We’re all facing more inside time than usual due to the COVID-19 crisis, and everyone around the world is doing their part to self isolate or quarantine at home. Our guest blogger, Jessica, has come up with some unique ideas to keep busy at home, on your own, for as long as need be.
Charting the Uncharted
I’m sure I’m not the only one asking the question, “What can I do best with my time?” These are most definitely uncharted waters for many of us, not only making changes to our jobs, our social lives, our activities and our usual ways of living, but also what to do with all of this extra time.
As avid travellers, my husband and I have agreed that we feel an immense sense of loss, as if the doors to the world are closing, even if temporarily, and it leaves us feeling cut off. To keep yourself on a positive note during these times of uncertainty, here are some ideas to bring travel to your home, and to keep you going:
Travel Without the Travel
Just because we aren’t traveling right now, doesn’t mean we can’t dream or plan for the future. Why not take this time to dream up some travel adventures, so you’re ready when the world opens up to us again? Because of all that’s happening right now, we need to take advantage of this new outlook on life and start to plan adventures that we might have been putting off. Some questions to ask yourself are:
What’s your travel destiny?
Where’s one place that’s always been on your list?
What’s the experience you’ve always longed to cross off your list?
Now’s the time to re-evaluate how we live, and ultimately, how we travel. We can travel more mindfully and with intention, rather than just for the sake of getting away. We can use this time not only to search for places that are calling our name, but also the experiences we wish to fulfill. Visualization can be a positive motivator when switching dreams into reality, so let’s allow this time of self isolation to be a call to dream, rest, and write intentions down. When the world is open to us again (we have to believe it will be), places will all be more vibrant and meaningful. The wait will be worth it.
Globetrot from Home
The list of good books, movies, and podcasts available to us on any range of content is never ending. Why not choose something that quenches your thirst for travel, like a travel memoir (Into Thin Air by John Krakauer, A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain, or Adventures of a Young Naturalist by David Attenborough), a travel-themed movie (Lost in Translation, Roman Holiday, or Lion) or even, perhaps, travel-related music?
On rotation in my home are “The Suburbs” album by Arcade Fire, the “Lost in the Dream” album by War on Drugs, or the “Migration” album by Bonobo, all sure to inspire long road trips or long-haul flights for the future. And what if, we stuck our headphones on and went for a long solo walk around the neighbourhood? Nothing says ‘leave me alone’ by wearing headphones, and social distancing will thank us for it.
I’ll be honest, I was particularly upset when things like yoga studios, museums and clothing shops announced they would be closing (call me shallow, I know). I’ve never had trouble filling my time, but often, it includes doing self-care activities outside of the house like yoga, museum visits, and browsing this season’s new styles at my favourite shops. Even though it feels daunting not to be able to have these activities at our request, now is the perfect time to re-enact these same experiences at home, and in solitude.
Ever taken a yoga class? Chances are that even if you’re a beginner who’s attended a handful of classes, you know enough yoga poses to practice at home. Now’s the perfect time to designate an area of your home to a self-care ritual. Perhaps having a place for your yoga mat or workout gear, to be set up at all times in a corner of your home, is exactly what you need to start moving your body.
Feeling like you’re missing out on social activities? Now, you can appreciate those activities on your own time, with yourself as great company. Dare I say, you may need to ‘date’ yourself for a while. Take yourself out for a long walk. Spend some time enjoying the confines of your apartment, and all that you’ve done to make it home.
Have you ever KonMari’d your belongings? Now’s the time to initiate this practice and bring awareness and enjoyment to everything you own. Being limited to our homes can feel like the walls are closing in, but after reading Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you’ll not only feel like you have everything you need, but you’ll be able to appreciate and enjoy your surroundings that much more. I have read and reread her book many times, and after each reading, I find something new that brings hope to my possessions. Her practice is an act of awareness and mindfulness about what items we choose to keep, and which we choose to let go. And during these difficult times of finding which social activities we need to let go of, her message will resonate on this level as well. Let’s all take this as an opportunity to appreciate what we have, and keep the bigger picture in mind.
Document Your Journey
This may be the best piece of advice I can give you, especially at this time. As a teacher, I’ve always been a big fan of journaling. My students never receive homework from me, other than one assignment we do together — myself included. It’s called the Homework Journal, and each week, every student writes an entry of at least one-hundred words on whatever they want. I do the same. Then, I read all twenty-six homework journals, and return them back with a post-it note I’ve written. My students also get the chance to read my journal as well, and because I’ve been doing this project for six years, my students actually have six homework journals of mine to browse.
Why is journaling important, and what has it taught me? It’s instilled the fact that documentation of human life is what matters most. I feel so privileged to read what my students write, which is often about their daily lives at home, with their friends or families, doing non-school activities. It gives me great insight into who they really are as people outside of school, and I have learned TONS about my students, just from this one simple project. Most importantly, we connect. My students write their honest opinions about many daily issues, and I read them with no judgment–fascination, in fact.
This is what journaling can do for us now, in this time of uncertainty. We can document our lives as we are self-isolating, confining, and/or quarantining ourselves, what it feels like for us, and how we’re getting by. Imagine having entries that you can read in your future, about how you’re feeling, and what you went through? It will be the most motivating piece of proof that we can get through anything. Imagine the strength you can convey just through your words, pictures, or testimonies. Imagine the people you could show these entries to someday: your children, or your grandchildren.
Journaling helps us engage and identify what we feel in the present moment, but reading your past journals is where the real learning comes from. We get to reflect and appreciate what we have lived, and truly learn from our past experiences. Don’t have an empty journal lying around? Online platforms such as Google Docs work great as well. Whatever you do, don’t discourage yourself from writing how you’re really feeling. I always invite my students to say whatever they want, and you SHOULD feel like you can say whatever is on your mind. Your future self will thank you for your honesty, and will never have believed what you went through unless you have the proof. So prove it.
Take care and stay safe,