Keeping Sane During Quarantine
by: Daniel Frank
The coronavirus outbreak and the quarantine efforts by most states in the U.S. and countries of the world have brought the planet to a slow crawl. Many people, who were accustomed to a busy and hectic schedule, are now growing accustomed to a new, quiet life. This new life is a bit slower for most, as people are now spending most of their time cooped up at home. A great many of these people are out of jobs and cannot resort to their normal routine. These are trying times for the world and individuals need to find ways to stay healthy and safe, organize their new lives, and stay sane throughout all of this uncertainty.
Creatures of Routine
Humans are creatures of routine. Since their time in the crib humans have been on regular schedules. Regular eating times, regular sleeping times, and regular active times. During early childhood children have a scheduled day that usually revolves around their parents’ scheduled day. Once children begin school, they start a process where they are expected to be at school everyday and in classes at certain times. Once these children grow up, and leave school behind, they get jobs that usually dictate what time they wake up, their travel schedule, who they meet, and what they do with their free time. From birth to death most humans follow a regulated routine. Some get to determine their routine, but most do not.
Now that the coronavirus has impacted the world, human beings need to adjust their schedules and rewire their brains to get accustomed to a new life. Hopefully, this will be a temporary rewiring. Realistically, this rewiring will need to be tinkered with as we move into a new, uncertain future. New routines can be developed during this time in quarantine.
Study – An couple hours of studying in the morning can help to start your day off with a routine to make you feel normal and to get a sense of accomplishment in your daily life. During this crisis some people got lucky and can continue to work remotely from home while others now have nothing to do. Many people are now without jobs as their occupations have been labeled ‘non-essential’. This can be quite depressing. In order to fight this depression, do something productive. Start a routine of studying early every day. I spend two hours each morning studying jiu jitsu techniques, writing articles, or reading about jiu jitsu. You don’t have to focus all of your study on jiu jitsu, but it’s a fantastic place to start.
Exercise – Staying in your home during this time is akin to being confined in a prison cell. Some people have very large prison cells, some don’t. Even prisoners get one hour a day for exercise. Make the most of your time. It could be less than an hour, it could be more. If you regularly dedicate time each day for exercise you will find that it improves your health, your mind, and your mood. Dedicate some time to making exercise routines so that you can emerge from this isolation in the same shape (or better than) you went into it with. Remember, you want to get back onto the mats and not die after your first roll.
Healthy Eating – A routine that is more regular and even more necessary than study and exercise is eating. Everyone needs to eat. Now that time has seemed to slow down you have lost the excuse of grabbing some fast food due to the need to rush. You can take your time with online shopping and having those groceries delivered to your home. You can dedicate as much time as needed to making healthy meals for you and your family. You can try something new every day. Snacking on junk food is still fine, as long as it doesn’t replace meals. Three times a day, you now have a routine to make the best meal possible to keep you in the best health possible so you can return to life ready to take on each day.
Reaching Out – Another great routine that you can add to your now ‘busy’ quarantine schedule is to reach out to friends and loved ones. Families across the globe have spread out more and more as time has passed. A phone call is a very safe way to stay in contact with anyone. Message someone online. Make a video for all of the members in your jiu jitsu academy telling them that you miss them. Every person needs love and the feeling that they are missed by others. Spreading that love, at least once a day, is a good routine to keep you, and others, feeling good about themselves in a time when people need that reassurance. Be that person in your academy that reaches out to all; you will be very much appreciated.
Be Optimistic – The last routine that all humanity needs is to spend 15 minutes a day being optimistic about the future. This crisis is just a ‘speed bump’ on the road of life. It will pass. Humanity has groomed the smartest individuals to tackle this problem. We have done it before and persevered. We will do it again. Think positively and be a part of that solution. It is okay to feel helpless and depressed, as long as it is just a temporary feeling and you don’t get stuck in the mire of negativity. Be positive. Add this to your daily routine now and keep it when we finally make it through this.
I miss all of my students, my co-workers, and the families that are a part of Revolution BJJ. I miss putting my gi on and getting onto the mat. I miss choking all of you. I know that we will survive and thrive as long as we stay safe, healthy, and form new routines to keep us sane during this extraordinary time.