18 March 2020

COVID-19: 5 things you can do while under quarantine

Let's be honest; none of us could have imagined that it would come to this. This Covid-19 pandemic has blindsided us with such ferocity that, before we could say "novel coronavirus", many familiar things around us have become, well, unfamiliar.  In just a few short weeks, the world as we know it has seemingly gone from frenzied to snail-paced.  It's become so quiet.

As I write, many countries have shut their borders; air travel dwindled to a trickle.  And now countless of us the world over are told to STAY AT HOME in an effort to break the chain of infection.  Under the circumstances, I suppose that's hardly an unfair - if somewhat unpopular - directive; after all, drastic times call for drastic measures.  And whilst isolating oneself isn't exactly the most thrilling prospect on anyone's bucket list, adhering is the least we could do to help stem the spread of this bad, bad virus.

So as I get reacquainted with my blog, here we are all obediently sat at home for the next few weeks.  For some of you, this will seem a good opportunity to finally give that broken fence a long-overdue makeover.  Or finish that 400-page mystery you started when Barack Obama was still President.  Others may see this as a chance to at last learn to make the perfect chicken masala to impress their mother-in-law.  And of course there are those of you who have the enviable liberty of working from home to keep yourselves duly occupied.

But what if you have absolutely nothing meaningful planned while being holed up in your abode for three whole weeks - maybe more?  No hobbies, no interests, nothing.  Doing zilch may at first seem unproblematic - deserved even - but boredom will soon rear its ugly head and that's when each passing day will begin to feel like a lifetime.  No, make that two.  Well, before ennui comes a'knocking (and it quickly will), here are five easy and beneficial activities you can try to productively kill time.

1.  Learn a craft or skill.  Colouring is the new fad.  Be it colour pencils, crayons or watercolour, colouring is easy and brings out the Monet in you.  And while you're at it, why not learn to bake as well?  Start with something relatively simple - say, cookies or cupcakes - watch your confidence grow and see where that takes you.  Or start a blog!  Write whatever you want - current affairs, sport, rants, short stories - the possibilities are endless.  Remember, labour of the hands, even when pursued to the verge of drudgery, is never the worst form of idleness.

2.  Try DIY.  Start a simple project.  Fix that old, wobbly dining table, for instance.  Give it a fresh coat of varnish or paint and make it as good as new.  Patch up that stubborn leak on the front porch once and for all.  Wash and vacuum the car and give it a good, deep waxing.  And don't forget that clogged bathroom sink.  That flickering staircase lamp that's driving you up the wall each night.  Or those blunt kitchen knives that won't even cut through tofu.  Fix them.  No doubt you'll learn a thing or three in the process.

3.  Pick up the phone.  Reconnect with family and friends; chances are they'll be in lockdown as well.  Remember, time spent talking to or even texting those close to your heart is never time wasted.  In fact, it's time invested.  So if your normal daily pursuits allow you neither the time nor the opportunity to catch up with your loved ones, what are you waiting for?  Now's your chance.

4.  Clear out the old stuff.  We're all guilty of hoarding to some point, aren't we?  Well, why not use the next week or two sorting out and disposing of some of your old or unwanted belongings like clothes, books, CDs, cutlery, etc?  Better still, give them away to those who'll have better use of the items.  Not only will you be cleaning house in the process (remember coronavirus?), you'll actually be making room for new stuff!

5.  Read a book.  This may seem like drudgery to some (yes, it's true) but consider this: reading unlocks the imagination and expands our way of thinking, our horizons.  It teaches us to interact with something other than the people and things we know well or are comfortable with.  Above all, reading is fun!  Choose your genre well, start with a short story and go from there.  Better still, pick up a children's book and read to your toddler.  Or teach your child to read.

If self-quarantine/isolation doesn't appeal to you, some of the activities I've mentioned here will hopefully make it more tolerable.  They are by no means exhaustive but I'm sure you get the drift.  Stay safe and stay sane, everyone, and try to make the most of this situation we're in.
Are you under self-isolation or quarantine?  If so, what do you do to pass the time?  Do share below.