Tips for Keeping Busy and Sane at Home

The author offers suggestions for staying

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The author offers suggestions for staying "busy as a bee" during this isolation period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With fewer obligations to fulfill during such an unusual time (i.e., the COVID-19 pandemic), it’s easy to let yourself slack off. However, with motivation, it’s just as easy to achieve astonishing improvements. Isolation is a precious opportunity for us to work on forgotten hobbies since there are hardly any distractions.

From my personal experience, I would like to share some tips to keep yourself busy and sane. As the school year has ended, these might help you to spend a more productive and memorable summer. 

With social distancing and stay-at-home mandates due to the coronavirus, “not having enough time” to practice an instrument or relax to your favorite music is no longer a viable excuse.

#1 Practice an Instrument

In elementary school, my parents made me learn the flute despite my indifference. Thereafter, classical music became more of an obligation than a hobby. After coming to Rectory, however, performing made me realize the beauty of my instrument. While I tried my best to put in serious effort, schoolwork often got in the way of practicing. 

Now, on the other hand, I have ample time to practice. It’s less of a commitment than I expected because I can pick my instrument up at any time. It’s something I look forward to every single day. Especially during such a distressing crisis, concentrating on an energy-consuming activity helps relinquish worries and inhibitions. 

In addition to practicing, I’ve also been listening to classical music. I never pictured myself enjoying such a vintage form of music, but with time to consult recordings before playing a piece, I discovered this whole new world of art. If you don’t play an instrument, listening to music is an enriching habit to have. I recommend a YouTube channel called TwoSet Violin that helps make classical music relevant to the generation of pop culture. 

All in all, there are many approaches to appreciate music and many genres to choose from. If you happen to be an aspiring musician like me, there couldn’t be a better time to develop your virtuosity than now. 

#2 Beware of and Befriend Your Feelings

Even before the pandemic, I frequently struggled with stress and anxiety. It was a part of my routine that I gradually adapted to. I constantly searched for coping methods and strived every day to prevent negativity from consuming me. 

Now, as the world encounters a crisis, my past plight becomes an enriching experience. While I still have concerns like everyone else, I approach them with patience. I learned that it is so important to listen to your feelings and set them free. 

Too often, people drown themselves in a river of tears, doing nothing to settle themselves before it dries up. Many, including myself in the past, dread anxiety attacks. However, sitting and waiting will not solve the problem. The only way to chase your worries away is to pay attention to them and address them. 

There are many ways to attend to your emotions  — journaling, painting, running, etc. Everyone has a different approach that works best for them. My favorites are books and music because not only do they provide me knowledge, but they also require high focus which lets me momentarily escape reality. 

Nobody lives without worries; they are simply splinters that need to be treated. After recovering, you will become stronger than ever before. Don’t leave the wounds unattended because they are a part of you. 

Keeping your space neat and tidy can calm the mind. To make your space seem fresh and new, try hanging some new posters or pictures on the walls, or even rearranging your furniture.

#3 Decorate Your Space

Feeling cozy and homebound has always been important to me. For some people, it might be a necessity, while for others it could seem like a waste of time. I lean toward the former, though I believe there’s no need to go over the top.

Even accomplishing small chores like vacuuming your floor, making your bed, or putting up a few new posters can have a positive impact on your mood. I’ve always liked my room to be tidy, but since I’ve been inside a lot, I have become even more meticulous about the details. 

With extra opportunities to stay in the same space, comfort and occasional scenery changes are crucial. An organized room instantly boosts your satisfaction and energy, not to mention its hygienic importance. Hanging your clothes by colors, sorting your books alphabetically, or cleaning out your fridge are just a few examples of what you can do to enhance your space. 

Make your bed and crack open your window every day; turn on a “fume” diffuser or rearrange your furniture when you feel special. Cleaning out old junk refreshes your body and mind.

Getting lost in a good book is one of life’s simplest pleasures. It gives you a chance to escape from reality for a bit, to travel to far-off lands and different time periods from the comfort of your couch, and to expand your perspective as you see the world through a different lens.

#4 Read

Mentioned as a way to beware and befriend your feelings, I believe that reading deserves a section of its own. You might be tired of hearing it from your teachers and parents, but as a student myself, I can verify how important it is from my personal experience.

Growing up in a nerdy household, I’ve been through phases of reading for hours on end, as well as being tired of literature. I agree that sometimes it seems pointless to learn about philosophies that you will never use in your life. But here’s what my dad told me: “No worthless book.” Even the most ignorant, misleading works will make you reflect and wonder about the triggers of those thoughts. 

No one is stopping you from social media or games during quarantine, but with so much time on hand, why not spare a few minutes on a book and see what you can get out of it? It requires a lot more patience and thought than other forms of text and gives you a moment to escape from the real-life chaos.

Reading makes it possible to see through someone else’s head (in most cases, a refined scholar’s) and allows you to ingest the precious knowledge condensed from years of meticulous study. The lack of a defined image sparks creativity and controversy. Open a book and let yourself be absorbed by the product of human civilization. 

Cooking your favorite meal or trying a new recipe will please your pallet and lift your spirits.

#5 Cook Something You Love

Due to the decrease in fresh food resources during this time, packaged meals might be an easy resort. Although I still enjoy processed snacks and instant meals, it has become more important than ever to nourish yourself properly. 

Generally, home-cooked whole foods are healthier than store-bought ones. You’re aware of every ingredient and able to adjust the proportions to your own benefit. It is also a lot more affordable and environmentally friendly than takeout. 

Moreover, preparing a meal induces a sense of achievement. After going through the process of searching for recipes, gathering ingredients, and controlling the time and temperature, you become much more appreciative of getting to eat the final result. Even something as simple as a breakfast omelet requires love and patience, making you proud when you serve it at the dining table. 

If allowed, I strongly encourage you to consult the Internet or your family for a recipe and recreate your favorite meal. There is no better time to go on such a therapeutic and rewarding adventure than now. If you’re an amateur, make sure to have someone around to ensure safety. Once you get the hang of it, it will be one more skill added to your toolbox. 

Staying physically fit is easy if you have Internet access; there are so many free exercise videos that you can follow to tone your muscles, lose weight, increase your cardiovascular endurance, and just plain have fun while you improve your health and your mood.

#6 Be Active

As outdoor activities are confined, it’s getting harder to find the motivation to keep active. If you’re lucky like me, you have the resources to bike up a hill or go for a run in the woods. Still, though, there’s no excuse to sit on the couch all day even if you live in a city. 

Last year, I discovered a whole new exercising platform – YouTube. It started off in my dorm room at a summer camp, where my roommate worked out every afternoon with nothing more than a mat and a laptop. Through her, I learned about the online fitness community. There are millions of free videos that you can complete at home. I was inspired by her and have been sticking to my own workout plan ever since. 

Some resources I recommend are Chloe Ting, Pamela Reif, MadFit, and XHit. All of them offer programs targeting different areas of your body, with different lengths and intensities. Apps like Nike Training Club, Seven, or 8Fit are also great options for more detailed instructions. 

Throughout the year, I learned to build a customized plan with cardio and bodyweight exercises combined. I admit that it’s hard to keep up the motivation every day, but perseverance allows me to see drastic benefits – my body is sculpted, my energy level increased, and I became more resilient than ever before. 

Especially when you stay indoors all day, you have to push yourself to get off the couch for an hour or two. If I can workout and drip like I’m in a shower for two hours every day, you can, too. There is no excuse whatsoever – the road to becoming fit is only one click away. 

Planning your short- and long-term goals is the first step toward accomplishing them. Writing your goals in an agenda book is the best way for you to schedule time to work on them one step at a time. (theinteriordiyer.com)

✰ Work On a Long-Term Goal

Above are only a few of the tasks you can spend your day on instead of lying in bed. Ultimately, everyone has different activities they consider worthwhile. You can be flexible about how to define productivity as long as you intentionally distance yourself from lethargy. 

From the positive results I observed, I encourage you to try a similar routine. Use a planner to write down your goals for the day, week, or month. Fill your agenda with projects you love, projects you have delayed, or projects you deemed too ambitious because of procrastination. 

This period of isolation is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to achieve incredible transformations. Before you realize it, the time will fly by because of how engaged you are!