Quarantine has been difficult for everyone and as several states move to end their safer at home orders, I hope that everyone reading is taking the proper measures to protect themselves and others. The current pandemic has created somewhat of a standstill in the current day, but for most of us, life must move forward. It is important to think positively and remind ourselves that having a job or school that allows you to stay at home is a privilege that not everyone has. I myself know this as my mom is an “essential worker” and must continue to make the trip to work during the week. However, being at home 24/7 does tend to make a lot of us a little stir crazy. Since coming home, I have felt stressed and unproductive, spent much longer binge-watching television shows and felt a little socially isolated. The following are several activities I think can help us all maintain our mental health and keep busy during this time:
- Take walks
Since coming home, the beaches and nearby hiking trails have all been closed. I have noticed that I am not the only one who has begun taking walks through the neighborhood. Many of my neighbors are doing the same. Even as we avoid each other walking through the streets and cross the street to avoid being less than six feet apart, I have noticed that these walks and the sunlight I get from them have done wonders for my mood and have helped keep me a little less stir crazy.
- Try something artistic
With the extra time on your hands from eliminating any commutes and possible canceled activities, you can take the time to get a little creative! Color Me Mine allows you to order pottery to paint at home that doesn’t require firing. Le Petit Garden in Melrose is shipping plant packages so you can pot your own plant from home. Different paint and sip companies are also offering take out or delivery packages for you to try your hand at painting at home. With the extra time and the extra stress from the pandemic, you should be able to spend an hour or two on something creative to relax your mind from Zoom classes.
- Get some exercise
Whether you are feeling a little anxious or depressed, exercise may not be at the front of your mind. However, exercise is guaranteed to make you feel better. Since a lot of us also have some extra energy these days, exercise can tire you out just enough to get a good night’s sleep. UCLA Recreation is offering a free online GroupX pass that. Soul Cycle classes are being offered “Off the Bike” on Instagram Live, Facebook Live and Sirius XM. Chloe Ting videos are super popular and there are plenty of other YouTubers who offer at-home exercise videos.
- Try some virtual activities
We are lucky that in this difficult time, most of us have access to many different online games and activities that can help make life a little easier right now. There are online escape rooms like See Me Escape has offered or this Harry Potter themed one. You can also do crossword puzzles online or take part in a virtual haunted house through Frightbytes. UCLA SAA has also been posting weekly UCLA trivia Google Forms to fill out in Zoom groups. Online, you can play games from Tetris to Uno and so many more.
- Zoom or FaceTime your friends
With so much free time on your hands and Zoom conferencing becoming the norm, there is now no reason not to Zoom call not only your friends from UCLA but your friends who live further away or who you haven’t caught up with in a few years. Zoom University gives you the unique chance to connect with people from all over the world without ever leaving your home.
- Teach your grandparents how to video chat
Warning: this may be a bit of a slow process. Even though you cannot visit your elderly loved ones at this time, you can still stay in touch. Recently, my family dropped off an iPad with my grandfather so he could stay in touch with the rest of us with weekly video calls. We have been using both Skype and Zoom to stay in touch with him so we could see him and the rest of our extended family. It took a bit of time to get him up to speed with the technology, and there are still glitches here and there, but it was worth it to see his face and for him to see ours.
- Try cooking or baking something new
Since you have extra time to spend in the kitchen, you should be able to try something fun. This website, Supercook, offers recipes based solely off ingredients you already have, so you can avoid an unnecessary trip to the grocery store.
- Visit a virtual museum
When have you ever been able to visit a museum in a different country without leaving your bed? Now you can. Many museums around the world have begun to offer virtual experiences that you can access from your own home. Among those offering online tours are the Louvre, the Met and Musei Vaticani.
- Learn something new
During this time, there are a variety of online classes you can take to pass the time. Coursera is offering academic classes and you can take creative classes on Creative Bug. In addition, many different companies and websites are offering extended free trials or reduced prices during this difficult time to help increase everyone’s knowledge bases during this time.
- Finally, when in doubt, binge watch a new show
With Netflix Party, Hulu, Disney+ and so many other streaming services, it seems only logical to spend a little longer watching TV during this time. I know that most of us have been binge watching a little more, myself included, and that we do not all want to admit it. However, there is nothing wrong with a little mindless television to take our mind off the stress and struggles of COVID-19.
All in all, I hope this list helps you start this sudden period of quarantine with the best outlook possible. Remember that while we may be struggling in this uncertain time, we are blessed to be living with enough technology to allow most of us to remain connected with our loved ones. We should remember that we are all in this together and that we will survive this. During this difficult time, we should all reach out to our loved ones and lean on each other to help maintain positive attitudes.