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How Your Response to Coronavirus Can Make You a Better Person

By Patrick O'Malley March 31, 2020 Mindset

The Coronavirus has changed all our lives. Whether this means canceling a trip, traveling less, working from home, or not visiting family members, its effect is profound and wide-ranging. I’m writing this from Spain, where we are on lockdown.

Being Positive

A positive mental attitude is vital at this time. Here are some of the ways that I like to think these days:

  • By staying at home and not traveling, I am not only protecting myself, but I am protecting other people.
  • I am grateful for my health.
  • Spending a lot of time at home is a change but gives me time to do things I always wanted.

That last point – doing things that you don’t normally have time for – is really worth thinking about. When you turn a negative into a positive, then you take control. Rather than be a victim of some misfortune, you can find ways to make some part of this a good thing.

What’s Worked for Me

I am in Spain at the moment and the lockdown means that we can leave the house to buy groceries, go to the pharmacy, or get medical care. We can also walk the dog but are encouraged to keep that to a minimum.

The army patrol the streets and if you are walking with someone, they will ask you to stay one meter apart. The rest of the time, we are inside. Here’s what has worked for me during that time:

Doing Exercise at the Same Time Each Day

Any type of movement, even a few stretches, counts toward exercise. But when there is a set time to move, then I actually do what I have planned. Afterwards, I always feel a little better.

Making Mealtimes the Center of the Day

I often eat to fit my day, but now I really look forward to preparing food, sitting with the people in my house, and stretching out the experience. Think how the French treat meals – that’s what I’m going for.

Spending at Least 30 Minutes a Day on Self-Improvement

I speak French but, sharing a house with French people, I have a great chance to improve my language, so I study my French grammar and vocabulary for at least 30 minutes a day. I also play guitar and have some pieces I’m working hard to learn.

Why Self-Improvement Can Be Vital

Most of us, retired or not, have worked in a job where we are run off our feet – and the day passes so quickly. Some might have worked in a job where there wasn’t much to do – for example, a shop with few customers – and the day took forever to pass.

Obviously, if we are to be stuck indoors, we would like our days to pass quickly. Therefore, we need to be active, we need to be disciplined, and we would ideally spend some time learning something or working on something we wish to improve.

I am a guitar teacher, and when I connect via Skype to give lessons these days, my students are delighted to have their lesson. When I speak to them now, I finish the call by setting them a “mission” for next week. Something that would be truly satisfying to master – yet quite a challenge.

I know that after the call if you were to say to one of these students, “Hey, you’re going to be playing a lot of guitar this week because of the lockdown,” they would probably reply with, “Yeah, and I can’t wait.”

Think About Other People

I get a great feeling when we end our lesson calls with a mission for the week ahead. I think it’s important for each of us that we help frame the upcoming months as a challenge to improve each and every day.

Maybe there is someone you know who would bury themselves in a project if you gave them a little inspiration and encouragement.

We all have something we put off “until we have more time.” This could be learning a musical instrument, getting fit, reading a certain book, or learning a language. Wisely using your time to improve yourself or learn something new is now more important than ever.

How do you stay positive in the current situation? Have planning and schedules worked to improve your daily routine? What activities or projects have you picked up that you don’t normally have time for? Please share your experiences with our community.

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The Author

Patrick O'Malley is a guitar teacher, author, and instructor. He is passionate about the impact of learning an instrument (particularly guitar), and over 12k students have taken his online courses. Patrick can be contacted at

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