The coronavirus pandemic has interrupted our professional and personal lives, and for now, we are plunged into a new normal. Because many work and recreational activities have been curtailed, people are finding that they have additional time on their hands.

The question is: What will we do with this extra time? Yes, binging on Netflix can help to relieve stress and get our minds off the crisis temporarily, but we can also use this time to pursue more productive activities, with a focus on skill improvement, personal growth, and professional development. When the pandemic ends and we start to return to more familiar routines, we will feel a sense of accomplishment if we view this downtime as an opportunity to grow.

If you have personal or professional projects you’ve always wanted to pursue or courses you’ve wanted to take, but you were never able to find the time, then this could be the time to jump into action. And if you don’t have a new skill or project on your wish list, here are a few ideas to inspire you:

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Master a Technology

In a world run by apps, online platforms, and gadgets, you can always improve your productivity and value in the workplace by learning a new technology. This is the perfect time to kick up your game on a core program such as Microsoft Excel or PowerPoint, or explore a new technology that you’ve always wanted to try.

LinkedIn offers a broad range of tech courses, and Udemy is an online learning platform with courses that span many subjects, including IT and tech. Many of Udemy’s courses are currently on sale, so now is the perfect time to explore a new skill.

Learn a New Language

Our world is constantly growing more and more connected. It is always a good idea to broaden your horizons and think diversely, and one way to achieve this is by learning a new language. Not only does studying a language enable you to communicate with people outside of your own culture, but it also strengthens your brain and opens you up to new ways of thinking. Duolingo is a terrific language-learning resource, and it comes in an easy-to-use app form. Better yet, it’s free!

Get Cooking

Cookbooks are valuable resources, but reading recipes may not be your cup of tea. One way to really make food and cooking come to life is to watch the experts at work. Have you ever wanted to have the illustrious Gordon Ramsey teach you the ins and outs of cooking? Now you can, with a course offered by Masterclass. If you are a visual learner, a course like this is perfect.

Create

Expanding your creativity is a worthwhile pursuit that pays dividends both personally and professionally. When you tap into your creative skills, you are better able to problem solve, innovate, and express yourself. This is the time to let your inner artist, musician, or dancer out to explore and create. Tapping into your imagination is a wonderful way to learn more about yourself and grow.

Write it Down

Writing can be a creative art, but if fiction or poetry aren’t your thing, maybe you can try dabbling in journaling. Bullet Journaling is a method of ordering tasks and thoughts, which many people have found productive. We are all dealing with unprecedented challenges. If you are overwhelmed, take some time each day to order your thoughts and feelings on paper. It may seem small, but this is a method of catharsis, which is highly beneficial for one’s emotional and mental well-being.

Above all, look into developing a new skill only if it is something that truly interests you, and can bring you joy. You don’t need another source of stress in these already stressful times. Whatever it is you’ve been wanting to try or learn, now is the time to take the plunge. When this crisis has ended, you will like back on this time with a sense of personal pride.