outweigh the drawbacks
There are so many benefits to taking lessons online, and just a few disadvantages:
Convenience – The biggest advantage is that it is ridiculously convenient. You can learn at your own pace, on your own schedule and from the comfort of your home.
More Choices – No worry about finding a teacher in your area. Online lessons mean you can find the perfect teacher for you, even if they live 1,000 miles away. But do try to access a teacher in your community. Supporting local businesses is of major importance during the COVID19 business shutdown.
Cost Effectiveness – Due to the convenience, flexibility and lower overhead costs to teachers, online music lessons can be lower-priced than traditional, in-house lessons.
Support Opportunities – Online sites offer support tools like community forums, training modules, and digital content. Sharing and connecting with others online is beneficial, and offers you a supportive online community to lean on.
Physical Guidance – Beginners often struggle with the physical challenge of how to handle the instrument, how to place their fingers, posture, etc. Not having a person there to demonstrate physically can be a little daunting at first, and requires perseverance.
Motivation – With online lessons the only person holding you accountable is YOU! Be sure you are ready for the commitment.
Now all you need to do is drag your 7th grade band clarinet from beneath your bed, dust off the case, and start your Google search!
Most of us are all feeling overwhelmed and uncertain right now amidst our new world and the way it seems to be changing every day. We cannot control everything, and we cannot guarantee one day to the next what will happen, but we can control ourselves, our perspective, and the positive energy we provide. Remember that opportunities lie in the hardships we endure. Regardless of what we think we want or need, if we really get to the bottom of it all, we do not need much - except having loved ones close to us and a grateful and open spirit.
But, I'm Not a Writer
You do not have to be a writer in order to journal. You just need to dig out 5-10 minutes of thought and writing time. If you write in the morning and evening, it is much less daunting. Not only does a journal get your Reticular Activating System moving, (example: buy a new car and suddenly all you see is the same type car) it also documents your day for your kids and grandkids to read later on, almost like an heirloom. You journal might serve as a chronicle of the day-to-day unfolding of this globally difficult time – illustrating how you came out on top, ready to begin anew.
Ok, But What would I write about?
In the morning, list three things you are grateful for. They do not have to be profound things. Keep it simple, especially starting out. Remember you are building a muscle that will propagate positive thoughts (remember the example about buying a new car above.) Start the day with, "I am grateful for: Warm sheets, sunshine in my window, a cute sleepy kid."
Next, list three things that would make the day great: "Everyone to stay on schedule, get dinner on the table before 9:00, create a few minutes for myself to read four chapters of my book."
Finally, list a daily affirmation about how you are feeling, or how you want to live, (ie: confident and passionate with purpose.)
For Extra Credit
To help capture the moment, add a few lines of any worldly updates, any new businesses that emerged, new practices taking place, or the price of gas or meat.
Now, That Wasn't so Bad
In the evening, list three amazing things that happened today. "I remembered to floss, a friend dropped off a quarantine package, one of the seeds I planted is sprouting." When you get used to writing and thinking more positively, your "amazing's" will be easier to remember, become more profound, and you will recognize them more often. We will take amazing, big or tiny, any time! They are all daily successes that get us through this thing called LIFE.
How Could I Have Made Today Better?
Waking up when my alarm goes off, or getting up early to work out, are good examples - but is there something you wish you told someone? Maybe instead of "Please love me" how about "How can I love you more"?
Deposit into your heart bank instead of making withdrawals.