Since moving back to Jacksonville in mid-November, I’ve only managed to spend the weekend at my apartment a handful of times. That means I haven’t completely sorted through my belongings and created a space reflective of my lifestyle and passions. As someone who only ever has time to work, eat, sleep and repeat, COVID-19 has given me an excuse to cancel plans, stay in and get productive.
My first undertaking was getting items out of boxes and creating a space for them. I hung a couple pieces of art in my main area—you don’t need to be tall or have another set of hands to create a cozy space, but it sure doesn’t hurt. If you’ve already got your walls covered, or you haven’t yet found your style, rearranging your space can be just as effective. YouTube, Pinterest and even TikTok are inspirational resources for realistic room makeovers on a budget. For those college students who have temporarily moved back to their childhood bedrooms, donate items you hoped would magically disappear while you were away. A clean set of sheets, a vacuumed floor and sanitized surfaces will leave your room smelling fresh and clean afterward. If you’re having difficulty feeling motivated, it could be due to the layout. Moving your bed to another wall can result in increased creativity and a good night’s sleep. (Consult feng shui guides for more details.)
My next order of businesses was ordering items I have lived without for some time, but which life would be better with—a television stand, for example. This was at the bottom of my to-do list, and while its transport time may be longer than usual, at least that project is moving forward.
Now for the fun stuff. Music means the world to me, and having to settle for second-rate songs I have yet to remove from my playlist only worsens my mood. If you find yourself exclusively listening to Spotify or Apple Music, think about using this time to purge your playlists and add some fresh finds. I recommend browsing curated lists for inspiration. Keep in mind: you’ll get the most out of them if you listen to each song in its entirely without judgment. When life returns to business as usual, you’ll feel more focused on your daily intentions.
This is also a great opportunity to return to (or pick up) a hobby. If you used to love reading, painting and the like but can’t find the patience to sit down and pay attention to anything except what’s streaming these days, now’s the time to retrain your brain. I think we can all agree we’re tired of seeing social media posts along the lines of, “Shoutout to everyone who loved reading as a kid but can’t find the energy to pick up a book anymore.” You can. Passions take practice, and it’s going to take a consistent effort to get back into it, but it is possible. I’ve made a point to read for at least 30 minutes each day.
My final recommendation is to stock up on essential items while you can. I was on my last roll of toilet paper and low on food before I realized it. On Thursday, I grabbed one of the last packs of toilet paper for $17.99 at Publix. This may not be a hard hit for middle- and upper-class families, but those who are living paycheck to paycheck are already having to make more sacrifices than usual. While you’re hunting for toilet paper, remember to stock up on foods that have a long shelf life. And you might as well make amends with your extreme couponing friends who have been waiting for this moment to arrive. And if you’re able to, set aside time each day to unplug and unwind.