It's been about a week now since we've all been rushed home, barely having the time to wrap our heads around what is going on.
Forgot how to function in a full house? Me too.
The silver lining of leaving our college friends behind is usually reuniting with the friends we grew up with, but now that social interaction is discouraged, day to day life is pretty bland. It's ironic how a triple occupancy dorm room felt less claustrophobic than my own home, especially now that my head has somewhat cleared up and I can realize how bored I actually am. Then again, if it feels like we have all the time in the world to waste, shouldn't that mean that we have all the time in the world to be productive?
Here's a list of things you now definitely have the time to accomplish. I can't guarantee that this will keep you sane during confinement, but we need all the help we can get.
1. Get organized
Now is the time to clean up. Because you're not going anywhere, it's too easy to put something off simply because "you have all the time in the world to do it." If you moved out of your dorm, your house is probably covered in random decor, semi-clean clothing, organizing systems, and other miscellaneous items. Don't leave those things laying around. Not only will it remind you of the semester we're all missing out on, but it'll also make you feel even more claustrophobic.
Organizing isn't limited to stuff, though. Sort through all those pictures you took when you were drunk or when you were feeling yourself that one day — most of them are either identical or blurry. Plus, you'll be happy to look back on them. If that's too nostalgic for you, make playlists. You're going to go through many, many different moods throughout this period, so might as well be ready.
2. Get ahead
As hard as it might be, we need to stay on track with our lives, because the days are still going and most of our obligations still stand. However, many of the activities that took up our time in the past are out of the question, so we might as well take advantage of that extra time to get ahead.
Take an extra class, or catch up on some old material if it felt rushed the first time around. I know that I could accomplish a lot more if I didn't prioritize my social life, so now that that's essentially out the window, might as well make use of my productivity. The key to all this is being busy, and if we get a lot done now, we'll have that much more time to enjoy being out in the wild again.
3. Get fit
I know all the are gyms closed, workout classes are canceled, and motivation is lacking, but this is the perfect time to start getting your summer body ready. You could either step out of your house in who knows how long looking like a vampire, or like you started running your own home gym. There are tons of workout plans online — think of the people that make a living off their health and fitness Youtube videos. Some of them might seem ambitious, but take advantage of this time to build your strength and stamina, and really put the work in. The benefit of working out at home is that there's nobody to give you looks when you start lagging, or when it takes you five full minutes to understand how to actually do a certain move. You can also take up running, which I've started to do, against all odds. It's a great way to get some air and release some energy, and with a little every day, you'll get much better, faster.
4. Get busy
We all have that one thing we always wanted to do but know how big of a chunk of time it would require. It's now or never. Whether it be moving around furniture, some elaborate recipe, going through years of home movies, or reading a book series, there has to be something you've never been able to fully commit to. If you can't think of one, (honestly if someone asked me out of the blue I wouldn't be able to think of one either) ask a family member, especially those who have lived longer lives — they definitely have something on their mind. Even if it's not your own project, it'll give you something to do — let's not take that for granted.
5. Get with it
Newspapers, social media, advertisements, the dinner table, they all deliver the same content: updates on COVID-19. Don't get me wrong, it's important to stay aware of what's going on around us and to stay as safe as possible, but that doesn't mean that it's the only news worth reporting. Look into things you might have missed during all this craziness, like new music, spring collections, new TV show seasons, or even politics. Whatever you were into before coronavirus took over is still out there — there's no reason to forget about it.
6. Get Netflix savvy
Online platforms are taking new measures to give us a sense of togetherness while we're quarantined. There's an extension you can add on Google Chrome for free, Netflix Party, that allows you to sync your account with your friends' so you can all watch at the same time. There's also a chat feature, so you can all react to the movie or TV show together, and honestly, it's a lot better than having everyone scream different things on the couch to the point that you can't even follow what's going on anymore. Also, if you set a time to watch an episode with someone, they might feel obligated to wait until then, rather than watching ahead and spoiling it for you.
7. Get yourself together
When you're home, it's easy to feel like you're just slouching around accomplishing nothing, so the self care days might feel less needed. That's where you're wrong. This is when we want to stay feeling fresh, hygienic, and overall not let the situation take a toll on our mental well being. Maintain your routine of getting up and getting ready in the morning. This doesn't mean you need to put on a full face of makeup and a tight skirt, but even changing into different sweatpants will make you feel better. Don't get into the mentality that nobody is seeing you, so there is no reason to look presentable. Do it for yourself, because eventually, you won't like looking and feeling like a slob, and then you'll just start spiraling.
8. Get connected
I spent my first 48 hours at home speaking to no one, grouching around, laying in bed, and eating at odd hours. Surprise surprise, that only made me feel worse. Now that you aren't seeing your friends every day, it gives you all the more reason to stay in touch with them and check-in. Whatever you're feeling, they can probably relate, which helps. I'm not saying you should cry on the phone together, but it's nice to keep a routine of updating each other on your daily lives, or just say nothing at all and enjoy each other's company. You also know for a fact that everybody is home, so it's a great time to catch up with people you might have had trouble staying in touch with. Ironically enough, having everyone cooped up makes them that much more accessible. You have the time to have those two-hour phone conversations, so why not take them. It'll keep your mind off the confinement.
It would be so beyond wrong of me to say that I've been taking all the right steps facing this situation, but I'm honestly trying. There's only one way to find out if I'm actually making it easier for myself, but it's worth a shot.