Isolated and in control

Isolated and in control

Here I am:

Sitting at my computer reflecting on my experience of Isolation. As I think back over the last two weeks on the penultimate day of my first quarantine in a government run facility I realise that this time has been one of incredible growth. I feel I have managed quite well with the support of family, friends and personal pursuits to occupy my ever busy mind.

If you know me personally, you are well aware that I have an overactive imagination when it comes to just about anything and everything which is a large contributing factor to my history with mental health. In the weeks leading up to this quarantine period there were several concerned phone calls from family and friends, checking in to see how I was ‘feeling’ about the upcoming isolation and reassuring me that everything would be alright.

Luckily for them It was, and despite my prevalent mental health challenges, I was determined to take control of my actions and reactions while in quarantine and ensure that I would manage my expectations and take it one day at a time.

Rewind 13 days…

Arriving in Sydney from San Francisco was a surreal experience, the airport terminal was empty beside 2-3 heavily biohazard clad individuals standing well clear and ushering us to a waiting area. It was eerie. I liken it to the start of a horror movie where there’s one person among you waiting for the right time to unleash hell, alas not the case just a quiet solemn exchange of important medical information and then a long walk through customs, baggage collection and being loaded onto the bus.

I really want to take this opportunity to praise the New South Wales police force and ADF personnel who made that process light hearted and even though we were being shipped off to isolation it was a very pleasant exchange. Although I may be biased as it was the first time I’d heard an Australian accent ring out all around me for 3 months and it really felt like home.

After the short and scenic bus ride we arrived at our designated hotel, the Mercure Sydney, where we were checked in and escorted up to our lodgings for the next 14 days. As I rode the lift up to the 3rd floor one piece of information had struck me like a bolt of lightning as it was shared with us.

“You wont get a room key, as you cannot leave the room” shit… am I in jail?

Turns out, I wasn’t at all, the room was clean and neat, the bathroom nicely furnished with “mood” lighting, a desk, an open area (where a second bed would have been) and a tv, what more could you need? As I later found out the only thing you could need is a bit of fresh air and an air conditioning unit that you could turn off.

This was day 0, Friday the 30th of April and we were off to a good start. I made a point of sitting down and looking at what I wanted to achieve with my time and wrote down some daily tasks and routines to keep myself occupied and proactive.

Here’s what I ended up with:

  1. Set my alarm and get up at 6:30am – to many this might seem a bit early when you have a golden ticket to lay in bed as long as you want, but for me it is important to maintain routine as it helps me settle my mind.
  2. Make the bed like you’re in the army – having been recommended a book by Jocko Wilikin and Leif Babin, ‘extreme ownership’ at the start of the pandemic in 2020 a keen focus is on standard operating procedures. Getting squared away and preparing yourself for the day starts the same for a soldier each and every day, making their leaders immensely efficient and always looking forward at the strategic picture.
  3. Move my body – whether this meant a 20-30min skipping session, bodyweight workout, ROMWOD (daily stretching routine) or simply opening the curtain and staring outside as the world went by, I made sure it was part of each and every day.
  4. Learn something new – This was an easy task for me at the moment as Im studying to become an Accredited Nutritional Advisor to further help my client’s un-limit their potential (scrupulous plug there) but on days when I couldn’t stomach looking at my study for another second, audio books, ted talks, youtube and podcasts helped me continue to learn and grow. The most recent audio book i’ve started is ‘the Wim Hof Method’ which is about unlocking the strength of the mind, very pertinent to my current situation.
  5. Talk with someone – This was also an important part of keeping grounded, either via FaceTime, messenger, call, google meets whatever medium. Each and every day I would make contact with someone to stay connected and know that the world around me still carried on.

So I want to add here that this list was built for a perfect world where I woke up after a peaceful 8 hour sleep and was ready to face groundhog day with open arms, needless to say that not every day went like this.

But that didn’t change my intent each day, every day without fail I got up and made the bed, getting squared away for the day. Each day I moved my body, whether it was at 7am or 7pm, I made a point of moving for 20 – 30 mins. Each day I learned something new, whether it was study, personal research or an aspect of business, I found something that interested me and that I hadn’t seen before. Lastly, every day I spoke, I used my internal voice and my external voice to connect and ground myself.

Throughout my time in quarantine there were days when most of these things happened in between bouts of Netflix, the marvel universe, 2K21 Golf and Zelda but, regardless my intent stayed the same. This is an aspect of my stay that I believe will help me in the long run, understanding that your intent is the precursor to action but without taking action you’re simply telling yourself nice stories about why you should just sleep in, or watch one more episode. Action is the key, without action even the most successful strategies are useless.

Each day waking up with intent is great, but that doesn’t make your day a success. Doing the work, putting in the time and being honest with yourself are key. Over my time here I had 1 day and I made sure it wasn’t a weekend (not that it matters much) where I completely relaxed, I think it was about day 10, I had Several meetings booked in and I decide that I wasn’t going to study in between, I did the bare minimum for movement, and at the last minute before my first meeting I made my bed. It was aIso this day that I learnt I’m exactly where I am meant to be, supporting my family, my team, doing what I truly believe in and living my purpose.

What I discovered whilst spending my time in quarantine is that my universal goal is ‘balance’. In life, business, work and emotion, but to achieve that balance I need to experience the ebbs and flows, highs and lows, struggles and triumphs because only from the fluctuation of these duelling factors will I ever get a glimpse at balance.

When I return to my family, friends, clients, business and my world, finding balance is the goal, I have no delusions that it will be an endless quest, but I do know that without taking action I will be no closer by tomorrow.

Because I’ve shared my learnings already for this blog I want to write a dedication:

To all those who have challenged me, supported me and shared with me, Thank you.

To my beautiful wife and children,

Alex, Daisy and Charlie.

to the Peroni Family,

Alex, Peiro & Cath

to my provoker,


to the PT Unlimited Team,

Kurt, Ella, Will, Jack, Shani, Tyson, Lenka, Aaron, Diana & Luke.

to my family,

Mum & Dad, Barbie & Max, The Carters

and to my home,


You have all created the person I am today and I will be forever grateful.

Alex Howearth
[email protected]