What To Do While Quarantined

I was admittedly nonchalant when this virus first hit the news. I thought people were being hysterical, but I’ve sharply changed my tune. Even if social distancing is an overreaction, it’s smarter than people under-reacting and potentially spreading this illness to an immunocompromised or elderly person. I also think the self-centered panic of hoarding an unnecessary amount of supplies needs to stop. Let’s average these two extremes, agreed?

I’m personally choosing to play it safe, follow expert recommendations, and stay indoors for now. It’s temporary and it will give our hospitals and most vulnerable individuals a fighting chance.

What To Do While Quarantined

It also doesn’t have to be miserable. Here are some ideas on what to do with that extra time at home:

Be helpful

– While staying home from school might not be a big deal for some, for others it means losing their daily, free source of food. Head to @nokidhungry to donate and see volunteer opportunities (like making calls to government representatives).

– Donate to Meals on Wheels, which helps feed the most vulnerable, elderly individuals so they don’t go hungry at this time.

– Call an older relative and see how you can help. It’s important to remember that our grandparents and other older individuals might not have access to social media and constant news like we do. They may not be able to get basic groceries or may be too scared to go out in the crowds right now. Offer to order them groceries (and ask for a no-contact drop off). Or just call them to have a conversation since visits may need to slow or stop at this time.

– Stay home. You might not be at risk even if you catch coronavirus, but you could spread it to someone (who spreads it to someone, and so on) and eventually it lands on a vulnerable individual. If you could stop the spread to one individual, isn’t it worth skipping normal life for a couple weeks?

– Think about small businesses. There are unfortunately consequences to social distancing. Small business owners and workers may suffer during this time. Think about where you’d normally go and how you can still send business their way (buy a gift card, order delivery, or see if you can make zero or limited-contact purchases from them).

– Hand write cards to love ones. People are feeling vulnerable, scared, and lonely. Have your kiddo draw a picture or write a note to someone you know lives alone or someone who works in healthcare.

– Don’t spread false or panic-inducing information. Posting photos of empty shelves that induce anxiety or recipes for essential oil-based hand sanitizer that make people feel falsely protected is not helpful. Check credible news sources (like WHO or CDC) and please stop thinking you are smarter than medical experts and are “just going to keep living your life.”

Be zen

– Set limited times to scroll through news. It is good to be informed. It is not good to obsessively scroll every negative story and put yourself in a dark hole mentally. Set a 20 minute period once or max twice a day to read important updates, then put away your phone. Read some positive news while you’re at it like this page or watch videos of lovely Italians singing to each other.

– Create an at-home spa. It is okay to stop thinking about this altogether and just relax! Put on a face mask, light a candle, and take a long bath to pass time.

– Meditate. Try the headspace app if you’re feeling anxious or scared. It’s a great way to find some calm right now.

– Get outside (if you can). If you have a backyard, or live in a less crowded area, try to get some time outside. If this isn’t possible, simply try to sit by a window as often as you can.

– Start each day with a clean up. Living in a put-together space always helps me feel calmer, but in particular when I’m stuck at home! Throw on music, and have a dance party/cleaning session each morning.

Be healthy

– I am skipping the in-person workout classes for now. There are so many great at-home workouts. I personally love the Tone It Up girls, Melissa Wood app, Physique 57, Dailey Method, and Peloton. If you live in a walkable neighborhood where you can follow the 6-feet distance rule, take a walk or run.

– Cook! This is such a good time to prepare at-home meals. Open a cookbook you never use or try one of my recipes here or on the Clean Program website.

Be productive

– Get “dressed” each day. Maybe this is just brushing your hair, and throwing on a new set of PJs, but just do something to make you feel more put together.

– I personally have a huge list of little projects around the house that I never seem to get to. Now is the perfect time to do some of these projects or get the house organized. Maybe you go full Marie Kondo while you have some extra time. But even just organizing one drawer will help you feel a bit productive while you’re stuck at home.

– Use your commute time to do something you’ve been putting off. If you used to commute and are now working from home, dedicate that commute time to something important (but non-essential) that you keep ignoring. Maybe it’s starting a workout routine, a passion project you’ve been thinking about for months, or learning a new skill like a language or an instrument. If you can dedicate that 30-60 minutes daily for even a couple of weeks, you may come out if this quarantine with a new habit or the start of a side gig!

– Write out a schedule each morning. Maybe you’re working from home for the first time and don’t know how to stay focused. Maybe you’re off of work completely and your days are starting to feel like one long cycle of binge watching TV. Either way, adding some structure to your day by writing out a schedule can be helpful. Start by writing out your top 3-6 priorities each day, then schedule them in order of priority, balanced with meal breaks, housework, and some fun.

Speaking of fun

– Open that super special bottle of wine and have an at home date night.

– Play cards, a board game, or put together a puzzle.

– Plan a vacation down to allllllll the details! I love planning, especially travel. Even though we don’t know when it will happen, it’s still fun to research and have something positive to daydream about.

– You know that hobby or random skill you always want to dedicate more time to? For me, it’s my blog, for you it may be painting, cooking, or one of those complicated Pinterest projects. Now is a great time to do it! Masterclass or Skillshare are good resources.

– Read an actual book. If you’re like me, you have a whole bunch of unread, physical books sitting around your house. I’m taking some time to shut the screens off and get lost in a book.

– or…Binge watch TV. Yea, maybe not the “healthiest” activity but this is a limited window of time! Do whatever the hell you want and watch as much trashy TV as your heart desires. Also, not time to be mom of the year with your screen rules. If it helps the sanity of your household, give the kid a damn iPad (and then go take a bath).

More important than the activities that fill your days, is your mindset. It’s important to remember that there are people who are extremely ill, don’t have enough food, are taking life altering hits to their businesses, or are cancelling huge events like weddings. A quick reminder of that can reset your mood. Let’s remember to be kind, helpful neighbors to each other during this time. And share your tips for staying sane – we are all looking for ideas!