Americans all over the country are staying in to help “flatten the curve” of the novel coronavirus right now, and although the nature of my work means I stay on the move regardless, I can understand if you’re losing your mind while on lockdown. I know I would be. However, you don’t have to let your physical or mental readiness decline just because you’re social distancing. There are several things you can do while not working to keep your skills sharp, stay plugged in, and better yourself.
Read the News
This is the top priority I advise everyone to consider. The situation is changing by the hour as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves across the US. What held true 24 hours ago may not be the case any longer. We’ve seen the presidential administration do abrupt 180s in their stance on maintaining the current social distancing guidelines or when considering quarantines for the Tristate (New York/New Jersey/Connecticut) area, we’ve seen local governments radically alter their policies on public gatherings, and we’ve seen false rumors, bad info, and fake texts fly across social media, creating panic about national lockdowns. Not only do I read the national news daily, looking for signs or trends that suggest I may need to act quickly to protect myself or my property, but I stay plugged in to the local news in my significant other’s area since we’re currently living apart. Her situation is potentially more volatile than mine, with felons being released from incarceration, decreasing police manpower, and reduced law enforcement response to petty crime, and I’m constantly scanning for indications that I might need to drop work and reunite with her in the event of civil unrest or a rise in violent crime. Identify the people in your life that might be at risk if the situation in their area worsens, and monitor the news so you can be ready to assist if necessary. Just remember that the mass media is driven by ratings; keep things in perspective, verify sources, and maintain a healthy skepticism.
I’m used to going to a gym two or three times a week regardless of where I am to maintain a certain state of physical readiness. Although the closure of gyms across the country has been one of the most frustrating parts of this pandemic for me, there are alternatives that will help you maintain/improve your fitness level. Jeremy Ethier’s Built with Science YouTube Channel has published a couple videos providing instructions for at-home workouts without equipment. I’ve been a paid member of his evidence-based fitness programs for about a year now, but there’s a ton of free information on the YT channel, and I really dig how every suggestion or instruction is backed by a research study that he shows you or links to in his videos. Remember, we’re more likely to die of heart disease than violent crime, so take a break from Tiger King or binging Doom Eternal and get some regular workouts in.
Stay Mentally Sharp
Not working affords a lot more time to engage in our favorite mindless hobbies, but we also want to make sure that we keep our brains engaged. I don’t care whether it’s about history, philosophy, mindset, or strategy and tactics, pick up a book and get educated about something that can benefit you down the road. I’m currently reading Varg Freeborn’s Violence of Mind, but you can’t go wrong starting anywhere on my recommended reading list. Additionally, Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training has an incredible weekend knowledge dump full of articles that mostly pertain to concealed carry and personal protection. Go add yourself to the email list.
Train, Train, Train
Much of what we do in the realm of concealed carry/personal protection involves perishable skills. Luckily you don’t even need to leave home to get in some incredibly valuable training that will keep those skills sharp, and it costs you $0 in ammo to get more proficient with your hardware. Spend 10 minutes a day on dry fire practice, and spend some time drawing from your carry holster and presenting to improve your ability to pick up your sights. Work on magazine reloads. If you have a defensive rifle/carbine, you can add sling manipulations to the list of above tasks. MAKE SURE YOU CLEAR YOUR FIREARM PROPERLY AND ALL LIVE AMMUNITION IS REMOVED FROM THE ROOM BEFORE BEGINNING. There’s also never been a better time to consider the methodology of/practice clearing your house, but again, ensure you do this with an unloaded firearm and observe all cardinal rules of gun safety. Practice tourniquet application, on self and/or on others if you’re isolating with someone who will put up with it (your spouse probably won’t). Also spend some time going through any emergency kit you may have, making sure you’re familiar with where everything is at, that nothing is outdated/expired, and considering if anything should be added (like nitrile gloves & disinfectant, for instance).
I hope reading this has prompted you to consider some of the ways you can stay productive and better yourself while isolated. Keep your loved ones close, be kind to others now more than ever, and stay safe.