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Alright, here’s the elephant in the room: Coronavirus. I don’t know one person that hasn’t been affected in some way by this scary respiratory illness (CDC). This is, to put it simply, a crazy time.
But it is also a gift of time. I don’t know when in my adult life I’ve had this much “free” time on my hands. Yes, this means that there is a sense of fear and uncertainty as people are struggling with the virus. Yes, this means my income is drastically cut because I’m not working. Yes, this means this is time that I cannot spend with friends or family other than my partner. Yes, this means that traveling is not an option. But time is a gift.
Time is free, but it isn’t priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.Harvey Mackay
I’ve tried to use it, to honor the gift mainly by being present through it. There are always things we want to do “when we have the time.” Well, now I have the time. Here is how I’ve been spending my time:
- Rest + breathe :: I am the type of person that never stops moving, never stops doing. But I promised myself that if my work, volunteering, and other commitments were cancelled for the time being, that I would take some time to rest. Breathe. I haven’t been disappointed in the peace that has followed.
- Learned to braid my hair :: This is something so simple, but I’ve never been able to do anything beyond a simple braid. I’ve always wanted to be able to do French braids, Dutch braids, cornrows, and so much more. So every day during quarantine, I have braided my hair. It doesn’t matter what it looks like since I’m not going anywhere, but it gives me time to practice, and its nice to not have to worry about my hair all day.
- Learned to bake bread :: First, let me tell you – this is such a great way to save money! We started baking our normal bread that we will use for sandwiches and toast, and the cost breaks down to $2.24/loaf. Compare that to $4.75 or $4.97 of the two breads that we typically buy, this is a great savings. While this is AWESOME because we’ve been cutting back our spending during this unemployed time, the smell of baked bread is also something that cannot be beat (except maybe by the smell of fresh brewed coffee) and tasting your homemade bread is one of the sweetest things.
- Kept up with my Ironman training :: The whole swimming part of the triathlon is a bit more difficult without a pool, but it is so nice to be able to train when I want because my days are open. I started cycling outside, which is a huge win for me. Time was always one of the biggest factors in my not cycling outside. This barrier has been broken, and I’m hoping to have a good outdoor habit formed by the time my regularly scheduled programs (routines) return. If you’re new to my blog, I post training updates every Monday. Maybe we can be virtual training buddies (social distancing y’all).
- Hiking :: Hiking may be one of our absolute favorite things to do, and during quarantine, we haven’t hiked the same trail twice. We have a goal of hiking every trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and it very well may happen during this lockdown. Of course, I am sensitive to the fact that some of your parks and trails may be closed, and although some parking lots have been closed, I am so grateful to still have our trails open. (If you’re looking to check out a book that has CVNP trails, I recommend this one)
- I’ve read 3 books so far :: I love reading. Like LOVE it. I feel like a little kid again when I can just sit down and read for hours if I want to. So I’ve done that. My “normal” goal is to read at least one book a month, but I’d like to double that while I have more time, and so far, I’ve finished 3 books! Yay reading!
- We’ve gotten creative for date nights :: I am so happy to have found my partner in life, and being “stuck” with her 24/7 right now only goes to show that we’re so right together. One night, she had set up our living room to be different “bars” and we barhopped around town. It was perfect.
- I painted our rain barrel :: This was a project we meant to do over the winter, and we realized that it was almost time to put our beloved little barrel back outside for the season. I am so happy with how it turned out, and it is already full and ready to spread love in the form of water to all our fruits and veggies 🙂
- House projects have been a total win :: This part could go on forever, but there have been certain projects that somehow just keep getting bumped to the bottom of the priority list. Well, let me tell you, we are busting through that list. Painted our man-door to the attic. Touched up the paint on the trim around the house. Filled holes in the walls/door frames that have been there since we moved in, and painted over them. Fixed the toilet that has been dripping for months (Well, almost — it is still dripping, but is a super slow drip now). Painted and sealed the entire basement. Some serious purges have happened as we work to minimize what we own. Hung hooks that I’ve been meaning to hang for maybe 6 months. Started deconstructing an area in our basement to reuse the lumber for a fence in our garden. Finally put the screens back on the windows from last year.
- Realized what is important, what is necessary, and what is not :: It is super easy in this “go-go-go” world to get lost in the everyday, however you spend it. This break from the norm, while scary and taxing and stressful, has caused me to let go of some of the things that I was doing everyday without a real reason (here’s an eye-opening list of the top things we stress over) and build each day how I want it to be. To me, this is powerful.
- Made journaling a habit :: I used to journal all the time. It was part of me, and somehow I lost it as I grew up. But I’ve learned that it is so good to process things, plan things, and dream things. I’ve wanted it to be part of my daily habit, and have tried in the past, but this time, it’s working 🙂 I LOVE MY JOURNAL!
- Created a morning routine :: stretch/yoga + journal + tea + write :: I LOVE my mornings now, and I don’t wake up with that “what in the hell do I do today?” feeling. I can’t say I’ve always been a huge fan of “routine,” but I am starting to get on board with
- Tried out new recipes :: My biggest win was a making a dish that caused me to like sardines. I’ve always WANTED to like these nutritious little devils, but haven’t found a way to enjoy them yet. This has changed! We love cooking, but we have definitely had to get creative to make every thing possible count.
- Our one rule through everything is to get outside every day :: I think it is really easy to stay crammed up in your house and get stir crazy. We need fresh air. It doesn’t have to be long, but this is the only rule we made, and I think its a good one. It can be going on a walk around the neighborhood, going for a hike, or just sitting on our front stoop or out back. I’ll even accept walking to the compost bin to dump our kitchen scraps as a “win.”
- Started taking an online course :: I love school, so when I learned that there are courses you can take online for free, it was like I had won the lottery. Even in the moments that I’m not getting “credit” for learning, YouTube is such an easy way to learn a new skill. I’ve also been working on learning French using Duolingo.
Sometimes it is good to slow down, and see what we can do.
Get fired up! If you haven’t already, get outside today. Next, tell me what your favorite way to spend time is – quarantine or not! Is there something you’ve been meaning to do that keeps getting bumped? Put it on your calendar and make time for it today.
CDC. “What You Need to Know About Coronavirus Disease 2019.” What You Need to Know About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), 2020, http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/2019-ncov-factsheet.pdf.
Koziol, Michael. “The 10 Everyday Things We Stress Over.” The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Apr. 2015, http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/the-10-everyday-things-we-stress-over-20150408-1mgknb.html.