One minute your life is more or less normal, wake up, work, gym, weekends, the pub, meeting your friends, family time, shopping, and then overnight, it changes. You’re told to isolate, and the words social distancing are introduced.


Social what?


We are social creature. Tribal by nature. How do I survive mentally through this madness?


My name is Troy, and I am the Training Director for AKE. My goal over the next few weeks is to give you some pointers on how to get through this “isolation” period – mental pointers, not medical.


Who am I? I am an ex-soldier that has a passion for exercise, adventure, and all things that make us mentally tough. Yes, I have a comprehensive military background, but that is not the key to “mental toughness” – your mind is.


This motto from Gym Jones resonates with me – “The Mind Is Primary.”


How bad do you want it?


The “it” being, getting through this “period” in a good state of mind.


Isolation, lockdown, social distancing. Until recently, you were working a 5-day week, now you are at home, in a confined space, knee-deep in children and your spouse is getting on your nerves.


“What do I do, how do I keep my sanity?”


My thoughts:

  • Accept the fact that you are in this for the long haul.
  • Do whatever it takes (legally) to come out the other end – intact.
  • Don’t look too far down the road.
  • Look at it day-by-day; set your tasks daily.
  • Small gains, add up to big ones.


“I am in lockdown, and I can work from home. This is reality and I need to deal with it. This will end. I got this”.


Working from home:

  • Set up “your”, space, and create a work environment.
  • No distractions; reality = “limited” distractions.
  • Focus on making your life and your family’s life better.
  • Live your life as though this lockdown is a little judder bar, not an obstacle.
  • Keep the same daily routine; no short cuts – short cuts lead to laziness.
  • Discipline: set up rules for yourself:
    • Keep yourself honest.
    • Be your worst critic.
  • Adapt, adjust, focus.
  • Focus on the positives and you will come out on top.


My daily lockdown routine:

  • Awake: 0530
  • Breakfast and read: 0600 – 7000
  • Work: 0700 – 1230
  • Lunch: 1230 – 1330
  • Work: 1330 – 1630
  • Exercise: 1630 – 1830
  • Dinner: 1900
  • My Time: 2000 – 2200
  • Repeat


The weekends:

  • My weekends consist of family time and personal projects.
  • Education: Regardless of your age, there is so much to be learnt through digital means, via YouTube, digital books, or line courses. Use your time to better yourself. Everyone has a project list, either written down or in their head, start it, move forward! Research it, get it onto the drawing board, then make it real.
  • Choose something and try and master it.
    • I want to do a handstand, been trying half-hearted, for a few years. On the 30th of April 2020, I will do a handstand!
  • My project: Street photography, and yes, that involves getting out into the street and I can’t. What to do?
    • Practice, practice, practice using my camera. I live in a rural area, and photography here might not be street photos, but I am keeping my eye in, and my hands dialled into working my camera. Practicing hand-eye coordination along with exercising my mind on composition, like a golfer practicing his swing.
    • Why not go and shoot street photos during this lockdown, just imagine the composition? No, I follow the scientific and government guidelines; social distancing and isolation are working. Make the isolation work in your favour. Practice your passion, start that project.


Keep your head in the game:

  • This is not a holiday:
    • No sleeping in.
    • No naps.
    • No binge-watching TV/Netflix.
  • Your work routine should remain the same:
    • If you shave every day, then continue to do so. Don’t turn into an untidy visual mess, when you look at yourself in the mirror. Subconsciously this has the potential to eat away at you – “look at yourself, you are a mess”. No!You want to look at yourself and say, “I got this.”
    • Get dressed for work; gym clothes aren’t work clothes unless you work in an industry where they are. If you wear corporate attire, then yes, dress down.
    • Routine is about keeping your head in the game, being focused, a sense of accomplishment through discipline that leads to finishing daily tasks.
    • No distractions: TV, Internet, family to an extent.
  • Focus!


Complacency leads to laziness.

  • When things get back to normal, you’ll want your head in the right place, so you are ready to jump back into work.


Weekly tips:

  • Exercise: Get outside and walk, run, or ride. Nature is the best healer; mind & body. Too many people? Discipline, get up early, or go late at night.
  • Book of the week: Tribe: On Homecoming and Belong.
    • Author: Sebastian Junger.
    • TRIBE explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today’s divided world.
    • Link:
  • YouTube Video of the week: TED Talk – Inside the mind of a master procrastinator – Tim Urban.
    • In this entertaining and insightful talk, Urban takes us on a journey through YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes, and bouts of staring out the window. He encourages us to think harder about what we’re procrastinating on before we run out of time.
    • Link:
  • Movie of the week: Mountain.
    • Directed by Jennifer Peedom
    • An audio-visual experience about the highest peaks around the world.
    • Trailer:
    • You can view it on Amazon Prime.


Until next week. Stand Tall.


The Mind Is Primary