Well, to say that the world has changed since the last time I wrote on this blog is quite an understatement. We have now been in social distancing for 6 weeks. Do you think I stopped trying new activities?
Of course not. I must start by acknowledging that, in the midst of the pandemic, I am immensely lucky. My family and friends are safe, I still have a job, and the spread of coronavirus seems to be under control in my area. While teleworking while taking care of my 7 and 10 years old kids can be challenging, it is only a minor inconvenience compared to the hardships I hear about in the news.
For sure, not leaving the house does provide some extra time to try different things. In addition, staying at home does not necessarily mean just keeping to old routines. I find new things to do, and there are others that I haven’t shared yet, but that could entertain you while you practice social distancing.
Research has shown that the “fresh start’ effect can help us create new habits. Now is a perfect time for switching to a healthier lifestyle. As I am writing this, I am now at day 29 of the 30 Days of Strength program from Darebee. I did skip a few days, but always made up for it the next day with a double training. I really recommend this site, there are tons of free entertaining workouts, programs and challenges, some with superhero and anime themes. They even offer fitness RPGs (Role Playing Games) where the workouts are integrated into a story, such as the Carbon and Dust program, an action-adventure with you as the main protagonist set in a distant future when humanity has spread far and wide across the Galaxy.
If, like I sometimes do, you prefer not thinking about counting reps, I also suggest you try Fitness Blender. Kelli and Daniel are fun and dynamic instructors to train with. They offer a variety of free workout videos you can easily perform at home.
Learning to Code
Python is the language I recommend to adults and teenagers beginners with no prior programming experience. Do not be fooled by how easy it is to learn, you’ll find that a lot of advanced artificial intelligence capabilities are coded in Python. This is an extremely useful language for machine learning.
A New Language
My entourage knows how I love learning languages, especially those with different alphabets or writing systems (like Cyrillic, Japanese, Korean). For the last months I have been learning to read and write Arabic. Since I use mostly Duolingo and a few books (in French, but I suggest this one in English), the pandemic did not stop me from improving these skills.
Cleaning Up the House
I know, I know, it does not sound exciting at all. Nonetheless, as we are spending so much time indoors, small home improvements go a long way. Getting rid of the clutter in our living space does help reduce anxiety. Give it a try, go through your to do list of the small things that you usually procrastinate to later and solve it now.
I hanged a family travel picture on the wall and it gives me joy every time I see it. We sorted out all kinds of things we accumulated over the years and organized many areas where we had piles of stuff everywhere (no, I will not post a picture, it’s just too embarrassing). Getting rid of things we have no use for anymore simply felt so good. We were even able to sell a few things. I am making room for new activity ideas.
Listening to Podcasts
This is a topic that is worth a full post in itself, and I’ll write it very soon. To keep it short for now, I’ll just say I especially recommend The Happiness Lab where Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos presents the latest scientific research on happiness. They recently produced an amazing series of bonus episodes discussing how science can help us cope with the anxiety caused by the global spread of COVID-19. I also want to mention the Jordan Harbinger Show which proposed great recommendations on how to stay productive while working from home.
A positive outcome of the change in our routines is that we are spending more time together as a family. We are so used to hurrying up all the time and being forced to slow down made me realize how much I needed to take time for what is important in my life. I feel like I am given an opportunity to reconsider my priorities and I find I want to spend more quality time with the people I love. So far, this means activities like reading Jon Le Bon with the kids, taking walks in the neighborhoods as a family, and hunting down a pistol shrimp with my husband in our saltwater fish tank.
Challenge for YOU
Find original ideas to try while you are doing social distancing. Please, if this post was of any help to you, take a few minutes to write a comment tenlling me what you tried. That would really make my day.