This year’s pandemic has forced so many individuals around the world to embrace lifestyle changes, changes that affect both personal and profession routines. In-office work environments have become work-from-home workspaces; social distancing protocols require six feet of distance between individuals; grocery stores, restaurants and a wide variety of public and private spaces have instituted maximum limits on gatherings.

One of the under-the-radar effects of COVID-19 is the fact that many people have more time on their hands. Because of job losses, work-from-home environments and cut hours, there are many Americans looking to fill free time with productive activities.

With any extra free time you might have on your hands during these unique times, consider this your invitation to become a better version of yourself. You have the time to learn new skills, pursue new hobbies or explore entirely new interests during this period of your life. We’ve compiled a great list of new life skills worth learning during this time of quarantine, so that you can emerge a happier, fuller version of yourself.

1. Writing a resume and a cover letter

There might not be a more apt life skill to learn, or to re-learn, during this pandemic than effective resume and cover letter writing. Here’s the good news: writing both a resume and a cover letter is much easier than you might think. All you need to do is ensure that you can effectively communicate your aptitude for a new position, as well as your strengths, work history, learned skills and education.

Here are a few high-level pointers to keep in mind when crafting a well-rounded resume:

  • Be selective about the jobs and the career experience you list. You don’t need to list 100% of experience or skills. Instead, prioritize the points on your resume that best align with the position you’re looking to land.
  • Make your resume skimmable. Too many potential employees look to cram their resumes chock-full of details, packing job titles, skills, education and aptitude close together to fit everything onto a single page. Most recruiters, hiring managers and HR Directors skim a collection of resumes before selecting the applicants they wish to interview.
  • Include the numbers. When you’re choosing the details to include on your resume, prioritize the numbers. Any hard facts you can deliver will give potential employers a better understanding of your potential.

When you’re writing your cover letter, here are a few specifics to keep in mind:

  • Don’t use a form. Even though it might be tempting, write a completely custom cover letter, one that appropriately showcases your skills.
  • Proofread thoroughly. Go through your cover letter to make sure you adhere to basic grammatical standards.
  • Convey your value. Your cover letter is not the place to recount all of your past job positions; that’s what your resume is for. Instead, use your cover letter to convey intangibles that qualify you for the position, from a more personal perspective.

2. Cooking a go-to entrée

Use your time quarantining in your home to learn at least one new, fun recipe! The entrée you decide to learn certainly doesn’t need to be complicated. Find a recipe with a taste you love, get your hands on the ingredients and take over your kitchen with new flavors.

Pressed for meal ideas? You’re sure to find a dish you love among these 50 top-viewed recipes.

3. Backing up your computer

An essential life skill for anyone who regularly uses a computer, backing up your CPU means saving your documents, images, downloads and files in case your hard drive is compromised in any way.

There are several ways to backup your computer:

  • Try using an online, cloud-based backup program like Microsoft’s OneDrive, that allows you to easily upload and store files.
  • Backup your computer to a physical hard drive. Terabyte external hard drives are available online, and can usually be found at local department or technology outlets.
  • Backup software services can help you streamline file security.

4. Balancing a monthly budget

Balancing your monthly budget isn’t just a great skill to develop during quarantine – it’s a necessary life skill in general. Whether you need to manage personal spending or your family’s budget, balancing finances is one of the most necessary life skills. Here are some tips to get you started balancing a monthly budget:

  • Gauge income against expenses
  • Dedicate a percentage of your income each month to savings
  • Dedicate a percentage of your income each month to retirement
  • Work on building good credit
  • Address any debt
  • Audit your expenses and identify unnecessary purchases

5. Maintain dependence on the right things

This is such a subtle step, but so important when it comes to both short and long-term health, wellness and self-confidence. Especially with so many individuals facing increased pressure because of job losses, financial hardship and the social isolation that can result from pandemic protocols, many individuals have fallen into self-destructive patterns.

If you’ve been facing substance use issues, this year’s isolation and difficulty have likely only made the situation more difficult to handle. Real Recovery is ready to help you take positive, productive steps to manage substance use habits effectively. Nestled in Asheville, North Carolina, Real Recovery invites you to enjoy sober living and extended care services designed to restore your control over your own life. Call 1 (855) 363-7325 today, or reach out online to learn more about our programs, and to determine whether the connection, healing and recovery we offer are right for you.