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In Isolation? 10 things you can start right now to stay sane

by NoBeige 2 years ago in health
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Start doing the things you've been putting off

Photo by Adrianna Van Groningen on Unsplash

It's undeniable that right now the world is a frightening, depressing, anxiety-inducing place to be...but as with everything there is a silver lining. Being away from family, friends, and co-workers in this difficult time allows you to focus on projects or hobbies that you've always wanted to foster but just haven't had the time. Now that there is no longer a pressure to leave the house, no fear of FOMO, no need to prepare as you usually would for the tasks of the next day, you can concentrate on things that bring you joy.

Perhaps what is more pertinent is that these investments of time will make your isolation more meaningful, and will hopefully serve as a welcome distraction from the inevitable worries accompanying this unforseen pandemic. Don't get me wrong, we should all be making sure to give current events the attention they require, but it doesn't do any of us any good if we do not continue to live our lives as much as possible.

SO here goes...A list of things to do to occupy your time in a productive and healthy way.

1) Learn an instrument

I'm unsure as to whether this applies to most people so hear me out. I have a ukelele in my home, a guitar, and a keyboard. These were all gifts I bought for myself in the hopes that I would one day teach myself to play. Suffice it to say that did not happen. Until recently.

Since being in isolation I have picked up my ukelele, watching youtube tutorial after tutorial teaching myself to play the most basic of songs. Upon my boyfriend coming home one evening I very happily played him Deep Blue Something's 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'. Am I now filled with delusions of grandeur about becoming the 'next big thing'? No. Am I really proud that I finally started something i've always wanted to do. Hell yes.

Now, you may not own a string of instruments gathering dust like me, but we all have our very own built-in instrument. Our voices! Maybe some of us can use this time to graduate from 'only singing in the shower singers' to 'singing in front of small groups...singers'. I realise neither of these categories will likely catch on but you get my drift.

There are a number of online resources to get you started. Takelessonslive is a site which allows you to take beginner lessons for FREE.

2) Listen to podcasts

Like many you perhaps reserve your commute to and from work to listen to your favourite podcasts. With the extra time now you could use it to add a few more interesting listens to your list. There are podcasts for everyone, whether you want to learn something new, stay on top of current events, deal with self-care, or just want a good ol' murder mystery to get stuck into. Click on a few of the links below for some stellar suggestions.

40 best educational podcasts

Best self-care podcasts

Best of 2020 podcasts

3) Take an online course in pretty much anything

I will not be the first to tell you that you can have a go at learning just about anything right now as long as you have a steady internet connection, and a computer. There are numerous websites that offer quality online courses which can enhance your skills, and nurture your interests. So, why not take a chance and see if there is a course out there for you? The added bonus is that many of these courses involve online forums where you can speak to your fellow students about what you're learning. It's a way to feel less isolated, and keep engaged with the outside world.

Personally, I have taken courses on ancient Greece, writing fiction, understanding education in developing countries, as well as a number of others. Thus far i've only had positive experiences and i'm sure you will too! If you don't you can always just try another one. You have nothing to lose and a lot potentially to gain!

Here are a few links to trusted online course platforms with 100's if not 1000's of options for you to choose from. Many of the courses are devised by leading professors and institutions.




Stanford Online

Harvard Extension

Open Yale

4) Work on your culinary skills

You have bulk bought a tonne of stuff and now you need to know how you can best use it! It's high time you get to grips with all the ways you can cook a potato. How best to do it? Supercook is one of my favourite apps which take any ingredients you input and give you a range of recipes to choose from. My other go-to website is Tasty. The videos on this site will have you drooling, each one like an extended M&S advert, sensuous, fun and tempting in all the best ways. Check them out. You never know, you can end up finding your new favourite dish!

5) Keep a journal

Keeping a journal is something I find particularly hard to do. Most days pass by with nothing beyond the mundane to note down. Though, recently I found that journalling doesn't simply have to be recollecting the events of the day. Rather, it can be about you processing your interactions, your thoughts, and what you're grateful for. It is in many ways a meditative practice.

We find few opportunities to take stock of our lives, and journalling is one way we can do this. For instance, instead of writing about your day in which perhaps nothing much happened, you could draw up a time line of your life thus far. Pinpoint key moments, downfalls, learning curves etc, and really reflect so as to make the best steps forward.

You don't have to take a huge chunk out of your day to do this. However, building this habit is known to be useful in building happiness, and productivity.

6) Read, read, read

Crack open a book! Again, reading does not have to be reserved for the morning commute anymore. Take the time to really get lost in the next best seller, or even some old classics. Choosing a book can be like sifting through all the choices on Netflix. You end up spending more time choosing than actually watching anything. To help with your book search you can use Goodreads, or my personal favourite- NPR Book Concierge. The former suggests books based on your previous reads, whilst the latter provides a snapshot of books chosen by the NPR staff. If you listen to NPR as much as I do then such recommendations become gospel.

7) Practise yoga

Yoga for some is best practised early in the mornings, whilst for others it is just before bed. The working day can make it harder to keep to either times depending on your schedule. Though heading to classes is out of the question, you can make sure to do it from the comfort of your own homes. Find a space where you feel zen and head on over to Youtube.

Yoga with Adrienne (a common favourite) is at the top of my list. I would also recommend Boho Beautiful. Though, be warned Boho Beautiful will make you wish you could escape to some tropical destination given her backdrops are jaw-dropping, so perhaps for now Yoga with Adrienne is the way to go!

8) Call people

In a time like this simply texting and sending emojis will not satiate our need for human connection. To be honest it never did, but now more than ever we need to make sure we are keeping those relationships in tact. There is something special about hearing a loved one's voice, or actually speaking to someone you haven't seen in a while.

With Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Google Duo and the plethora of other calling applications, we have absolutely no excuse not to reach out to those we care about. Make a list of people you haven't had the chance to speak to for a considerable time, and just make the call. The chances are they'll be glad to hear from you, and you'll be happy to know that you made that extra bit of effort.

9) Take care of odd jobs around the house

It's now or never. Scrub those skirting boards until they gleam. Fix the loose shelves. Paint that spare room. The list may be long, but think about how great it would feel to tick those things off. Kondo your house and just keep what brings you joy, and toss out the rest. Let's face it, if you've filled your house with toilet paper then you probably need the space...

Whatever odd jobs you've been avoiding, take them head on before your schedule fills up again with late nights at the office, nights out at the bar, or early morning gym workouts.

10) Concentrate on your side hustle

To be perfectly honest this activity could be the only thing you do from this list. Turn your passions, skills, into something profitable. Perhaps build up a business plan, share it with trusted friends and/or family. Work at it, and see how much you can accomplish with this extra time.

If you already have a side hustle in the works then think about where you can grow. What should you be doing that you aren't? Who could you be reaching out to for advice? You could even take this time to initiate a working relationship with a mentor, someone within your field.

So, that's the list! How many do you think you can commit to? Make sure to respond in the comments. I would love to hear your suggestions too. :)


About the author


Avid reader, perpetually confused and always curious.

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