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Planning A New You Post Lockdown? Start Today!

Julie Nguyen
Julie Nguyen
The end of lockdown feels a little bit like new year, an opportunity for a fresh start. Figure out how to make the most out of this special time for professional development, personal finance management and establishment of healthy habits.
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The end of lockdown feels a little bit like new year, an opportunity for a fresh start. But while new year resolutions are extremely hard to keep, coming out of lockdown gives us an opportunity to set ourselves up for resolution success before we step outside the door on day one.

We can use the unique situation offered by lockdown, and the changes that we will see in the post-lockdown, to make ourselves more likely to successfully implement the changes and new habits we would like to see.

Let’s take a look at how you can use the end of lockdown to find success when it comes to some of our most common shared goals.

Professional Development

With time on your hands to contemplate, are you more certain than ever that it is time for a job change? But have you given up on the idea for now, since the economic chaos caused by COVID-19 has made the job market so difficult?

While some industries are looking for temporary workers to meet increased demand, most are worried about if and how they can retain the employees that they have. But the job market that emerges after COVID-19 will be interesting. Some jobs will dry up, new ones will emerge, and new patterns of working, such as remote working, will become common.

Prepare for the post-lockdown job market by researching, improving and networking | Image

But while now might not be the time to be applying for jobs, there are lots of things you can be doing to make yourself ready for the future job market.

  • Do your research and identify what kind of skills your preferred industry is likely to be looking for in the new post-lockdown environment, and make sure that you have them.
  • Work on your resume to make sure it is appropriate and up to date. Spot any gaps? Take some online classes to help fill any holes in your experience.
  • Research and expand the list of companies you are interested in, looking at opportunities further afield that might be accessible through remote working.
  • Network! Those “important people” might have more time on their hands than usual with fewer business trips in the schedule. So approach them for a one of conversation on professional advice, and if that goes well, maybe even a mentoring relationship.

Tackling the post-COVID-19 job market is not going to be easy. But there are many things that you can do to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed when new opportunities do start to open up.

SEE ALSO: 3 Habits to Make You More Successful At Work

Saving

The financial pressures that have accompanied COVID-19 have been a rude shock for many, especially those without a safety net of saving to see them through. Therefore, many people are thinking about how they can start saving more and build up that security post-lockdown.

While reduced income and debt accumulated during lockdown might mean that now is a very difficult time to put any money aside, that does not mean that there is nothing you can do. Now is a good time to focus on cutting costs and reducing expenses. Investing in frugal habits now will mean that when income does return, there will be more money available to save.

Take the chance to do a complete personal financial audit | Image source

Use this time to do a complete financial audit.

  • Look at expenses that can be cut. Do you really need that magazine subscription? Do you need both cable and Netflix?
  • Look at reducing expenses. Look at your electricity and internet suppliers, can you save by switching?
  • Evaluate your food and household expenses. You probably buy certain brands because you have always bought them. Can you save by switching?
  • Consider your shopping habits. The closing of the shops may have already broken some of your shopping habits, but have you been indulging online? Cut yourself off. Also, why not go through your wardrobe. How long can you go without buying new clothes if you actually use everything that you have?

If you establish new frugal habits now while money is tight, you will find more flexibility in your paycheck when it does start to recover. That means more money to save for the next rainy day.

SEE ALSO: 3 Ways to Improve Your Money Management Habits

Exercise and Fitness

Put on a few extra pounds in lockdown, or just feeling a bit sluggish from all the extra time sat at home? Many of us will be thinking about getting fit and exercising more post-lockdown.

Unfortunately, getting back into fitness may not be as simple post-lockdown as we would like. While the rest of the world is opening up, gyms and fitness classes are likely to continue to be subject to severe restrictions.

It looks like gyms will be forced to function at around 25 percent capacity in order to allow for social distancing and strict cleaning regimes. Fitness classes will also have severe number limits, as enclosed, sweaty environments are high-risk when it comes to virus transfer. 

So basically, it is going to be harder than ever to nab a space at the popular yoga class, and gyms are unlikely to be pushing for new members in the same way as demand is already likely to outstrip supply.

But, the fitness industry has been transformed, both to cope with lockdown and in preparation for the very different post-lockdown world. Many fitness professionals have taken their businesses online. You can now easily find a virtual personal trainer or fitness class.

Do not wait for gym reopening - try online fitness class now | Image

While an online fitness class might not sound that attractive when you can finally go out, there are actually huge benefits to starting your fitness journey online. 

First and foremost, it is an opportunity to experiment with lots of different approaches to fitness to find something you really enjoy. People tend to fail at fitness resolutions because they treat working out like punishment or work. Finding something that you actually love doing is the key to making an exercise habit stick. So sign try different classes with different teachers from around the country, or indeed around the world. Explore until you find your niche.

Also, if you are just starting on a new fitness journey, working out in front of other people can be part of the challenge. When you train online, your workout is between you and your trainer. Plus, your online classes will help you build mobility and fitness. When the fitness industry does return to “normal”, you will feel more confident to work out with others.

Breaking Bad Habits

Many of us, personal development might mean breaking bad habits, such as smoking, snacking and eating junk food, drinking too much, or buying an expensive coffee every day.

There has never been a better time to start breaking these habits. This is because habits like these are often triggered by our environment or what we are doing. For example, do you smoke to socialize or when you are looking for a work break? Do you pick up your coffee on your commute? Do you always crave sugar at the same time of day at the office?

Lockdown has taken us out of that environment, and distanced us from those triggers. But now that we are returning, we are at risk of falling back into the same old traps. Especially if we rush to try and return to “normal” and do all the things that we did before. But thoughtlessly going back to the way things were is a mistake.

Bad habits successfully broken during lockdown might return on post lockdown | Mia Djordjevic

The hold that these triggers have on us have been weakened thanks to our distance from them. But as we return to our lives, it is important that we choose not to return to those triggers.

Consider the bad habits that you want to break. Don’t try to tackle more than one or two at first - trying to do too much at once is another sure way to fail when it comes to habits. Actively try to identify what triggers those bad habits. This may be easier now that you have some distance from them.

Once you have a good idea of what your triggers are, try avoiding your triggers, or replacing your response to them with a different, positive alternative. 

For example, is it passing your favorite coffee shop on your way to work which is your immediate trigger to buy? Post-lockdown, choose to take a different route to work, perhaps one that requires a bit more walking to give you a morning exercise boost.

Is it always early afternoon in the office that makes you crave a certain naughty snack? Think about changing what you eat for lunch so that you are less likely to crave sugar just a few hours later. Make your taboo snack as difficult to get your hands on as possible and have other, healthy snacks (like an apple) available. Or forgo food altogether, and when your afternoon craving hits, go for a quick walk in a green space instead.

You may find your triggers easier to break than ever as their hold on you has been weakened by the lockdown “time out”.

SEE ALSO: From an Alcoholic to the Supereman Who Swims in 4 Celsius Water

Time for a Change

I think that we can all agree that in the aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdown, we are now emerging into a world that has changed. We can use the difficulties presented by the change when as an excuse to stagnate, or as an opportunity to change for the better. As we are forced to do things differently, we can realize that change is more possible than we imagined. So why not start building new habits and lifestyles today?