The COVID-19 pandemic has taken almost a year of everyone’s lives. As soon as it became obvious that the illness, which has already claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world, is a serious problem, nations imposed a lockdown to slow its spread and prevent the wave of patients from overwhelming hospitals. Months later, people are still being asked to stay at home.
However, the new year is all about hope and making positive changes in our everyday lives. While the end is still far away, as nations start to inoculate the public with vaccines, there is a promise that life may go back to normal at some point. People can go back to work and school without fear of catching the virus.
As 2020 draws to a close and 2021 begins, give yourself the gift of self-improvement. Here are the things that you can do that will make you one step closer to your dream while still social distancing.
Online Classes are the New Normal
Before the pandemic, classes were regularly held in classrooms. While there has been an increasing number of academic institutions that conduct classes strictly online for those who may not have the time to go to a physical location or may simply prefer to receive education in a virtual setting. This is in addition to massive open online courses (MOOC) available through edX or Coursera.
As classes go digital to observe social distancing, it is easier nowadays to find online postgraduate education in your field. Whether you want a temporary arrangement for the pandemic or you prefer to attend virtual classes until you receive your degree, there are several academic institutions to choose from.
Sharpen Your Public Speaking Skills
Public speaking is not a strong suit for a lot of people but, if you want to succeed, you have to learn how to stand confidently and communicate your message clearly to your audience. Some can effectively do it without a problem, but most will crumble in fear of making a mistake and being judged.
Like most skills, the key to becoming a good public speaker is to practice, and right now, during lockdown, is the perfect time to hone it.
To practice public speaking, you only need one thing: your smartphone camera. Your first task is to record yourself giving a presentation to a pretend audience. By watching yourself, you can observe and identify quirks and mistakes that you otherwise would not notice while on-stage. You may discover that you tend to touch your face too much or you say too many filler words like “uh” and “uhm.”
It might also help if you watch videos of people making a speech in front of an audience. TED Talk is a great resource (you can find their videos on YouTube) because they give presentations from different experts in various topics. There are tens of thousands of speakers who have already delivered a speech over the years, including Bill Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Taika Waititi. Watching others can expose you to different styles of presentation and inspire you to become an effective public speaker, too.
Write It Down
You are living through an important event in history. While life in lockdown has become uneventful, by sitting down in front of an empty paper or blank screen, you will find that you have so many things to write about. Talk about your fears, what is going on in the world, and how you are spending all your free time now that you are locked indoors for the foreseeable future.
Writing has been known to be therapeutic because it helps you parse through your own feelings and thoughts. Creating a record of your daily life during the pandemic may also help future historians understand how people of the present reacted and lived through the lockdowns.
Even if your journal does not become an important artifact of 2020, the activity can develop your writing skills. It helps you clarify your own ideas and gain new insights. It will also keep your mind sharp, especially right now when nothing is going on. Writing is a valuable skill regardless of whether you want to pursue it as a new career path or you want to convince your boss that you deserve that promotion.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to most people. Thousands of people have died, more are sick and still recovering after catching the virus. The lockdowns have also led to millions losing their livelihood and plunging to poverty. It is okay to grieve for the things that you lost because of the current public health crisis but, when you are ready, you can stand back up and seize this as an opportunity to achieve your goals.