Perhaps the main downside of living the life of a Medical Science Liaison is the time spent traveling. Some of you drive frequently across a small territory and your time is spent staring out of the windshield. Others fly frequently over a large territory, spending time going to and from airports and standing in security lines. Either way, one thing you have in common is spending a lot of time in places where you can’t quite do anything productive.
We’re living in an usual period where we’re stuck inside and can’t quite carry on the routine of which we’re so accustomed. Even if parts of the country are slowly opening back up, it seems likely we’re still months away from MSLs have full travel privileges again. So why not come out on the other side of this pandemic with a new skill?! New hobbies can take a solid investment of time every day, and the silver lining of this period we’re in is that we can more easily find time to practice our skills.
1 – Learn to play a musical instrument
This is the obvious one, right? Learning a new instrument is a difficult process that takes time and focus. It also requires more cargo space than you typically have on the road. It’s the perfect example of a hobby that would be very difficult to do if you’re on the road all the time and you can’t take your instrument with you. Playing an instrument is a hobby that can potentially lead to better memory and better multitasking capabilities, so it is a hobby that can snowball into having additional benefits for your cognitive abilities.
If you’re concerned about taking up a large instrument like a guitar and then not being able to take it with you when you travel, try a smaller instrument like a ukulele, kalimba, or harmonica to make it easier to keep your hobby going once you travel again.
2 – Gardening
Are you on the road so much that you’ve had to hire a service to do your yard work? Well, here’s your chance to see if you’ve had a green thumb all this time.
There are also some hidden benefits. For starters, it can help serve as a minor substitute for exercise while our gyms are shut down. WebMD states that you can burn 200-400 calories per hour while gardening and mowing the lawn (and even more for the heavier duty lawn work). It knocks out multiple birds with one stone by serving as a good stress reliever, getting you to spend some time outdoors, and also serving as a source of the 30 minutes of physical activity we should be getting daily.
3 – Find your creative side
Being on the road isn’t very conducive to sharpening our artistic skills. But putting these skills to use, no matter how unrefined they are, could also pay dividends. Creating art is another stress reducer for many but also is shown to have some of the same effects on the reward pathway in our brains that other addictive behaviors can have – minus the destructive side effects.
Take advantage of your extra time spent at home right now to take on bigger art projects, like painting or sculpting. After you find your groove, continue to bring a sketch pad with you while you’re on the road to keep your art skills sharp. Even simply doodling of the thoughts that are on your mind can improve memory recall!
4 – Cook
If you haven’t done so already, start shaking the rust off of those cooking skills you had before becoming a platinum airline member. Oh, you say you never had cooking skills to begin with? Well, get to it!
If the weather is nice enough where you live, get outside and grill or smoke some barbecue. If you’d prefer to stay inside, perfect your baking skills. Or hey, maybe you’re less concerned about calories and you want to finally learn how to use the deep fryer. We won’t judge.
5 – Journal
This is a very unique time in our lives. Not only would be interesting to be able to go back and revisit our thoughts from this time when we had to adapt to a new lifestyle, but journaling is something we can all benefit from. For a lot of us, this time might simply be extra time spent at home, but for a lot of people, this has been pretty stressful. Putting our thoughts to paper also helps us deal with stressful times like this. Think of your journal as a free therapist of sorts, as it helps us process our thoughts and analyze our experiences.
Questions or comments? Email me at email@example.com.
Author: Lawrence Beck, CPC