How To Stay Inside and Not Lose Your Mind or (16 Ideas to Occupy Your Time)
*Updated April 14th, 2020*
Here we are, World!
Unsure, worried, but grateful for all of our Paramedics, Doctors, Nurses, Health-care workers, Retail workers, Pharmacists, Food delivery people, and everyone else on the front-line while we try to slow this curve.
Since many of us are self-isolating or in quarantine due to symptoms, I thought now would be the time to share some free/nearly free resources that can help you fill your time inside!
As some of you know, I was put on bed rest for a concussion/whiplash back in September 2019, which lasted five months - five months of (mostly) being inside, lying down, basically training me to be ready for this strange moment in time.
Hello, silver lining!
So if you're bored, scared, or have watched your whole Netflix Queue, here are activities that will help you get through social-isolation.
Whether you have Covid 19, another strain of cold or flu, or you're just feeling anxious, audiobooks are an incredibly comforting activity.
In the first few months of my concussion, I spent MOST of my time listening to the inspiring, exciting, challenging words of others. This was partially because I couldn't see properly... and partially because I was too weak to concentrate, but still. I'm a huge fan of audiobooks because they can fill your time while you stretch, clean, or you're just too ill to read.
I listened to Childhood classics, Self-help books, Autobiographies (Michelle Obama - what-what!), and Comedian's book.
Some books that made me laugh/cry in the last few months were:
Michelle Obama's Becoming
Ali Wong's Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
After the End by Clare Mackintosh
I found that there is nothing as comforting as listening to books. It's like being a little kid and getting swept up into a different world.
Audiobooks are really great if you are too weak or tired to sit up, but you're unable to sleep.
Do you know that with a Toronto Library Card, you have access to all sorts of audio and ebooks with the Libby App? Bonus: it's free with your library card!
2) ONLINE YOGA AND ONLINE EXERCISE
There are some fantastic exercise programs online if you want to get your sweat on but can't or won't leave the house.
Some of my favourites are:
If you're experiencing chronic pain or injury:
3) TV/ MOVIES
I love comedies/dramedies when I'm feeling scared.
Here are some of my favourite TV dramedies/comedies available on Canadian Netflix:
-Please like me
-Dead to me
-Sisters (The Australian one - I haven't seen the American)
-Crashing (The Phoebe Waller-Bridge version).
-The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Society
Your body needs nutrients. Even if this whole experience is stressful, you still need to eat. Why not make it taste good? There are delicious recipes online where you can spice up the ingredients you have in your fridge.
My Favourite Vegetarian/Vegan Blogs:
5) SPA NIGHT
A bath is not going to change your life. I borderline hate it when people offer this advice - however, the process of having a bath, perhaps lighting some candles, maybe putting on some Vic's vapour rub can be relaxing. It signals to your nervous system that it's time to calm down.
I think it's safe to say all of our nervous systems are in high gear with fear and uncertainty.
A bath is not going to heal you or change the state of the world, but it might relax your muscles, it might calm down your body so that you are not entirely in fight or flight mode. It might give you 10-15 minutes of peace.
6) LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
I am obsessed with the free App DUOLINGO.
I have been teaching myself French for the last three months, and it works! If you're competitive, you can even keep track of how much you're practicing in comparison to other people.
Plus, since you're home with people who have to love you, no one can judge your terrible accent.
7) CALL A FRIEND
I remember when I was ten years old, holding my translucent, lime green phone and chatting away to my friend Danielle about the latest episode of survivor. Remember when Kelly was one of the last survivors? What a turn!
I've said it before, and I'll repeat it again, we need other people. Life can get very lonely and scary without human connection. And since we are gifted with all of this technology, why not use it to hang out with other friends or loved ones?
8) LEARN OR RELEARN AN INSTRUMENT
You know that Ukulele, guitar, or piano, you've got lying around? Well, now's the time to dust it off, tune it up, and learn those scales!
May I recommend:
9) PUZZLES, SUDOKO, BOARD GAMES
You're trapped inside. You have all of these board games, cards, and crosswords. Put on your game face, because it's time to make your loved ones cry and leave the room.
What? That's not how you play board games? Weird.
10) ONLINE LEARNING
As adults, it's easy to forget that we are not only capable of learning new things, but it's good for us!
I love learning. I always loved learning.
For those of you unconvinced, there are many different learning styles and videos online.
The following links below have a mixture of online classes, videos, and information on all sorts of subjects and skills. Check them out.
Bonus: If you want to learn a skill or subject, why not type it into google of youtube?
11) CHECK OUT SOME FREE OPERA (for a limited time)
The Metropolitan Opera is temporarily streaming Operas online for free. So if you're a fan or you've always wanted to check Opera out, now is the time!
My favourite podcasts are:
A recommendation I got recently:
13) READING, READING, READING
If you can't leave your house, why not escape into a different world? I've always found reading to be one of the most relaxing past-times.
We live in a world that relies on screens. The result is that we can never fully turn-off.
Why not give your technology-addiction a break, and pick up a book?
14) START A NEW HOBBY
We live in a culture of "busy." One that doesn't leave much room for hobbies.
Well, like it or not, many of us have found ourselves with A LOT OF TIME on our hands.
Write that short story, practice your scales, pull out those arts and crafts!
Now is the time to do the things you "never have time to do" people. Embrace your curiosity and try something new!
I personally think it's important to have some daily decompression time for your own mental and physical health. Especially when dealing with uncertainty.
I love guided mediations because then I can let go and let my mind relax. If you type "Guided Meditations" into Youtube, you'll find some great options.
If classic meditation isn't your thing, no problem. Why not take 5-10 uninterrupted minutes and reflect while looking out the window? Or play some relaxing music and sit quietly, or do the dishes, feeling the bubbles on your skin.
Who knows, you might feel a little bit calmer?
16) CHECK OUT YOUR FRIEND'S/ FAVOURITE ARTISTS ONLINE CONCERTS, SKETCHES, COMEDY SHOWS
Artists are showing up for us big time! I'm not surprised. I am very proud to be apart of this community.
Toronto's own Brooklyn Doran has a Livestream coffee house tonight (March 18th, 2020, EST) on Instagram. She's a gem, a true talent, and you should know her name (if you don't already).
Some other at-home or live-streamed concerts can be found in this great Billboard article released today:
Whatever you choose to do, I hope you stay as healthy as possible and as happy as possible.
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