Lessons from Lockdown: What to Keep and Leave Behind

October 01, 2021

Lessons from Lockdown: What to Keep and What to Leave Behind

By Jessica Larson of SolopreneurJournal.com  

With the world still reeling from the pandemic, focusing on oneself has become more important than ever. Now is the time to get your affairs in order, and work for the goals you’ve had floating around in your mind.

Take the steps now, regain some of the control that has vanished, and extend that power to those important to you. Ensuring yourself, your family, and your home are in top condition is the key to avoiding the worst of these years. Here are four tips on how to shed the heavy aspects of your life. 

Get a Handle on Your Finances 

Over the past year and a half, financial woes have been further affected by unemployment and emptying emergency funds. Even if you’ve been lucky enough to avoid any kind of financial hit, there’s always room to tighten up your assets. 

If you haven’t already done so, set up a budget. Make sure it fits your lifestyle. The 50/30/20 plan budgets your money as 50% for needs, 30% on wants, and 20% for savings and debts. Other plans feature different breakdowns, including for charitable donations. Use a budget to examine where your money is going. Then, cut down on services you don’t need and achieve your financial goals. 

At the same time, start getting serious about your credit. Request a credit report to see your credit score. From there, start repairing past mistakes, or boosting what you’ve already accomplished. 

Smartly using a credit card and paying it off is the easiest way to build credit. And good credit opens doors and opportunities, which include:

  • Favorable rates on lending (personal loans, car loans, business loans, and mortgages).
  • Money saved (higher credit scores can save thousands of dollars on interest and fees).
  • Lease approvals (apartments, rental cars, and cell phones).

Don’t wait to work on your finances. These days, ensuring financial literacy is necessary to avoid unforeseen pitfalls. Start now—your future self will thank you.

Focus on Your Health

As the pandemic continues, the importance of a healthy lifestyle has become clearer than ever. Aside from masking up and getting vaccinated, be sure to examine your health habits.

For instance, eating right and exercising are great for shedding unwanted pounds, but doing so also helps your mental health. 

You should focus on feeding the natural bacteria of your stomach. These little wonders directly influence your mental health. Try a diet of healthy fruits, leafy greens, and omega-3s from fish and legumes. These are proven to boost your mental mood and provide your body with the energy it needs.

Be sure to give yourself plenty of time for active relaxation. Start exercising or try yoga. Involve all parts of your body, including your mind. During the past two years, isolation and stress have affected us all. Mindful yoga and active exercise combat negativity through activity.

If you have children, focus on their health. They are facing the same stress as adults. There are many means to speak with your children about heavy topics. Start a shared journal to express feelings. 

Go on car rides to help them wind down and loosen up. Invite them to join your morning yoga sessions or evening walks. And be sure to use open-ended questions. It’s easy for a child to hide their true answers behind a simple yes or no. Allow them to talk, and help them offload their anxieties.

Give Your Home (and Car) Extra Attention 

Between quarantine and work from home, even the nicest home will get a little stale. Plus, when the days feel like they’re running together, regular home maintenance might go neglected. 

Don’t forget the behind-the-scenes maintenance. Have you replaced your HVAC filters this year? What about dusting your vents? If you have an attic or basement, make certain to look for gaps in the insulation. These can bleed energy and keep your utility bills artificially high.

Even if you’ve been on top of cleaning, staring at the same scene may be growing tedious. Use some simple means to refresh your home. Try painting the walls of your room or office, or rearrange your rooms. Shift your interior furniture to provide a new home experience. If you don’t like it, just switch it back.

Don’t neglect your vehicle, either. If your car is more inactive now because you’re working from home, be sure to drive it now and then. Cars need to be driven to keep fluids moving and tires safe. As well, all moving systems, including transmission and the climate system, benefit from routine use.

If you haven’t driven in a while, start with this checklist:

  • Look for flat spots on tires. 
  • Check under the hood for pests and look for damage (rodents like to chew on wiring).
  • Look for leaks and check fluid levels. 
  • Top off gas and wiper fluid tanks.

It might even make sense to take the car in for a tune up. Underusing a vehicle can lead to seals drying out and water corrosion in the fuel and oil lines.

Just like your body, get your car into a healthy routine. Feed it right, and make sure it gets a little exercise now and then, especially if you’re still paying it off!

Be Prepared 

A global pandemic is an excellent time to reinforce the important areas of your life. Every home should have an emergency plan for a variety of problems. Ensure you and your family know what to do during a fire or tornado. Create a disaster kit that includes medicines, water, non-perishables, blankets, and clothes. Make physical and digital copies of important documents. 

With the ongoing pandemic, it is smart to have a virus kit in your home and car. This should include:

  • Masks
  • Sanitizers (for hands and surfaces)
  • Gloves
  • Enough water and food for anyone present
  • Batteries and chargers
  • First aid kit
  • Prescription and non-prescription medications
  • Baby supplies (if needed)
  • Pet supplies (if needed)

Keep these kits in areas where they are easy to find and away from damage. For your car, be sure to also include emergency blankets, flares, and jumper cables. When you do drive, always wear your seatbelt.

According to recent seat belt statistics, buckling up saved nearly 15,000 lives in 2017. And child restraint systems saved 325 children’s lives. If you have children, be sure to follow the instructions on installing childrens’ seats. And always test that they are tight and unmoving. 

Kids should be rear-facing until they grow out of it, which is usually between 2 and 3 years old. Then, front-facing and booster seats are used until 12 years old, or until they properly fit in the car’s belt system. However, check the weight and height limits for specific seats. A child may outgrow a seat before they reach the targeted age. 

Don’t neglect these simple safety features. They save lives. 

Bettering yourself begins in your mind. Nail down your finances and start to build your credit safely. Work on your health, and focus on building mental and physical strength through proper diet and exercise.

Keep your home spruced up and running well. Don’t be afraid to rearrange items to add a new brightness to your house. Finally, always be prepared with emergency kits and proactive maintenance on all aspects of your life. 

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