Truthfully, I had something completely different planned to write about today. I often plan topics a year in advance and change things up once the day gets near. Today was supposed to be about a St. Patrick’s day mixed drink, but I wasn’t expecting that the entire world would be battling a really bad virus.
Just because we’re being asked (or in some cases told) to either work from home or isolate doesn’t mean that it has to be horrible. Considering I naturally enjoy my time at home, I’m going to share with you how this has affected me as well as some great tips to keep your mind and body (and even social life) alive. Hopefully, you’ll look back on this time as a moment you were able to grow as a person rather than wasting it just playing games or watching TV.
To be really honest, I’ve been really enjoying the permission to remain home. I’m a writer and blogger, and artist, so a lot of my creativity happens at home. Going out more is actually something I’ve been working on in the last year. I find it a bit ironic that once I start establishing a “go out into life” routine, this virus starts wrapping around the world and we’re being asked to go out as little as possible.
When I get depressed it’s easy to plop down in front of the TV and binge-watch shows, or worse, focus on what the news is saying (which is usually negative). So the following ideas have NOTHING to do with TV, videogames, or binging on Netflix (not that this is bad, but everything in moderation right?).
1.) Give Your Home a Good Deep Spring Cleaning:
Spring is really just around the corner (about a week out I think). This time at home is perfect to reacquaint yourself with where you live! I suggest tackling a room a day or maybe every two days and give it a good cleaning. Go and wipe down walls and baseboards, go through cabinets and junk drawers that are often skipped over and actually clean it up. Not only will it help you feel like you accomplished something, but letting go of past items that no longer serve you can be cathartic and raise your positive feelings! As a side note, psychologically, a clean home helps organize the thoughts (which is why they say that if you want to be more productive at work you should clean your desk). Pinterest has a lot of great spring cleaning ideas, or you could visit a post I’ve made on how to go room by room and clean HERE.
2.) Read the Book or Books You’ve Been Putting Off: I know I’m not the only one who buys books looking forward to a beautiful rainy day where I can sit down with some tea and read. Here are a few I recommend:
*The House Witch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock: Connecting with the home can be really tough for some people. Home can be the place of a lot of psychological pain from the past that has carried into the future. Even though I wouldn’t consider myself pagan or Wiccan, I love this book because it talks about you can connect with the home through ritual and spirituality. That doesn’t mean giving up your current belief system, it means taking the ideas she poses and thinking about how you can make that more true to you.
So for example, if you’re Christian, this might mean setting up a prayer room or corner (my mother frequently prayed in the garage since it was the only place she could get away from us kids). It might mean praying over your food before you eat, and rituals like that. So please go to this book with an open mind of how you can bring healing to your relationship with the home through your version of spirituality.
*Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert: If you’ve seen the movie, that’s great, but as always the book is like the extended addition of any movie, you’ll always get so much more out of it (with the exception of Forest Gump which was actually better than the book).
This story is based on true events of a woman’s search for herself through Italy (learning how to enjoy pleasure), India (Enjoying her Spiritual side and mending old wounds), and Indonesia where she learns to use both of her prior experiences to learn balance and love. It’s a beautiful book that I frequently read over and over.
*The Gift of Imperfection by Brene Brown: I actually did a post about this book which you can read HERE. It’s all about learning how to be vulnerable and comfortable with the things that upset you. For example, it’s easy to push away fears and anxieties during this time, but if life has taught me anything, it’s that emotions will find a way to make themselves known anyway. This book shows you how to honor your feelings by giving them a proper space and even sharing them with others and how that can strengthen your self-perception, compassion and even relationships.
*Play by Stuart Brow: I’ve also recently reviewed this book HERE. It’s a fantastic book on how important play is to a person throughout their lives. The thing I love most about this book is that he talks about how to regain your playful spirit if you (like most adults) have been told to abandon it. You might not be able to play as hard as you would like during this time, but you may find yourself actively
seeking out playful things to do while at home (Magic the Gathering competition anyone?)
*Women Who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes: Another book that I reviewed HERE. I love this book because she revisits some old fairytale classics that have hidden meanings for adult living. This book has honestly changed the entire way I look at classic children’s stories. She also pulls some stories I’ve never heard of from her Latino culture that has really stuck with me in a big way.
3.) Start a Meditation or Other Spiritual Practice: Sometimes I like to have thought experiments about what I would do if I had “nothing” to do. Ironically, I never thought I would encounter something like home quarantine in my life, but I have to say during my daydreams I often thought I would start a proper meditation practice. Every morning I’ve been getting up, praying for my day and meditating on either how I want today to play out, how I want to feel, working through my fears, or thinking of my hopes for the future. I can confidently say that taking that extra half an hour in the morning to just set my attitude or address my fears has been extremely important during this time.
4.) Start an art project you’ve always to try: Guys I have SOOOOOO many hobbies sitting around. I’m just a really creative person and I like trying lots of creative pursuits. I have sketch pads, paint, wood-burning kits, yarn, and crochet hooks, seriously, I have a ton of things I never had time for. NOW IS THAT TIME so get your projects out and have fun!
5.) Start thinking about that side hustle you’ve always wanted to get going, but never had the time to think or plan for it: Blogging takes an extreme amount of time. You have to plan everything from what you’re going to write about, how many times, what pictures you’re going to take, how you want to host your website, it isn’t something you can really just jump into (even though that’s kind of what I did at first). However, over the years I’ve had time to really think about how I want this blog to look and what I want to offer. Now it has a store that I’m growing and I have readers all over the world (yay!), but it took a lot of thought.
This is YOUR time to think about what you want to do with your life. Maybe your job is being horrible during this time. You don’t have to stay there forever. You can use this time of inactivity to carefully think about a job that would make you happy, and if you (like me) find that you’re a creative soul who wants a job-creating, you can start to research what that looks like! This is the time to make your editorial calendar, learn a craft, or start a store or that side hustle that you are REALLY passionate about.
6.) Enjoy some Podcasts!: I am a HUGE fan of Aaron Mahnke’s “Lore” on Spotify. I also like his other channel “The Cabinet of Curiosities”. I make some tea, put that on and sketch or clean or even fold clothes to. He does a really good job and as lore, legends, and history fan that I am I like learning more weird facts about history. He has hundreds of episodes too so this should keep your mind busy.
7.) Pick up an instrument you’ve been putting off learning: I have played classical guitar since I was little. Despite it being an instrument my parents chose (not me) I have learned to love the guitar, especially when I learned there were books for guitar featuring songs from Final Fantasy X and Studio Ghibli. That is not the only instrument in my life though. I enjoy listening to Israel ‘IZ’ Kamakawiwo who plays the ukelele and recently I bought one. I also have a songbird Ocarina though frankly no one wants to hear me squawk on that for an hour a day and I don’t blame them… the point is, I have a lot of fun instruments that I’ve been putting off playing because I never have enough time. Well….now I do and you do too! With all the videos on YouTube, you’ll never be at loss for a teacher either!
8.) Pick up a language that you’ve been putting off: When I was little I knew I wanted to learn an Asian language. I just liked how Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese sound. As I grew that goal stayed and was really enforced now that Netflix and Hulu have tons of Asian soap operas and cartoons. So last year I taught myself 2 out of the three alphabets Japan has. I taught myself some basic phrases and was actually able to use it during a layover in Tokyo back in 2018!
I recently put off my studies because I’ve been so busy, but with this downtime, I’m starting to look at those flashcards again! Again, with YouTube and Skype happening, is there a dream language you’ve been putting off? Now might be the time to learn it!
9.) Plan a luxurious spa day: During this time of Lysol, hand sanitizer, and facemasks, it might feel like your body is constantly something that needs to be defended rather than loved. It might be good to take some time to reconnect with your body in a personal way. Make a facemask (or use the one you’ve been saving for a special day), dry brush yourself, make a nice bubble bath, a nice drink to have with it or a glass of wine, do your nails, use that luxurious lotion, and put on some clean comfortable clothes. All of these things will help you remember that your body isn’t just a germ magnet.
10.) Create an at Home Workout Plan!: My gym is currently closed and I have a goal of weight loss this year which means I need to be creative about what I do at home. I really enjoy watching Inhale with Steve Ross. He was featured on the Oxygen channel in the early 2000s and I use to enjoy waking up and working out with his humor and good music. However, if yoga isn’t your thing, this is a great time to look at what gets you motivated to move your body. Don’t stop at Youtube either, I recently used the Xbox game “Dance Central Spotlight” to get me up and moving!
Another thing I’ve recently started by the suggestion of my therapist is to start a push-up challenge with my husband. The goal is to do 100 push-ups in a day. I’m currently doing an alternative version on my knees, but I do them in sets of 10. For every 10 that I do, I put a mark on a paper under my name. Amin also has to do the same. At the end of the day, we get to see who wins! It’s just some friendly competition and we get to use each other to push one another towards a healthy and positive goal.
11.) Journal: Seriously what an epic time (for good or bad) to be alive. I like to think that one day when I die, someone is going to find my trunk of old leather journals and they’re going to learn more about me as a person and what I experienced. How many people have to go into quarantine because there’s something spreading all over the world?! Part of the reason this is so weird is because we don’t have any modern reference points for this ever happening. In fact, the last time anything like this happened was 100 years ago with the Spanish Influenza! How nice it would be to have a journal from back then of someone who went through home quarantine. What did they eat? What did they do? What did they think about during this hard time? This is your chance to tell your side of this experience.
12.) Connect with friends through Skype, Facebook, or any other social media: I’m going to be really honest with you. 90% of my friends are online. Seriously. I talk mostly on Instagram (and feel free to join and talk to me HERE). Thankfully through the magic of the internet, we don’t have to be completely isolated if we don’t want to.
13.) If You Really Need to Watch Something: Here’s some YouTube Channels that are bound to lift your spirit and keep you in a positive headspace. Please do your best to stay away from putting on a News Station and letting it play. They’re not going to encourage you. I will read the top Google headlines…maybe an article if I feel like it’s going to provide me with useful information, but for now, do your best to not indulge in that too much okay?
Snake Discovery: This is a great and highly informative channel about reptiles, and the chick who runs it recently had such success with her channel, she was able to open up a reptile zoo!
Jun’s Kitchen: Is a man in Japan who cooks amazing things with his cats who watch and sometimes feast on what he makes!
Foo the Flowerhorn: This guy is all about his fish a Flowerhorn as well as some shrimp he feeds fun things to while using a time laps to let you watch the process! It’s strangely relaxing!
Party Kitchen: Is about how to cook Japanese!
Cooking with Dog: Is another Japanese cooking channel (I obviously like to cook Japanese food)
Peter Draws: Guys….This channel will make you want to pick up a pen and a sketchbook and start doodling. Seriously. It’s addictive to watch this guy and he’s really really good! So if you like to watch people do art by hand I HIGHLY recommend him.
Life Where I’m From: Is about a Canadian / Japanese family who lives in Tokyo. The Dad and his kids talk about everything from Earth Quake Preparedness to weird Japanese candies.
14.) Make a Playlist that would be a good soundtrack to your life right now: I LOVE making soundtracks for myself. I usually have really energetic and angry stuff for the gym, but at home, I like listening to Frank Sinatra, Israel Kamakawiwo (a fantastic Hawaiian singer), and things that are gentle. What does your life sound like (if it’s sad, what would you like it to sound like one day?)
15.) Organize Your Pictures: I got this idea from a list and truthfully I really need to do it. I have all my pictures all through my computer and they aren’t really organized at all. It’s terrible. This will also give you some time to think back to happier times.
16.) Make A Vision Board on Pinterest: I hated Pinterest at first, but now I have a TON of pins and use it from everything from cooking dinner to cleaning grout. I’m not even joking. If you want to check out my pins and boards please go HERE and feel free to follow me.
This is a great place to have a visual you can take on your phone and look over when you’re feeling low. Think about how you want your future home to look like and start pinning pictures that vibe with that! If you find yourself conflicted about your style you have the time to think about why and learn about yourself!
17.) Write Love or Thank You Letters: I also got this idea from a list. During tough times you really see the people who are positive beacons to the rest of humanity. I think of the kind people who worked at my local grocery store who maintained a positive and helpful attitude while people were buying everything off the shelves. I think of my therapist who helps me stay centered during such a weird time. I think of my husband who is loving and patient with me despite his own nervousness. I feel love and thankfulness towards my friends and followers who chat with me and read my articles. All of those things deserve to have some time taken and addressed. If you ever wanted time to write words of kindness to someone, now is that time.
18.) Re-asses your budget: May not sound fun, but having time to think is so valuable. It might be good to look at your budget and think about how you’re spending it, what debts you have and how you can knock them out and what you want to save for in the future. Think about how to achieve your dreams. This can also work well with numbers 5 and 16.
19.) Spend some time with your pets, or research the kind of pet you want to have one day: My husband and I currently share our home with two cats (Tybalt, and Miyamoto). They are currently enjoying all the extra pets and attention. Actually it’s been scientifically proven that listening to cat purrs can help reduce the feelings of stress (among other strange claims). While I can’t speak for all things said about cat purrs, I will say that snuggling with Moto and having him fall asleep on my lap while purring definitely helps me feel more at ease.
I do however want to get a Frenchie one day, so I’ve been looking into reputable places to get one, what their temperament is like, and of course, the cute clothes they wear!
20.) Inspired by current events? Write a Story!: What we as a planet are going through currently is truly weird. I mean it’s honestly something we will remember for the rest of our lives. It’s not abnormal to find inspiration during strange times, so let your mind go! Even if you don’t plan on showing anyone your story, writing allows you to use your imagination and even tackle your fears in a safe mental space. So if something really scares you, try writing about it and figuring out how your character would cope. You might find something you can implement in your real life.
21.) Make a menu or cookbook: I like to make menu’s every week during normal conditions. It’s fun to look up recipes or go through cookbooks. Since I’m also dieting, this gives me LOTS of time to enter things into Myfitnesspal and figure out the calories for each meal. Think about the cookbooks you have. Have you ever really gone through them and picked out recipes you want to make? Take little slips of paper to mark the recipes that sound delicious to you and try them when you’re able! You might find you have everything in your pantry right now!
Already have a TON of recipes you love? Why not making a Family or Kitchen binder where they all are! Even consider handwriting them out and drawing some pretty pictures of what it looks like if you’re talented that way.
22.) Create a schedule or routine for yourself and STICK TO IT!!!: When at home and maybe without work, it’s easy to treat every day like a weekend. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, this is also a vulnerable time where sitting on the couch bored can lead deeper into a sad place. When I use to struggle with depression, I slept during the day, and struggled with insomnia at night, I’d stay in my pj’s, cook mac n’ cheese over and over and I would spend all day watching reality TV or playing World of Warcraft. It was really a sad dark place for me.
One thing that helped me come out of my depression was to make a schedule that was more geared towards the life I wanted to live (rather than watching other people live their lives on TV). So now, I get up at the same time I would if the world was functioning. I meditate for half an hour. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I work out at home. I make sure to cook healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and I keep my drinking to a single glass of wine in the evenings, with a little bit more fun allowed on Saturday. I keep up with chores like dishes and laundry. I stick with a regular blogging schedule. I allow myself to play videogames for an hour and that’s it. Having rules and a routine that keeps me healthy and active mentally, physically, emotionally and even spiritually keeps me grounded in reality and accomplishing goals.
23.) Make a Video of Your Life During These Times: I recently made this video of a song I was listening to from my vinyl collection and explained how it was the soundtrack to my day writing blog posts. Which you can see HERE. People love seeing how others live. I follow several people, two of whom live in Japan (Life Where I’m From and Jun’s Kitchen) and just seeing how they live can be really fascinating. Consider taking a video with your phone on a meal your cooking, songs you like, the art you make or even just your cats!
24.) Get an Early Start on Christmas Shopping: You read that write and yes I am aware that it March, but it’s actually a really smart idea. Growing up my family was poor, but my mother always made sure we had a fantastic Christmas. She also never seemed stressed during the holidays and I don’t recall her going out much to buy things (maybe something here and there). I finally asked her what her secret was and she told me that she buys little things throughout the year. For example, it was just me and my sisters, so Barbies were always in high demand. She knew she could buy a Barbie here and there and then when Christmas came she didn’t have to worry about there not being the right doll for us available. She also told me that she would put money aside and purchase some of the “gotta have” big-ticket items during Christmas (think Furbies in 1998) but if she didn’t get the item it was okay we were still going to have a great Christmas! Also, this allowed her to carefully budget and make sure that she wasn’t blowing the bank account on a holiday.
25.) Enjoy Dolce Far Niente: If you’ve ever watched “Eat, Pray, Love” there’s a scene where the main character talks about feeling guilty for not getting enough done during her time in Italy and a character named Luca Spaghetti exclaims “You feel guilty because you’re American. You don’t know how to enjoy yourself!” ….”Americans know entertainment but don’t know pleasure“…..”Listen to me. You want to know your problem? Americans! You work too hard. You get burned out. Then you come home and spend the whole weekend in your pajamas in front of the TV!”
They talk more but it is explained that we don’t know how to experience “Dolce Far Niente” or the “sweetness of doing nothing”. Sometimes it’s okay to just put on some music, make yourself a drink or grab a tea and just sit there enjoying the world around you. It’s not bad or shameful to do this. We as Americans are often taught that we need to always be doing and then when we suddenly have nothing to do it can be depressing or anxiety-provoking. It might be good to explore this time as God, the Universe, whoever gave you a mandatory vacation. You’re welcome! Enjoy this time because (hopefully) it may never happen again.
I hope you found these 25 ideas inspiring and I hope they motivate you to look at this time a bit differently. If you really loved this article you can always Buy Me a Coffee which will actually go towards the upkeep of this site. Feeling lonely? Leave a comment below or connect with me on social media. I like to chat with my followers. If you’d like to be notified of other posts like this, please Sign Up for More and you’ll get an email when a new post comes out! Please know that you’re going to get through this time and life will eventually return to normal. I wish you a beautiful day. -Heather Astaneh