We all know that America is the busiest country in the world. We work more hours than most countries usually topping out at 60 per week. That’s not two to three jobs, that’s just one person’s workweek. Our working poor can work up to 80 hours per week just to get by on several low paying jobs. Don’t think for a minute it’s just CEOs out there hustling. We continue this work madness even when we eat at our desks. A bad habit that is now being recognized as compounding workday stress. We take the least amount of family time off except for that 12 week period some women take after childbirth. Twelve weeks is only a blip in a typical American’s lifespan. We dedicate nearly 50 years of our lives to work ignoring many of our own dreams, families, and health. Take time during America’s Covid-19 pause to reconnect with family, friends, hobbies and yourself.
As the government shutdowns expand from work to school and now the gym it’s time we could easily use to reconnect with our family. Over the next few weeks (could possibly be months) go see Mom and Dad or grandparents if you’re lucky enough to still have them. It’s not just checking in on them as they are the most susceptible to Covid-19, it’s just a good time to say hi. As the juggling of work and kids’ activities disappears with further shutdowns, visiting family is a great way to use your time. Watch one of your favorite shows together, eat a meal, play a game or just be there. This pause isn’t just to stop a virus it’s a chance to make new habits like finding time after the pause to schedule extended family into your life.
When’s the last time you had friends over for dinner? You probably can’t remember since life seems to have gotten in the way. If no one is working this week, invite them over on Tuesday or Thursday or even Sunday. We don’t need to ignore our friends during this time if they’re not sick. It’s a time to celebrate that you are all healthy enough to be back at the table again. As you discuss life, your friendships will bloom again while reconnecting.
As a writer, this pause has been a wonderful time to reconnect to my own goals. The words are finally flowing easily since the stress of a massively busy week floated away. This is your time to pull out the sewing machine, wood carving tools, paintbrush or camera. Start shooting those pictures you have always wanted to take. Make that small side table that’s been on your mind for the past three months. Sit in your kitchen and paint the birds on the windowsill. It’s finally your time again to use as you please. Turn off the cellphones and get back to your sweet spot.
Last, but not least, use this time to reassess what your American Dream is and what you want it to be. Life will bring its own personal disasters to each of us which knock us off our tracks. But in America, anything can rise like the Phoenix from the ashes. What it takes is a little planning again, a little more elbow grease and time. Time just to think. To think about who we are and where we are going. After every disaster in America, people have risen to say that their dream came true. Like a rainbow after a storm. Look around and see what you need for you. Not for work or the family. Just for you. Then get that American Dream back on track.
We are Americans and we can do more than survive this health crisis, we can use it as a time to thrive. Stay healthy!