Use This “Pause” to Re-Evaluate Life and Make Positive Changes

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The circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have certainly given us all plenty of time to stay at home and think.

This has led to re-evaluating just about everything — how we spend our time, what our relationships look like, whether the career we’re in is really right for us — and what types of things we want to prioritize going forward.

For many of us, this is the first time in a long time that we’ve been able to take a step back — to feel some relief from the constant pressure to achieve and succeed, and to just breathe.

If you’re like most people, before this all happened, you were constantly busy. Too busy to have coffee with a friend or to pick up the phone and call your Mom. Too busy to be alone with your thoughts, to really engage with your significant other, or to just do nothing.

While this pandemic has taken away a lot — our sense of safety and security, our ability to do what we want, when we want, and, for many, our financial stability — one thing it has given us is the gift of time.

Think back to how many times you’ve thought or said the words “I’m so busy,” or “If only I had more time…”

Not so long ago, we spent our days running around frantically, stressed out and overwhelmed — and always feeling like it wasn’t quite enough.

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This worldwide pause has given us the one thing we so desperately desired.


We now have the time to slow down and notice what’s going on around us. Time to reconnect with the world, with our loved ones, and with ourselves.

Suddenly, things we thought were really important don’t matter anymore. This virus has changed life as we know it, and nothing is going to be the same, even after it ends.

We no longer take for granted — or even trust — that the future will be anything like what we had previously imagined.

Eventually, we will begin the long road to recovery. We’ll start going out again. We’ll reconnect with family, friends, and acquaintances. We’ll go back to work and start trying to repair our finances.

As we approach this “new normal,” it’s important to remember that we have at least some power to shape what that is going to look like. Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate our lives, reset our goals, and make some truly powerful changes.

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Re-Evaluate Your Life with These 3 Questions

Taking a step back and re-evaluating your life can feel intimidating. How do you even start? And, what will you discover?

Don’t worry, it’s easier than you might think. Find a quiet place and reflect on the following questions.

1. What Are You Enjoying While You’re Staying Home?

Sure, there are many very real challenges that we’re all facing right now. But, there are also plenty of positives. Now that you’re not so rushed all the time — do you feel happier?

Do you have time to cook healthy meals instead of rushing through the drive-thru or ordering a pizza? Are you enjoying spending time with your children now that they’re not rushing off to school and bouncing from one activity to the next?

Are you enjoying the lack of pressure to achieve — to have a trendy wardrobe, an immaculate home, and perfectly manicured nails and eyebrows?

Do you wake up in the morning with a sense of relief, realizing there isn’t anywhere you need to be?

You’ve had your chance to get off the hamster wheel for a little bit — are you really excited about hopping back on and resuming the mile-a-minute life you had before?

Obviously, it’s not practical to maintain this way of life for the long-term, but we can certainly take a moment to recognize the way it’s making us feel. We can consciously decide whether we want to take some steps to maintain those feelings going forward.

2. What (And Who) Do You Really Miss?

For all the calm this pause from pressure may have brought, being separated from our everyday lives has also left a void. What (and who) do you miss the most? Is it large family gatherings, lunch with your bestie, or a great sweat session at the gym?

The people and activities that you miss the most are those that will bring you the most joy when things get back to normal. Take some time to think about this, and maybe even make a list. This will help you know what to prioritize going forward.

3. Are You Feeling a Sense of Relief?

Now is also a great time to think about the people and activities you don’t miss at all! Toxic people who drag you down with criticisms or constant complaining don’t deserve a place in your new life.

In the same light, if thinking about returning to your job makes your stomach knot up and your palms start to sweat, then now is a great time to start planning a career change or pick up a side gig to give yourself some flexibility going forward.

Are you dreading learning that your weekly networking meeting has resumed or that those PTO meetings are starting up again? Take note of the things that cause you anxiety and start thinking about how you can eliminate them or at least scale them down.

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Use Your Answers to Create a Life You Love

After you’ve spent some time re-evaluating your life, you should have a solid idea of what things bring you joy and what you would rather leave behind. Now, what do you do with this information?

Here are a few ideas to help you create a life you truly love living.

Keep Space for the Things You Love

When things start to get back to normal, make it a point to leave some open space so you can continue enjoying the things you love. Before jumping back into all the activities and commitments you had before, ask yourself if they really deserve a place in this new life you’re creating. If not, let them go.

Eliminate Anxiety-Inducing Stressors

While it’s unlikely that you can get rid of every single thing that causes you stress, now is a great time to step away from what you can. If it’s a group activity or other type of obligation, it’s easy to explain that your circumstances have changed as a result of recent events, and you’re just not able to do it anymore.

For bigger issues, like dealing with a job you hate or living in a city that’s no longer right for you, start brainstorming small steps you can take to help you eventually make a change for the better.

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Find Your Tribe and Love Them Hard

Remember the people you’ve really been missing? Those people are your tribe! They’re the ones who bring you joy and without whom your life simply wouldn’t be the same.

Reach out now to see how they’re doing and let them know you’re thinking about them. More importantly, when things start to get back to normal, don’t let yourself get so busy that you can’t find time for them. Having tons of acquaintances is great, but having a small inner circle that you can really love and trust, well, that’s priceless.

Forgive Yourself and Others

In a time when we’re constantly bombarded with news of sickness and death, it’s become all too clear that life is too short for holding grudges. Take this time to forgive those who have done you wrong — and forgive yourself for any failures or shortcomings! You’ll find that you’re able to return to your new life feeling much lighter.

Stay in the Moment

Your busy, hectic life will be back before you know it. If you’re like many people, you can’t wait!

When the time comes, try not to forget the way these most peaceful moments have made you feel. Also don’t forget to pause and enjoy the moment whenever you can.

When things start to feel too crazy, don’t be afraid to take a step back and re-evaluate your life again. Think back to this time — when you had plenty of time. Despite its challenges, this situation is a gift. What you choose to do with it, and how it helps you grow, is completely up to you.

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Originally published at on May 1, 2020.

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