I’ll be the first to admit that I’m suffering from COVID stagnation.
We’re all painfully aware of how life isn’t the same since this crappy COVID era began. Those of us blessed with staying healthy still have to find ways to cope since we can’t go out and engage in our favorite activities, socialize with friends, travel and more.
Early on, Susan and I made ourselves super busy at home. We updated our bathroom, cleaned out our storage closets, painted inside, and landscaped our side yard. Some of this was nervous energy being unsure what the future would bring. Some was due to having more time since lockdowns temporarily slowed business down.
But now business is way up, with COVID becoming a boon for vacation home sales. Fortunately, Susan and I are busier than ever. Even so, I feel my attitude and energy for recreation and personal pursuits have deteriorated as the epidemic has drawn out. I’m still suffering from COVID stagnation. How about you?
Here’s the actual definition:
the state of not flowing or moving.
the lack of activity, growth, or development.
A Personal Challenge
It’s well documented that our brains thrive on new experiences, being pushed outside our comfort zone and breaks from the familiar. My strongest memories are from times I’ve challenged myself or put myself into new situations. But the sameness of COVID life makes this type of stimulation near impossible. And it’s seriously bumming me out.
So I’m creating a list of ‘personal challenges’ to mix it up a bit. Over the next few months, Susan and I are going to work through this list and try to re-energize some synapses in our bored frontal lobes.
The McCallion Challenge
I’m sharing our list of ideas with the hope that you find some inspiration for yourself:
New Cuisine: Get a cookbook from an unfamiliar culture and commit to exclusively preparing dinner for a week from its recipes. I’m talking about food we have no experience preparing like Ethiopian, Tibetian or Korean.
Music: We love music, but find we tend to listen mostly to the same artists. So instead, we will exclusively listen to an unfamiliar style and artists and see if we can develop an appreciation.
Learning: We have always engaged in ongoing learning and coaching for our professional development. Now is a great time to explore subjects purely for personal satisfaction. Courses I’m considering include an online MasterClass taught by Margaret Atwood on creative writing and Annie Leibovitz on photography. Great Courses, available at the library, has intriguing classes on history and architecture.
Herb Garden: A full vegetable garden is too ambitious for us food gardening newbies, but growing our own herbs is something we always wanted to do. Our daughter does this in college with a hydroponic setup inside so the plants are pest free and handy for cooking.
New physical activity: We’ve enjoyed biking and kayaking around Sanibel for years. But I’ve been thinking of trying out windsurfing and a sailing kayak. Do something new for yourself. Our kids love stand up paddleboarding. If you don’t already, take advantage of our great bike paths. If a traditional bike is too much, try out a trike or an e-bike.
Explore: Maybe a trip to Europe isn’t in the cards, but there are some amazing places to check out nearby. We’re going to do some inland exploring, including: Myakka River State Park, Big Cypress Preserve and Audubon Corkscrew Swamp. Even familiar places can be new experiences by visiting them at different times. Try walking the beaches or a favorite trail before dawn or after dark.
Self expression: Some of us were born with an artist’s touch, but not me. Still, I’ve found photography slows me down, allowing me to process the world around me and giving me time to decompress. I plan to partake in one of the numerous online ‘30 Day Photo Challenges’ as a way to cajole myself into focusing on my hobby. Even if you don’t consider yourself a ‘creative’, try taking an online art course to push your creativity. Try writing, painting or sketching – you don’t have to be good, “the journey is the destination”.
Re-decorate: Changing up your day-to-day surroundings can be energizing. Try rearranging your furniture. Re-style with new colors. Update your artwork by changing it around and maybe adding something new. A new paint color on your walls can make a dramatic difference.
Do any of these strike you as worth trying? Maybe you’ve tried something similar? Do you have any strategies for dealing with COVID malaise? If so, I’d love you to shoot me an email at Jim@McCallionRealty.com so I can share some of your ideas in a future blog. Take care of yourself and stay safe.