I was going to start this blog post with “In these distressing times” but I don’t think I need to give any more attention on how stressful and anxiety-inducing this situation. The coronavirus has caused most of society to take a step back from the normal routines of their daily lives and slow down, something that I feel most people feel that they are incapable of doing. Most of us, by choice or requirement, are self-isolating ourselves in which cabin fever can hit people hard (I went through it during the NYC Transit Strike and it is not pretty).
Social distancing, what may be a scary term, can also be an enlightening and interesting adventure. You can take this time of uncertainty to learn more about yourself. Just ask any of your fellow introverts and to them, social distancing is a blessing in disguise. Even though staying at home is the dream, just being cooped up can cause anyone to go insane.
So if you are trying to keep yourself sane and entertain yourself at the same time, here are some sure-fire ways that will get you through this “period”. They might be mundane, they might not provide the same social stimulation that a bar or a restaurant gives, but instead, you’ll receive intellectual and mind boosting simulation.
Watch the News…But Not What You Think
You are probably asking yourself “Is she insane?! I can’t turn on the news without it NOT mentioning the virus!” And you are right. News channels and outlets talking about the Coronavirus makes you feel like you can never get away from this. But that shouldn’t stop you from being informed about the other issues that are affecting our world: homlesseness, mental health, immigration, the refugee crisis…there are so many other things going on that are not getting highlighted at the moment. There are some news channels, such as the BBC World Service and NPR, that provide engaging and enlightening documentaries about significant issues and discusses things that you didn’t even know about. I always found that listening about different issues outside of my social bubble puts my life into perspective.
France 24: Livestream
BBC World Service: Livestream Radio
This may go against the advice of the government officials, but I’m not asking you to go against sound advice. But feeling the sun on your face and breathing in the crisp air is such a calming and soothing feeling that it is hard to sacrifice that. So go for a walk, run, stroll…just experience the beauty in the things that truly matter.
Meditation is Key
Stressful times call for calming measures. With the bombardment of uncertain news and a tense atmosphere, this is the ideal situation to focus more on your mental health. Again, take a walk, do some yoga, listen to some soothing music (classical music is my personal favorite). The Calm app is the best tool to help you reduce anxiety.
Take Up a New Hobby
Bought that paint set and never had a chance to open it? Now is your chance! Take up the hobby that you always meant to do but seemed to never have the time for. Concentrating on one thing allows you to take a break from the outside world and can be stress-reducing.
Learn Something New
The internt can besused for other than social media and video streaming. Always wanted to learn a new language? Learn with Duolingo! Open University and FutureLearnoffer free courses that cover various of interesting topics. Take this time to broaden your horizons and explore your mind.
There is nothing more cathartic than writing down your feelings and through this pandemic, you must have a lot of feelings, bursting to get out. Why not use this quiet time to put them down on paper? Or let that imagination run wild and get that story you always meant to write. The world is your oyster.
As always, I saved the best for last. There is no better way to conduct escapism than through reading. Books offer us that portal to take us on a journey to another world. And through self-isolation, reading is the perfect opportunity to do it. However, may I suggest to not read books that are about pandemics? When I see book lists like this one, I get a little annoyed. The goal is to relive stress and reading about pandemics and viruses crippling the world are really not helpful.