I don’t know about the rest of you but after the past few weeks of “social distancing” and “hunkering down”, there is absolutely nothing left to watch on Netflix. I know. I’m probably exaggerating and the good people at Netflix will likely beg to differ (I still haven’t watched Tiger King yet!) but perhaps the issue is less about the endless options available on Netflix and more that I’ve reached my max capacity for being a couch potato. Teenage me is very disappointed.
So what to do with all this time?
One: Learn Something New
Somewhere between week 1 and 2 of the lockdown, I feel like I kept seeing articles or ads for online classes. You can literally learn almost anything. There are creative type classes such as Intro to Chalk Lettering or Portrait Photography on sites such as Brit + Co where classes are relatively inexpensive, starting at $9 with most topping out at $39. Skillshare, a platform that houses instructors worldwide has online classes that run the gamut from sketching to coding with different membership options: free, premium and team (currently they’re offering their premium membership for 2 months free!). You can even get yourself an Ivy League education without shelling out the $$$$ tuition for it – or in my case – going back in time and retaking the SATs (no thank you). Class Central lists and reviews 450 different offerings from all 8 of the Ivy League schools across the country and they’re all F-R-E-E. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be signing up for a class or 3 because hey – you never know – you could stumble across a new hobby or even break into a new career by the time we head back out into society.
Two: Marie Kondo Your Home
Feels like not long ago, everyone was talking about Marie Kondo. Sure, she may not be the hottest trending topic anymore (thanks again Tiger King) but you can’t deny that beneath all of her charming quirkiness, there was a method to her madness. The basic steps of the KonMari method is to:
1. Work on areas category by category (as opposed to location)
2. Break the category into subcategories as needed
3. Keep only the things that spark joy (!) aka things you use and actually love
4. Organize and put away the items you are keeping
5. Finally, do it all in one go
I definitely find myself struggling with #3 (hello, hoarder) and #5 as usually I’ll start something and then have to be somewhere but guess what? That excuse no longer holds because time at home is something we all now have in spades! So, roll up your sleeves, grab a few garbage bags and get to it.
Three: Reconnect with Friends and Family
During this time, it’s obviously super important to stay connected for your sanity. Research has shown that social support helps combat the effects of anxiety and depression, leading to a better mental state and overall health. I think we can all agree that even the more introverted ones of us benefit from a bit of occasional social interaction. Luckily, there are no shortages of options to do that virtually and safely from your own home.
What’s interesting is that during the past couple of weeks while in isolation, I’ve found that I’m actually connecting more to friends and family than I did before. Previously, I typically would text or DM someone through Facebook or Instagram but now I’m actually calling people, making plans to set up FaceTime group chats and really just having actual conversations as opposed to the usual quick text or comment on a post. There are so many different options out there – FaceTime, Skype or Zoom – to name a few. There are even free apps like Houseparty that allow you to play group games such as Pictionary, Heads Up and Trivia. I have about 2-3 standing weekly group calls now that I look forward to each week. So, find some time with your friends and family, pour yourself a glass and put your sketching skills to work!
Four: Channel Your Inner Martha Stewart
I’ll be honest here and say that prior to Covid-19, my cooking repertoire consisted mostly of making eggs, a couple variations of the same tomato-based soup and the twice-a-year holiday baking I did for family potlucks. There is typically a lot of eating out or heating of leftovers going on in my life. And while I’m still ordering take-out and delivery a couple of times a week (need to support my favorite restaurants!), I’m definitely spending some time looking up recipes, plotting out my grocery runs/deliveries and making use of my kitchen appliances that are generally ignored and collecting dust.
For beginners like me, the AllRecipes app and website have a lot of approachable, easy to follow recipes. For those of you a bit more advanced, there’s Bon Appétit or the NY Times. For the adventurous, you can tap into social media for some out-there, viral recipes like tea-infused soufflé pancakes or a thousand-layer chocolate chip cookie. It seems everyone right now is making this whipped coffee concoction called Dalgona Coffee or growing their own sourdough to bake their own bread. Meanwhile, I’m here just trying to figure out how to make vegetable sides to go with the pre-roasted chicken I bought from the market.
After all of the cooking and inevitable comfort eating we’ve all been doing, you’re going to need to work it all off. Quarantine 15 is just like the Freshman 15 only harder to get rid of because let’s face it, mid-30’s metabolism is just not the same as 18 year-old metabolism. There’s no comparison, trust me. Aside from staving off the extra pounds, working out provides a bunch of other benefits such as stress relief, improved mental health, increased energy levels and a better immune system overall. All of which sounds good to me.
Personally, I’ve had many neglected gym memberships in my lifetime and the hardest part for me was actually going to the gym. With all of the online options available out there, you can access such a huge variety of workouts and studios that might have been out of the way or too inconvenient in the past. From yoga to boxing, from dance class to HIIT – there truly is something for everyone. The best part is you can work out from your own home without feeling self-conscious (I’m looking at you hip hop dance class that I took in my mid-20’s). If you’re craving some social interaction, you can even sign up for the same live streaming class with friends from all over the United States. The options are endless with many online offerings starting as low as $8/month which is a fraction of what normal in person memberships or classes cost. Plus, in the same way that I still order takeout from my favorite restaurants, this too is a great way to support your favorite studio.
If you’re new to working out and don’t have a favorite studio, there are tons of options that offer a huge variety of classes, such as Obé or Aaptiv both of which are available on the LEON app. Looking for something more personal or someone who will keep you accountable? Check out the Sessions section of the platform. The options are endless.
On-demand workouts at your fingertips.
So get up off your couch and make the best of this time!