I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s a little nervous over how this social distancing is going to play out. I think by now most of us understand what it is and why it needs to happen, but the reality of being isolated to the space we call our home for the next 14 days (and let’s be honest, this is probably a conservative estimate) is, to say the least, a little daunting.
I remember when I was young (like very young), if my parents would leave me unsupervised for an hour then when they’d come searching for me I’d be waving to them from a tree, or a bush, or the garage roof. I loved the roof the most, high enough off the ground to house two cars, and a small attic space above it. Wouldn’t you think as adults we’d find it’d be even easier to keep still? But no, in reality, we’ve just gotten busier. Our lives are constant whirlwinds of activities, social engagements, work, chores, and all the other items that fill our days. Now with all our outdoor diversion’s being shut down ‘en masse’, what are we to do? Spoiler, there’s no garage high enough…
We could spend 14 days trolling memes, creating video blogs and pranking the roommates daily…
It’s tempting… but what will that really accomplish? Beyond the initial amusement, and possible impromptu eviction, nothing. The dark cloud of cabin fever still hovers on the horizon my friends, but it doesn’t have to be so daunting. As an unyielding optimist, I know there’s a silver lining that time spent indoors can provide, so I’ve thoughtfully compiled this list of productive options below not only occupy your time, but also have you emerging out at the end of this as a smarter, more self-aware, and healthier individual on the whole.
That being said, here are a few tips for what to do when you’re bored while being stuck in isolation.
Expand Your Mind
If you’re stuck inside and not ‘lucky’ enough to be working through it then it’s normal to feel your mind is slowing down or getting dusty, so why not take the time to study something intriguing? There are sooo many free online courses being offered online to take advantage of!
You could try “The Science of Well-Being” being offered by Yale. The course breaks down human behavior using the latest research in human science, and assists in developing more productive habits, it even boasts that chances are you’ll be a happier person upon its completion. The full course is free but if you want the pretty certificate to add to your resume then it’ll cost you $65.
Not your style? Fine, jump onto edX which is a nonprofit that shows the current free online courses being offered by different education institutions around the world. Go on, feed your intellect.
Try Learning a Language
Je ne sai pas? Your way around no longer! Start from scratch, or perfect the skills you already possess with a free learning application.
I’m on DuoLingo, again it’s free, but it also gives you points to cash in for other kinds of rewards within the app.
Try the bonus material on flirting if you’re really looking for a laugh.
Increase Your Body Awareness
Increased lounge and chair time mean it’s even more vital that you’re stretching your body out more often. The benefits of yoga are slowly being uncovered by modern science though it’s no secret you can use it to increase body awareness, tone your muscles, and calm a frantic mind with just one practice. Another major plus is that you only need a flat surface and enough space to roll out a mat on to start!
My best resource for all experience levels is DoYogaWithMe. This site has an incredible array of styles and teachers for all levels of experience, and you can even select your desired practice time. Bear in mind sometimes the first lesson you select might not be for you, keep looking if this is the case as it is important to find a style that is right for you and your body type. This website has always had a large number of classes available for free viewing, but they’ve also recently made their usual Membership Only material free for 2 whole months to support those who are suffering most from isolation and inactivity.
If you’re a beginner, you might like to try jumping in with this link to Melissa Krieger’s class called Stretch and Bend.
Or, if you’re a more experienced practitioner, maybe try out Tracey Noseworthy’s class called In the Moment for a good challenging, yet calming flow sequence.
Set Up A Workout Routine
Have a backyard? Excellent!
Whether you’re moving your body solo or with your isolation buddies it doesn’t matter. Plan a workout to suit your style. Grab a ball/Frisbee and throw it around, run laps in your backyard for some quick cardio, or set up a circuit class as you’d find in the gym! Use your phone as a timer, or do a set amount of rep’s so you’re remembering when to switch.
No Backyard? No problem!
You could follow an online sequence that appeals to you by doing your own search (some workouts I found in a 5 min search recommended things like water bottle weights, lifting heavy books, running your stairs, even dancing will get your blood moving). Or, if you’re not feeling up to creating your own routine you can also find a workout routine to move along to on YouTube.
Form a New Habit…Like Meditation!
When I did my yoga teacher training it was drilled into us that 21 days was all that was required to form any new habit. 21 Days and it would become a part of your routine. 21 Days. That number has stuck in my head.
What better time for you to form a new habit than now? You’ve got nowhere else to go and let’s be honest, not much else to do.
If you’re feeling like beginning a meditation practice just remember the trick isn’t to eliminate thought, not hardly. It’s merely to sit and be with your thoughts for a time, to give them space to come up and see them from an objective place. To say, “I’m thinking in the future” or “I’m thinking in the past” and to see what emotions attach to each in a non-judgmental way. Suffice it to say, I’m an advocate, but if you’re dubious then there’s a wide range of benefits toted by modern science out there if you want to go hunting.
Download a free application on your phone to start right now, don’t delay! A friend of mine swears by Headspace, but I use Calm. Neither is better or worse, what’s important is what suit’s your style. I’ve noticed the material on Calm recently has been more tailored towards the current global environment and how to respond to the stress and stressors being faced daily though which I love…and brings me to our next idea.
Practice Self-Love…Or Share The Love!
No, not like that! Though obviously it’s implied…I’m talking about the art of massage. Trade your roommates for massages* or better yet, just give yourself one! Start learning the art of a DIY Massage here.
If you’re going to be massaging someone else though, I’d probably advise using an oil or they might accuse you of trying to torture them instead. If you don’t have any then you can mix up your own oil blend to use.
*Obviously if you’re not currently under a 24-hour lock-down you should probably avoid touching others (especially strangers) as much as possible. But if you’re stuck under the same roof under isolation then why not offer up massage trades for food or other tasks you don’t enjoy…cleaning the toilet comes to mind. Which brings me to my next suggestion…
Personalize or Enhance Your Environment
Have you been putting off some housework or a DIY project? Well, there’s no better time than now to just get it over with! You’ll feel so much better looking around your clean, well-organised home, or seeing your completed project finally ticked off the list. You can even make your own cleaning spray to use on wood and other surfaces, it’s surprisingly simple!
In any case, if you’re going to be stuck inside then take the time to make the inside your sanctuary…
BONUS: No one’s around to judge your interior design skills so you can be as adventurous as you want.
Working from home for the first time? Invest the energy to really arrange your space. Not only should it be ergonomic, but it should also encourage you to sit (or stand) and actually do your work. Think minimal distractions, good ventilation and light, a pleasant aroma even, whatever you prefer to be surrounded by when you’re tackling a project.
Share a Meal/Game to Bridge the Gap
How much of our lives are spent sitting down and sharing meals with loved ones? Such an important tradition doesn’t need to stop just because you’re stuck at home! Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Messenger, it’s all free! Just prepare your meal (which you were going to do anyway), sit down, sign-on, and share a non-traditional dinner with a friend/family. All the elements of it are still there, and you’re not breaking any rules – even if someone sneezes!
How about using your computer or phone to share a game with a friend, or a group of friends too! There are plenty of free word games, multiplayer games, and others out there to explore. Maybe you can add an element of fun by placing a friendly bet. My suggestion? The winner can choose the first meetup after the rules are lifted, or gets free dinner, or unlimited drinks, or a pony! Okay, maybe better if you choose.
Well, that’s just my little list of ideas….and I’m sure there are a million other things to do to keep us all occupied and entertained. So keep brainstorming!
Beyond all else, remember to take care of yourself, stay hydrated, eat healthily, and keep in contact with your loved ones. We’re all here to support each other and thanks to the internet, we can.
Have faith in humanity and we’ll all get through this together.
Jenna is the author of the article above. She’s an unshakable optimist, a veteran traveler, a musician, a part-time hippy, a yoga practitioner and a lover of all things outdoors. Some might say she has an unhealthy obsession with garlic bread but she’s always up for a chat and a laugh, and she’ll happily share what she has with whoever crosses her path… unless it’s garlic bread…