Three Activities for your Free Time

Courtesy of TIME Magazine

Courtesy of TIME Magazine

Santiago Carbajal, Staff Writer

I am sure we are all aware of the situation that is gripping our planet at the moment, and due to its gravity, we all know what it entails. I will not take the time to highlight the terrible things that are happening today, but rather focus on what we can do to make the best out of this situation.

We now find ourselves with an amazing amount of free time, many people have chosen to spend it by tidying up their homes, learning new skills, resting, and spending time with their family. In this article I will share three activities that I’ve spent my time doing during this quarantine, and that I hope can help you as well.

Before I begin, I would like to emphasize that there is absolutely no pressure to engage in any activity or “hustle” to learn a new skill. Many people are dealing with various personal issues that our past, busy lives did not allow time to process, and it is completely understandable if this time is being used to do so. However, if you feel you are ready for a challenge and willing to use this time to grow, by all means I recommend these three activities.

#1 – Meditation

Meditation has become increasingly popular in the past couple of years as an interest of eastern philosophies has piqued in the west. Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. I have personally been meditating ten minutes every day since our quarantine began, and I can tell you that the effects I’ve received from the practice are amazing. I find myself more present in my daily life, I no longer engage in negative thoughts, I find myself taking care of my body more than I did before, and I find my relationships more peaceful and fulfilling. There is reason why this great practice has been followed by millions of people throughout millennia, and why should try it. If you want to learn how to meditate, there is a myriad of resources in the internet that walk you step by step on how to do it, I personally recommended an app called Headspace, which provides sessions of guided meditation and a vast library of courses that are sure to turn you into a mindful person.
Click on the link to download Headspace: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/headspace-meditation-sleep/id493145008

#2 – Reading

I know, I know, ever since we were zero years old, we have been constantly told to read. This constant nagging has made it an unenjoyable activity for many people; however, it is one that stands to benefit you greatly. Not only will you be adding multiple new words to your vocabulary and improve your speaking skills, but you will also learn new information and explore a wide range of thought that will allow you to see the world with increased clarity and consciousness. Reading is the one activity that will enrich you the most today and for the rest of your life. It also improves brain connectivity, increases your vocabulary and comprehension, empowers you to empathize with other people, aids in sleep readiness, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, fights depression symptoms, prevents cognitive decline as you age, and contributes to a longer life, but above all, it is extremely fun. Below is a list of books that I highly recommend.
• The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
• 1984 by George Orwell
• The Catcher in The Rye by J.D Salinger
• Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
• Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
• The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche

#3 – Exercise

Here we have another activity that many of us find highly tedious and unnecessary, and perhaps one that we have struggled with throughout our lives, but just like reading, exercise stands to benefit us greatly. By simply engaging in any sort of physical activity for at least thirty minutes we can regulate our bodily processes and become happier people. Exercise can help you control your weight, reduce your risk of heart diseases, help your body manage blood sugar and insulin levels, improve your mental health and mood, and also helps keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. This activity is also one that can be done with friends and family through simple team sports like soccer and basketball. I personally enjoy cardiovascular exercise, particularly running, as it emulates racing and is a great activity to train the mind to tackle goals, and of course, it keeps me healthy. If you were toying with the idea of exercising, the only thing I have to say to you is: do it! The benefits of exercise stem far beyond those of just sitting in your couch. Below is a list of apps I recommend for any various types of exercise.
• Nike Run Club – For running.
• Nike Training Club – For at-home workout routines
• MapMyRide – For cycling or rollerblading
• MyFitnessPal – For at-home or gym workout routines

Conclusion

I hope that these activities will help you reach your goals and improve you as a person during this time. It is imperative that we use any opportunity we have to build new habits and improve ourselves, and remember, the only way you can experience the benefits of these activities is by doing them.