Work from home used to be so much more relaxing than work from the office that it used to be a thing of wonder. There was a time when that much needed break from our daily grind was all we’d look forward to. It’d enable us to keep our calm and strike that fine balance between the work we’d bring home and life in general.
A month into this lockdown and that balance has ceased to exist. And since we’ve all been stuck at home for sometime, it’s hard to re-imagine what the new normal would look like.
Surely, these are some trying times. There's a restraining order that the universe has issued against us and rightly so. And with that, our ability to take control over our lives has gone south. In other words, we can no longer find comfort in being able to predict what’s yet to come. The word predictability itself for some reason sounds somewhat alien. That said, while some are better equipped to get by, there are many undergoing stress and Corona induced insomnia among other mental health issues. I myself had a fair share of stress that I had to come to terms with as soon as the reality of this Brave New World started kicking in.
Keeping this in mind, and the fact that days seem to be merging into nights, and in order to alleviate some of that stress, here’s a list of things that I think we could all do under lockdown:
- Start a journal – While we keep ourselves busy with the chores and physical workout routine, it’s also an ideal time to reflect and put those charged thoughts down in our journal. Studies have shown it to be therapeutic.
- Change your playlist - Noise is going to keep you on the edge. Also, this isn’t the time to lose your calm. Try listening to Classical Or Ambient music. Things that I have been listening to lately include: Enya, Adiemus, Deep Forest, AnjunaDeep, Vangelis.
- Quality time with your pets: Spend as much time as possible with your pets. This is a real therapy and being a pet owner myself, I can attest to the fact that it does alleviate a lot of your worries . Of course, you already know that. In which case, what you could do is deepen your relationship with them. It’s not cool to have them home all the time. Once the lockdown is over, perhaps you can forge a new relationship with him or her by taking her out. If you’d like to learn more about how you could do that, feel free to get in touch with me. Here’s a link to @mauriceinthewild, and a few of his adventures over the last few years.
- Cook a new meal: Cooking is just as therapeutic as stroking your pet. It’s also a great way to acquire a new skill and kill these quarantine hours. Meh, this sounds so generic and difficult to connect with that I feel the need to let the truth out. So here it is: I spend more time cleaning dishes than cooking food. I have absolutely no interest as far as I can see in cooking. The best I can do is cook Rice and Daal and that’s it. That being said, I am fortunate enough to be around family and they really do enjoy cooking. And so, as long as there's a good balance between giving and receiving, it's all good.
- Catch up on good reading: A good book on a subject we love helps spark our sense of adventure, it introduces us to newer perspectives. One of the most influential books that I ever read are here: Lord of Flies: William Golding; Ishmael: Daniel Quinn; 1984: George Orwell; To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee
- Get Some Sunshine: The sky hasn’t been this clear blue in ages, make it a point to get as much sunshine as you can.
- Listen to Podcasts: This is a good time to catch up on some good podcasts. I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts on subjects other than climbing. One of my favorite podcasts is from Jordan Peterson: a college professor and a clinical psychologist. I listen to a lot of his talks on personal responsibility, and that’s just me but I do think this is something that needs to be reinforced and re-introduced into our society the same way wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National park in the 90s, 1995 to be more precise. What I do like the most about him is his ability to deconstruct and construct his ideas. Also, If you’re aren't’ too sensitive, you could try listening to his social and political views. I believe that it’s a good practice to generally hear things out before jumping on the conclusion wagon.
Climbing Podcasts that I have been listening to and couldn’t recommend more:
- Bill Ramsey: A nearly 60 year old professor of philosophy at the University of Nevada, still climbs 5:14a/8b+, discusses training and crossover between climbing and philosophy.
- Peter Croft: An absolute legend in climbing who’s been free-soloing for more than 30 years. A majority of his career revolved around climbing big rocks and establishing some of the finest first ascents in North America. In this podcast, Peter shares some valuable insights on his famous link-ups, ideas on the importance of rest days, given to him by the great John Bachar, the ability of being honest to yourself and lessons from spending time alone.
- Upskill – Yes, you heard that right! Increase your earning potential and resilience to layoffs, the future is full of uncertainties. One of the skills that I have started re-visiting is digital marketing, an old one I know! There are plenty of resources available, from youtube to online classes on platforms such as Udemy, Coursera etc. Also, since I enjoy writing and would like to improve more, I have started taking some classes on creating writing.
- Stay Positive: What this essentially means is starting our day with a positive outlook. We could go back to our routine, that is, if we had any. If not, we could squeeze in a bit of stretching or a brief warm up; get ourselves some coffee and that’ll be enough to kick start the day.
To be honest, though, I haven’t been that effective in keeping up with my own workout routine even if it only takes up half an hour of my day. On the contrary, what I have found to be effective and functional is approaching things with gratitude. And that includes taking into account simple and small things; things that we’d normally consider menial or take for granted such as doing household chores, rekindling old and lost relationships, getting in touch with family, staying away from screen time and social media. Anything else you could think of? Let me know!