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30 Ideas to Enrich Your Life During Self-Isolation

30 ideas to enrich your life during self-isolation

These are strange, uncertain times — so many of us are practicing self-isolation in our homes and are cut off from regular contact with friends, relatives, and colleagues.

But this period also presents an unprecedented opportunity!

Instead of seeing your time at home as a jail sentence, it’s time to get creative. If we use our time wisely we can emerge from this pandemic smarter, prepared, and with a new appreciation for life.

Here are 30 ways you can use this time to enrich your mind, heart, and home.

  1. Take a class. Ever wanted to learn about 19th century English literature or study for an entrance exam? There’s an entire world of education available online, and most of it is free! Try Khan Academy or Udemy to get started.

  2. Catch up on reading. You know that bedside pile of books you’ve been eyeing guiltily? Now is the time to tackle them. Books are one of the oldest forms of escapism, and according to a 2009 study from the University of Sussex, reading begins to soothe stress in just six minutes.

  3. Virtually attend an International Toastmasters meeting. What a perfect time to learn about Toastmasters and how you can develop your communication skills? Discover how Toastmasters run their meetings on-line and apply your newfound knowledge to your own club, business or team. If you are a part of a Toastmasters Club already you could assign your club members to each attend an online meeting in another location or country and share your learnings at your next virtual meeting.

  4. Learn a new skill. Master your grandmother’s lemon meringue pie recipe or try your hand at painting. Businesses around the world face an economic slump, but you can support them by signing up for kits delivered to your door, like Let’s Make Art or Adults & Crafts.

  5. Do a deep clean. When was the last time you cleaned behind your refrigerator or went through your sock drawer?

  6. Help people who are struggling. If your city isn’t completely locked down, shop for senior citizens or donate items to your local homeless shelter. Call your local senior center and other non-profits to see what they need.

  7. Begin a journal. Journaling helps you stay mindful and in the present moment, but it also has the added benefit of helping future generations by leaving a record of your life and unusual times. Record what you’re feeling and seeing and hearing. Alternately, sit down with a family member and record your experiences using the StoryCorps app and share your history with the world or with family and friends.

  8. Take an on-line exercise class. There are thousands upon thousands of exercise videos available for free on YouTube, or you can check out what’s available on Amazon Prime. Many don’t require any equipment at all. In other words, you can get a professional workout for free!

  9. Practice an instrument. It’s time to finally dust off that guitar (or keyboard or harmonica or trumpet) and put it to use. As the Italians have shown us, music can bring us together, even when we’re apart.

  10. Immerse yourself in a TV series or documentary. What a blessing that we live in the golden age of television! Whether you’re into dramas or comedies, documentaries or science fiction, there is a series out there to serve as an escape.

  11. Meditate. Download a free app like Headspace or try a guided meditation on YouTube. Meditation is clinically proven to reduce stress and anxiety and will serve you for years to come. I use a device called Muse to help me with my meditations.

  12. Master video chat. We’re all getting a crash course in how to effectively work from home. Expand your knowledge of tools like Slack, Google Hangouts, Zoom, WhatsApp, and more so that you can help guide others and increase productivity.

  13. Create your own online services. Do you have a skill you can teach? Create and post a series of online tutorials so others can use their downtime to expand their knowledge.

  14. Start a gratitude list. And add to it every day. Cultivating gratitude leads to better emotional resilience — something we could all use right now. Try an app like Gratitude to make logging even easier.

  15. Envision where you want to be in a year. Write a letter to your future self and describe how you have grown and changed in the space of a year. Use this time to visualize the life you want to lead.

  16. Make that budget you’ve been putting off. It might not be fun, but with many economists predicting a global slowdown, now is the time to get your ducks in a row.

  17. Watch movies with friends. Try a clever app or browser extension that will let you sync your streaming service with a friend, like Scener, Kast, or Netflix Party, so you can have a watch party from your own sofa.

  18. Try a new look. Too timid to try a new way of wearing your hair? Now is your chance to do it, risk-free! YouTube has an endless supply of tutorials. Or why not give yourself a facial, manicure, and pedicure?

  19. Discover a new way to self-care. Have you ever tried breathwork or reflexology? How about yin yoga or hand massage? Get creative with your self-care and branch out — you may have a new, comforting habit when this is over.

  20. Foster a pet. Many animal shelters offer fostering services. Why not provide food, shelter, and love to a dog or cat that would otherwise be isolated? The bond between humans and pets is ancient and deep, and studies have shown that animals reduce stress and depression.

  21. Plant vegetables. It is still spring, after all! If you don’t have seeds yet, order them online and plant in your own garden or in pots in your kitchen. Fresh herbs are a great idea!

  22. Learn a new language. If there’s one thing this pandemic has proven, it’s that we’re all members of a global community. Download an app like Duolingo, Memrise, or Fluent Forever so you can better communicate with your fellow humans in the future.

  23. Organize your photos. Sort through those stashes of unorganized paper photos or create folders for your digital photos. It relieves stress to revisit memories of happy times.

  24. Contact friends and family. Enjoy the luxury of long, uninterrupted conversations with people you love. Call friends you haven’t spoken to for years, write letters and notes of appreciation, check in with the elderly.

  25. Buy gift cards. Your favorite businesses depend on support during this difficult time! Even if you can’t eat a meal or purchase goods from them, you can snap up gift cards for yourself and your family and defray the financial fallout so many are experiencing.

  26. Try a new recipe. How many of us have cookbooks that we haven’t cracked in years? You may find a new favorite! Or, try a site with thousands of recipes like Yummly or Epicurious.

  27. Explore the outdoors. If you’re not confined to your home, you can practice safe social distancing by getting outside and enjoying the fresh air and sunlight. Hit your local hiking trails, paddle a canoe, or just take a stroll through your neighborhood, for instance. Just remember to stay two metres apart from other people.

  28. Trace your family history. Genealogy is fascinating, but it also has the distinct advantage of being time consuming! Uncover history by using a site like Ancestry.

  29. Work on your personal brand. Do you have a resume that needs polishing or a website that could use a redo? Dive into those projects you’ve been putting off so you’re more marketable in the future.

  30. Tell people you love them. This is perhaps the most important. Let people know you care and that you’re here for them. We may be isolated, but we’re still together.

How are you dealing with self-isolation? I’d love to hear how you’re using your time.


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