I would consider myself an expert in entertaining myself without the company of other people. Although I am considered an extrovert- I have been solo for some time. It’s second nature to me, but I seem to be hearing about people struggling; I guess I would’ve too… about 5 years ago.
Here are some things you might find helpful:
Where to start
First and foremost, clean your house/apartment… space! I think it can be difficult to function and not be scatter brained when the space around me is disorganized. Not to mention, a pandemic seems to be a very fitting time for a deep clean- clean everything. Perhaps you find this to be an opportune time to (re)organize. I assume this will take at least a day… maybe more.
ALRIGHT… TIME TO MOVE ON.
Structure during Social Distancing
Be productive and find balance every day, KEEP A ROUTINE.
How to start your day
Have a morning routine: wake up, IGNORE YOUR PHONE, shower/brush your teeth, and get dressed (stay comfy). *Ignore electronics and media to stay productive; peace of mind to start the day. I would encourage 20 mins of ‘me time’ every morning- at a minimum 10 minutes. ‘Me time’ can be had before or after the typical morning routine- ideally it is incorporated into the routine long term.
Me time might look like: reading a chapter in a book, meditation (breathing exercises), yoga or cardio, mirror exercises (where you check in with yourself), or maybe you lay still and listen to a podcast- I know electronics, but I meditate from an app, too (Insight Timer).
Creating Normalcy during Quarantine
Are you working from home during the COVID19 outbreak? If so, I suppose you know what to do for 7-8 hours. Be proactive and see about starting an Asana or Slack networking group with your teams, these will allow for organization and socialization for all projects. Asana is free for groups of 15 or less.
Are your kid’s home? I’m not a mom BUT during the school closures I found there are many websites in which you can encourage kids to learn from. I think it is important to let kids know that while they are not going into school they still will have structured lessons from home. My nephews school already had recommended sites for students to visit out of the classroom… perhaps your school does, too.
here are some I found:
Fun Brain, free lessons from preK-8
Scholastic, free online classes for every grade K-12
Math: Click here for PreK- middle school level &
Click here for high school (preAlgebra-preCalc) level
This is also a great time to break out the board games and spend quality family time together. Some of my favorite kid friendly games are: Beat the Parents (trivia), UNO, Catan, Mousetrap, and life. I even like to play video games with kids- the classics like Mario, PacMan, and Crash Bandicoot.
I believe with most kids in middle to high school who have textbooks, it will be easy for the school to set up lesson plans and send out coursework- virtual assignments. While not every child has access to internet or computers… etc. I don’t think this is a time to implement ‘no kid left behind’. Unfortunately, some children may have to repeat grades but I believe others, if they have access, should continue learning and not be restricted by their peer’s capabilities.
Are you a traveler? You might be going stir crazy, or maybe you’re upset because a big trip got cancelled due to travel restrictions. Honestly, it’s for the betterment of society and for our planet to pause this lifestyle. Perhaps you can research and plan a future trip- many countries that depend on tourism will be in desperate need to make up for the decline in their economy. Like when a Natural Disaster hits, it is important to countries and communities that us travelers continue to visit and support their main source of income. In the meantime, check out these virtual experiences- although it’s not the same, it is helpful to have this access.
Visit 12 Museums (Globally) here
Check out some National Parks (USA) virtually here; You’ll have to be about as patient as is truly necessary in a real National Park for Google Earth to load- but it’s pretty awesome. I’ve waited longer for Old Faithful, so it almost feels authentic! Hahaha.
Please, just DONT travel, even a roadtrip can bring down a community. I’ve seen my own friends taking advantage of this downtime… they think roadtrips are harmless and are going to places like National Parks (not virtually) and are unaware or selfishly ignoring the fact that many of these towns are small- their hospital is not equipped the way cities with bigger populations are. Did you know Moab’s hospital only has THREE ventilators? These rural communities are more vulnerable to deaths should they be exposed to COVID19- do you want to be responsible for spreading it? I suggest watching Pandemic, a docu-series on Netflix.
Just ‘bored’? Maybe this isn’t the right word- because if you’re bored… I’d assume you’ve already exhausted the obvious. As a highly productive person, I try not to get sucked into Netflix… or even a book because time will FLY! So, I typically listen to podcasts so I can multitask. Either way, there are 3 suggestions right there to entertain yourself. Don’t have Netflix? substitute as Hulu, HBO, On Demand… Roku… and so on. Read a book, I guarantee you have one somewhere you haven’t opened or haven’t finished; they’re always better than the movie/show anyway. Listen to music and/or work on your favorite hobby: writing, drawing, photo edits… etc. theach yourself a new hobby or increase your skills.
Oh! You can even take free classes/courses on Skill Share- the premium service, which offers more classes, is also free for the first 2 months- click here. I have taken many courses, they definitely can kill an hour or two while keeping you productive and not seemingly wasteful of your time.
Podcasts Recommendations, there are SO many to choose from. I tend to listen to:
- Informational– What Really Happened with Andrew Jenks & Radio Lab series, I especially liked the Dolly Parton America series; both podcasts have so many episodes to binge as you go about your day.
- Comedic– The Basement Yard, JTrain, U Up, & Girls Gotta Eat. Humor is a touchy subject… if you don’t have the same sense of humor as me than these might seem a bit vulgar or be offensive- I like them. I really like JTrain and he has just begun a series for the quarantine. *The Basement Yard has a spin off that is more serious and quite eye-opening, it’s called ‘Other People’s Lives’ and it even has a recent episode speaking to an American expat living in China- she is interviewd at about a months time of quarantine.
- Spiritual or therapeutic– Almost30, Trailercast, & The Melissa Ambrosini show; catered toward women.
- Travel- Wild Ideas by REI, Zero to Travel, & Women on the Road
- Family(?)– I also really like Kate and Oliver (brother) Hudson’s podcast- Sibling Revelry where they interview siblings.
Stay healthy during CoronaVirus
Workout at least 3x a week- stay active! There are many at home workouts you can do. Also, make actual meals- you have more time now, make a recipe that would otherwise be time consuming… or just keep making meals you already love! Don’t go to the store if you don’t have ingredients you need- unless you are going for other essentials.
And obviously… to actually reduce your risk of getting or carrying the virus: disinfect surfaces, wash your hands thoroughly, and stay inside- this isn’t a vacation; it’s not a hoax- this is worldwide.
Side note: do not believe in all the hype, influencers, and FAKE NEWS you are seeing: water is not the solution, 10 second breathing is not a substantial testing method, Elderberry doesn’t ‘BOOST’ your immune system, and so on.
Overall our a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep will support our immune systems. ‘Boosting’ an immune system actually would suggest enhancing our system- did you know an overactive immune system can result in autoimmune disease? Careful of over supplementing out of fear. Vitamin C will only make you pee more but other substances can be harmful- ie, Vitamin A which can lead to liver damage. That’s not to say nutrient deficiencies don’t negatively impact our immune system- a nutrient poor diet will, longterm.
Still stuggling with social distancing?
These are things that work for me, if the social aspect of it all really is hard for you- make phone calls. I talk to my sister on a daily basis; it seems like phone calls are far and few between but it really can keep you connected. Call friends and family. Even if both parties are on the phone making dinner together, or watching a show together… it might feel weird but take advantage of our technology. Make a Skype call or facetime and have wine with your friend in another state or country! Play games with eachother- you can play Catan online (alone or with friends) and the obvious XBox and PS4 games. You can even play CodeNames online- that’s my favorite.
I think it is important in the end to find comfort in being alone. I’m a middle child though so I’ve had to find independence at a young age. I have no idea what it would be like to have to learn independence as an adult.
End your day peacefully
NIGHT ROUTINE: Put your phone down an hour or two before bed. I like to watch TV before bed- not news channels but a movie or reality TV that requires no thinking. I also will read a book before bed if I have a lot going on in my head; reading requires focus and thus gets me outside of my thoughts. This is also a good time for meditation. If you’re like me, you may also shower at night- I don’t shower in the morning; I prefer to get into my bed clean.
My night time routine is very much like my morning routine. I start and end my day in a calm state, whether or not I got everything done on my to-do list, I find clarity in shutting down and disconnecting before and after the chaos of everyday life- be it during a pandemic or not.
Please share your own methods of entertaining yourself in the comments. Or if you have suggestions for shows, websites, YouTube channels, Netflix series, Podcasts… whatever you think will help keep people entertained and happy during this otherwise difficult time, post them below; please include a short description with your suggestion!