Today is the first day that many of us are on extended voluntary quarantine during the coronavirus outbreak in the US. My college, East Carolina University, is one of many who made the tough decision to suspend in-person classes. We are instead moving entirely online for the foreseeable future. In my work, we have begun a week-long (maybe even longer) work-from-home stint. On top of these things, many businesses are reducing hours to allow for more time to clean, and many local events are postponed or canceled.
We're going to be seeing a lot of the same four walls over the foreseeable future. For the first few days, it's a fun change of pace, but what do we do when the novelty wears off? I put together a list of things I have done to keep myself productive during long periods of isolation.
Learn a New Skill
Chances are, there is something you could be doing in your free time that is productive for your career. Even if you're not currently working, you can always start looking into certifications that might help you going forward. Personally, I have been putting off getting my Google Adwords Certification. The program is entirely online, and you can get certified in a week. Now is a good time to get rolling on a new skill.
Pick Up a Hobby You Can Do From Home
There are a number of low-cost hobbies you can do from home. What are some things you've always wanted to pursue but never had the time for? Personally, I'd recommend doing some painting. You can get paintbrushes, a canvas, and some paints relatively cheap online and have them delivered to your home. Don't know anything about painting? I know of a certain soft-spoken, afro-wearing artist who has several painting tutorials you can follow along with.
Join an Online Community
Maybe you have an at-home hobby, or you are already working on a new skill - what now? Well, why don't you share your skills and learn more about your side-projects through an online community? A quick search on Reddit will get you connected with like-minded people who are more than happy to share information about things they care about. If you can't get out to see your friends, why not find fellow enthusiasts online?
Stay in Constant Contact With Your Friends and Family
This is less of a "fun" thing, and more of an "important" thing, but be sure to check on your friends and family from time to time. Coronavirus is a great equalizer these days. It's something we're all going through, all experiencing, and all concerned about. The constant barrage of news coverage can be draining and stressful. Not to mention the fear of your older friends and family who might fall within the "high risk" category. Reach out to them, see how they're doing, and see if there's anything you can do to help them.
The most draining effect of the coronavirus is the effect it has on your mental state. Without constant stimulation, the brain can feel tired and lazy. Be kind to your mind and you will make it through this crazy period in time.