Social isolation is not ideal. It’s not good
for our individual physical health, mental health, or the global economy. But
right now it must be done for the collective wellbeing.
When cinemas, bars, restaurants and malls
close down and we’re obligated to stay inside, we need to find new ways to keep
ourselves entertained. However, it’s not just the entertainment that we miss.
The lubricant that keeps all of those things flowing and energised is something
that is vital to our experience as human beings: social connection.
Over the coming weeks and months, we must
maintain some form of social contact and we stay active and engaged in life.
It may not seem like it at first glance, but
even the most individual hobby usually has some relational aspect. Consider
reading a book for example. We may do it alone, but we’re interacting with
someone else’s human story, the characters, the emotions, the experience. The
same is true of movies, video games, sports, and almost everything we do
This social distancing scenario is a nuance,
but it’s also an opportunity for growth. Anyone who has followed the news
lately will have heard the phrase ‘unprecedented times.’ Which is true, this situation
is completely novel, but so is the amazing access to content and community that
we have with the internet and modern technology.
The following list is by no means exhaustive,
but it’s intended to hopefully inspire some of your own ideas for managing
boredom and continuing your personal development during social isolation.
Without further ado, here are 7 ways to make the most of
you can’t go outside, go inside. I saw this on an
infographic the other day and I loved it. Social-isolation is the perfect
opportunity to begin a meditation or yoga practice. You’ve got the time to do
so, and a good reason (you’re probably feeling pretty restless), so why not get
started? There are a ton of teachers offering free meditation and yoga classes
through Zoom and Skype.
Learn something new. Almost everyone has a skill or
area of knowledge that they’ve considered learning at some point.
Unfortunately, when we are busy, life gets in the way. With YouTube, Udemy,
Skillshare and dozens of other independent online teaching studios, there’s no
excuse not to do so. Maybe it’s a new language. Maybe you’d like to learn basic
biology, physics or chemistry. You could try and learn how to dance, draw,
paint, or play an instrument. There are also thousands of documentaries about
every topic imaginable. Now’s the time.
Pick up a book. Whether you consider yourself a reader
or not, this is an opportune moment to start on a new book (or listen to an
audiobook). If you’re already reading, then maybe it’s time to switch from
fiction to nonfiction, or from science to history, crime to sci-fi. Check out
goodreads or amazon for some suggestions.
Find your digital tribe. There are hundreds of
thousands of online groups with different interests. Reddit is a great place to
start, but you can also do a simple search for your interests in Facebook
groups, or a google search for independent community forums. It doesn’t matter
if you’re interested in gardening or sports, pottery or drones – there’s something
out there for everyone.
Make someone else feel less lonely. The best way to
get out of your own head is to shift your attention to someone else. Depending
on who you are, social isolation generally ranges from an inconvenience to a
severe stressor. No matter who you are, it’s safe to assume there are people
out there who are hurting more than you right now. Anyone who lives alone, is
elderly, disabled, lives in a rural area or suffers from depression could use
someone to talk to and there are volunteer services in your country that allow
you to do just that.
Have a digital detox day. All this Coronavirus news is
stressful. Being bombarded with updates every moment of the day is not healthy,
particularly when it starts to go on for weeks and months. Choose days of the
week to have a detox from all digital content and do something else. If this is
difficult for you – or you’re limited by your work – you could start with an
hour or two and try to build it up to a day.
whatever you’ve been putting off. Everyone has
something they’ve been putting off. Maybe it’s something you really want to do
but don’t have the time, like writing a book. Or it could be something you’ve
been avoiding but now have the time to do, like your finances. Either way, self
isolation is a great opportunity to give yourself the time and space to get
important things done and feel good about it.
Have you tried any of these? Got some of your
own ideas you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear
Ben is an author,
psychotherapist and the creator of Project Monkey Mind, a blog that helps people manage depression and anxiety and find peace and calm through meditation. He
holds an MSc. in Applied Neuroscience from King’s College London and a
Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Queensland.
Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.