Some personal notes on how I deal with the downsides of the apparent excess of free time.
Rome, 20 June 2020People may not notice it but having a lot of spare time can be confusing and disorienting.
For a long time, I lived a life in which I rarely left the walls of my apartment. I would go out just to walk Margot (my dog) and to buy groceries. Most of the time the two would coincide. For days and days – even months –, I would live in a self-isolation very similar to the one we are all forced to experience not long ago with the coronavirus confinement. As a freelance programmer – before I relocated into the freedom of my van – working from my apartment was a natural status and channeling all of my time into developing some projects was all I could do saving some time to work out and practice for my unprofessional football career.
Back then I had no daily schedule at all: I would wake up at noon and work non-stop until 5 in the morning of the day after, resting my eyes from time to time from the computer's screen frequency by staring out of the window. Sometimes I even skipped meals and drank too little water.
This happened to result to be highly unproductive and made me also lose track of deadlines.
When my dog came into my life, her needs gave rhythm to my days.
I started to get a great benefit from it and here is why: she forced me to set a routine for myself.
Wake up early, do a yoga stretch, have a healthy breakfast, take a break from my intensive focusing on programming languages to go out for long walks into nature.
These habits helped me bring my feet back on the ground
Still today, these habits help me bring my feet back on the ground, they make me feel less like an outcast, are good for my body and soul, and over the years have created a healthy pattern of which I am benefitting now and will benefit in the future. Needless to say, I am even more productive in my job.
Times are especially hard right now after the effects of the coronavirus, some people lost their jobs, some others were lucky enough to get a smart working contract.
Situations that bring a lot of free time into our lives and sometimes we might tend to fill up the empty spaces by satisfying the urge to scroll social media while still in bed. It is a cozy comfort zone, but not a healthy one. This compulsory mechanism works like a drug and instills bad habits.
It brings back memories of myself, and how it made me feel unfulfilled, stressed, angry, and disappointed.
I like to start my days with a good Morning meditation instead. It is what I opt for as the first thing when I wake up. I put my phone in silent mode and go scroll for youtube videos. If you are good enough you can do it without background voices and music, just follow your breath. Otherwise, you may find loads of Deepak Chopra's guided meditations (or whomever you may think is suitable for your balance) can be found online. Getting rid of the dirt that is piling up in my head in this stressful situation is a valid way to start the day and personally, it helps my mental stability.
Then I get up, unroll my yoga mat and stretch. Right after my morning meditation and before walking outside, I love to dedicate myself to 5 easy exercises that wake up my whole body, stretch my muscles and helped me get rid of my lower back pain: the Five Tibetan Rituals. They only take from 10 to 15 minutes and I also mix some extra stretching between exercises.
When I am fully awake and ready, Margot and I head out for long morning walks.
Is the best way to burn the extra fat that is trying to accumulate on my belly. I keep up a fast pace and walk as much as I can, for at least 40 mins, and we love to do it in the wild, to go get lost into nature.
breathe, notice the little details hidden in the forest or the beautiful colors of the morning sky, and how the landscapes change wether is raining or shining.
Working out is always a must for me, when in the van, when at home, even during the confinement I had to keep up my daily schedule of body-weight exercises. There are hundreds of apps that help you create a good workout schedule without the help of weights or gym facilities. Just find one you like best and go for it.
There is also some online wisdom to inspire you.... ehm....
Before I go to sleep I like to ideally plan my day after. I know I will not cross al the boxes of my to-do list, but I try.
I have projects to realize and dreams to achieve, so this is a must to stay on track on my path.
When you have too much freedom you tend to forget your duties and that is not good. I need to make sure i know how to plan my days. Short, mid, and long term.
Too much freedom is cool, but it can become just as dangerous as too little freedom.
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