Today is my second non working day of quarantine (Today is Sunday). So again I had a lot of time on my hands. I was better prepared today for the lack of things to do, it I’m definitely starting to get a little stir crazy. Having more time to think today made me realize on the things I’m missing out on. But first the positives!
Accomplishments for the day
I did manage to accomplish some things today. I finished gathering all of our tax information together to submit to our accountant. While I didn’t foresee not coming home 10 days ago when I left, I did have most of our tax preparation documents with me. I had been planning to work on them while at the hotel for the trade show, but quarantine has allowed me to get them finished. I also managed to watch a movie with the family. It wasn’t in the traditional sense with us sitting together, but the kids picked out a movie and they watched with mom at home, while I watched the same movie here in my quarantine hotel. Afterward we talked about what they saw and how the movie made them feel. It was another small thing to help us stay connected. I did other small things that are now becoming pretty routine; working out, washing the dishes, checking up on the status of the world. I did however have some time to think about what I am missing out on.
It can wait until I get back
I’ve got several projects around the house that I could be knocking out if I was quarantined at home and that is frustrating to me. While these are definitely things that will wait until I get back, it is somewhat demoralizing knowing I could be making better use of my time.
The things that can’t wait until I get back my wife is stepping up and taking care of them in my absence. This is defiantly hard on her, but she is rocking taking care of the kids and the added “man jobs” that I would normally do (she hates taking out the trash!).
The one thing that I truly am missing is the quite moments with the kids and my wife before we go to sleep. We still Face time and do our nightly routine where we pray together and give each other virtual hugs and kisses via Face time, but it’s getting hard on this dad. My kids have seemed to roll with the punches pretty well and don’t seem too affected by these crazy circumstances (kids are simultaneously tougher and more fragile than we realize), but I can’t wait to get home to hold them all again.
From seclusion it’s really hard to tell how the outside world is fairing. The news would have you believe one thing, out leaders another, and the traffic out my window makes it appear that at least some people aren’t making any changes. I did get a small glimpse into how the world as a whole is handling this as the following note was slipped under my door today:
I hope you guys are staying safe out there.
Get 8 Hours of Sleep- Check, Slept in again.
Eat Healthy- Fail? Cheat meal day, Eggs and Fruit for Breakfast, Sandwich for Lunch, and Nacho’s for dinner! (I had to eat the leftovers right?
Exercise Everyday – Check, Day 4 of 4. Shaun T still believes in me
Still be productive- Neutral, not a work day
Virtually date my wife (and talk to the kids)- Check. Watched a movie together
Launch the blog –Check, Post 3 is up!
Read more – Lazed around today
Minimize TV/Internet/Video Games –Neutral, it is the weekend after all? Watched the movie with the family and watched the premier of West World on HBO.
Do you have any projects not getting done because of the virus? How else has it affected you? Drop me a note below!
After spending a few nights in my quarantine hotel, I’ve realized something. I’m going to need to plan my days out to make sure I don’t run out of things to do. Since this is my first day here where most of colleagues aren’t working (it is Saturday after all), there’s not much professional related work that can be accomplished. That however doesn’t mean there’s not things to do!
Here is the list of things that I planned to do (and accomplished today)
Make breakfast with the family. Being apart doesn’t mean you have to be apart. I spent the morning Face Timing the wife and kids while we cooked breakfast together. I made fried eggs and toast while they made chocolate chip pancakes.
Get the blog finally setup, post the first article (you can find it here), and proof read the 2nd and 3rd Articles (you can find those here and here)
Plan other non Virus related articles for the blog. I have some good ones coming!
Exercise – Have to keep the streak alive!
Make sure my hotel room isn’t cluttered up (again lessons the anxiety)
Relax- I played some video games and watched an ESPN 30 for 30. These are really well done and great watches if you have any interest in sports at all. For reference I watched “The Last Days of Knight” about Bobby Knight’s tenure at Indiana coming to a close. They have a ton of these available on ESPN+ and can make for some great binge watching.
Tips for those in Isolation
Being a naturally quiet and introverted personality probably makes this experience easier for me than most, but there are still things that make it difficult. Here are my tips for weathering the storm.
I miss my wife and kids dearly. I’m going on day 8 of not being with them. However just hanging out on Face time with them gives me a sense of being there with them. I think its important to remember those we love and why we are doing things like this to keep us motivated.
Don’t forget there is a light at the end of the tunnel. These times are only temporary, but the more that we commit to actions that will positively affect the global situation, the faster things will get back to normal.
Don’t forget your physical health and still exercise even when your stuck indoors. This is better for your mental health in these types of situations than you realize. Even just sweating for 30 minutes will help ease some tension and lesson your anxiety.
Watch the news enough to stay informed, but don’t over load yourself with it. The news has an amazing ability to both give us knowledge about what is happening in the world and what we can be doing to help, but also relays all the negative things happening as well. Don’t let yourself become to encumbered by the negative parts of the news.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and realize that this is a major event in world history that will potentially effect millions of lives. It is OK to be emotional about it, just don’t let it break your spirit, because it will take all of us to move forward.
Finally “Just keep swimming.” Take it one day and one step at a time. This time will pass, but don’t let the things you will have to overcome overwhelm you all at once. The CDC is recommending measures to flatten the curve in regards to Health care (I discuss this in my previous post), but you need to take measures to flatten your mental curve. Don’t carry the mental burden of the entire process all at once. You can do this!
Goal Check – Day 3
Get 8 Hours of Sleep- Check, Slept in today!
Eat Healthy- Check, Eggs over medium, Toast and yogurt for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, Chef Salad for dinner.
Exercise Everyday – Check, Day 3 of 3. It only takes a few minutes a day to Transform your body!
Still be productive- Neutral, not a work day
Virtually date my wife (and talk to the kids)- Check. Made breakfast together (via Face Time) and talked with them often today
Launch the blog –Check
Read more – Read a few chapter in the book I am reading
Minimize TV/Internet/Video Games –Neutral, it is the weekend after all?
Overall I think that I am doing well. I may get cabin fever some time over the next 10 days, but for now I’m focusing on the end!
What are you struggling with? Does self quarantine or this whole situation make you afraid? What are you doing to keep moving forward? Drop me a note in the comments below!
My flight back was uneventful. The plane was half empty and most people either had a row to themselves or at least a seat in between them. You can feel it hanging in the air though, the uncertainty of everything that’s happening (and see all the hand sanitizer and face masks)
I walk through the terminal to catch an Uber to my house. I’m swinging by there to grab a bag my wife packed for me with clothes and supplies for 2 weeks. My In-laws and kids happen to be home when I’m there, but I manage to sneak into the garage unnoticed and I’m gone before they get a chance to see me. I don’t want to take a chance of any of them trying to talk to me.
I drive to a Hotel a few miles from my house. Luckily there is an extended stay close by that has larger rooms with a small kitchen. Perfect for self quarantine. As I check in I mentally check out the hotel features and evaluate them for potential human interaction. The front door is automatic and the interior stairwell doors are propped open, so I wont have to touch anything on my way to the room.
I get settled in and realize its past lunch time and I haven’t eaten anything since I left the Hotel at the conference this morning at 6 AM. I decide to go through a local drive through and get a Caesar salad. Even this has a surreal feel to it as the attendee who takes my card has a face mask and plastic gloves on. I make it back to my room without having to interact with anyone else.
Is this real life?
I sit down to eat my lunch and turn on the TV alternating between ESPN and the news. As I eat I watch the NCAA conference tournaments, most who had decided the day before to play their games without fans in the stands, start cancelling the tournaments outright when its announce that an NBA player had tested positive for the virus.
On the news stations they are covering the world wide status of each country and the massive decline of the stock market. Its hard not to sit here and be concerned with all the negativity that is coming through the news. As the day goes on I find it hard to stay focused on work. The whole day has a weird feel to it. The only thing I can relate it to in my life time is the afternoon of September 11th and the day immediately after. From my small room you can feel the entire world start questioning how serious this really is. In turn local schools and events start announcing cancellations and extreme extensions of spring break.
Get out of the funk!
Luckily, my wife shows up with supplies before I can get too down on the world’s status. She had picked up groceries for me to start off my isolation. When she arrives we had worked out a system to prevent interaction: She had placed all of my groceries in the trunk area of her car and was going to open and shut it from the drivers seat so I wouldn’t have to touch anything. She gets me so much stuff it takes two trips to carry it all up to the room (up several flights of stairs no less!). Before I carry the second load up the stairs I’m able to tell her I love her (from an appropriate “social distancing” distance).
I busy myself putting my groceries away, but still end up with a lot of nervous energy. I decide to workout to burn off some of the anxiety. Sweating always helps you clear your mind and burns the calories. I finish the night off with some leftovers the wife had snuck in the groceries, Face Timing the family, and some TV.
Its been a long day, and I bet the days are going to get longer, but for now I am still in good spirits. It’s going to be important for all of us to stay positive over the coming weeks.
PS. Don’t look at your investment accounts right now, just trust me.
Get 8 Hours of Sleep- Check, was in bed by 11 PM
Eat Healthy- Check, Chicken Caesar Salad and Oranges for Lunch, Egg Roll Guts (I didn’t know that was a thing?) and fruit
Exercise Everyday – Check, Day 1 of 1. The apple watch even agrees!
Still be productive- Neutral, with traveling this morning and all this stuff going on it was hard to focus.
Virtually date my wife (and talk to the kids)- Check. I’m making a point to be more attentive on Face Time and when we are talking because of time apart.
Launch the blog – Check, I got the domain locked down and hosting setup
Read more – Fail, Didn’t really read much today outside of news and work
Minimize TV/Internet/Video Games – Neutral, I did watch a lot of TV today but most of it was news. The only “pleasure” watching I did was right before I went to bed. I’m watching Chernobyl on HBO. Its a fascinating look at watch happened, but it is very dark. May not be something to continue watching as it may affect my mood.
Relax- Check, there is something relaxing about just working out and focusing on dinner that normally doesn’t happen in everyday life.
As I sit here in the Atlanta airport everything seems a little surreal. I travel a few times per month for work and fairly frequently travel through large airports like Atlanta or Charlotte. I look around at what is normally a very busy airport, and while there are still lots of people around, it’s no where near as busy as a normal work week travel day.
How did we get here?
I’m returning from a work related trade show where I worked the booth. When my team and I traveled in on Sunday (a few others had come in several days earlier to setup our booth), the tone of outbreak was still subdued but everyone was cognoscente of what was going on around us. Both the show and our company had implemented a “no hand shake” policy and our company provided us with additional precautions (signs at our booths stating no handshakes, recommendations to not face each other when talking, individual hand sanitizers and bulk hand sanitizers available for us and our booth attendees, etc.). As we worked throughout the week the world wide tone of the virus was continually escalating.
Along with the rest of the world, our company was continually updating policy’s to match the CDC and WHO’s concern. On Tuesday they began instructing team members to eliminate all non business critical travel, and by Wednesday the decision had been made to have anyone who is able to work remote, as well as asking anyone who had traveled this week to self quarantine themselves from work and customer facilities.
For those of us that couldn’t self quarantine at home (due to children or other family members being at risk), they recommended to self quarantine at another location including a hotel, which they graciously offered to pay. With small children at home and my mother and in-laws in the “at risk demographics,” I’ve made the decision to spend the next two weeks in a hotel. I am fortunate that my company is offering to cover these costs due to my travel being work related, but I know for many this isn’t an option.
Hysteria or Justification?
The tone in the airport as I sit here is one of reserved concern. You can tell people are not congregating together, conversations are sparse, and every cough or sneeze is met with a wondering glance of “Is that allergies or something more?” My flight is also much more sparsely populated than normal flights from major airports during the work week.
I’ve been watching the news and the national escalation we have been seeing. First news broke that Massachusetts had declared a state of emergency, then the NCAA had decided to play their games without fans, and finally the NBA postponed the season indefinitely as apparently a member of one of the players tested positive for the virus. While I still believe that the severity is somewhere between the people who are marginalizing everything and an all out panic, but I do believe that we owe it to ourselves to be cautious.
The rate the virus appears to spread and the potential to overwhelm our healthcare system are real poses a threat that we as a country (and as a planet) likely haven’t seen since the Spanish flu. Combined that with a much more connected world since then justifies all the actions being taken. We must absolutely slow the spread of the virus to both limit exposure to at risk groups as well as to give our healthcare system the ability to handle the wave of people that are inevitably going to come down with it.
Everything is full of opportunities…
All that being said I will use this opportunity to take a breath, but still be productive. I’ve worked constantly since I was 19 years old, and have never taken more than 10 days at any given time away from work. I already miss my wife and kids dearly as I be been away from them for 5 days and are looking at at least 14 more. I regret the load I’m putting on my wife as she tries to navigate this alone with our two young girls. In order to maintain focus and keep positivity I think it’s best to lay down daily goals. There are 24 hours in a day and I plan to make the most of them. Here are the weekday items I plan to accomplish (thankfully I am still able to work remotely):
Get 8 hours of sleep every night (I’m both blessed and cursed with
not being a natural sleeper, getting between 6-7 hours and being
energized for the entire day). With not having to travel to work I’m
going to attempt to get the recommended 8 hours a day. This may even
include (I’m sure to the shock of my wife) a nap here or there.
Eat healthy. In sequestering myself I’ll be cooking a majority of my own food, so my target is a healthy diet each day
Exercise everyday. To help keep some of the stir crazy away, and to
ensure I don’t get fat from sitting in a hotel room each day I plan to
exercise each day. I like to run and I’m debating the social correctness
of leaving my room and running (my hotel is not directly around a
dense living area, and I think I can easily plan a route that would
likely have little human interaction), but at a minimum I will stream
some kind of high activity/HITT type workout to follow.
I will continue to work (8 hours a day Monday through Friday). We
are in a growth stage at work, and even if customer activity slows due
to similar virus policies, there are still numerous internal items that
need to be accomplished.
Virtually date my wife. I love her dearly and know my lack of
presence will put a sever burden on her essentially becoming a single
parent for 2 weeks. Since we’ve been married the longest we have been
apart is 12 days, and we are already at 5 with the prospect of 14 more. I
will try to daily find ways to keep our love engaged. If any of you
have suggestions (I’m sure military and other professions that regularly
are gone for months on end might have some great ideas) drop them in
the comments below.
Launch this blog. I’ve always toyed with the idea of blogging about
life and personal finance, so I’m going to use my sabbatical time to
focus on growing this site and generating content. I plan to document my
daily life as a self-quarantine’er and my observances next the world
Read more. I’m generally an avid reader, but self far this year I
haven’t had a chance to finish a book yet. Life has been so crazy that
most of my spare time has been focused on getting things done around the
house or spending time with my family. I’m going to commit to reading
at-least 1 hour per day.
Minimize the time spent watching TV/surfing the Internet/playing
video games. I am still a realist. I know at some point I am going to
run out of things to do in my hotel room, but I do hope to minimize my
time on these items
Make a point to text and call my family and close friends more. We
all have busy lives and at times this means we don’t communicate with
our friends and loved ones as much as we should. I’m going to utilize my
newfound free time to make sure those I care about know.
Finally I’m going to use this time to just take a deep breath and
relax. As I said earlier I am blessed with the gift of “go” and always
have a list of things that I need to do or accomplish. Ironically you
are reading a list of things I still want to accomplish. Without the
ability to do anything around my house I will take this time to focus on
just taking a breath and appreciating what my normal life is and stay
positive about the situation. Despair has no place in our lives if we
want to be productive.
We Will Endure!
As we all learn how to deal with this crisis together, remember to be mindful of the people that are being effected by this, pray for everyone involved and their family members, and know that God has made the human race intelligent and resilient. We will endure!
How have you been effected by the virus? Are under self quarantine? Have you been infected? Drop a comment below and let us all know how you are doing.