taking it one day at a time

Published on March 27, 2020

I have been trying to take my life one day at a time over the last few days.

When I first realized the severity of coronavirus and the extent to which it was going to impact my life, I felt as though my life would never be the same again.

I was destined to be put under quarantine by the government, alongside my family and everyone else in the country. There were certain things that were just going to happen and I would have to accept them.

This may have been true, but during this moment I was in a fragile state. I was scared to see what was going to happen next. I was frustrated by the lack of high quality information I had read, and I was still processing the fact that the best thing I could do to help was to stay at home.

During the moments where I first started to process the crisis, I tried to tell myself one thing over and over again: you only need to take things one day at a time.

I knew that more was going to happen over the coming days that would change my life. I also know that a lot more is going to happen over the next few days and weeks which will have similarly consequential impacts on my way of living. However, I am no longer catastrophizing about what could happen. I am focusing on today.

The lesson I learned from this experience is that, especially when you are struggling, all you need to focus on is doing the best you can today. Your focus should be on living your life one day at a time.

This lesson came to mind after I tried to process everything about coronavirus in a short period of time. I tried to downplay the severity of the crisis in one moment, then in the next I started to worry about my family. It was a tumultuous and uncertain time, and what made everything worse was that I was thinking about how more was yet to come.

Instead, when I feel overwhelmed, I want to focus on living the best I possibly can right now. What I do right now is in my control, and the fact I am even here to write this blog post is amazing, when you think about it. I am alive, in this moment, and am spending my time doing something I love.

I know that many bad things could happen today, and tomorrow, and in the coming days and weeks. However, there is no point in thinking about what could happen because I am operating on incomplete information. I have no idea when coronavirus could peak, and I also have no idea about how bad things could get in the UK. Speculating would be irresponsible.

Every day, I want to live my life as if all that matters is being able to say “I conducted myself well today.” After all, it is my principles and how I react to my circumstances that should matter most. I should not be worrying about what may happen in the future, because most of what happens in the future is out of my control. What I do right now, however, is my choice.

Taking things one day at a time encourages us to focus on how we can improve ourselves in each moment. If we see an opportunity to improve, we can take it. On the other hand, taking things one day at a time also ensures we focus on what matters most: getting through today. So, we don’t need to worry about what may or may not come. We can just focus on doing what we can to live in the moment with which we have been presented.

After adopting this approach for a little while, I have noticed that I am starting to do more favors for my future self. I am doing a few extra tasks to make tomorrow easier. This is because I know that what matters is living a good life today, but because I am having a good day, I am able to invest in my life tomorrow. I am able to continuously improve, and do something that will make my future self a better person.

In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to worry about everything. I asked questions like: When will this end? Will my family be alright? Why are we not on lockdown? Will the stores run out of food in a week? Will the world ever return to normal? Then I realized that there was no point in even asking these questions, because they only made me worry more.

Focus on living the best day that you can. Do things that make you happy. And, of course, wash your hands, maintain social distancing, and comply with local and national government regulations (if you’re here in the UK, that means you should stay at home). There will always be plenty of time to worry tomorrow, but right now you should be aiming to live the life you want to live (even if you can’t do everything you want to right now).

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