I doubt I can offer anything new in the endless supply of how-to-dos and what-to-dos on every topic imaginable, while quarantining. I admit I’ve gotten caught-up in mindlessly scrolling for the best home workout routine, and Brian Green’s Equation of the Day has found a morning time slot in my day.
I’m specifically not going to make this a post of handy-dandy suggestions to help ease your mental well-being during this time. I just want to take some time, perhaps to hold myself accountable or to justify that I’m still a productive member of society, to offer commentary on those three dimensions of life: intellectual, behavioral and emotional, while spending 95% of day confined to 1200 square feet. I have included links (many) to what’s helped me orient my days.
In the previous post I addressed some professional transitioning given the current state of things. Here, I want to spend some time delving in to the more personal side of things.
Personally I’m making use of this extra time to formulate mini-goals. For me these are committing to a reading list, setting intentional time with my golden retriever (specifically figuring out a dog-mobility plan for her aging hips), and getting the rust off the Tai Chi form I learned so many years ago.
There are also those yearly tasks: polishing the car, cleaning the grill, tuning up the bikes that I’m adding in. Also, perhaps goal related but maybe more hobby-based, are skills that have occupied space in the back of my mind. For me, that cajon I bought and banged around on a few times could use some serious attention. And I did break down and order a steel mace after being influence by all the Onnit vids (it just looks bad-ass). And it actually arrived yesterday (yes start with the 10lb. one)
Sometimes limiting the list is more challenging that actually finding things to put on it. I’ve found success also using these mini goals and tasks to help behaviorally transition from professional to personal states. The skill work helps contribute to a sense of self-improvement and some exercise of control in an environment that we’re finding more controlled.
Speaking of practical behavior, my physical activity has always helped balance my mental well-being. And for me this has typically involved going to the gym. Maintaining some sense of normalcy, or least consistency in a schedule seems important, form what the experts say.
So my morning starts very much the same. But, instead of a 4:30AM wakeup, I’ve pushed that to 5:00AM (no commute time to the gym is as good an excuse as any).
From there I’ve spent more time than I’m comfortable admitting, configuring, and reconfiguring a home work out schedule. Lifting days are now based around the awesomely free content courtesy of Jeff Cavaliere (Athlean X YouTube video link here). As a head’s up, my initial thought was “sure, this will be a decent little routine.“ However around the halfway point of round one, I literally had to go back and review to make sure I understood the rep/set cadence (yup no set breaks – this one’s tough!). I’ve since adjusted and accepted pauses between the exercises (I’m old after all).
The other bodyweight lifting day material is supplied by Ross Enamait (Book link here) (YouTube channel here). I bought all of his books years ago, and he’s now offering Never Gymless for $1 (a better value I dare you to find).
So three days for full body workouts and then two days for cardio or metcon. Here I’m jogging (ugh) for 20-30 minutes, followed by some 50 yard sprints. It does feel good to put an all out effort in the sprinting. I haven’t done that in a while and this weather change is cooperating nicely. Also on these days I’m adding in my static skill holds to maintain the gymnastic progressions I’ve worked up to in the gym.
So that’s five days of structured workouts, the other two days are typically active recovery involving yoga or some other movement work.
I’m also still working on daily mobility work courtesy of Kelly Starrett (Supple Leopard book link here) (YouTube channel here), and meditation/breathing exercises (Wim Hof and Brian McKenzie apnea training).
Then there’s the whole emotional component to all this. I’ve found the basic CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) method of identifying the specific feeling – then examining the supporting thoughts (assumptions, expectations, etc.) to be helpful. Here is a link to the worksheet I’ve developed.
Maybe it’s just a reminder to be self-reflective. And perhaps a reminder is needed more due to the uber-comfortable environment of home. The idea of needing some discomfort (even if it’s a bit of self-questioning) can easily become misplaced, particularly with the pervasive distraction that is the Coronavirus.
So that’s it. Some musings on how I’ve, so far, been navigating this imposed change – bearing in mind the human experiential dimensions of intellect, behavior, and emotion.