At some point during quarantine, you may experience a switch in intentions. You may realize that the goal of time spent sheltering may not necessarily be all about making time go by as fast as possible, but rather about figuring out how to make your time in isolation as meaningful as it possibly can be for you.
Though a meaningful life may have previously consisted of things that aren’t possible right now — travel, spending time with friends, going to restaurants, clubs or plays — it is still possible for daily life to feel meaningful. It very well may look different, but as soon as the focus switches to making life in quarantine extraordinary and purposeful, it just might start to feel brighter.
Since we can’t be completely sure how long we’ll be indoors for, the smartest idea is to do the best possible things for those days to be bright; packed with fulfillment, reflection and really anything that helps you feel like you are heading towards joy instead of insanity.
Here are some things that should help with this goal of making your time inside feel worthwhile:
Commit to a Calendar
When the days begin to all mix together and I lose a sense of time, it often leads me to a strange void where I get confused and lose much of my excitement because I don’t have something clear to look forward to. A themed calendar of events helps solve this issue — it keeps you on track and gives you things to look forward to, no matter how small, which is the simplest recipe for little pockets of joy in your day.
Joey King created a fashion themed calendar for herself and everyone she’s quarantining with where each day has a theme of dress — from tiki Tuesdays to formal Fridays to sleepy Sundays, each day gives those participating an outfit to plan and a favorite day to look forward to. The calendar you make for yourself can include virtual coffee dates with friends, solo baking parties or whatever events you may have planned for yourself.
Challenge Yourself to Practice Gratitude
Practicing gratitude daily can be as simple as taking 45 seconds to write down a sentence or two about what you are grateful for that day. This small act is scientifically proven to boost long term happiness, which makes it one of the simplest but most life-changing habits to incorporate into your daily routine.
During a global pandemic, it can feel like everything is going wrong and there is not a single good thing happening, but finding something (even if it’s something incredibly small) you appreciated that day helps enhance your brain’s ability to think more positively. Actively practicing gratitude, especially right now, is a courageous act with no shortage of beneficial consequences.
Grab a notebook or journal, or even just some printer paper, put it somewhere you’ll see each day and start writing what you’re grateful for whenever you think of something! Bonus: Putting it in a communal space is always nice too, because it can be helpful to be able to look back on what others have said as well.
Put on some music and let your hair down! Have some precious moments where you don’t have to think about anything too deeply.
Foster A Pet
During this crisis, shelters are in especially high need of people to foster animals and people are in high need of companions — seems like an issue that should solve itself. Three studies published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology have found that pet owners tend to be less anxious or lonely and exhibit higher self-esteem than non-pet owners.
Write About It
Writing down all of the thoughts, feelings, fears, anxieties, happy moments and worrisome moments is one of the best ways to make sense of everything. But further, after this is all over it might be really interesting to look back on these entries and remember all of the things you were feeling during this tumultuous period in our history.
Virtual Dates and Hangouts
Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t go on dates with friends or loved ones, it just means you have to get more creative! You can still have a coffee date through FaceTime where you both brew a cup of coffee and talk as you normally would. Or you could use the recently launched Netflix Party, which allows multiple users to watch a show with the exact same timing and communicate in a live chat while doing so, simulating the feeling that they are together.
Breathwork and Meditation
The reasons for getting into the habit of meditating during quarantine are twofold. As many know, meditation comes with an incredibly abundant amount of benefits ranging from reducing stress, depression and anxiety to generating kindness to improving memory, decision-making skills and attention span — even decreasing physical pain and increasing life span.
Meditation seems to be one of those things where anyone who knows about it knows that everyone should be, but many people avoid doing it for many reasons such as unfounded excuses about not having enough time (it can be just a few minutes, done anywhere!) or the fear they won’t be able to do it (even though it’s easy to learn and there are many forms you can test for maximum comfort). Quarantine is the perfect opportunity to begin meditating because it can help you deal with some of the stress that might accompany social isolation. In addition, learning to include it in your schedule now is a great way to ease into incorporating it into your regular routine after this is all over.
Exactly What You’ve Envisioned
Everyone has an activity or hobby they imagine themselves doing, that many end up brushing off after concluding they don’t have enough time in their schedule for it. This could be anything, from learning to do a split, to learning an instrument or another language, to working out each day, reading more, writing poetry or countless other activities. Now that you likely have much more time, take yourself up on that activity you’ve been imagining yourself doing. Seize this opportunity to do it! Maybe you’ll end up being grateful for this time.