It is certainly a weird time. Staying at home is no longer considered lazy but a revered trait. Searches for easy family meals have skyrocketed on pinterest. Facebook feeds are filled with Corona memes and conspiracy theories. What are we to do in the face of all of this? I have been doing my best to obide by social distancing orders, and trying to make the best of the time created by my canceled schedule.
It takes an optimist to find the positive in a global pandemic, but that is exactly what I am going to try to do here. Trying to make the best of the situation is a key for staying sane during this thing.
The best thing we can do right now is stay calm, not spend excess time worrying about what we cannot control, and focus our energy on what we can control. So what is out of our control? The powers that be with a global pandemic are pretty far out of any one person's control. What can we control? We can control how informed we are, we can control whether we abide by the CDC's recomendations on social distancing, we can control what we learn and what practices we implement in our daily lives.
“We study Stoicism for moments like these. To remain calm in the face of chaos. To put aside irrational thoughts and develop a plan to keep us moving forward. To be able to spread the only positive form of contagion there is: calm. So we can acquire wisdom from tragedy and danger. This our chance to embody these teachings, to prove them, when it counts. When life and liberty are on the line.” Ryan Holiday.
This is a profound opportunity to be introspective and work on my mental health. It is a time when we can decide if the normal way we were going about the day was correct or not. Are we living in a state of constant crisis, or are we living out a larger plan? What can we do during the pandemic that can improve our daily lifestyle? What skills, habits, and diciplines can be developed?
Changes in My Practices
Amping up Household Food Supply Chain
I have changed the way I deal with food, and the supply chain for my families food. This one was kind of forced on me, but I am taking the opportunity and running with it. Since many restaurants have closed shop due to the order, and since the spirit of the orders is to minimize the total exposures to the community, I decided we will be changing our preferences from the majority of meals being prepared outside our house to inside our house. Then, since going into grocery stores seems like it as a society would speed the spread, I decided to focus on getting food through other means.
The first move was to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) from a local farm. They now deliver food to my doorstep every two weeks. They commited to being able to feed a certain number of families and limited their members to that number. This provides some level of stability. It is also a farm that I am excited that my money is going towards. I also have been placing orders from a local bakery for delicious baked goods. This is also two fold. I am getting food that our family really enjoys, while supporting a business that I want to see flourish through the pandemic. This last week, they donated a big batch of bread to people who are recently unemployed because of the shutdowns. I am also working ahead further and placing online orders from the grocery store, focusing on being a little more intentional about my purchases.
I have put some intention in what I have been purchasing too. I have been stocking ingredients that are versatile and I can be made into many dishes so we are not stuck to some meals planned out a week in advance. To make sure I did not get sick of either eating foor I prepared or preparing the food, I also bought some simply guilty pleasure type foods. Things like frozen pizzas, pre-prepared frozen fried fish filets and ready made fries.
I thought this was going to be a short term decision for the pandemic, but it will likely have to remain as a staple in life. I have been purchasing things that are more exciting to eat. For instance, why buy ground beef when I could buy ribeye. Why buy standard bread when I can buy expertly made croisants?
Quality Family Time Without it Being About Something External
Before quarantine, a large portion of quality family time was spent doing something outside the house. Going to the zoo, an amusement park, pools, etc.
Now everything is at home.
This introduces a list of activites that in the back of my head I thought we should be doing more of but we had not. Things like doing a puzzle with the kids, going on a walk around the neighborhood, and playing outside.
A bit Meta, but Working on Content Production
I have been working on improving the quality of content I can provide for this blog. Part of this is investing in some video equipment so I can make videos to go along with the writing.
The other part is setting a more consistent release schedule and working ahead on articles. Going forward, articles will be released at minimum on Tuesday's.
I find writing to be calming. So it is a good activity during quarantine.
What Others are Doing
I was curious if how I was dealing with the global pandemic was similar to what other bloggers that I follow are doing. So I reached out to a few and here are there responses.
“I'm using this time to pick up on my reading. So much excellent non-fiction awaits! From history to biographies to work related material… I've also had time to work on home improvement and maintenance projects, using You-Tube and This Old House videos to educate as needed.
A more ambitious project in the works is to learn a programming language- Python! We'll see how that goes.
This has also been a time to make self improvement- learning the art of meditation and enhanced compassion.
The main thing though? Enjoying and appreciating this extra time with family.”
– Cubert, Abandoned Cubicle
“These last couple of months have been an unprecedented time in history. Although its been a fearful and uncertain situation, its also an opportunity to spend time leveling up on skills that help us becomefinancially independent.
I'm using my free time learning how to build an e-course. I want my teaching style to inspire others to achieve their goals. To level up, I'm taking Brendan Burchard's Thought Leadership Roadmap training to learn how to successfully teach adults. Its been a rich learning experience, and I'm excited about creating my e-course. I hope to launch it later this year.
My hope is that we can all make the most of opportunities, in each of our personal situations and struggles. Stay safe out there.”
– Shelley Stevens, Beyond Pennies
The Deep Dish
Richard said he considers this pandemic to be like the “final test for all the stuff we've been talking about” on his blog. This is because on his blog he talks a lot about topics that being good at are of benefit mentally, phsyically, and financially.
One thing he has focused on during the pandimic is calisthenics. The act of using body weight as the weight for strength training.
“Regular training is one of the cornerstones to my mental health'97not only whatever biochemistry magic is going on, but the psychological importance of maintaining a sense of agency and control. No matter how volatile life gets, two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.”
– Richard Meadows, The Deep Dish
These times are tough, confusing, weird, and a bit scary. It can be especially hard if you are in an area that is hard hit. However, that does not mean we cannot make the most of a situation. In fact, that is all we can do.