Five Ways to Level Up Using New-found Extra Time in Quarantine

If you are currently in the mood to simply stay in your pajamas and check Twitter every 5 minutes or just cut out the world and cuddle your family, then go for it. You do what you need to do to survive some of the worst weeks of our lives. However, if you are looking for some ideas to Level Up during Quarantine 2020, look no further than below! I have compiled 5 ways you can level up easily and emerge as a new you when life outside of the home resumes again.

1. Level Up your Knowledge. Go to edX and sign up for an ivy league course for FREE. Even if you learn nothing, you will be amazed by how great some of these professors are at their craft. I say take something wild that you would NEVER ever consider in regular life. We are living in extraordinary times, do something extraordinary!

  • Level 1 – Take a course that will expand on an area you already know about. For example, if you are a writer, brush up on your writing skills with a writing course from Harvardx.
  • Level 2 – Take a course that you know little about but were always interested. For example, if you like architecture, here is a cool course on bridges from Princetonx.

2. Level Up your Skin. You heard me! With the kids out of school and no commute to the office, we all now have extra few minutes to spend on ourselves. Now is the time to start taking care of your skin. This includes the men reading this.

Skin care is a wonderful way to feel and look better. And it is a super easy, focused way to pay attention to yourself. Try it until quarantine ends and if you don’t like it, you never have to do it again!

  • Level 1 – Start your day with face cream, clean your face in the evening and apply your face cream before bed.
  • Level 2 – Add a Vitamin C serum to your morning and evening routine, switch to a Retinol based night cream to zap those wrinkles, and introduce some much needed exfoliation on a weekly basis.

3. Level Up your Fitness. Sitting at home and not even walking to the car is deteriorating our fitness levels as we speak! Not to mention our mental health right now needs all the help it can get. Use this extra time to retreat into a quiet space and start working out.

  • Level 1 – Start a basic, daily routine of cardiovascular activity plus weight training if you’re not doing that already.
  • Level 2 – Motivate friends and family members to join you by sharing what you are doing and working out “together”. Support gyms and studios that are hurting right now by tuning into one of the amazing online classes they are offering.

4. Level Up Your Interests. As we get older, we all trend towards doing the same things over and over again. Now is the time to discover new interests or at least new takes on old interests.

  • Level 1 – Find a new set of people who are involved in things you currently love but in a new and interesting way. For example if you love art, join Instagram and follow some new artists.
  • Level 2 – Imagine yourself post quarantine – with this new lease on life – what would you do? Find one thing that you can psyche yourself about in the post-quarantine world and learn about it. For example, there are tons of “walking tours” of cities on YouTube – pick a city you never thought of before and take the walking tour and learn about it. Once the world is covid 19- free, you can go to this place and feel right at home.

5. Level Up Your Finances. I know lots of people are losing their jobs and this is an awful time to even think of finances. But I also think this is an opportunity to re-frame your financial future in the face of so much uncertainty.

  • Level 1 – Start thinking about a second source of income or a side hustle that you can tap into for your future. Or if you already have a second source of income, think of ways to make it bigger and better for the future. One thing we learned from this period of uncertainty is that we need to rely more on ourselves for our livelihood and less on our employers.
  • Level 2 – Deeply focus on the bare minimum lifestyle you can lead and still be happy. Quarantine highlights what is truly important in our lives and what is not. This is a great chance to evaluate what our ideal lifestyle should look like based on our core values.

Leaving Corporate Life to Become an Independent Consultant

This is the story of Joanne Dong, an independent consultant, currently focused on solving challenging problems in US Healthcare using technology. In this in-depth interview, Joanne and I speak about her journey from growing up in communist China to becoming a consultant and the many pivots she made along the way.

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Starting Over in New York City

This is the story of Vidya Thangirala, a true world traveler, who started a new life in New York City in her mid-30s. And over the last three years made it her new home. In this interview we discuss what it is like to build a new life in one of the busiest and most exciting cities in the world.

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5 Steps for Building an Exercise Habit

I have been trying to build a life long exercise habit before turning 40 and I am about 10 weeks into a 6 month (plus the rest of my life) process. I can honestly say, I exercise now nearly every day (confession – I did stop when on vacation). In this post, I’ll quickly summarize the 5 steps that led to my own success so far. For more details, you can read my four part series on Building the Exercise Habit .

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15 Great Quotes by Inspirational Women

In honor of International Women’s Day, here are 15 quotes by some of the most interesting and inspirational women out there – businesswomen, journalists, comediennes & politicians. Let their words inspire today as we celebrate women everywhere.

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What it Takes to Be a Tech Entrepreneur

Dan & I hanging out near Lake Ontario

This is the story of Dan Lee, co-founder of Qalius and CTO of Pllenty. He had the heart of an entrepreneur before being an entrepreneur was in fashion and Toronto became the Tech and Innovation hub that it is today. In this interview I pick Dan’s brain about what it takes to be a Tech entrepreneur and learn about his journey.

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Discover a New Side of You on Vacation (while still staying relaxed)

Bold Pink Lipstick & Sunglasses

Going away on a sunny holiday to a resort? This is the only “free” time you’ll have for a while? Here are some easy ways to discover new parts of you without trying too hard that you can bring back to “regular” life.

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Building the Exercise Habit Part 4: Create a Simple Cardio/Weight Training Routine

Two years after turning 35 I realized that if I wanted to prolong my life, have mood stability, and prevent steady weigh gain – I have to start exercising regularly. I realized my days of cutting out carbs and going for walks to shed a few holiday pounds are gone. I needed to start regular cardiovascular exercise with strength/resistance training – and I have to do it regularly. Otherwise my risk of heart disease, diabetes, being unhappy and feeling less confident in my body go up, way up. As a skeptic of the diet and fitness industry, this was a hard truth to accept. Currently, I am about 40 days into building a lifelong exercise habit that will (hopefully) carry into my 40s, and I will write about what I learned in this series.

For a long, long time I was in denial that strength training was a crucial component of fitness. It never looked or felt particularly delightful – not like a step class or a brisk walk. I set out to prove that strength and/or resistance training was not necessary. But when everything I read indicated muscle loss with age is a real thing, I had no choice. So I built my routine, something super simple, repeatable that I can easily execute without much thought, day after day with both cardio and strength built into it.

Continue reading “Building the Exercise Habit Part 4: Create a Simple Cardio/Weight Training Routine”

Building the Exercise Habit Part 3: Identify & Remove Barriers

Two years after turning 35 I realized that if I wanted to prolong my life, have mood stability, and prevent steady weigh gain – I have to start exercising regularly. I realized my days of cutting out carbs and going for walks to shed a few holiday pounds are gone. I needed to start regular cardiovascular exercise with strength/resistance training – and I have to do it regularly. Otherwise my risk of heart disease, diabetes, being unhappy and feeling less confident in my body go up, way up. As a skeptic of the diet and fitness industry, this was a hard truth to accept. Currently, I am about 40 days into building a lifelong exercise habit that will (hopefully) carry into my 40s, and I will write about what I learned in this series.

I am not sure why as a society we focus on motivation as the key barrier to exercising. Lack of motivation is one minor roadblock to regular exercise. There are SO many more impediments to building an exercise habit that are brushed aside as excuses. Here is my list below:

Continue reading “Building the Exercise Habit Part 3: Identify & Remove Barriers”