Since most of us are having to stay at home due to the pandemic, we’re all left with a lot of extra time on our hands.
It is up to ourselves how we want to use that time.
According to google trends, the search term “what movies to watch” has hit an all-time high.
We could spend more time binging TV shows and watching Netflix, or we could make good use of the extra time working on ourselves and come out of this ‘crisis’ a better person.
In this article, we’ll start with how you can change your mindset to see this event in a more positive light. Then we’ll dive into all the different ways to make the most out of having to stay at home.
*if you are looking for an article on how to maximize productivity while working from home, read it here.
Change Your Mindset
The same event could happen to two people and get two different reactions. It could be a blessing to one and a curse to the other.
So what makes anything that happens a good or a bad thing?
Everything that happens in the world is objectively neutral, and it is our subjective judgment of things that makes it good or bad.
“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” – Shakespeare (Hamlet)
In a nutshell, it is up to you to decide whether you want to see the quarantine as a good thing or not. Here’s an example or how you could see it in a positive light:
Let’s say that you are a naturally introverted person who prefers to stay at home most of the time, well then this is a perfect time to do just that. You can cozy up in your home for as long as this lasts without having any obligation to go out.
But what if your lifestyle consists of going out and socializing all the time? Well, you could see the quarantine as a challenge for yourself to not do what you prefer in life; and by doing so, you become a more resilient person who can handle a drastic change in lifestyle with calm.
“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Whatever kind of person you are in whatever situation, you don’t have to see the quarantine as a disastrous event that’s out to ruin your life.
Now let’s take a look at all the ways you can make the most out of staying at home.
Having to stay at home means most of us are not getting as much exercise as our usual selves. But it also means we have more time to exercise.
It might sound paradoxical, but this is a perfect opportunity to start exercising if you don’t do it regularly.
Most people are stuck with the mindset that the gym is the only place to work out and become fit, but that is the furthest thing from the truth.
Much like how cereal companies have made people believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, gyms have made many of us believe it is the only solution to exercise.
The truth is, human beings have been exercising for the sake of our health since at least ancient Greece, and they certainly did not have dumbells and treadmills back then. What they did have is their body weight, and gravity.
So they did bodyweight exercises, and if you’ve seen any statues from their time, you know it works.
There are many forms of bodyweight exercises, but first, let’s take a look at the benefits of regular exercise.
- Weight loss
- Muscle gain
- Reduce the risks of cancer
- Improve sleep
- Boosts energy
More importantly, there are the mental benefits that make exercising worth it:
- Increases memory and focus
- Enhances overall mood & mental health
- Increases neuroplasticity
- Increases confidence
- Increases appetite for healthy food
To be frank, it’s not that exercise has so many health benefits; it’s not exercising has so many health risks and downsides.
After all, we have the same bodies as our hunter-gatherer ancestors; And their lives revolved around running around all day, hunting, and scavenging food (which is a whole lot of exercise). Therefore to put it simply, exercising unlocks our potentials as Homo Sapiens.
That being said, here’s one of the many ways you can exercise despite a world-wide quarantine.
Bodyweight and calisthenics: most bodyweight exercises can be done in a 2-meter (6.6 feet) by 2-meter space, that means even if you live a tiny apartment in New York, you probably still have enough space to exercise. Here’s are some basic moves in bodyweight training to get you started:
- Jumping Jacks
The beauty of this form of exercise is that, just like using gym equipment, there are easy and hard versions of each move.
For example, if you can’t do many push-ups, you can start with knee push-ups. Or if regular burpees are too easy for you, you can do a burpee that involves a push-up and a high jump.
Here are some apps that focus on bodyweight workouts at home (not sponsored):
All of these apps offer daily workouts less than 30 minutes as a part of their free options. Some of them also have virtue coaches that provide you with workouts that suit your level of fitness.
Personally, I’ve been using Freeletics for months, and it’s great, the paid option works out to a couple of dollars a week (much cheaper than a gym membership.)
Much like exercising, meditation also has many widely proven benefits for your brain and mental health.
Just to name a few:
- Reduce Stress
- Increase attention span and focus
- Increase mood
- Helps battle anxiety and depression
- Better Sleep
- Enhances empathy
Similar to exercise, some of these benefits can start to show up within days.
Just imagine how much meditation and exercise combined can improve your life!
If you are not familiar with modern mindfulness meditation, here’s a short breakdown:
Usually, a session is 10 to 15 minutes long. You can meditate anywhere as long as you can sit down, although beginners should start with meditating somewhere quite.
Once you close your eyes, just take a couple of slow, deep breaths and let your breath go back to normal. Then start to either focus on the sensation of your breath, or count your breaths in your head up to 10 and repeat.
If you find your mind drifting away, simply notice it and come back to focusing on your breath without judgment. Do this for 10 minutes or more, and you’ve just meditated!
For beginners, it’s best to start with guided meditation and try out one of these apps (not sponsored):
All of these apps have a couple of days of free guided sessions, which is enough to help you get started.
The Waking Up app will give you a free year of their premiere plan if you want to meditate but couldn’t afford the app. All you have to do is send them an email; please do pay for it if you can spare a couple of dollars a month.
Because meditating has so many health benefits and only takes ten minutes a day, there really isn’t a reason not to do it… except for laziness.
If you’re like most adults, you don’t read often, or at all; Except for skimming a couple of articles a day online.
Now that you have all this extra time, why not read more?
Bill Gates, the richest person in the world, was asked what superpower he would want, and he answered, “the ability to read more.”
Most successful entrepreneurs and billionaires read dozens of books each year.
I can once again list out the many health benefits of reading, but let’s face it, nobody reads for the health benefits.
We read for the incredible wealth of knowledge contained in each book, as well as some knowledge only found in books.
If you are interested in reading as a form of self-improvement, here’s a list to get you started.
Learn a skill
You’ve undoubtedly heard that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. But how long does it take to get started in one?
That’s right. It only takes 20 hours to go from a complete beginner to being able to say that you can do a particular skill.
That’s only two weeks if you spend one and a half hours a day learning the skill! Or less than a month if you spend 45 minutes a day.
Here’re some ideas of skills you can learn during this time:
- Playing an instrument
- Making cocktails
- Painting/Any creative arts
- Learn a science
I’ve personally tried all of the services above except Lynda.
If you want to learn anything creative, Skillshare and Masterclass is the way to go.
Skillshare has many classes on anything creative you can think of. Although because anyone can teach a course on Skillshare, not all of them are of high quality and worth your time.
Masterclass, on the other hand, is the opposite of Skillshare in terms of teachers. By that, I mean Masterclass only has the best in the world to teach their classes.
For example, some of their classes are: Gordan Ramsy teaches Cooking, Martin Sorsasse teaches Filmmaking, Penn & Teller teaches magic, Natalie Portman teaches acting, etc.
Because of the different nature of both platforms, Masterclass only has 80 or so classes while Skillshare has tens of thousands, but you do get to learn from the best in the world in Masterclass.
If you want to learn anything technical or complicated, Udemy is best for that.
Anything from programming to chemistry to different types of therapy, Undemy has a course for it. Unlike the other platforms, Udemy is not subscription-based. You buy individual courses, and all of their course seems to be on a permanent discount of less than 15 dollars.
Most of their course also have a 30-day guarantee, meaning if you go through a course in 30 days and didn’t like it, you can request a refund.
There are definitely no lack of skills you can learn and no lack of platforms & courses to learn it on. But you mustn’t try to learn too many things at once and overshoot yourself.
It’s ok to realize you’re not that interested in a particular skill after trying to learn it for a couple of days, but you shouldn’t commit to learning too many things at once.
Create a Side-hustle
Creating a side-hustle can be a great way to make some extra income for a skill you already have.
Here are some ways you can start a side-hustle:
- Provide a service on Fiverr
- Start a Print On Demand Business
- Start a blog, Youtube channel, or podcast
You shouldn’t expect to generate income with any of these businesses straight away, especially the last three; So your primary motivation can’t be to make money, but you must also love doing it.
Otherwise, it’s easy to give up before a dime shows up in your bank account.
If you do decide to dip your toes in any of these businesses, there’s probably a course for it in the platforms mentioned above.
What are you waiting for?
With all this extra time on your hands, are you going to spend it all binge-watching TV shows, or are you going to improve yourself by doing one of the things mentioned above?