Fetching Features: Top 10 things to do in self isolation

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As the proverbial walls close in on you and you seek anything to stave off another day of isolation in your house, cast off from society and trapped within your own four walls, your mind wanders and you step ever closer to your limit. Okay, so it’s not really that bad, maybe you are with your family, your wife or husband, or your kids. Maybe that’s a good thing… maybe not. Maybe you are one of the few wishing isolation was a little more solitary.

Still, you’re not used to being home this much and you have to think of something to fill the time. Whether it’s with family, alone, just with your significant other, or even you and the dog, there is going to come a point when you realize, you need something to fill some time. That’s why I am taking this Sunday Edition and breaking down the top ten things for you to do… during your self isolation. In no particular order, here… we… go.


#10 – Play a Game

No, Call of Duty does not count if you’re part of a family. Seriously, I don’t know when, but somewhere along the way, I feel like we, collectively, stopped playing board games as much. Now, they’re regulated to those snow days or bad storm days when the powers out and you need something that doesn’t require power. Come on people, is it really that tough to take a few hours away from your screens and actually see family members face-to-face. I know tons of new games on the market as well as updated versions of old ones. There’s got to be like, nearly a billion different cosmetic renditions of Monopoly involving you’re favorite sports, sports team, pets, or even pop-culture theme that operate the exact same as the original, but just look different. There’s modern versions of RISK. There are even genre style games. You like horror movies? Try a game called Betrayal at House on the Hill.

For those of you who only have a dog, the outside air is still breathable. The parks may be closed, but trust me, it’s not illegal to walk your dog on the side of a nearby back road. Or for you loners, yes, finally, you have a free pass for video games… or solitaire. But let me know your win rate because I play solitaire a lot, and I don’t win much. That said, be SOCIAL! There are apps and online places to play everything from chess to risk and more with others over the internet. Isolation in the modern age is only as isolated as you want it to be.


#9 – Projects

Okay, for some of you, I’m going to lose points here. I know, no matter your relationship, we all have those honey-do lists. Even those of you single. You have a list of things you’ve been “meaning to get to.” Join us in our procrastination of the “honey-do lists.” Except…

Well, you have time now. And I feel your pain here because never having a lot of spare time was one of my favorite excuses to myself. Do you really need to get to cleaning out the gutters? What about repainting that spot on the house, you know, that one that had been hiding because its on the backside of the house and who is really going to see that anyway… that one. What about cleaning the attic, or the basement, or the garage? Is that true? Do you make your car sleep outside because you’ve overfilled its bedroom with clutter?

Regardless, this one wins double points because if you can find a moderately labor-intensive job, then you just earned yourself seconds for dinner. Working out doesn’t always have to have specialized workout equipment. Clean out that room and carry those heavy boxes. Lift with your legs and know that you’re doing great.

No, it’s not so much fun. But it will be nice when you’re done, you’ve killed some time, you have a sense of accomplishing something, and you get to soak in a hot shower now. Win-win.


#8 – Rewatch your favorite series

Of course, in the age of Netflix, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there. Everyone knows they can catch a new show, or finally get caught up on the show they have been falling behind on. It’s true that, by now, most everyone knows how Game of Thrones ended. But what was your favorite series you ever watched? If you don’t say Firefly, then we can’t be friends.

What about your favorite movies? Movie Series? Again, if you don’t say Indiana Jones, then we can’t be seen together.

Do you have serious nostalgia for Friends? Did you grow up on episodes of Boy Meets World? Was James Bond movies the pinnacle of action hero suaveness? Did you weep over Hachi or Marley and Me? Did you fill up with joy when Harry met Sally?

Just gonna throw out a very appropriate-for-the-times movie, if not a little poignant, and suggest Cast Away for your isolation-theme.

Everyone has something they have probably already recalled and thus called me a heathen for not having mentioned it, yet. Sure, go ahead and try something new, but favorites are favorites for a reason. And classics don’t become classics without being favorites of at least a few people, right?


#7 – Plant Something

We have had a lot of rain. I mean, A LOT of rain. True, but have you capitalized on this? You don’t need a garden to enjoy planting something. You don’t need a lot of space either. You don’t even have to do a lot of physical work. Search online, look for some of the low maintenance plants. They exist. This may require more research than most of these ideas, but hey, you are trying to fill the time right?

If you want to get a little dirty, then yeah, go all out and start a little spot in your yard. Plant a few things, make it look nice. Or plant a lot of prickly cacti and painful-looking plants and send a message to those who drive by. Whatever, it’s your garden. You could even go more functional and plant some herbs or something.

The beauty of this idea is its range. You can go as hands-off or hands-on as you want. You can go as deep as you want. Want a small number easily accessible? They have window planters that could support a couple of mint plants. What about a few tomato vines and maybe some been stalks. YouTube a few how-to videos, and hey, while you’re there, check out our FYNTV channel.

Alright let’s move on, I’ve gotten my one shameless plug for the day.


#6 – Learn Something

Let’s tack this on here as it builds off the last one, if you don’t know how to garden, LEARN!

We have books, online sources, people (uhh, maybe just call), and so many opportunites to learn things today. Like I said in #7, many people have put up many videos and articles on many subjects about the how-to of things. Everything from getting started to a few advance techniques and tips. Now, this isn’t just gardening. Skills of all kinds are included, many of you never learned how to cook. I don’t know how to play any instrument beyond the recorder from Elementary school.

Now, obviously, some skills take longer, some can be quite intimidating, like not knowing how to play any instrument while your brother not only knows how to play them, but became a band director and effectively made a living out of it… you know, hypothetically speaking. That’s totally not my personal experience… yeah. MOVING ON!

Learning is the key part here. And with a little extra free time now, getting started is the hardest part. Find something you can be passionate about, learn a new language or whatever you want. Just learn.


#5 – Nap… preferably in a hammock

As we just reach over the mid-point of this list, I think I want to take a break. In fact, taking a break should be this item. In all our days in this life, I have heard one common thing. And, honestly, it has affected me as well. I feel like every moment of my day should be filled with something. If I’m not doing something, I’m not accomplishing something, then I am not taking advantage of my time, right?

Well, actually, wrong. Many scientists and physicians have published works and even Blue Ridge’s own Dr. William Whaley has stated, you need your sleep. You need to rest. Take a moment to unwind. And, yeah, for some, that means a mid-day nap. But if I’m going to nap, I need to go all out and do it right. I need to pop up my cheap hammock between two trees in my back yard and set a 30-minute alarm on my phone. Then leave that phone several feet away.

Don’t look at your screens, don’t try to multi-task something while you’re resting. I need to lay back in that hammock and stare at the clouds. like a cheesy book about “when we were kids” I definitely need to see what the clouds over my house are shaped like. This is where the good part of isolation lies, a little quiet away from the world. Rest, recharge.


#4 – Write

Now, I know a lot of you are waiting for the read-a-book, item. You’re looking for that classic go-to easy answer. You’ve been expecting it, but no. No, I challenge you to do something even harder. Write.

Yes, whether its a journal, a novella, an article, a letter or an all-inclusive, step-by-step explanation on how to finally convince my girlfriend that we don’t need another cat, writing is a great part of life that not many people do anymore. Sure, we all write a little everyday. Maybe you file a memo, or produce a report, or even make up your grocery list. Writing is writing. But, writing something personal is something that reaches deeper into your soul.

And, no, writing “personal items” on said grocery list does not count as writing something personal.

When is the last time you got a personal letter in the mail. Even in email, but a handwritten letter is different. At least, it is to your mom, or your cousin.

Maybe not a letter. Maybe you should start a journal, the one place where you can actually be 100% honest and express your opinions, thoughts, plans, feelings, or whatever you personally want to put in it. It’s yours. You decide. Write poetry. Who cares? If you want to share it one day or lock it away, trust me in this when I say, writing something down and getting it out of you is not only therapeutic, it is surprising to see what you write.

And especially that explanation on the cat thing. Get back to me on that one.


#3 – Share

Let’s go back to kindergarten for a moment and revisit one of my favorite slogans of the time… “Sharing is Caring.”

Yeah, it’s good for a chuckle. But in times like this isolation with the spread of a virus and quarantined people. It’s time to revert back to the age of innocence. It’s time to let a little light shine through. Yeah, we got a lot of bad stuff in this world. And a lot of bad people. But as opposed to seeing the daily infection rates and death tolls, you know what I have really enjoyed reading. A few articles here and there, the odd news report once every couple of days, when they show the guy who played music in the middle of the common outdoor area behind a couple of apartment complexes full of elderly people or the woman who bought an extra carton of eggs for the lady at the bank that didn’t get a chance to go before work. What about the local animal shelter that is donating bags of pet food for people who are quarantined and not working, but need their animal because he or she is some sort of support animal.

This got me thinking about things. Why haven’t I baked a batch of cookies and dropped them by the front door of a fire station with a thank you note for working and helping people amid this virus. It seems silly and childish, but how would it feel to be a paramedic and see that? What about setting up a thank you card and a muffin in my mailbox for the guy still delivering my packages because I have to shop online now for groceries since I’m sheltering in place?

It seems so simple, it may even seem dumb because “hey, that’s their job, right?” And that is true. It is their job, they chose to be there, they chose to do that job. Then again, why not try to brighten someone’s day? Have you ever had a day where you felt unappreciated at your job? What if someone had come in with a small gift, anything really, just to say thanks.

These don’t need contact, and in fact, anonymity in a thank you gift can be quite fun. It doesn’t have to be food, it doesn’t have to be anything more than a card if that’s what you want. It’s astounding how little effort it takes to say thank you and yet how little it is done.


#2 – Go out and meet someone… online.

Okay, first off, lets mark off dating apps. No match.com or eharmony, and let’s not even get started on Tinder. I’m not telling you to date, I’m not even saying to go out. I welcome you to the internet people! In the early days of the internet and social media, there were these strange things called message boards and forums. Okay okay, ending sarcasm here. But when is the last time you really delved into something. Remember my first item, play a game, well there are entire sites and servers supporting people who play Dungeons & Dragons over video chats. There are message boards and video forums for hobby enthusiasts. There are forums and websites for almost every hobby.

Remember item #6? There are tons of places to teach you things. And as you learn a hobby or skill, check out the websites supporting that hobby. Do you like to sew, or paint, or build things? Do you paint miniatures or collect trains, woodcarve or sculpt pottery, write music or tinker with computers? I promise you, look hard enough and you will find something to support you there, and I promise you, you will find other people on there that share your interest. We’re not talking about trying to find a date here. We’re talking about good, old-fashioned friends.

This is exactly what I mean when I say make isolation a little less lonely. True story, when I was younger, I had about 3 really good, close friends that I had never met in person. We played an online game together, and we had voice chat in the game. I am giving you permission, it is okay to be social online. We can do a lot with our technology. Find people, join clubs, create and share.



Yeah, I know. Some of you have already done this one. You attacked your house with two cans of Lysol and a spray bottle like Rambo. Your kitchen looks like Mr. Clean himself set off a bomb of scrubbing bubbles. For me? Well, let’s just say that hasn’t happened yet.

Trust me, you don’t need to purge your house to cover this one. We clean and we keep things tidy. But it may be that some time has passed since you really got down on your hands and knees and deep-cleaned the place or gone through your old clothes. It is Spring now, people. Spring Cleaning is a thing. It won’t be long before the annual yard sales. Time to find the old stuff you have and pick an option, sell it or donate it.

You didn’t want to do it last week, and, trust me, you aren’t going to want to do it when you get back into regular life and work schedules. So, take the time now, clean out the closet, scrub down the counters, mop the floors, pack up your unused stuff and be ready to move it out. Spring Cleaning is upon us and we actually have time for it this year.



And there it is, 10 ways to make your isolation a little less like isolation, and a little more bearable. Get to it quickly because the weeks pass in a hurry. Some were meaningful, some fun, some cheesy, and some not so easy. In our time and in our world, we have so many chances to change and accomplish more than we think. You don’t have to agree or be able to do all 10 of these, some people may not have easy access to the internet, others may not have a game to play or a hammock to lay in. You don’t have to do them all. You have choices, you have an opportunity. And most importantly, in isolation, you have time.

1 Comment

  1. Dave March 29, 2020 at 8:17 am

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