Social distancing just got real. With millions of Americans confined to their homes for the next few weeks, it’s all too easy to focus on the negative. But here’s the thing: there’s a silver lining to social distancing. (Beyond the obvious not getting Coronavirus part.)
Remember those long, glorious afternoons spent alone in your room as a kid? You’d get lost in your own imagination, talk on the phone, or start an ambitious project just ‘cuz. What if, instead of focusing on the negative aspects of social distancing, we did those things?
Yes, these are scary times, but you control how you deal with them.
Whether you’re single or married with kids, live alone or with roommates, you can shift your mindset to view social distancing as terrific, not terrifying. Here are 20 awesome ways to make the most of it:
Call an old friend. You know that one friend who you keep meaning to call? And when you do remember, it’s always the worst time? Chances are she’ll pick up right now. And don’t forget grandparents! A quick FaceTime with Grandma would really lift her spirits, and yours.
Cook something that takes a really, really long time. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess sumac wasn’t high on your list when last fill your cart. But with a few basic ingredients, you can make a legit bolognese sauce, a beautiful roast chicken, or a savory pot roast.
Open that bottle of wine you’ve been saving. It’s all too easy to start bickering when you’re stuck in close quarters. So grab your partner, put away your phone, crack that bottle and talk. Resist the temptation to discuss your circumstances. Dream. Reminisce. Laugh. Connect.
Do something totally silly. Like camping indoors. (Who cares? No one can see that your kids pitched a tent and are sleeping in the living room.) Or what if you played “restaurant” and recruited your children as the servers. (Our specials tonight: mac n cheese, mac n cheese, or mac n cheese.) Whatever you choose, unleashing your inner child can make for a memorable experience.
Read War and Peace …or whatever novel has been sitting on your bedside table unopened. There are hundreds of great authors waiting to transport you to another world, even if you’re stuck at home. Why not start working your way down your reading list?
Create something. Take photographs of your kids. Do a still life drawing. Try needlepoint. Whatever you decide to create, do it boldly and do it for you. Silence your inner critic and make art!
Have a spa day. You. Bathtub. Now. Preferably with fancy candles, Epsom salt, and Enya playing in the background. (Okay maybe skip the Enya.)
Start a daily meditation practice. If there was ever a time to practice cleansing breaths, this is it. Start with a five- or ten-minute session, then work your way up. I find mediation apps like Happify to be helpful in training my brain to slow down and let the thoughts float on by.
Get in shape. At-home workout apps like Kayla Itsines’ Sweat App are popular for a reason: they’re effective, require little time and equipment, and many of the workouts take just 30 minutes. Social distancing is a great excuse to pull the trigger on the exercise program you’ve been tempted to try.
Take a yoga class. (on youtube) Is your favorite yoga studio closed? Head over to YouTube and try a 20-minute yoga workout with Erin Sampson of Five Parks Yoga, or stick it out for Yoga With Adriene’s 30 day challenge. All you need is a computer and your yoga mat!
Get organized. Unleash your inner Marie Kondo and create a storage space that truly sparks joy. Just imagine the relief you’ll feel when you finally go back to work and return home to a well-ordered pantry. It’s life-changing!
Level up your leftover game. While you’re technically allowed to go to the grocery store, it’s not a great place to hang out. Make fewer trips and reduce food waste by transforming leftover meals into creative casseroles and easy, flavorful lunch bowls.
Teach an old dog new tricks. Chances are your dog is as bored as you are. Challenge that brain of his by teaching him a new skill! Whether it’s finally getting him to come when you call, or teaching him to search for hidden treats, there’s nothing like a well-behaved pup to bring joy to any situation.
Journal. Open a blank page and let your thoughts and emotions flow. Not only is it a good place to vent your frustrations, but journaling will also make you more aware of the good stuff.
Teach yourself a new skill. Now that you finally have the time, learn to do that thing you’ve always wanted to do. Between YouTube and Google, you can learn to do anything.
Practice gratitude. Counter claustrophobia and a mindset of lack by focusing on what you do have. Studies show that a regular gratitude practice can make us happier in general. So whether it’s a nice view out your window or the aforementioned bottle of wine, try to find at least 5 things every day to be grateful for.
Take a hike. PSA: the outdoors are not cancelled! So go for a walk, take the kids fishing, or evenplay outside. As long as you stay at least 6 feet away from others, you’re all good!
Teach your kids to cook. Cooking with kids teaches basic math and chemistry skills. So it’s the perfect learning activity to do together while they’re out of school. Who knows…maybe they’ll even start making dinner for a change!
Memorize 5 gut-bustlingly hilarious jokes. Better yet, make it a group project with friends and family, then swap puns on a group video chat.
Have a dance party. Push the coffee table against the wall and suddenly your living room becomes the neighborhood’s hottest club. Marvel as your favorite tiny dancers bust their silliest moves, or twerk out all by yourself. If there was ever an opportunity to dance like no one’s watching, this is it.