earning how to be an adult is hard, period. But learning how to adult in the middle of a pandemic? It’s nearly impossible. Or at least it seems. Here is your guide to being a successful adult during a pandemic. But don’t forget to be a responsible world citizen outside of your bubble of adulthood.

In this how to guide, you’ll find tips on how to be successful in:

  • Accepting the Circumstances of the Pandemic
  • Creating a Realistic Routine
  • Responsibly Maintain a Social Life
Young adults moving in to their first apartment.
Moving into your first adult place may have been high on the priority list before the pandemic. However, given the circumstances, it’s not entirely possible.

Accepting the Circumstances of the Pandemic

The circumstances may not be ideal, but you have the power to make the most of them.

The pandemic has put a lot of things on hold from graduations to weddings, and chances are you’ve experienced some of the effects of this. Unfortunately, the pandemic isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so it’s time to start accepting the circumstances that the pandemic has brought with it. While these circumstances are nowhere near ideal, you don’t have to let them stop you from continuing your adulting journey.

Jobs can feel scarce and far between when looking for one not in a pandemic. This feeling has only been amplified since the start of the pandemic. If you’re someone that is looking for a job right now, it may be discouraging trying to find something that isn’t even out there. While what you’re feeling is valid, it is one of the circumstances you have to accept with being in the midst of a pandemic.

With that being said, there are still jobs available. However, they most likely aren’t your dream job. If that’s the case, you may have to start broadening what kind of jobs you’re looking for. Experience is experience at the end of the day, and you never know what one opportunity may lead to. It’s worth at least getting into the rhythm of writing a cover letter and searching for a job.

However, finding a job may not be the only adulting thing put on hold for you because of the pandemic. If you graduated since the pandemic, chances are you are still living at home even though you were planning to move out. Or maybe you moved home because of the pandemic. Either way, your living situation may not be ideal right now, and you may feel like you aren’t able to reach your full adult potential because of it.

Even though moving isn’t a likely possibility at this point, there are still adult things you can do while living at home. You can still take advantage of the opportunities you have like cooking your own meals and spending time with your family. If you were on your own, those are people you wouldn’t be able to have much social interaction with!

Young adult woman jogging.
Designating specific days of the week to exercise will help you stick to a routine. Bonus points if your exercise gets you outside!

Creating a Realistic Routine

When the days are blending together, the most adult thing to do is to set up a routine to follow.

Depending on your situation, if you’re working from home or taking online classes, and if you are completely synchronous or asynchronous, you may have a perfect schedule already figured out. However, chances are you have something that is running asynchronously, which could be a challenge if you aren’t used to that type of atmosphere.

When the world isn’t in the midst of a global pandemic, it can be a bit difficult to stay on top of your work. However, you benefit from having specific hours when you have to go into work or class and get stuff done. This is a system that you can still have, even if you aren’t physically leaving your house.

Setting aside specific chunks of the day to get your work done can help you be productive and stay on top of your to do list. There’s satisfaction in getting your to do list done at the end of the day, yes, but it’s even more satisfying to get your to do list done at the end of your work day. When you don’t technically have a work day, who’s to say it ever ends?

By specifying what times you are going to be dedicating to getting your work done, it will give you more motivation to finish your work for the day by the end of that chunk of time. There’s no way you’re going to let your work get in the way of your precious Netflix time!

It may be tempting, but don’t sleep in too much! Sure, you can sleep an extra twenty minutes in place of your commute, but you shouldn’t be sleeping until the time you would start your lunch break. By keeping yourself on a similar schedule to what you're used to for work or classes, it will help you refamiliarize yourself with your routine from pre-pandemic.

Don’t think you can hold yourself accountable to setting specific chunks of time aside to do work or will sleep in too much? Ask a friend or co-worker to Zoom or FaceTime and be productive together! It can be just like working together in the library or a coffee shop.

You don’t have to stop at scheduling your working time, either. Now, this may not be for everyone, but it could be beneficial to schedule in time to work out, watch Netflix, or partake in your new hobbies. This could be a good way to break up your work time, too. Allowing an hour Netflix break between working time will not only motivate you to be productive while working, but it will also keep you away from the slippery slope of just one more episode.

You may be sick of Zoom, but don’t underestimate its potential to keep your social life afloat.
You may be sick of Zoom, but don’t underestimate its potential to keep your social life afloat.

Responsibly Maintain a Social Life

The keyword here is “responsibly.”

For many young adults, it can be quite isolating trying to live through a pandemic where they aren’t able to socialize freely - especially if you’re living alone or with your parents. Towards the beginning of the pandemic, it was fun to go on Zoom and hang out, but Zoom parties have gotten dull. Not to mention the hours you already spend on Zoom for classes or work.

So, what does that leave you in terms of a social life? Honestly, not too much. Unfortunately, this has led many young adults to ignore the CDC guidelines, but this is NOT recommended and not something an adult would do. While options are limited, there are still many ways that you can keep your social life alive. Just keep in mind guidelines may not be the same from state to state.

Depending on where you live, the weather may be too chilly to be eating outside, or even just going for a walk. Of course, for those that are living in a warmer area or don’t mind frigid temperatures, these options may not seem the most groundbreaking.With that said, bundling up with long johns and several pairs of socks could be a great option to stay safe outside while being social.

If you can bundle up enough to last just an hour to go for a socially-distanced walk with a friend, it could help with feelings of isolation. You could even explore winter based activities like skiing or sledding if you’re seeking a little more adventure than a walk around the block. These activities are a great excuse to get fresh air, exercise, and socialize responsibly. Be sure to check out what safety precautions your local ski resort is following before making any plans!

For a more relaxed social option, you can utilize your garage as a space to hang out. While not completely outdoors or indoors, it is a good alternative to keep some of the cold out. Garages are large enough to set up some chairs that are socially distanced and then some. Add a space heater and some blankets, and you may not even realize you’re in a garage during a pandemic.

Don’t forget about Zoom and FaceTime! Even though the last thing you want to do on the weekends is sit on another Zoom call after being on calls for work or classes all week, it may be the best option you have to socialize. While Zoom parties were all the rage at the beginning of the pandemic, they started to get a bit elaborate and too much work. Don’t feel like you have to do something super special for it, because your main focus should be on connecting with your friends.

Keep your Zoom parties fresh by changing the location from where you sit to do your work and are on your work or class calls. A different environment will help to alter your perception of the call - making you more excited to be on the call than the dread you feel during work or classes. Also, don’t feel stuck to Zoom. Many people have started using Zoom and have forgotten about Skype and FaceTime. Just changing the software you're using and seeing a different format to the call could help keep things fresh for you.

It certainly feels like the end of the world some days, but you don’t have to let the pandemic be the end of your world. Handle the pandemic like a real adult by accepting the circumstances, sticking to a routine, and staying social in a responsible fashion.

Mar 15, 2021