In this unprecedented time (a.k.a., a global pandemic), there’s a lot going on. Countries, states, cities, counties are essentially shutting down, though several are moving at their own pace to catch up to the seriousness of the situation.
There are high emotions right now. Things are beyond our control, and suddenly we are forced to make sacrifices that we never expected. Business are closing, jobs are put on hold, and our lives look insanely different than they did even five days ago. It’s a lot.
And at this juncture, with things widely outside of our own hands, there is something that we are all called to do: stay the fuck home.
Obviously, this does not apply to people who need to work and whose employers are not offering the chance to work from home or paid leave. I’m not directing animosity toward you. I appreciate you, I value you, I commend you for doing what it takes to keep some semblance of normal. Healthcare workers, grocery store employees, truckers: thank you. Please take care of yourselves. Stay safe and healthy. Thank you.
You know what I mean. Now is not the time to gather in crowds, flood vacation spots for spring break, or hang out with all your friends. Most bars, restaurants, resorts, and major attractions are closed, as they should be. We need to flatten the damn curve and minimize the destruction of this virus. Take this seriously. Not just for you, but for the people who need it most. And hint: you don’t always know who that is.
Anyway, Social Isolation
Okay, I’m stepping off of my soap box now. When it comes to social isolation, I consider myself an expert. I work from home and this is pretty much my daily life, minus a few excursions here and there.
You can do this! Here are some helpful resources to ease this transition and make staying home a little easier with time.
Working from home
For those of us that are lucky to work from home, kudos to you. This might be a challenging transition, especially if you’re used to office interactions. Here are a few ways to make things easier:
- Take “productive breaks.” I like to be active with my breaks by doing stuff around the house. Laundry, dishes, making the bed, etc. are all perfect and quick activities to get you up and about and feeling great about yourself.
- Be as comfortable as you like. You can dress up and stick to your usual routine OR you can sleep in a little later and stay in sweats all day. The choice is yours! You’ll figure out what works best for you.
- To-do lists are key. At least, they are for me. I love crossing things off my list. It’s great for organization and also for feeling accomplished.
- Don’t beat yourself up. This is hard! There’s a lot going on and it’s okay to be less productive than usual. Do your best, do what you can. Give yourself a little grace.
Note: if you are a parent who is ALSO dealing with childcare or homeschooling while also working a normal job, you are incredible. You are amazing. I admire you, and know that you can get through this.
Pro-tip: I actually wrote about this topic months ago. For more in-depth information and tips, you can read my post here.
Fun things to do
Onto the stuff that matters: here are ways to pass the time that are actually fun! This is key to reducing stress and hopefully getting some rest and enjoyment out of being home.
- Watch TV. I’m a huge fan of watching shows and jumping into new or old favorite series. It’s okay to relax and hang out. Don’t feel guilty about escaping into a different reality for a little bit, stealing a laugh, and enjoying yourself.
- Play a game. If you’re alone, look into computer or console video games, or apps on your phone. I really enjoy spider solitaire. If you have two people or more, you can typically bust out a lot of board and card games, and there’s a lot of split-screen video games out there.
- Trivia. On Tuesdays, the folks behind the popular Geeks Who Drink pub game do a live stream on Twitch! So you can play from home! Chad and I have done this twice now, and it’s so much fun. Live on Tuesdays, 9 p.m. EST (7 MT) or uploaded to their Youtube channel the next day. Try it out!
- Listen to music. Music is an amazing tool to decompress and explore new things. Find comfort in old jams or discover endless playlists available on streaming services like Spotify.
- Read a book. There’s no better time to dive into a book. This is such a healthy way to escape and treat your brain to a new adventure. If you have a pile of books waiting for you, there’s no better time to pick through it.
- Do a puzzle. Whether it’s a crossword, jigsaw, or brain-teaser, puzzles are a great way to think creatively and practice problem-solving.
- Create art! You don’t have to be an artist (or anything close) to benefit from creating something. The opportunities are endless; color, draw, paint, write, compose, craft, knit, dance, record, apply makeup, sing, do a photo shoot, you name it!
- Pick up a new hobby. There are so many options out there, from knitting to cooking to playing an instrument. Plus, Youtube is a great resource for getting started.
Responsible outings are okay
One of the lifesavers for me has been going outside and getting some deep breaths of fresh air. Staying away from others doesn’t have to mean exclusively indoors. If you can go outside and still maintain at least six to eight feet of distance and avoid touching any equipment or structures, please do so!
For me, Colorado offers endless opportunities to explore my backyard without meeting a single other person. I can drive somewhere to go on a hike, and that’s perfectly okay as long as I come straight home afterwards.
My top recommendations are to go for a walk, sit on your porch, or hang out in your backyard. It will feel so refreshing and nice after spending time in isolation.
Just because you’re staying physically away doesn’t mean that you have to totally isolate! Reach out and connect to your loved ones. Pick up the phone and call, text, or Facetime your family and friends.
Use this opportunity to communicate and check in on each other. It’s a tough time for extroverts especially, so let’s all spread the love as much as possible.
Productive shit to do
If you are bored in any way or want some form of structure, you can use this time to be productive. Here are some ideas of things to cross off your to-do list.
- Clean around the house. You have a lot to work with here. You can do a deep spring cleaning of spaces you rarely interact with (junk drawers, for example), or just go room by room until things are spotless. Virus-wise, it can’t hurt to sanitize and wipe down common areas often!
- Go through your stuff. Now’s also a great time to decide what clothes and stuff you have that can be donated or sold. The Marie Kondo method is especially helpful when deciding.
- Sweat it out. Exercise is a great thing when you’re feeling stressed or anxious or are just bored. I highly recommend Beachbody for at-home workouts; 21 Day Fix is a personal favorite. Youtube has endless free videos too.
- Take an online class. Many institutions are providing online courses for free! This is so darn cool. Check out Harvard’s listings here.
- Get to know your kitchen. Though this could easily become a hobby or creative outlet, cooking or baking also doubles as something extra productive! Whether you’re trying out a new recipe or mastering a favorite, you’re nourishing your body and also exercising your brain.
- Treat your skin. There’s no better chance to up your skincare game than now. Perfect your routine or build a new one. Do as many masks as your heart desires. Moisturize, go barefaced, explore your endless bottles of toners.
If you have the means and you want to pay it forward, you have some options. Consider:
- Buying a gift card (online!). Do this for your favorite local restaurant or business. Then, you can go use it when we’re all able to go out and about.
- Tipping really, really well. If you do get takeout or another service, tip your provider extra well. Like, full price. They don’t have the option to stay home, and they deserve extra compensation.
- Online transactions. If you know someone is struggling, feel free to Venmo them $5, send a gift card to the grocery store or Amazon, or hire them to do a small freelance job.
- Leaving a review. If you don’t have any extra resources yourself, take the time to leave positive reviews online for your favorite places.
My list of resources
One last thing: I’ve written a TON about indoor activities. Here’s everything that might be helpful during self-isolation.
- Shows to go ahead and watch
- Tips to get out of a reading rut
- Shows I can’t get enough of
- 5 tips for working from home
- Self-care that doesn’t cost any extra
- My go-to skin care items
- My ultimate night in
- Book review: All We Ever Wanted
- Book review: Me Before You
- Show of the Moment: Kim’s Convenience
- Show of the Moment: GBBO
- Show of the Moment: The Americans
- Monthly favorites (lots of TV shows, music, products, and more to check out)
Let me know
If you have any helpful hints and tips, feel free to share in the comments! Remember, we’re all in this together.