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Quarantine is hard on us all. It’s difficult to find ways to fill the days, and they all seem to be blending one into the other, day after day after day. The overall tone of the days of quarantine, despite a few gorgeous ones we’ve had here in the DC area, is gray, gray, gray. A few nights ago Ben and I sat down and thought of some ways to fill our days so that we are entertained, stimulated, and don’t actually go insane. I thought I’d share some of our ideas with you.
Start a book club.
Ben and I read very different books. He loves high fantasy and sci-fi, and I love historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and nonfiction. So, I thought it would be fun if we each picked a favorite book, one the other would never pick up on their own, and read it simultaneously so we could later discuss it. It’s Ben’s pick first, and I’m about a third of the way through Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn. I’m really loving it so far!
If you and your significant other or roommate have different tastes in literature (or even film or TV!), consider trying something they love so you can talk about it. Or, if you live alone, try to create a book club with some friends and have virtual meetings. Pour yourself a glass of wine, and talk it up with your friends! A book club is a great way to share an experience with people you love while still honoring quarantine. If you can’t afford a book, try downloading it through your library’s ebook app – though beware, sometimes popular titles have long waits! I also love the website Thriftbooks for discounted new books and great used books. If you’re anywhere in the USA, shipping is free once your cart totals $10.
Go for walks.
Right now you most likely have zero reason not to go for walks. If you’re still working from home, you could take your walks during the time you would normally be commuting, or going out to lunch. If you’re not working, try for three walks a day of a mile each. You’d be surprised how quickly your body acclimates to that mile, and if you have someone with you, how much there is to see and talk about once you leave the house. Plus, sunshine and fresh air are good for you! Just make sure to socially distance from other people, and if it makes you more comfortable, wear a face mask and gloves to the park. Also, make sure that any time you return home that you wash your hands thoroughly!
Learn something new.
Maybe you’ve neglected something that you were once excited to learn about. Maybe things became hectic, or you lost interest, or both. Now is the time to pick it back up again! Get that Duolingo owl off your tail, borrow a book from the library, or watch YouTube tutorials on whatever you like. Some ideas for things to learn are:
- Another language.
- Editing photos, audio, or video.
Between your newfound free time, the books digitally available in the library, and the Internet, the only person keeping you from learning something new is you. (Of course, this only applies to those people who now find themselves with increased free time due to quarantine.)
Write letters to loved ones.
I love to write letters. I’ve done it with friends since I was a little girl. I even have monogrammed letter sheets (which I need to use up before I change my last name!). It’s one half of the reason I still use and have beautiful cursive handwriting. But, you don’t need fancy customized letter sheets, or beautiful cursive handwriting, to send letters. You just need a pen, envelope, paper, and stamp. Heck, you could even type your letters, if you want or need to do so! Here is some stationery I think is appealing to people of any gender.
Writing letters is a fantastic means of communication, not because it’s quick – it’s not – but because it takes time. It takes time to sit and write out a page of one’s thoughts and feelings. It takes consideration to ask about someone’s life, their thoughts and feelings. It takes a monetary commitment – however small – to send them a letter in the mail. A letter is a physical thing you have toiled over and held in your hand to give to someone else. It is, most of all, a physical manifestation of these gifts, especially the gift of your time.
These are some of the methods I’ve used to keep myself from running screaming into the woods during quarantine. I hope they help you, too! I’m also open to new ideas about ways to stay sane during quarantine, so please leave any of your methods below!