So how much longer are things going to be like this?
I’m going to guess about another six months. Does this make me sound optimistic or pessimistic? At this point, I’ll just call it realistic.
The New Normal
Like many others, I have been under quarantine for most of 2020, and I’ve grown immensely since that first week working from home.
Under “normal” circumstances, I’m one of those commuters who has to cross state lines to get to the office. Now, I’m fortunate enough to be able to work from home, making my day virtually entirely virtual.
With the transition to working from home, I have managed to recoup my time lost commuting. Now, instead of telling the story of my commute, I can share the alternate journey I’ve taken in reclaiming this lost time.
Given my new circumstances, I was now able to focus on something I have been pushing off: exercise. The excuses no longer worked. I dusted off the good old spinner bike I have kept as a coat rack for the past year. I can’t say it was easy at the beginning. The first few days were the absolute worst. But then the days became weeks, and now I am feeling incredible. You would be shocked at how much of a rush you can get in a single hour – and how far that can take you through the rest of the day!
While two hours isn’t really a lot of extra time (depending on your perspective), I still wanted to make the most of it. So, I decided to also use this opportunity to reevaluate my diet.
My traditional diet has generally been something along the lines of “eat anything that looks tasty,” and I’ve operated basically without any dietary restrictions. Still, given the chance, I started thinking about all that I’ve heard recently about the benefits of plant-based diets. Knowing that this was going to be an experience involving drastic dietary change, I had to recruit my roommates to join in. To enlist their company I used an informative documentary — What The Health — and strategic, regular encouragement (not to be confused with nagging).
Rather than just sticking with raw plants (not that there’s anything wrong with that), I started researching interesting and healthy new recipes to try. With everyone quarantined, the internet is overflowing with amazing new recipes and general life hacks.
I’ve now been on a plant-based diet for over two months. I feel more energized than I was before, and I’m definitely more self-aware about what I eat and how I take care of myself. With all the focus and intensity that a quarantine can bring, I’ve realized that my health hasn’t been a priority for some time.
It might sound obvious, but I’ve learned in this short (but still long!) period of time that your own personal mental and physical health should always be your top priority. Once you’ve taken care of these, you’ve put yourself in a position to be well and perform well, whether that’s at work, in the kitchen, or on the bike trail.
If your life has been impacted by the quarantine – and I’d be very surprised if it hasn’t — take the opportunity to reexamine how you’re spending your time and energy. Whether you’ve simply dropped the commute from your schedule or your life is totally rearranged, make time to identify and chase your personal goals. Even if you just spend a few minutes a day, you’ll feel better knowing that you’re heading in the right direction.