A (sort-of) guide to self-isolation and social distancing
This is an undeniably troubling and difficult time. We’re living in an environment that is riddled with anxiety, worry and uncertainty, scared of the unknown and what is to come. It feels as though every plan, everything that I knew was to come, and everything that I have been looking forward to for so long (I should be in Marrakech right about now), has been pulled so abruptly from under my feet, and we are all together in this. From exams and graduation, to travels and our post-university lives, there is nothing we can truly know for certain at this time. We’re waiting apprehensively to hear more from our departments about what will become of our exams that are looming in the not-so-distant future. We’re questioning whether we will get the long-anticipated opportunity to graduate alongside our peers, and to celebrate the last three years of our University lives. We don’t even know whether we will ever get the chance to say good-bye properly to the people and places that have made our experiences, and been our home, over the past few years (Of course, it is vital to remember that a lot of people have it a lot worse and that, for me personally, I am currently healthy and living comfortably, which is not something that should be overlooked.)
Despite all of the above that may be slightly breaking your heart and filling you with anxiety and worry, it’s so incredibly important to focus on the now. We must do all that we can to protect ourselves and those around us. If you can, you should be practicing social distancing or self-isolation. Unfortunately, I’m one of the lucky people working in retail, so I will still be working until further notice, and will not be heading home to my family. But, other than when I have to go to work, I will be self-isolating.
I thought I’d use this blog to share with you some of the things I am planning to do to occupy myself during self-isolation, that may be useful to any of you who are also isolating, in quarantine or in lock-down.
1. You could actually do your work – If there was ever a time to get started on those essays, or that dreaded dissertation, it’s now. It’s not like you’ve got anything better to be doing. If you can, set yourself up a study space with some natural light and dedicate at least a few hours a day to getting through your work. I know it’s hard right now to focus, especially with the uncertainty regarding examination and assessment, but set yourself your own deadlines and goals. This should help add structure and purpose to your days.
2. Get cleaning – Yesterday, I spent the entire day tackling the absolute state of my bedroom. I cleaned, I dusted, hoovered and tidied my entire room. I also got all of my clothes washing done, and finally got around to washing the ever-growing pile of plates and cups that had been sitting there a little too long. Over the next week or so, I’m definitely going to dedicate some time to getting the whole house cleaner and tidier (and it’s a student house, so this is likely to take some time). Not only does this mean you’ve got a tidier space to be living in whilst you’re more confined, you also feel fantastically productive once you’ve finished it.
3. Read – There’s nothing better than losing yourself in a good book, it might even help you to momentarily forget everything going on around you. If you’re not sure what to start with, take a look at the book charts online, or ask your friends and family for recommendations. Personally, I read the Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri last summer, and have been recommending it to everyone ever since.
4. Sort through your wardrobe – Organise it (You can even order it by colours or styles if you feel up to it), and potentially put together a bag of things you want to donate to your local charity shop.
5. Exercise! – If you can, do a workout from home. There’s such an array of content available online now, a lot of which is free to access, particularly on YouTube. Also, don’t forget that you can, at this time, go for a run, a walk or bike ride outside if you’re taking the necessary precautions whilst you do this. Now would also be a great time to practice some yoga or meditation – again, you can find plenty of content on YouTube and in blogs.
6. Make playlists – If you’re bored, but you’re not feeling up to doing much, making some new playlists is a great way to pass the time. Make one for when you’re revising, for when you’re cleaning or for when you’re working out, or just one for self-isolating in general.
7. Play games – Whether that be a competitive and intense game of monopoly with your family, or something on your phone or laptop, games are a great way to pass the time.
8. Start a scrapbook – I have been meaning to do this for SO long, so now’s the perfect time. I always wanted to put together a scrapbook of my time at University, and any travels I’ve been doing over the past few years, so this is definitely the next thing on my to do list.
9. Make your own spa day – If you’re feeling a little anxious about everything, or just need some down time, making yourself an at-home spa day could be a lovely way to spend a day. You could: run yourself a nice hot bath, use a facemask, light some candles, meditate/practice some yoga, paint your nails, put some relaxing music on, read a book or write in/ make a journal.
10. Sort through the pictures on your phone – you know you’ve been meaning to do it
11. Baking – If you can get your hands on some ingredients, baking some cakes, or trying out some new recipes could be a great way to pass some time. With the lack of meat in the supermarkets, this could also be an opportunity to get into the habit of eating more vegetarian/vegan meals and figuring out what works for you.
12. Rearrange your room – Moving your bed, wardrobe, or every piece of furniture in your room could be a productive way to spend a few hours, and will leave your space feeling brand new.
13. Try listening to a podcast – Find a podcast that you enjoy. For me, I always listen to the ‘Receipts Podcast’ on Spotify, but there’s so many out there there’s bound to be something you like.
14. Try something new or creative – Now would be the time to do some writing, to blog, to draw and create art. All of those things you’ve been meaning to do but have never had chance to get around to – this could be your chance (but, don’t feel like you have to use this time to recreate yourself or take on a multitude of new projects, just do whatever you think will work for you.)
15. Watch the movies you’ve been meaning to watch
16. Make a bucket list – Put together a list of things you want to do and achieve in the future, big or small. You could put together a list of places you want to travel to and the things you want to do in those countries. You could write yourself a letter to open in 10 years time, or a list of things you want to achieve by the time you’re 30 – the possibilities are endless.
17. Tackle the things you’ve been meaning to do for months on end – Do the odd jobs you’ve been meaning to do, reply to the emails you’ve been leaving in your inbox and get round to the admin you’ve been avoiding at all costs!
18. Start a new series – My personal recommendations would be; Prison Break, Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl, The Bold Type, Gilmore girls, You, Sex Education, Atypical and Love is Blind. You could even go back and watch an old series of Love Island on ITV player (that would certainly take up a lot of your time.) Watching documentaries are also a great alternative, and I tend to feel a little less lazy if I’m learning something whilst I’m watching TV for hours on end.
19. Reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in a while and see how they’re doing and what’s new in their lives.
20. Facetime people – Facetime your family and your friends. You can even make an effort to feel like you’re going out and doing something with them. Tonight, for instance, me and my best friend have scheduled a facetime where we can have a long overdue catch up over a gin & tonic (Who needs spoons!?)
21. Call your family – Call your nan and grandad, or any older relatives or friends, as they’re the most vulnerable during this time. Have a nice catch up (it might mean more to them than you know), and make sure they know you’re thinking of them and that you’re there should they need any help (or just someone to speak to.)
I hope that you might find some of these ideas at least a little helpful.
Remember: keep self-isolating and social distancing (stay away from the pubs & clubs, don’t be selfish), and ensure you’re looking after yourselves and those around you.