Self-Isolation, quarantine and social distancing. By now you will undoubtedly have heard these terms. Whether you have heard, seen or hopefully been practicing being at home the last few weeks, rest assured we have all started to feel a little ‘crazy’, and no, you are not alone.
We typically only see this kind of cabin fever during really cold weekends, on rainy days, or when there is a global pandemic that has brought the world to a halt. Fortunately, many people are still able to work, but whether you are busy with work or dealing with the lack of it, you may well be experiencing similar feelings.
If I am being completely honest, it would be easy to throw in the towel and turn to unhealthy habits. But as successful, productive and optimistic citizens of the 21st century we cannot allow the well groomed garden of our mind to erode. So what do we do? We explore, pioneer, prepare and grow!
The best way I have come to understand this is by being strategic with the fine balance of input and output that the lockdown creates. We input movies, shows, music, podcasts and books, and we are putting out new food experiments, new conversations, new exercises, artistic attempts, even meditative practices. Arguably some may overlap, but the point is to take advantage of the time you feel like you.
Thankfully these days music is everywhere online. There are plenty of YouTube channels, Spotify playlists and new artists on SoundCloud to explore. Most companies during this time have put out 14 day trial versions of their services. Additionally, you can get creative with music era, genre, and country and dive deep into what makes you feel and what makes you dance! Listening and researching music can be therapeutic and medicinal. Don’t forget to share your new discoveries with someone close to you!
Something I have been doing the last three years is reading, and more of it. It has definitely become a healthy addiction. Many struggle with this task as our life is already bombarded with so much to read, and finding the motivation to read about a topic, and keeping up with reading, can be a struggle. I’ve found the key is to read what you like! Who is your favorite musician or actor? What is your favorite food? Where do you want to go for vacation (once this is all over)? What language would you love to learn?These are just a few ways to invigorate, stimulate, and develop some great reading habits. If focusing on the written word can be a bit too much like work, search for ‘audiobook companies’ and start listening to books instead. Plus, if reading on the go is your thing, you can even have books on your smartphone too!
I may have to be careful with this one as it might make you desperate to go to the grocery store. If the urge is too much, don’t forget to keep your distance!
Now is a good time to take an inventory of what you have in your cupboards, and perhaps learn a few new tips and tricks in the kitchen. You do not have to over-complicate things, so just start with or polish up the fundamentals. How to balance flavors, sharpening your knives, meal prep best practices, portion sizes, best ingredient combinations, and, my favorite, finely chopping an onion (some tears involved). There are plenty of master chefs, cooking channels, cooking books and YouTube channels out there. Who knows, you might even end up outcooking your partner or mom; so get cookin’!
What better way to channel your stress, frustration and emotions than with some exercise? I’m not talking about fancy gym equipment, either. Everything you need to at least get started on a new exercise regime is at hand, in your own home. With your body alone you can accomplish the most basic of movements without any equipment. All movements can be modified to your activity and intensity level. Squats onto a chair, push-ups on a wall, lunges on stairs, sit-ups and good-mornings are just a few examples to rev up your heart rate. Don’t worry about how you look. Even just 10 repetitions per exercise is a great start. Play with the tempo, and the rep count and you are in for a self-made challenge. THe key to this is to remain consistent. Dedicate a specific time and specific days to work out, and perhaps even ask a friend to join you (remotely) for some extra motivation!
In 1665, without his professors to guide him, Isaac Newton apparently thrived. Isaac Newton was in his early 20s when the Great Plague of London hit. The story of how Newton sat under the tree, was hit on the head by an apple and suddenly understood theories of gravity and motion, is largely apocryphal. But according to his assistant, John Conduitt, there’s an element of truth. Without a doubt, the feeling of being cooped up at the house can have the potential to drive you mad. So if you’re working or studying from home over the next few weeks, perhaps remember the example Newton set, and get working on your own personal discoveries, whatever they may be!