You are in quarantine, shelter in place or some other form of lockdown, which means that your usual routine and entertainment are not available. It feels like the entire world is forced to stay home but even the most introverted of us are going to feel crazy after a while. Well, since everything in your calendar is canceled or postponed (except for working from home), why not fill that calendar with the things you always wanted to do. I have put some of our creative ways to LIVE YOUR LIFE if you’re self-quarantined or practicing social distancing in the weeks and months to come.
1. Create a home spa in your bathroom: “Self Care-antine” is the word. Personally, my favorite method of self-care was going to the spa for massages and manicure + pedicure. But that’s not possible at the moment. Fix a bubble bath, light some candles, play soft music, drink a glass of wine, read a magazine… Look up some DIY recipes for face masks and body scrubs, then treat your skin to some well-deserved pampering.
2. Stay hydrated and eat well. : Have you ever watched the Australian TV show “Love Island?” It is basically a bunch of mentally crazy + physically sexy girls and boys living together on an island. You see them drinking LOTS of water. Like lots. And I thought to myself “There’s no way I can drink that much water cause if I’d do, I won’t be able to work in our offices or go out anywhere cause you would have to live inside your bathroom.” But no need to worry about that now since you’re at home 24/7. This may seem silly, but stress and eating often do not mix well, and we find ourselves over-indulging, forgetting to eat, and avoiding food. Drink plenty of water, eat some good and nutritious foods. Which leads us to the next point…
3. Cook & bake: Cooking and baking & trying new recipes can be very therapeutic. Even if it’s ambitious and completely outside your wheelhouse, give it a go.
4. Exercise even when indoors: Commit to exercising for at least 30 minutes a few times a week. You can also go outside for a walk or a run or find workout classes on YouTube. My personal favorite is to do Ballet Barre or Dance Toning classes online with some good music to get your endorphins flowing.
5. Create and Share: This one might sound intimidating but you don’t have to be a genius. Just create something every day and if you feel comfortable doing so, share it with the world online! Practice, study, create a playlist, experiment with new makeup or hairstyles, rediscover the zen of coloring, put together a photo album, create a mood board for your dream for when all this is over. Write songs, try writing a children’s story, maybe even try writing a novel, paint, garden, learn that instrument you always wanted, think of new choreography for dance, build something with woodwork, take some cool photos (at home), take up knitting, needle pointing or sewing.
6. Clean, organize & declutter: Decluttering your home helps with decluttering your mind. This is also a great time to not only declutter but think about donating things to those in need. Closets and pantry are good places to organize in a time like this since it gets neglected most times.
7. Take extra time in your journal & meditate: Is it only me that feels like my morning devotions can be in a rush when you’re working or scheduling things with your baby or friends? Thanks to YouTube and Mobile Apps you can easily find yoga and meditation classes. Meditating for just a few minutes a day will improve your mental health. I love this list of “100 daily reminders during this pandemic” from acclaimed travel journalist and photographer Lola Akinmade.
8. Read books, not a magazine! Listen to audiobooks, not a podcast! : Does anyone else feel like you’re behind in reading? We always have time to finish an episode or two on Netflix during our usual routine but we hardly get much from our hectic schedules to read that one book we have meant to finish since ever. Here are some recommendations from NY Times Bestsellers. You can now download books for free from The New York Public Library and Audible is offering free downloads as well.
9. Reconnect and stay connected with friends: Facetime or Skype with friends far away. You really do get the chance to catch up with long lost friends. Usually, in our busy routine and lives, it’s difficult to schedule a catch up over coffee. But this is possible because everyone else’s plans are also canceled and they are all staying at home. I love the idea of a “Quarantini Happy Hour“. It is one way to host a fun video chat.
10. Make your home cozy: Before the self-quarantine order, you barely spent time in your home. Usually, you wake up early in the morning to head out to school, work or an appointment. Then you come home in the evening after a long day. Now, you are spending all your time in this space. Day and night. There may be things that never bothered you before but now have become bothersome. Fix it. Make your space become a cozy space that you WANT to spend time in. Whether it is shifting a painting on the wall or moving furniture around once a week. I bought a brand new candle and got a brand new rug. And I try to get fresh flowers on the coffee table or dining table. I’m even thinking of doing some hunts for plants and pots! Bring life into your home.
11. Put on some nature sound or relaxing music throughout the day: I was missing being outside and decided to put on the sound of a forest from our living room speaker. I felt like I was breathing deeper. Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) found that playing ‘natural sounds’ affected the bodily systems that control the flight-or-fright and rest-digest autonomic nervous systems, with associated effects in the resting activity of the brain. While naturalistic sounds and ‘green’ environments have frequently been linked with promoting relaxation and wellbeing, until now there has been no scientific consensus as to how these effects come about. The study has been published in Scientific Reports.
12. Create an outdoor office: Having a garden office proves to be beneficial in more ways than increasing your work productivity alone. It is about convenience and making life easier. People are attracted by the versatility of working in an open, light-filled space, away from the noise and distractions from everyday life. So, on a sunny day (which is few in Melbourne) go put your desk on your balcony or back yard. No need to make a glamorous space, the sky is already glamorous enough for you. Desk, a laptop, and coffee outside are more than enough for you even for a few hours.
So everyone, what do you think? I hope this gave you some ideas and motivation to get through this difficult season! But hey, can I be honest with you that even in the midst of me writing this blog and putting it together, I had to stand up and do some stretches, maybe even roar into the sky a little bit. IT IS OKAY TO FEEL SAD OR DEPRESSED A LITTLE BIT. It is a normal reaction so please be KIND TO YOURSELF. That is what I am trying to learn every day. And let’s pray that it won’t be like this forever.
Helen Keller said, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”