THE PANDEMIC HAS made me a more spontaneous person. Weird, I know. Before COVID-19, I was very Type A about my social life: dinner at 6 p.m.—6:30 if I was feeling sassy—usually at a restaurant of my choosing that I’d researched and booked with three other moms, four weeks in advance. The upheaval of this last year completely changed my Virgo approach to recreation.
Now, with so many activities off the table, whenever there’s a chance to do anything, I jump. Socially distanced falafel in the park? Sounds glamorous! Walk with an acquaintance who lives around the corner? My new BFF! Lawn cocktails with the neighbour? Why didn’t I think of this before?
My new “Sure, why not?” vibe has been one of the surprising upsides of this time. I’ve made some new friends, seen parts of Toronto I didn’t even know existed, and become extremely good at dropping everything at a moment’s notice.
I’ve also learned that embracing novelty and openness to new experiences can make us happier—even if it’s confined to small changes in our daily routines. Here are some easy ways you can give spontaneity a fighting chance to thrive.
FOCUS YOUR EFFORTS
Someone who’s naturally more introverted or anxious doesn’t need to revamp their entire approach to life to reap the benefits of spontaneity, says Steve Joordens, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. The key, he says, is to identify which areas are the ones you feel could benefit from a little more of an off-the-cuff approach and focus on changing your habits there.
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