As two very active, very much “outdoors-y” people, being told to stay inside for the next couple weeks (and maybe even months) sounded like absolute torture. This was especially difficult after being on the road for the past couple months, where we were totally and 100% free to go wherever we wanted, when we wanted.
But we told ourselves this could somehow be a blessing in disguise. On our motorcycle trip we kept talking about things we wanted to get done, from working on our website, to editing lots of photos, to just sitting down and attempting to paint. So we began to look at this whole thing in a "somewhat" more positive light (as much light as you can get from a global pandemic).
So we are currently on day 14 of quarantine. I am writing this in our bedroom/office space, looking out at a bright blue sky as birds chirp in the tall oak tree nearby. It isn’t half bad. Is it the deserts of the Southwest, or the bayous of Louisiana, no. But it is not the worst (again trying to look at things positively).
After two weeks of being mostly inside, we have come to realize there are four main things we have to do to keep ourselves from going crazy.
The first is HAVE A SCHEDULE. Now this does not have to be very strict. We left the Bay Area and our 9-5 jobs for the freedom to do what we want when we want, so we are obviously not the poster children for strict schedules. Buuuut, when your days all begin to blend into one very long (veeeery long) day, it helps to break it up into a schedule of sorts.
Our schedule often looks like this: wake up between 6:30 and 7:30, make a healthy breakfast (more on that later), drink one cup of coffee (or two, or three if you are Luke), go to our different “offices” and work for 4 hours, then go outside and work-out or just take a walk around the neighborhood (with masks in hand of course), make a healthy lunch, talk to family, have our creative or alone time for a bit (I watch Youtube videos (guilty) and Luke likes to play guitar or paint), then finally have dinner with family, do dishes and watch one episode of Netflix and go to bed.
See, not too intense.
Now again, this is not a strict schedule. We definitely deviate. For example, some days we might go for a walk in the morning with our coffee and then start work, or we might all paint together as a family in the evenings. No matter what, we try to create at least some sort of workable schedule - one that we can at least follow to keep our days moving from one to the other.
The second thing is WORKING. Now we know it would be very easy to just lay around all day, watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram. Don’t worry in the beginning we did that.
But at least for us, that started to get boring after day two. And worse, it made us start to go stir-crazy (a big no-no for long term self-quarantine). So we made a pact and set out to work 4 hours a day, every day. Now this ranges from looking for remote jobs (yay job searching, said no one ever) to working on our own personal projects, i.e. writing articles, like this one, editing photos and videos and starting to work on our yurts - our big summer job this year.
Working four hours a day is not hard. Now will we ever say we're motivated every day, of course not. But we realized if we just sit down and do something - anything - the day goes by a loooot faster. Plus, we feel good by the end of it knowing we were actually productive and checked a couple things off our to-do list.
Now for the third thing. We found this to be one of the key things to do during quarantine to keep ourselves from going crazy: EATING HEALTHY AND WORKING OUT.
We are generally not bad eaters, but after weeks on the road with no refrigeration and only a Jet-Boil for cooking (hello Ramen and instant mashed potatoes), we were starting to feel a bit bleh. So once we made the call to leave Texas (and our bike) and head back to Colorado to wait out the pandemic (honestly it still feels weird to write that phrase), we agreed to get back to eating healthy and working out regularly.
So, lately we have been having the same breakfast almost everyday: two eggs on avocado toast with coffee. It is filling, nutritious and delicious - plus we find ourselves motivated to get to work afterwards, a win-win. Then for lunch it is often a veggie stir-fry of some kind with tofu or eggs and maybe noodles or rice. Simple, delicious and filling. And because we have been lucky enough to stay mostly at Luke’s dad’s house, who is a vegan, we have been eating delicious vegan meals for dinner. It doesn't get much better than that.
Besides the amazing food we have been consuming, we have also stepped up our workout routine. And by stepped up, I mean we actually have one now (see video below of what our workouts used to entail :). We told ourselves we would workout while on the motorcycle trip. But a combination of it being winter, it being dark most of the time we weren’t driving and just being a bit lazy (guilty), somehow it never happened. But now that it is warm, light out longer and we have absolutely no excuse for lack of free time, we have thrown ourselves into getting fit headfirst.
Often that means going for longer walks (we haven’t driven around town once), yoga sessions or full body circuits. We don’t go super long yet, we are still getting used to the altitude, but enough for us to feel it in our bodies and in our overall psyche. Hopefully, once things start to get better we will begin running and hiking more. But for now we are happy working out in the backyard or exploring the town we have found ourselves quarantining in.
The final thing we have found helpful (and this might be a bit controversial) is GOING OUTSIDE. Yes, yes we know that we are in self-isolation and that you should stay away from people and be inside as much as possible. Don't worry, we do that - for 21-22 hours A DAY. But we get restless being indoors for so long. So instead we grab our masks and go for walks in places we know there won’t be a lot of people.
This includes forest roads up in the mountains, forgotten trails covered in a light dusting of snow and neighborhoods that are quiet and deserted with or without a pandemic going on. We don’t go for long periods of time, but instead a short hour or so. Just enough to get some sun, stretch our legs and renew our motivation.
In the beginning, we saw quarantine and self-isolation as a stir-crazy inducing, boring existence. And don’t get us wrong, it still kind of is. But after figuring out how important these four things are to us, especially for motivation and our sanity, we have come to see this weird experience as a somewhat positive endeavor. Or at least as much as it all can be - we are still in a pandemic, and people are still losing their lives.
While we want this to outbreak to end as soon as possible; so people can get back to work, the world’s economies can get going again and first responders and medical personnel can have a reprieve, we are trying to stay positive and look at this as an opportunity to get things done and grow ourselves and our business.
But honestly. We just want to get back to the mountains.... ;)