I am calling today, March 16th, officially Day 1 of the National Quarantine. Last week was a lot of hype and preparation. Clearly we all scrambled and cleaned out our local grocery stores. Our Costco and Sam’s clubs now look like war zones. However, we are all adequately prepared with pantry’s and freezers full and garages filled to the brim with toilet paper. Today, btw, is also Day 800 of my 365 Commitment that I started back on January 7th, 2018. Today feels sort of surreal. The nation is hiding out, practicing our new art form of social distancing and I am trying to figure out what to do with myself now that I am at Day 800.
The new national apocalypse does present some unique opportunities that I must consider. I think we should all pause and take stock of our situation, becoming mindful of where we are at and what is before us. Now, we could if we chose, to use this time we have before us to catch up on all the binge Netflix watching that we missed out on. We could finally decide to do a marathon of watching all nine of the Fast and Furious franchise. We COULD do a ton of very non productive mind numbing things to cope with and deal with the stress of a national crisis. However, dare I suggest some alternatives?
Today, on Day 1 of the National Quarantine you could do so much more with your extra time. Time you would normally spend driving, taking kids to and from school, doing all sorts of activities that keep you busy. Rather, you could focus on many other things. This morning, on my run, I came up with a list that you might want to consider:
1. You could take up running. You know you have always wanted to. Running is absolutely a 100% coronavirus safe activity. It is definitely socially distant. Getting outside in the middle of the day will do wonders for your personal well being. The vitamin D will do great for you. You do not need to go crazy, in fact, do not even push yourself that hard. Just start to run a little ways, take a break, walk and then run some more. Work your way up. Maybe when the National Quarantine is over in 30 or so days – you will dramatically have improved your cardiovascular health!
2. Parks. You could visit all the parks in your local community. There are probably a lot of them. Visit them all! You do not even need to drive to them. Ride a bike, walk, or run to them! When you get there, go ahead and do some body weight exercises. Do some squats, a few pushups, pull ups, planks, lunges and crawl around on the playground equipment. If you feel a little concerned about that, pack some rubbing alcohol with you or wear gloves. The point is that you could really discover what it means to be physically active again!!
3. Take your kids with you (or your dogs, or both). This is an awesome time to reconnect with children and pets. They are home stuck, bored out of their minds. You could take them with you. Start today! A park a day during the National Quarantine! You could actually talk to your teenager while walking around a park! Imagine that! Actually talking to a member of your family for an extended period of days.
4. Go on a Dopamine Fast. Put down all forms of instantaneous electronic stimuli that provides you with an artificial dopamine hit. Reawaken to what it is like to experience life out of the fast lane, without other people and companies constantly prodding you for a reaction. The world is literally going to hell in a bucket right now anyway, so why don’t you just shut it down for a month? We have all but shut down commerce in the world for a little while, so what in the world do you need to read on social media anyway? Find out what it is like to get your dopamine on the old fashioned way! Go for a nature hike! Do some work outside! Talk to friends and family on the phone, preferably on the land line if you still have one of those. Hey, here is an idea. Write a personal letter to family members that you have not talked to in a while! Imagine that! What a freaking rush that would be for someone to get a letter from you, with a stamp on it even!
5. Dust off that musical instrument. This would be a great month to finally get started learning the piano, guitar, harmonica, or whatever instrument that suits your fancy. Do it with your kids! Now that would be cool, rise up out of this quarantine with the ability to play a few songs on that piano that has been collecting dust in the family room for 10 years!
6. Learn a new language. You could in 30 days, probably pick up about three to five hundred new vocabulary words in a foreign language. This is something you could do as a family. How cool would it be, if in the next 30 days instead of buying into the hype that the world was going to end that you all picked up a new language together? You could become conversational in 30 days. It would not be that hard. Just go full immersion. For example, if you wanted to learn french. There are french language television shows, streaming shows, music stations, news sites, books and everything you can imagine. Buy a Rosetta stone license for the family, and you can all start to learn some words everyday. Challenge yourself to talk to each other over meals in a new language! What if in 30 days, you became fluent enough that you could plan your summertime vacation to Paris. Just think – travel will be freaking cheap this summer!
7. Completely change your diet, go Paleo or Keto! Practice fasting! Now is the time! It is not like any restaurants are going to be available, and your food sources from the staples will be limited. What a great time to practice a whole new diet for a while! I noticed that all the good food was completely available at the local store and all the crap was the first to go this weekend. So you could learn how to cook some new meals, eat a whole food and healthy diet for 30 days. You are not going to be traveling for a while, so you will have lots of time! Today is a great day to finally conquer the diet challenge you have always wanted to do.
8. Reconnect, stimulate and build your network. You have a network of friends, work colleagues. It is probably in complete disrepair. You have 3000 contacts in your phone and you do not remember half of them. Maybe it is time to reconnect! Find out who all these people are! Open up the lines of communication. They are all going to be stuck at home too, so be the proactive one! Rekindle those relationships. Who knows what you might discover! While you are at it, maybe you can try to meet some new people! Reach out to a few authors that you like, talk to some podcast personalities. Get to know some influencers. What a great time to focus on building your personal network!
9. Learn. Undoubtedly your career has a ton of stuff for you to learn that you just never get to. Reading, listening, consuming new material is a completely corona-virus free activity! Spend time each day to learn something new and add that to your arsenal. Just think when this noise is all over in a month or so, you could come out stronger, more knowledgeable, and ready to seize the opportunity!
10. Meditate. You could learn to adapt a meditation practice in your life. It does not have to be a religious thing, just download an app and listen to some daily meditation or pick up an audible book on beginning meditation and start this practice for 30 minutes everyday. Now you have the time! A wonder new habit to build during your unexpected time off!
Anyway, there you have it. Some of my suggestions for using this time to propel yourself forward to come out of this coronavirus hype a new person! This is a great time to rebuild, rekindle, reconnect, and reestablish yourself. Day 1 or Day 800 – this is a great opportunity for you!