It is hard to be prepared for something like a global pandemic. With everything going on right now in our world, many of us have a lot of free time on our hands, and nowhere to go. If you are someone who is used to a busy lifestyle of working and training nonstop, this sudden change of pace could be stressful. You might not know what to do with yourself now. You may feel you are slowly going insane, stuck inside day after day, longingly dreaming of rolling with that big, sweaty white belt you always avoided in training. Luckily, there is still plenty to do in this time of social isolation. When viewed from the right perspective, this can actually be a beautiful time of rest and growth.
1. Find ways to keep your body moving
This could mean doing bodyweight exercises, or getting on the floor and moving through a yoga flow. You could go for a walk or a jog. Maybe you turn on the 80s hits and have a dance party with your dog or an imaginary friend. Get creative! Getting your blood pumping will boost your mood and make you feel accomplished. It is also way easier to be motivated to get other things done if you can get up and move around a bit first.
You might not be able to train Jiu-Jitsu right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop learning. There are so many resources available online right now. You can find an instructional for any position or submission, and many people are offering them at reduced rates right now, or even for free. Pick a technique you would like to learn more about and take notes. You can also learn a lot from watching Jiu-Jitsu matches. Watch your old matches and pinpoint areas in which you need to improve. Find a competitor who uses a style you wish to emulate and watch what he or she does. Think critically about the situations that give you problems and watch how other athletes handle them. By mentally training in this way, you can still develop your understanding of Jiu-Jitsu, and this will translate into your technique when you finally step back on the mats.
3. Try to spend some time outside
Social distancing means that we need to stay away from other people, but it doesn’t mean we can’t go outside. Even if it’s just a walk around the block, some sun and fresh air can do wonders for your mood. Maybe you have a spot where you can sit and read outside. Maybe you have space to start a garden. You don’t have to stay cooped up in a dark room. Be safe, distance yourself, and get that vitamin D!
4. Clean out your closet
Whether it’s your closet, your kitchen, your bathroom, or your car, almost everyone has some built up clutter. This is the perfect time to do some organizing. Turn on some tunes or your favourite rite Netflix special, settle in, and clear out some clutter. Maybe you have extra clothes that you can donate. Maybe you just need to organize your things in a way that’s neater and easier to access. When your daily routine finally gets back to normal, you will appreciate having a nice, clean space to come home to.
5. Keep a journal
You may not think you have much to write about right now, but you might be surprised at what can come out on paper if you just sit down and start writing out your thoughts. Especially if I feel nervous or anxious about something, I know that putting my thoughts and feelings to paper can give my mind a lot of relief, and even help me sleep better at night. Sometimes writing helps me understand myself better. If you’re feeling extra froggy, you might even try your hand at poetry or song-writing. Who knows? Years from now, your “quarantine diaries” could become a best-seller.
6. Find ways to make yourself and others laugh
We are living through a very serious pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that we need to feel stressed and serious all the time. For the most part, there is nothing we can do about our circumstances right now, so we might as well make the most of them. Learn to laugh at yourself. Make funny memes. Write a silly song. Think of clever pranks to play on your roommates. Play a game. Every time you say the word “Corona”, everyone has to do ten push-ups. If you’re going to be stuck at home, why not have fun with it?
7. Spend some time catching up with people
Even if we can’t interact in person, we have so many tools available for messaging, calling, and facetiming. Get in touch with your family and friends you haven’t talked to in a while. Have a long phone conversation with someone. Write a letter to your grandmother. Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to lose touch, and some of your more isolated friends might really appreciate hearing your voice.
8. Find a fun goal to work towards
It doesn’t have to be related to your career or a job that you have to do. Pick something that you want to do, but never had time for. Maybe you want to play the guitar or learn a language. Maybe you want to work on your handstand or be able to do the splits. You might be eager to learn a new recipe. Your goal could be something as silly as setting the world record for the number of rolls of toilet paper balanced on a person’s head. It’s exciting and motivating to have a goal to work towards. Think of something you want to work on, and have fun with it.
It’s important to remember that, while you may have newfound time for projects, it is not necessary to be productive all of the time. It’s OK to take some time to relax and just enjoy yourself. Give your body a chance to heal. Watch that movie you’ve been wanting to see. Lay on the couch and read a book. Take a long bubble bath. Take a nap. Resting is not a waste of time, it is necessary for mental, physical, and emotional health. Try to think of this time as a blessing. We have a chance to slow down and reset, and to remember what is important to us. This could even be a beautiful time of self-discovery if we let it be.