The world in which a man lives shapes itself chiefly by the way in which he looks at it, and so it proves different to different men; to one it is barren, dull, and superficial; to another rich, interesting, and full of meaning. –Arthur Schopenhauer
Did you know there’s a pandemic going around? You may already be weary of hearing the name COVID-19, and are quickly getting tired of living in a mandated or voluntarily-chosen quarantine. But the virus and the sequestering it begets are likely to go on for quite a bit longer.
As Schopenhauer alludes to above, each individual’s response to this fact will depend on his attitude. Some will let inertia overcome them, concentrate on how interminably bored and stir-crazy they are, and use substances and Netflix to forget their circumstances.
Others will welcome an opportunity they often wished for during the endlessly busy flow of their workaday lives: a chance to hit pause, slow down, find a little stillness, finish long-postponed chores, dig into a few things — a book, a hobby, a recipe — that had perpetually been planned for “someday.”
If “someday” has arrived, and you find yourself working remotely for the first time (get our best tips for staying effective and productive while doing so here), with trips and social outings canceled, and nowhere to go, below you’ll find our suggestions for making the most of the hours which have newly opened up and this unique opportunity to explore the great indoors.
It’s been hard not to think of this article on the theory that generations/types of historical periods cycle every 80-100 years, and how it predicted back in the 90s that from around 2008 to around 2028 we’d supposedly be in a “Crisis” period. Even if you don’t ultimately buy into it, it’s pretty interesting to consider.
It’s a perfect time to pick up a book, and we’ve got a ton of reading lists available. Here are just a few:
- 100 Books Every Man Should Read
- Books So Good I’ve Read Them 2X or More
- 43 Books About War Every Man Should Read
- Fiction for Men as Suggested by Art of Manliness Readers
Working Out at Home
In a time when folks can’t get to a commercial gym or it’s inadvisable to visit one, folks who have already established a gym at home are surely glad of it. (If you haven’t, it’s something you can still think about doing on the cheap.)
Even if you don’t have exercise equipment at home, however, you can still get a good workout in by using bodyweight exercises: here’s a complete guide to doing “prisoner workouts” in any small space; cuz we’re all kind of jailbirds now.
Things to Do With Your Kids
Perhaps the hardest part of being quarantined isn’t your personal boredom, but dealing with the boredom of your fellow underaged captives. You desire to keep them engaged without resorting to a non-stop screentime free-for-all. A lot of folks recommend setting some kind of schedule for the day, so things don’t devolve into complete inertia. Here are some activity ideas to pass the time:
- Make paper airplanes (multiple designs!)
- Make a slingshot
- Make a PVC blowgun
- Make invisible ink
- Play some paper and pencil games
Miscellaneous List of Things to Do:
- Write a letter
- Write in a journal
- Declutter your house
- Cook/Bake; we have many recipes on the site; here are a few recommendations:
- Take a walk/hike
- Do a microadventure
- It’s a great time to get out to a state park or drive to the kind of freestanding roadside attraction where you can just take a look-see around and may be the only ones there.
- Play a board game
- Play card games
- Take up a new hobby; we have a list of 75+ here, most of which can be done at home/away from other people
- Take a bike ride
- Draw/paint; if you’re not artistic, our entire family found these color-by-number-with-marker deals really fun and soothing to do
- Research your genealogy
- Go fishing
- Call/text/Skype friends and family; maintain contact with others, even if you can’t see them in person
Join the Strenuous Life
If you struggle with following-through on using free time constructively, consider joining our online/offline platform, The Strenuous Life. It will provide plenty of structure and community to keep you pushing out of passivity and striving for activity; many of the requirements of the 50+ badges that are available to earn can be done at home/away from other people; and it will help you build the practical skills and ready mindset to navigate this uncertain world. It’s a great way to stay engaged with life during the doldrums of isolation, and avoid the funk that can accompany idleness.
The next enrollment of TSL will open in a couple weeks. Sign up here to make sure you’re the first to hear when it does.
The key to enduring the isolation that lies ahead while preserving your sanity and not getting bored out of your gourd is to set a plan for your time; schedule at least one concrete activity you want to do each day, and then keep the monotony at bay by doing it!