As a reader of this blog, you’ve probably seen a sci-fi movie where an astronaut must survive in space while cut off from humanity. You’ve probably wondered what you’d do in that situation. Wonder no more: You are in that movie.
To help you make it to the end of the movie, here’s CGP Grey’s helpful video guide to staying healthy, sane, and productive during quarantine — Spaceship You:
Here’s the premise of the video, captured in a couple of quotes from the first of its 11 minutes:
“The practical effect of this isolation on you is that your home is no longer your home, but has transformed into a vessel that along with many others, has left Earth to orbit around her — alone, together. Those remaining on Earth have their mission: to mitigate the dangers of the outside.”
“…you cannot just wait. Like those below, you above have things to do. Eventually, Earth will need people to return to help spin back up the wheels of the human world. Your mission: Return better than you left.”
“To accomplish this, you must maintain the vessel. Welcome aboard Spaceship You.”
“The core generator of spaceship you is your health, with two parts: the physical and the mental. For the ship to stay functional, this generator must spin.”
“Arriving in orbit, it starts with some momentum to keep things going at first to afford a little time to adjust. But as with all motion, the passive forces of the universe work to slow that which is active, to bring darkness, disorder.”
“The mental and physical are halves of a whole, so accelerating one accelerates the other. Each adds to the total momentum, making additional pushing easier, priming the core, creating motion, making light and order.”
Here are the video’s major points:
- Work on your physical health first, and your mental health will follow. While your physical health and mental health each affect the other, it’s easier to start by working on your physical health. The video makes good use of the “spinning core with a mental half and a physical half” metaphor with this line: “If the core is low, prime with the physical half. It has sturdier grips. The mental half, while vital for the higher operations of the ship, is a slipperier place to start.”
- Divide your physical space into four zones, each of which has a specific purpose:
- The exercise zone, which will vary according to your home’s layout, and if you have access to a “biosphere”. Exercise is not optional.
- The sleep zone. Get plenty of sleep, and maintain a consistent sleep and waking time, even if you don’t have a work schedule.
- The couch or recreation zone. You can also use this zone to communicate with friends and family. This zone has a tendency to expand; you’re going to have to keep an eye on this one.
- The creation zone: Where you do work, study, or practice skills.
- Observe zone hygiene. Use each zone for its intended purposes, and only those purposes. Don’t watch videos in the sleep zone; that’s what the couch zone is for. Don’t watch entertainment or eat in the creation zone. Don’t let the couch zone expand into other zones. Maintain the stations, and the stations will maintain you.
I’ll close with the video’s closing lines: “Keep the core spinning. Complete the mission. Come back better than before. See you on Earth, Captain.”