Staying at home: the quarantine survival guide

The year 2020 started with a major health crisis characterized by the rapid spread of COVID-19. It has become a major issue today and nearly the whole world has had to resort to quarantine, a measure that has made introverts happy and extraverts desperate, as the main rule is to limit physical contact with the outside world and especially with other people. However, the most important thing about the situation around the world is that it’s not a prolonged day-off, but rather a specific mode of everyday life that people now have to get accustomed to. In these conditions, staying at home means taking responsibility not only for your personal wellbeing, but also for that of the people around you. So, stay at home, wash your hands, and read this article to find some fun stuff to occupy yourself with in this period of self-isolation.

The time for going through your reading and watch lists is now

Undoubtedly, you have a ton of bookmarks, screenshots, and lists of movies and novels you have been saving for later. Presumably, some of those items you saved to read about later. Well, there is no better opportunity to do so than now. The problem is, however, that there are so many options on the internet that you may not know what you want to check out anymore, so here is a brief guide on how to pick a background activity to accompany your evening snack.

Revisit your postponed plans

There are plenty of things you have saved to watch or read later, and this is just the time to try ticking them off your to-do list. However, the problem you may encounter is not knowing where to start. It would be easier if there were fewer items on these lists, or if they were all in the same place. Some of them are screenshots, others are listed carefully in your notes, and the rest are texts you’ve written to yourself with something you don’t want to slip your mind. You can approach them in various ways. First, chronologically. See what you were interested in a while ago and start from there. It will help you recollect your past interests, which is heartwarming in a way. Conversely, you can try with the recent updates and trace back the development of your taste. Eventually, you’ll either realize that you had a passion all along, or that your preferences have changed dramatically.  Besides, you can always just pick a book or a film that suits your mood. However, if it is something about a real or fictional pandemic, it will probably end up making you anxious.

Search the movie selections according to your preferences

You can also search for something completely new, and there is a myriad of internet services to assist you with that. You can check out the best pieces in a genre you like, which will help you discover new directors, writers, and cinematic styles. You can also stick to one creator and take a closer look at their oeuvre. Besides, it is also great anthropological fun to select movies or books according to their country of origin or historical era. Another option is to check out notable works from recent festivals, which are often full of gems. Finally, you can’t even imagine how many mindblowing unwatched documentaries there are. Again, a good strategy to avoid getting overwhelmed by the variety of choices is to select a topic, find the relevant pieces, and shortlist them.

Rewatch your favorites

You can rewatch and re-read all that you love, be it something you found amazing when you were thirteen or a series you finished two months ago. Even though the time for winter holidays has passed, Home Alone will still seem relevant and relatable: you can essentially play around your home and go out for grocery shopping, only with gloves and a mask on. Revisiting things you have liked for a long time will feel nostalgic and fun in many ways. Moreover, you can now watch and read your favorites from a different perspective, as it’s been some time since you first discovered them. For example, Catcher in the Rye, the eternal classic, is a book which a person of any age can find relevant and interpret in their own way. So, you can try it with your favorite book or film and see if you learn or experience anything new.

Do something together with your friend

If you can’t figure out how to find something decent to do on your own, ask a friend for advice. If they suggest a book you’ve always wanted to read, you can do it simultaneously. In this case, you will have more motivation to finish it quickly, and be encouraged by the knowledge there’s already someone available to discuss it with. If it’s a film, you can watch it at the same time and share your impressions right away. Besides, even if you have to stay home, it will almost feel like a small movie party because you’ll be sharing the same experience.

Check out something unusual

The main problem with most of the streaming services, both for music and videos, is that they limit your pool of interests quite a lot. They commonly suggest that you watch or listen to the things that are similar to what you’ve already liked, or just try to promote something new or trendy. Unfortunately, this has little to do with developing your personal taste. What if you might like something completely different, but will never find out if you only trust the algorithms? A good exercise in broadening your horizons will be trying something that’s the opposite of what you usually read, watch or listen to. If it doesn’t work for you, at least you will know the reason.

Learn a new skill

The bright side of the quarantine, if there is one, is that many educational services are beginning to offer their courses for free. Besides, there were already a lot of educational institutions offering free services. Liberated from your normal schedule, you can now audit courses on something relevant to your major, or try learning something just for fun. For example, there are so many DIY lessons on the internet that you can stay busy for the whole self-isolation period. This way, you can find a new hobby which will complement your intellectual activities perfectly. In fact, it is a great way to offload your brain and get gratification from what you do. For example, there is research showing that the happiest people are those who work with their hands and can see or touch the results of their efforts, as opposed to the professions that require intellectual work with concepts and long-term projects. Thus, a little DIY time can be great fun for you, especially since you have to study at home.

There are even more interactive things to do

Apart from rather passive things to do such as reading books, watching films or listening to music, there are activities you can have moderate-to-great fun with that require your active participation. Some of them may not seem enjoyable right away, but, in the end, you won’t regret having engaged in them.

Clean up your house

One way or another, you’ll face the necessity of tidying up the space you have to spend so much time in. It may not be the easiest or the most engaging activity, but you will see how rewarding it actually is. It is a chance for you to experiment with how you organize your stuff and encounter the old keepsakes you haven’t touched since bringing them home. So, it is time to get creative about sorting things in your home. Besides, after you finish cleaning your house, it will feel fresh and new, and you will feel good about yourself. Thus, it’s really a win-win.

Bring some flora into your life

If you have a pet, you don’t need to think at all about what to do while at home. You have a buddy that is always there to entertain you, comfort you, play with you, and give you unconditional love. Or disapproving glares, if it is a cat. However, if you don’t have a pet, you still can bring something alive home, namely indoor plants. Just a few pots with succulents or something green can change your place completely. Plus, plants give you air to breathe and don’t require walking or playing. Apart from that, exposure to nature, including plants at home influences your mood and mental wellbeing positively, which is important during the isolation period. Planting or re-planting pots is also quite interesting and, in addition to other DIY activities, brings you the gratification you deserve.

Play videogames

It’s not as productive as the ideas above, but it doesn’t have to be so. During the quarantine you save time on commuting, so you have extra hours to use as you please. So, if there is a videogame you were afraid would eat up all your time, give it a try. And don’t be afraid to get too engaged: if you have an urgent studying assignment, you can get help remotely from a professional essay writing service at any time.

Gather with your friends online

With today’s technology, there are no physical inconveniences to staying at home all the time. If you miss your friends, just make a video call or video conference with them. It’s quite a new format of friendship, especially if you don’t live far away from each other. In any case, you can still see each other, share your stories and even play board games, with enough dedication. All you need to do is to turn on your computer.

Quarantine means you still have to study

Quarantine is not a break, which means you can’t spend it only having fun. You have to stay productive, and in an environment such as a home, it’s difficult because you are used to seeing it as a place of relaxation and homework, which doesn’t tend to take up all your time. For that reason, you have to develop rules that will make your quarantine both productive studying-wise and comfortable.

Pretend you still have to leave home

Even though you only need to leave your bed, it is a good idea for the sake of productivity to stick to a schedule. First, don’t do assignments or study in bed. It seems comfortable, but it is significantly less productive than working at your desk. It’s quite a necessary measure to sacrifice some part of your personal space to study. If you mix them, preparing your assignments will feel lazy, and going to bed will have an anxious flair because you’ll think about your deadlines in your sleeping space. Sleeping is equally necessary, and must feel safe.

Second, change your clothes when you work. It might seem insignificant, but your outfit does change your mindset (which is why when one goes out in a bathrobe it looks alarming). It does not have to be fancy or elaborate. Habitually, the ritual of changing clothes informs your brain of changing from chill mode to productivity mode and vise versa.

Third, try waking up at the same time each day, ideally before noon. It is always easier to work when you have a rhythm, so you will do your grades a favor if you stick to your schedule. The good news is, you can figure out the schedule that works best for you. This is the time for night owls to rejoice.

Plan your day

Write a list of the things you have to do on any given day and reward yourself for every box you check off. The trick is not to expect too much, as you risk getting frustrated. Nonetheless, it is a good practice which can transform into a habit of completing everything that you planned for the day. Besides, if you can’t handle a tough assignment but really want to manage all your essays or math homework, you can get help online.

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Take as many breaks as you need

You’re free to use your time as you want, which is why you don’t have to wait until the end of the class to stretch your back, lie down or watch a funny video online. Although it is hard to stay organized when you’re studying at home, it’s a chance to work out a routine that you’re comfortable with.

Catch up with your classmates

Don’t forget to communicate with your peers. You’ll know the latest updates and see how your classmates are doing in isolation. After all, you’ll realize that it is challenging for everybody, and your group chat can become a little bit like a support meeting.

***

Isolation is a necessary measure. The resolution of this problem is the responsibility of every individual. For that reason, we all have to follow the cautionary measures, which are simple. Just wash your hands and stay home. The usual life rhythm nowadays is quite rough, and the next time you’ll be able to stay at home this long will probably be when you retire. Make the best out of your quarantine and stay safe.


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