Besides exercising and eating, there are so many things you can do with your time to fill 21 days. I was actually surprised how fast the time went. Obviously, many people work during the day, so that takes up a large chunk of the day. But there are many hours you can fill up not just watching everything on Netflix. One of the things I discovered was the app Insight Timer, which is a free meditation app. There are over 100,000 meditation podcasts to chose from. I was drawn to the breathing ones and ones that did not do a lot of talking. But they have everything from spirituality to stress relievers. Some are only 5 minutes long. I enjoyed waking up early, watching the sunrise and doing a few meditation classes on the app. I did the Wim Hof breath hold lesson multiple times and was able to hold my breath for over 2 minutes (which I know is not that long, considering I am a swimmer!) I think that pampering yourself is one way to make the time go faster. I ordered some snail face masks, a honey face mask, a candle and some bubble bath soap from iHerb.com and treated myself to several spa days! Several of my friends dropped off jigsaw puzzles to keep me occupied. I actually didn’t have enough time to do all of them. Puzzles take up floor space, so if you do do one, you should probably do it on a towel or large piece of cardboard, so you can drag it under the bed when you are not working on it. My hotel provided a mini jigsaw puzzle with 250 pieces each the size of my pinky nail. It came with tweezers for picking up the pieces. I nearly went blind completing it. The puzzle was the Van Gogh painting Souvenir de Mauve of a pink peach tree. The hotel thoughtfully provided the puzzle with a frame, which I proudly displayed on my desk when I finally finished it.
A friend of mine in Tokyo works in an art gallery that runs a creativity workshop called Egaku. They usually teach Japanese business people how to tap into their right brain. They offered a quarantine version of their workshop while I was incarcerated. I made a donation to their non-profit charitable wing of their organisation which teaches kids art and I received their art kit for the workshop. On a Sunday afternoon, about 11 participants logged on from around the world (it was open to non-quarantiners too). We brainstormed about what we felt when we were presented with an abstract work of art that the trainers showed us. Then we were asked to answer some questions about when we felt creative. Afterwards, we had 50 minutes to create using the pastels and coloured paper that they provided in the kit. Then we put our work of art in a frame and shared it in a small breakout discussion group to give feedback and talk about our work of art. It was very enlightening and I was so inspired to keep drawing that I ordered more pastels and paper and now am making a practice of doing a drawing before I have to sit down to write. My hotel gave out small gifts and one of the gifts was a Chinese calligraphy kit. I had not practiced calligraphy for over 3 decades, but this little kit with magic evaporating paper, a brushwasher, 2 brushes was too fun not to try. Even though you cannot physically be with people while in quarantine (not counting the people quarantining with you in the same room), it doesn’t mean you cannot make friends. The WhatsApp group for my hotel was a lifeline. It’s an instant community of fellow inmates going through the same thing. We warn each other when the “Goon Squad” PCR testers are on the floor with their absurd air filter machine and their blue hazmat suits. We cheer each other on and commiserate over bad meals. We share our leftover treats when we check out with the remaining inmates. We give advice to newcomers and say goodbye to those who are leaving. I ended up becoming friends with one of my fellow inmates during quarantine. We did not know each other before quarantine, but we ended up finding out we had a lot of friends in common. We met up in person shortly after I got out. One thing I did before I left my room and was hoping that it would catch on is that I left a secret note of encouragement in the Bible tucked in the page of the passage of Matthew 24:13. While I am not a religious person, I found that the quote: “But we who endures to the end, shall be saved” resonated with being an inmate and an endurance athlete.