The U.S. Marine Corps has cancelled the PFT for this cycle – this is how we know we are living during strange and unusual times. There are many thoughts and even sayings that come to my mind in the midst of this restriction of movement brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Semper Gumby; improvise, adapt, and overcome; and of course – Semper Fidelis.

This modified work schedule and restriction of movement has affected all of us in similar and different ways. Families have all of a sudden been blessed with a great deal more time together offering opportunities to slow down and spend more time with one another. Enterprising and creative types can see this as a blessing and transform extra time into quality time. Families have tried cooking together more often, some have tried more board games, crafts and even puzzles. If there is one thing I know it is this – our children will remember and be impacted by these activities in ways that will surprise us years from now. With all of this time it is imperative to be creative to make good use of the time because, as some have discovered, there is sometimes too much of a good thing.

On the other hand, for those who are single and live far from family and significant others, the challenges are quite different. In both cases – whether it is too much togetherness or too much time alone – it is incumbent upon us to look to our training and ask ourselves, “What we are being asked to do at this peculiar time?”

No matter what the mission we are always required to be physically, socially, mentally and spiritually fit. Even though this enemy is invisible and our mission of physically distancing ourselves from others is not what we anticipated, our training prepares us to expect the unexpected.

If ever there was a time to improvise, adapt, and overcome it is now. Although things feel very different right now, our mission mostly remains the same. This isn’t as much a mission of inaction as much as it is a mission of action in ways that are unfamiliar. Working out at home instead of at the gym, watching religious services online instead of in person - It is up to us to use this time wisely, think outside of the box and keep ourselves fit.

My suggestion for those families that might feel they are getting cabin fever or getting too much time together - make a schedule for yourselves. Schedule time to do other tasks alone and schedule time to spend together. For those who are single I would say schedule a day and time to call or video chat with your friends and loved ones weekly. For everyone, I would say make yourself a daily task list that will keep you fit in all areas. Practice gratitude – make a daily list of things you are grateful for during this time. And above all – Semper Fidelis. Recall what it means to be a person of honor, courage and commitment and hold yourself and others to that standard.

Lastly, if you need someone to talk to during a difficult time please reach out to a friend, someone in your chain of command, a mentor, a Chaplain, Corpsman, Medical Officer, or mental health professional. Seeking the guidance of others is a sign of wisdom, not weakness. God bless you and yours during this pandemic.