I’m in the business of change. As a leadership coach, I literally help leaders change their mindset, habits, and schedules for a living. I know it sounds a little sketchy, but I’ve loved watching people during quarantine. I’ve been asking these questions as I observe this giant life experiment play out.

What’s surprising about how people are responding? 

How are new limitations breeding new innovations?

What healthy habits are people stumbling upon?

But as the story always goes, I’ve learned more about myself than anyone else. Here are the biggest things I’ve learned about myself during quarantine.

Life was more complex than I realized. During this stretch, I’ve stayed in the same place much of the day. I wear the same sweatshirt and jeans most days. Trying to keep up with all things in all places at all times was exhausting. It’s been refreshing to have a similar rhythm five days a week.

I’ve discovered the art of walking. The world is waking up to the sacred art of walking. Who knew? This is why my wife and I walked in the evenings during our first year of marriage! I’m logging a lot of miles thinking, reflecting, and chatting. It’s different than squeezing in a quick run between things; it is the thing. Creativity and clarity have skyrocketed during these walks. Walking is my newest discipline.

I don’t need to go out as much as I thought. As a quintessential extrovert, I love going out. But I’ve realized going places is different from getting out of the house. I don’t need to rush between the coffee shop and the errands. A walk with my daughter is better. Sitting in the front yard talking to my wife is better. A bike ride with my son is better. A slow chat with my neighbor will do. I need to get out, but I don’t need to go places.

I was way busier than I thought. No commuting. No non-essential meetings. No carting kids around town. No reason to rush through dinner. It’s been a detox from rushed-ness. Pick up and drop off for four kids at three schools, driving to meetings across town, and trying to sync our schedules was intense. It required more adrenaline than I realized. Now we have margin during the week, not just during the sabbath. I’ve lost track of time a bunch this month, and I love that.

I need to create things with my hands, not just my mind. I produce ideas, and I connect to people through screens. Producing digital capital simply isn’t enough to power the heart. Zoom fatigue steadily wears down my brain and my eyeballs. On Saturdays, I’ve been rummaging through the scrap pile and buckets of stain hiding in my garage. I’ve cut things, painted things, and nailed things. It’s become analog replenishment at the end of a digital week. The splinters are well worth the free therapy.

Enough about me. Now it’s your turn.

What have you learned about yourself during quarantine?