The outbreak of COVID-19 has drastically changed our lives, making both self-isolation and social distancing essential. While it might have impacted our daily lives on different levels and with different intensity, it is still a very unusual way to live—adjusting to it and coping with this new reality can be challenging. Fortunately, technology and innovation can provide new ways to sustain our daily routines and socialize, making this temporary period of self-isolation more bearable.
Stay connected through technology
In these trying times, technology has surged into our daily lives. Even more so than before, necessity has caused us to rely on it for remote work and self-employment. But those same assets—Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, what have you—are also ideal for social interaction, and it’s paramount that we use them in that way as well.
Socializing has many well-documented psychological benefits, such as;
- Improved mental health
- Increased self-esteem
- A sense of belonging
Since isolation can have deep adverse effects on one’s psychology, social interaction is the ideal remedy. Staying connected with one’s close circles can help maintain a sense of normalcy, and remind us that this temporary phase can indeed be bearable in good company.
While the production of media has started to slow down, for understandable practical reasons, there is still no shortage of media by any means. Internet platforms provide countless hours of movie entertainment, which could keep the average person engaged – even binge-watchers would be hard-pressed to run out of interesting content to consume.
If traditional television can only entertain you for so long, services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Disney+, and others, can offer a massive vault of years’ worth of movies and show. Revisit old sitcom series such as Friends or The Office and watch them with new eyes, or catch up with all the movies you couldn’t watch upon their release. Re-watch groundbreaking series such as Game of Thrones, or try new acclaimed titles such as Tiger King – technology can bring it all to your fingertips. Some such services can even turn your movie nights into socializing experiences; Netflix’s new Party feature can facilitate long-distance movie nights with your friends.
If movies are not your ideal form of escapism, or if you’d rather diversify your entertainment options, books are a great alternative. As staying at home removes the need for commuting and remote working comes with a very flexible schedule, reading books definitely becomes more convenient in these circumstances, and it can also make self-isolation more bearable in the process. Now might be the time to figuratively dust off all the books in your library, both ones that you might not have read yet and those that you haven’t come back to in years.
Should you run out of books to read, purchasing physical copies during quarantine may be challenging. However, technology can both guarantee an instant, near-limitless supply of eBooks and enrich your reading experience. Such eBook reader devices as Amazon’s Kindle can store a plethora of books without the need for physical space, while their constant lighting can make long reading sessions easier on the eyes. The sheer abundance of available eBooks should guarantee that you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Alternatively, you could try audiobooks, if you haven’t already. Audible, an Amazon-owned audiobook company, still offers a free 30-day membership – so you can try and see if audiobooks suit you better, without charge. Much like eBooks, audiobooks are delivered instantly and cover a wide array of titles for all tastes.
Make some art
Speaking of art, self-isolation might just be the fertile ground your inner artist needs to thrive. If the rapid pace of day-to-day life has kept you from fully exploring your artistic side, now could be the time to do so. Fortunately, the Internet offers countless courses and tutorials, both for the new aspiring artists and the ones on a creative hiatus.
UK comedian Noel Fielding recently hosted an art club for his fans, and Linkin Park’s world-famous rapper Mike Shinoda has started streaming music production sessions. Such options become increasingly available with our renewed interest in staying connected, so your inspiration may just be waiting to be ignited. You can try your hand at painting or producing music, or even start writing a novel based on an idea you have been sitting on for years.
Artistic endeavors aside, it is vital to remember to exercise in these times; it is massively beneficial, both for your physical and mental health. Staying at home longer can suddenly reduce our motivation to work out, but that daily sweat can keep our minds and bodies in good shape – and make self-isolation more bearable.
Some of us may not be used to exercising at home or doing so alone, but luckily there are many ways to make such activities more enjoyable and more social. One can take online courses with personal trainers, watch fitness videos on YouTube, or use exercise DVDs to stay motivated. Better yet for the gym enthusiasts, many big gym chains have started streaming live workout sessions – the next best thing to being there in person. You can even combine most of these options with socializing: webcams and microphones may be all you need for a shared workout session with friends that can keep you motivated.
Keep up with self-care
Lastly, regardless of how often and how intensely you decide to work out, it is vital that you keep up with self-care. A very common effect of isolation is falling behind on one’s self-care, since it entails fewer personal interactions, fewer professional responsibilities and decorum to adhere to, and lower commute times and physical activity. However, this can negatively affect your overall well-being, making self-isolation less bearable than it needs to be.