I’ve done a few of the typical quarantine stereotypes. I dyed my hair, got into jigsaw puzzles, did a deep clean of my room and wardrobe and I’ve dived really hard into music. This will no doubt continue as I have no paid work for the next couple weeks and my siblings aren’t around to keep me company.
I just want to say that none of these actually bad on their own. They’re not unreasonable ways of coping with this new way of life. They don’t hurt anyone in moderation. Changing up your look is actually a great piece of advice to help adjust to a new phase of life – highly recommended after getting out of relationship. Cutting your hair or dying it can give you a genuine boost and even if it goes awry… you’re in a pandemic! No-one has to see it!
Doing puzzles or brainteasers is a great way to occupy your brain when you’re stuck at home. Going through your house, cleaning and decluttering is a productive choice and it will help bring a small sense of clarity and order to what might otherwise feel like a chaotic time. When I was travelling for work and study, I didn’t have time to do more than a once-over every week or so. Now, going into winter I’ve put my warm weather clothing into storage and tidied up the disaster my wardrobe had devolved into. We installed curtains in our house so that we could open the blinds and windows for the first time since moving in, getting lots of natural light and air flow. I fixed the chest of drawers that had been falling apart for months.
All of these things might be portrayed or stereotyped as signals that we are going crazy or using bad coping strategies, but in moderation they are all okay! We must be careful that we do not neglect our regular needs in order to do these tasks, but it is very important that we occupy our brains with active tasks instead of wasting away either with boredom or fruitless consumption. I know that not everyone is the creative type so I won’t tell you all to go start art projects, but I know everyone has some passion. There is no time like the present to kick-start a project or idea. Learn computer coding, take online classes, learn a language, practise an instrument, write a novel, grow a garden, do crosswords… there are so many challenges we can take on alone. But you can do collaborative tasks too! Video call and make dinner with your loved ones, have a competition building LEGO models, spend some time doing ridiculous personality quizzes and see if you can guess each other’s answers…
So there’s some reassurance and ideas for coping in quarantine. I’d love to hear what you have been doing if you have more free time than usual, to get suggestions and opinions on satisfying ways to spend our time.