girl lounging relax 3

Tips and Tricks for Making the Most Out of Social Distancing

While there are days throughout which I feel busy with schoolwork, being stuck at home right now has given me a lot of free time. Here’s what I’m doing in an attempt to fill that space!

  1. 1. Reading

    books on a bookshelf

    I’ve always loved reading, but being an English major doesn’t give me much free time to read books for fun rather than for class. As much as I do like analyzing classic literature (yes, I’m aware that I’m an English nerd), I’d choose YA romance over most anything else every time. In addition to the books I’m still reading for classes, I’ve already read two books for fun (The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody and I Never by Laura Hopper), and I just started a third (Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith).

  2. 2. Writing

    computer hands writing in journal on table

    In case you couldn’t tell already by how much I talk about reading and being an English major, I also really love to write. While I don’t plan on trying to be a full-time author post-college, it would definitely be amazing if I managed to get a book published someday. I started writing a story in my free time over winter break, and COVID-19 precautions have given me more free time to keep working on my writing. (You can read my article about why everyone should try to write a book here.)

  3. 3. Watching TV

    woman eating popcorn

    Been meaning to binge that really long show, but haven’t had the time? Now’s your chance. For me, that show is Glee, which I’ve been watching while simultaneously being on FaceTime with my boyfriend, who watches the same episode in sync with me on his own computer. I’m also working on making my way through How I Met Your Mother on my own, and my mom and I decided to rewatch Gilmore Girls together.

  4. 4. Also, Movies

    remote control turning on the tv

    Most streaming platforms have released many new movies to watch, so if you have a chunk of time but don’t want to commit to a TV series, just pick any movie you haven’t seen (or an old favorite!) to watch instead. (I’d recommend The Perks of Being a Wallflower on Netflix, I, Tonya on Hulu, and Onward on Disney+.)

  5. 5. Cleaning or Organizing

    Laura Claypool-Postcards Dorm Wall Decor Photos Polaroids

    Cleaning certainly isn’t the most exciting thing to do, but rearranging a few things in my room has helped me feel a lot better about the space I’m spending most of my time in. I printed a bunch of pictures to hang on my dorm wall, so I hung them up on my wall at home. I also went through my old toybox, which hasn’t been touched in years—I emptied it, donated the toys, and used it instead to store my college bedding, which didn’t really have a good home anywhere else in my house. I made sure to completely unpack and put all of my luggage away, making my room feel more open, and less temporary, despite how long I tried to believe we’d be going back to school this semester. Just being productive in small ways is a great way to trick your brain out of being bored.

  6. 6. FaceTime (or Zoom!)

    Coronavirus

    Perhaps the most important thing on this list, FaceTime is the best way to fill up the new free time. I’ve been FaceTiming regularly with my boyfriend, with college friends, with friends from high school, with camp friends; you name a person, I’ve probably called them. For larger groups, zoom is great too—my family even had a seder over Zoom for the first night of Passover.

It can be hard to know how to fill sudden free time when you can’t really leave your house, but if you can convince yourself to even do one semi-productive thing, it’ll probably make you feel a lot better about this unprecedented situation. 

Even if that one thing is just making your bed in the morning, some sort of structure in your daily routine will help you prevent yourself from going stir-crazy. Stay safe and healthy!

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