Being Indoors Amidst COVID-19

Tulips

Being stuck inside and away from people can be rough. This is not a comprehensive list of how to be indoors or away from others for an extended period, just some things that might help. Will update as I come across more.


Please message me if you are curious about any of the options I list below and want help setting things up on your computer, locating resources, etc.

Lonely?

  • Take advantage of options like Skype, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime. Plugging in headphones will fix your issues with echoing on computers. If it’s a possibility for you, it’s nice to just have a screen open while you digitally “hang out” with friends. Even if you don’t talk the whole time, just coexisting and having someone nearby while you go about your day can do wonders for when you’re feeling isolated.
  • Teach your friends and relatives how to use programs and apps that connect people to others!
  • Call relatives and friends you haven’t spoken with in a while.
  • Write a letter to relatives. Write a letter to future you and tuck it away for later.
  • Snuggle your dog, or cat, or bird, or gerbil, or whatever. Love the heck out of it.
  • Sing out your window or shout out in solidarity with your neighbors.

Bored?

  • Start learning a new language on Duolingo (free App on computer or phone).
  • Learn something new from Khan Academy.
  • Check out digital museum tours or go on a Google street view exploration of another city and find famous landmarks.
  • Teach your pet a new trick. Muzzle train and/or crate train your dog if it isn’t already–this is important and useful in the event your dog needs to be temporarily cared for by somebody else.
  • Teach yourself a new trick (e.g. learn about polyphonic overtone singing, YouTube tutorials, and try it out)!
  • Check out Reddit or Facebook for groups about literally anything you might be interested in discussing or learning about.
  • Exercise.
  • Read. Check out the Libby app to download e books from your local library, meander on over to Project Gutenberg, or browse any number of free online literary journals/magazines.
  • Netflix and clean.
  • Start a new hobby.
  • Birdwatch—how many birds can you identify in your neighborhood that you may not have noticed before?
  • Dust off your houseplants’ leaves one at a time, taking some time to actually touch them with your hands and focus on your breathing.
  • Download Steam—there are lots of free, or cheap video games in any genre you can imagine that can exercise or calm your brain.
  • Plan a trip for 2022. You don’t have to buy anything or even actually go on the trip, but plan one down to the fine details anyway. Just the act of planning a trip improves mood.
  • Konmari your entire existence.
  • Go check out Twitch creative where you can watch artists make art! Build an online community with like minded strangers.
  • Have lots of sex, but use contraception. You don’t need to be dealing with a possible pregnancy with everything yet to come.
  • Use this time to learn about your politicians and research their policies. Which politicians and policies are helping or harming people in the midst of this pandemic?

Anxious?

  • Some of the things in the bored list are also useful here.
  • Practice meditation—there are lots of different forms. Some may work better for you than others. Don’t expect too much from yourself especially at the start.
  • Stretch!
  • Limit your daily news intake/turn off push notifications on your phone for anything non-essential (Click one: iPhone, Android. On any Facebook post, or group, if you click the “…” button you’ll be met with additional options like unfollowing a person or page, or even just limiting posts to only friends or nobody). A lot more people are going to be spending time online sharing scary articles. Do not let your phone push these to you. Make your intake of news and media intentional and limited—not just in total amount of minutes consumed, but frequency of access. Check in a couple times a day to stay up to date, but set a timer if you find yourself obsessively checking or scrolling through news and social media. Things are going to look worse before they start to look better. Worrying about them isn’t going to help anything. Keep being diligent about hygiene and find something else to do.
  • Ask for help when you need it, including with anything on this list. Many communities are forming Google doc lists and networks to help for various people affected by the pandemic. If you’re short on resources or need help, reach out to me and I will do my best to help you locate them.
  • Make a plan. It can be easy to fall into the panic and buy toilet paper in a desperate attempt to regain control in a situation that can feel hopeless. Making a plan will not only help you regain some of that control, but will actually come in handy should you need it. Have a plan for what happens if you should need emergency care (call the ER before going in). Whether you are low or high risk, have an end of life plan in order. Our culture especially hates to address death, but it’s necessary. Have your affairs in order.
  • Plan for the future. Use this time to meditate on and plan for what to do after all the shut downs loosen. Marcus Aurelius is still relevant, centuries later, when he said, “Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now take what’s left and live it properly.”
  • Have a plan for what to do if you are sick/quarantined and have pets that need to be looked after (e.g. perhaps sanitize an extra leash if you have one, a toy, and an extra key to your house, then put put them into a plastic bag for later, just in case).
  • While we’re at it… for everyone spending extra time at home working on digital projects, back up your work in more than one location (email yourself, use Google Drive, DropBox, or other Cloud service)! Do it now!
  • There are several therapy apps out there worth checking out if you need them and can afford them.
  • Write down your feelings. Find an old magazine or book and practice erasure poetry to express yourself if writing feels like too much of a burden.
  • Seek out beauty. Look up photos of beautiful and strange things. Watch videos of people free diving with orcas in Norway. Look at macro photos of slime molds. Look up high res images of our solar system. Share what you find with others.

2 thoughts on “Being Indoors Amidst COVID-19

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