Finding Appreciation In a Time of Uncertainty

By: Topher Scott

It’s a crazy time right now in the world.  The way this Coronavirus continues to spread through our communities makes for a lot of uncertainty…and hopefully I’m wrong but I think we’re going to be strapping in for a new-normal for quite some time.

On the flip side (sorry I have to turn everything into a positive), it’s a time that’s made us all take a bit of a deep breath.  Our worlds are often insane with the amount of things on our plates, but in a way this ridiculous time has forced a lot of us to take a step back and think about the things that are really important.

I’ve gotten a lot of texts and calls from coaches at all levels of hockey over the past few weeks.  Especially from college guys because this is the first time in their careers they can’t go pound the pavement and recruit for an extended period of time (this time of year is a heavy recruiting time).  It’s almost surreal for them.

And it’s interesting because many of the conversations I’ve had have centered around this idea that what we’re facing right now is going to reset us on the things that are truly important.  Here are the main three things we’ve seemed to talk about:

1. Family Time

2. The Importance of Being Outside

3. Physical and Mental Health

Three things that we know are vital to our health and well-being but seem to be the first things that we overlook in our day-to-day lives.  Three things that we always say we want to pay more attention to, but struggle to find the time to really emphasize.  Let’s unpack them a little further…

1. Family Time

Nothing beats family time.  In our hectic worlds that we live in with work, school, hockey, etc…we don’t get as many opportunities to spend quality time with family as we’d like.

Well…now we’re forced! And while there are certainly times we can get on each other’s nerves, at the end of the day we can never get this time we’re able to spend with each other back.

So make the best of it!

Being a hockey player, it gets me reminiscing about family time within our hockey journeys.  Some of my most fondest memories were created being crammed in a car on our way to Detroit or Toronto with my entire family…four kids and all.  Or driving with my dad the hour each way to and from practice every week.  Or playing basement hockey with my brothers and friends for hours on end.

Don’t take family time for granted.  It’s like Andy Bernard’s line from The Office in their series finale…



“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days…before you’ve actually left them.”

I really think we take the present for granted more than we should as we live our crazy and insanely busy lives.  Life moves fast.  Let’s take the time during this uncertain period and appreciate the opportunity to do something that in our real lives we struggle to find time for…spending it with those we love.

2. The Importance of Being Outside

I’ll admit it…

I am a bit of a homebody.  My wife, complete opposite.  If she could be outside all day, she would.  Me? Nothing better than a little couch session after a long day with a good show or sporting event on TV.

But it’s funny because my wife always gives me crap whenever I do get dragged outside…because I always end up appreciating it and am glad I did it.  Whether it’s yard work, going for a hike, taking a walk, even shoveling the snow…for whatever reason being outside makes me feel a little more energized and connected to the world around us.

It’s also funny as while we’re all now forced to be socially isolated and stay inside our homes…when we do get outside for walks, hikes, or runs it is so refreshing! I’ve seen so many posts of people talking about being so revitalized getting outside over the past couple weeks that I chuckle because it honestly should always be that way.

A lot of the mindset books I have read talk about how nature is healing and the more we can be outside with nature the better our mental health and well-being could be.  I have to say I totally agree and need to do a better job of that…virus or not.

So please, if you’re able get outside in a safe place – take in some fresh air.  It’s crazy times but it can help you and your family to get a refresher and break from the monotony (no kids) or insanity (have kids) of your day.  And then hopefully it can become a habit for people who like the A/C during the summer like me!

3. Physical and Mental Health

We’re living in a time where our physical health is being threatened…and our mental health is being tested.

Physically…we’re distancing ourselves from each other so as to not get sick (you better be distancing yourselves!).  Gyms, rinks, fitness facilities…everything is closed so our normal physical activity centers are unavailable.  We really have to think outside of our normal boxes to get physical activity.

Mentally…our day-to-day routines are completely wrecked.  Some have to be on duty home-schooling or watching kids all day (yikes!).  Some are struggling with figuring out work issues.  And all of us are gearing in for what is going to be a new-normal over the next weeks, months, who knows.  Routines are everything in our lives, and now they’re being thrown to the curb with how this virus has forced us to change almost everything we do.

Over the past week or so, I’ve seen a lot of great physical and hockey challenges on social media that keep the kids engaged and having fun.  It’s awesome and I’ve tried a few myself.  Even have a pushup club going with some of my old colleagues at Cornell.

But I think challenges from a mental health/mental engagement standpoint should be at the forefront of what we’re doing too! Being mentally engaged and aware can help us to provide a little less stress and a little more perspective as we get through this difficult time.  Thinking about what we’re doing, why we do it, and challenging ourselves mentally, intellectually, and even emotionally can add huge benefit and value to our overall health and well-being.

So at the Hockey Think Tank, we came up with a daily challenge that will stimulate us both physically and mentally.  It’s a checklist of 8 things to do throughout the day…4 being hockey/physically active, and 4 being mentally engaged/active.  These are activities that I try to do every day and can improve our physical and mental capabilities.

Here it is:

This challenge is our way of giving back to the community with something that can hopefully provide some value to anyone looking to stay sharp and even improve throughout this next little while.  We encourage everyone to try and exercise and get in a bit of a physical sweat everyday…but if you can incorporate a little bit of a mental sweat too than I think you’re going realize that these exercises are even more important than anything you can do physically.

So to all my peeps:

Stay safe during this crazy time of uncertainty.  Appreciate the time you have with your loved ones.  Get outside when and where it’s safe.  And take some time to work on your yourself physically and between the ears.  At the end of all of this, we’ll pull back together and hit our stride with a little more appreciation and perspective.