Fetching Features: Self-isolation: filling unplanned time on your hands (Round 2)

Fetching Featured

(With extensions to the self-isolation and shelter-in-place orders for citizens, Sunday Edition is doing a second round of self isolation activities from a separate author. ENJOY!)

Self-isolation and social distancing are an introverts dream. The government has ordered me to stay away from people. Although, the reasons for this makes me sad, I must admit, I’m very comfortable alone and at home.

My husband and my kids, on the other hand, are extroverts and socializers to the max. They are in sheer agony and fear death by boredom. Our house can’t be the only one divided on this issue. Fear not, there are plenty of things to occupy your hands and brains during this time.

1. Write a book.

I’ve done this, three times, actually, and the phrase I hear over and over is “I’d love to write a book, but I just don’t have time.” Well, Karen, you now have time. The best writing advice I ever heard was that words were like rabbits, put a couple on a page and before you know it, you’ll have hundreds. While I could guide you on what worked for me, just check out National Novel Writing Month, which is technically November (although April is poetry writing month), but in this day of self-isolation and social distancing, it’s okay. We won’t tell.

2. Backyard camping

Spring is upon us. The weather is nice and what better way to do a test run on your camping gear than to pitch a tent in the backyard? Build a fire (check for a burn ban, it’s been really dry this year…), make s’mores, tell creepy ghost stories before snuggling into your sleeping bags for the night. Listen to the different animal sounds, cicadas, frogs, birds, hopefully no bears or Sasquatches.

3. Learn something

Pick that thing you want to learn and learn it. For me, it’s voice recording and editing, like for podcasts–not singing. Me singing is a felony. Assault with a deadly weapon to be exact. But, yeah, voice editing, video editing, a foreign language. Needless to say, everything is on Youtube, so you should be rock’n’rolling pretty quickly. When you are done, make your own podcast or film your own show, like a cooking show or cleaning show (killing two birds with one stone).

4. Martial arts

Many dojos (martial arts schools) have fully jumped into video classes since COVID-19. Several are offering free videos. Check them out and get your ninja on. Just remember, you aren’t going to achieve Chuck Norris capabilities, but it will get your body moving. Martial arts covers all aspects of getting in shape: stretching, strength, and endurance. Who knows – maybe after the quarantine, you’ll want to continue training.

5. Clean something

That closet you keep putting off-get to it. Pantry? Gutters? That one table? Now is the time. Put in some good music, set out three boxes labeled: give away, throw away, and put away. Here’s a hint, more should go in your give away and throw away boxes. My rule of thumb, if I didn’t wear it last season, it has to go, even if I love it. If it doesn’t fit, it goes. This is probably why my hubs has more shoes and clothes than I do. Purses are another matter, though.

6. Spa-at-home

Self-isolation can just be a fancy name for self-pampering. A quick internet

search can give you hundreds of easy scrubs and masks using ingredients you probably have on hand. My favorite is a brown sugar scrub. Mix brown sugar, coconut oil and some vanilla extract and viola! You can exfoliate and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time. You can also use this on your hands, or all over. For more ideas, visit Perry’s Plate here.

7. Write letters

Self-isolation gives us a chance to go postal, in the most fun sense. This is a great way to bring joy to someone else because we all love getting mail that isn’t a bill. Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot to say-whoever you are writing will just be thrilled. Besides, you can always use smaller size paper. You can also decorate the envelope. One of my closest friends in college would send me beautifully and whimsically decorated envelopes and letter while I was in basic training and it brought such amazing joy. For some neat ides, check out zentangle art here.

8. Research a region

Find something to get the entire family involved in. Self-isolation can send you into another country. Select a country, or culture and divide up different parts to assign to everyone. One can research the geographical features, one can cook a dish, one can explore the art and history. Do one, do several– maybe the Gullah culture, Creole, or even something like Revolutionary Era New England.

9. Tackle a big project with your family

My hubs and I have had a plan for years — to make a headboard for our bed. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need a pandemic to make this happen, yet, here we are. Get that special person in your life, who lives with you since we are, well, quarantined, and do something big. For us, we’re converting an old box spring made from wood. Maybe you want to build a bookshelf, or something else. Find interesting things to recycle. Use old tires to plant in. Paint that room you’ve been wanting to paint.

10. Explore your yard

Big or small, you can find something new and interesting in your little bit of the outdoors. Find a bare spot and make a plan for it–either paint the fence, plant some flowers, or an herb garden. Add some yard art. Or, simply tidy the area.

The main thing is, we’ve been dealt an unexpected break from real life and while most of the news is bad, we have the chance to create family bonds, memories, and make changes we’ve been wanting to make but simply haven’t had time. Enjoy, stay well, and may your blessings be more numerous than the stars.

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