Things seem to be on a standstill right now. However, there’s no reason for you to be unproductive while spending time in self-isolation. While others may feel bored and restless, this period of self-quarantine actually gives you more than enough time to spend on yourself and to enjoy quality time with your loved ones.
While you’re home alone, there are a couple of things you can do to make self-isolation an opportunity to improve yourself. To give you a bit of inspiration and make social distancing and self-quarantine positive experiences, here are 11 ways by which you can productively spend your time alone:
1. Start journaling
Perhaps journaling is something you’ve always wanted to do but you’ve been putting off since you never seemed to have time for it. Maybe you even started but gave up after a month or so. Whatever your reason for holding off on journaling, now is as good a time as any to start.
Keeping a record of your thoughts and feelings not only helps you preserve your memories but can also help you reflect on your life. If you decide to keep a gratitude journal, recalling everything you’ve been thankful for would help keep you optimistic. Having the opportunity to reread your journal could also be helpful when you are mulling over important life decisions.
2. Pamper yourself
This period of self-quarantine has forced people to stay home, sit back and unwind. If you’ve always been busy day in and day out, now’s the time to focus on yourself and get the pampering you need.
Read your favorite book or start reading a new one. Light up some candles and enjoy a long, luxurious bath. Do your nails, color your hair or try some new makeup styles. Spend time on your stalled passion projects. Draw, paint, sculpt, sew, bake, garden or do a bit of carpentry work. Plan for your home office. Do things that make you happy.
3. Reflect and meditate
Reflection and meditation are great antidotes for stress. You can make this time of social distancing work for you by watching videos on guided meditation or practicing deep breathing exercises. Doing so will help you relax and keep you focused on the positive side of things. Think of all the bad times you’ve been through, and remember how much stronger you emerged from those situations. This time shouldn’t be any different.
4. Enroll in online courses
If you’re into professional self-development or have been planning on enrolling in a short online course but haven’t done so due to time constraints, perhaps now is the time.
Harvard University offers free online courses lasting four weeks or more. Choose from a variety of lessons — from ancient Egyptian art to computer science, children’s rights, energy, music and a whole lot more. Udemy provides a wide variety of affordable online courses for those who want to learn about or brush up on SQL, writing, forex trading and more. So, whether you’re looking for paid or free lessons, there are a lot of online courses available on the Web.
5. Start your container garden
If you live in a small apartment or have minimal garden space, you can always try container gardening. You don’t need fancy flower pots, special containers or a lot of space. All you need is a bit of ingenuity (use recycled materials such as egg and milk cartons, empty bottles and jars), research, patience and TLC for your future garden.
You can plant your favorite blooms and ornamentals, but you can also try planting vegetables and herbs that’ll serve your cooking plans well in the future. Sprout seeds and grow your seedlings in an egg carton and plant them later in empty containers or cans. If you haven’t done so yet, start composting at home. This way, you won’t need to buy fertilizer and you’re doing something great for the planet at the same time.
6. Research and learn something relevant to your job
Are you a marketing manager? Perhaps it’s time to dive deep into online marketing so you can confidently implement better online marketing strategies as soon as work normalizes. Doing so could help you use social media better to leverage your brand and effectively reach out and engage your audience, whether on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or learn how to use Instagram stories for business.
If you own a restaurant, you can use this time to research and try new recipes that you can add to your menu. Look up new ingredients that you can use and find suppliers for them. If you haven’t done so, you might want to start blogging about your favorite recipes or house specialties.
Whatever your career — whether you’re an accountant, app developer or business owner, you’re bound to find something relevant to your work if you make time for research.
7. Start exercising and eating healthy
You made a resolution to lose those last five pounds — three years ago! Maybe now’s the time to start in earnest. There are plenty of free and paid online fitness routines you can try at home in 30 minutes or less. There’s yoga, Pilates, Zumba, HIIT and many others to choose from.
There are also plenty of free recipes for those looking to lose weight and start eating healthy. There are even customized recipes that address specific dietary restrictions, such as keto, non-gluten, anti-inflammatory and low-fat diets.
8. Declutter your home
Perhaps you’re one of the many who’s guilty of accumulating stuff over the years. You may have even resolved to do a KonMari a few months ago but have never really gotten to it.
Well, this self-quarantine period should be sufficient to get you started on your quest to clean up and get rid of clutter at home. Start with the easiest spaces, or begin by cleaning up your bedroom or closet — either way, it doesn’t matter as long as you start and keep at it. Who knows, you might be done in a week or so and finally have that minimalist, uncluttered look you’ve always wanted for your home.
9. Organize your files while in self-isolation
Does looking at all the files on your computer make you cringe in dismay? You have a mishmash of notes in My Documents plus everywhere else. Everything is mixed up, so every time you search for a file, you spend at least half an hour looking for it.
To avoid this, meticulously label and organize your files, including personal files and any copies of work files you have with you. Organize these by topic, date or year or any way that’ll work best for you. Also, make sure you have backup copies of your most important files.
10. Catch up with family and friends
People on the go usually have very little time for chitchat. If you’ve always led a hectic lifestyle, now’s the time to wind down and start answering letters, emails and text messages, or maybe even play games with family and friends near or far. Great games you can try playing include Mario Kart Tour, Scrabble GO and Houseparty. Or you can simply chat via popular messaging apps like Messenger, Telegram, Skype, Viber and GroupMe. What’s more, these are all free and easy to download and use.
Instead of frantically scrolling over your newsfeed, you can finally engage in a conversation with your loved ones. Make the most of this time. Reach out, reconnect and converse. Communicating with significant others is essential to your social and emotional wellbeing, so use this time well.
11. Commune with nature
Getting in touch with Mother Nature may seem difficult if you can’t even go out for a walk in the park. However, notice that nature is everywhere: the sky, bodies of water, birds, flowers and so on. If you’re lucky enough to have a house overlooking a lake or live in an apartment with a gorgeous mountain view, then make the most of it.
Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Take in the wonder and beauty of nature. While you’re at it, you can probably make a commitment to do better for the planet. Maybe get stricter with recycling, make a resolution to avoid accumulating things and be kinder to the Earth in general.
A world of opportunities
There are so many other things you can do at this time. You can watch free live streaming and virtual concert videos, listen to podcasts and catch up on your favorite television series or films. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something that’ll make you feel better about yourself when all this is over.