Start A Garden, Organzine Your Room, Learn A TikTok Dance and Even More Ways to Make the Most of Social Distancing
By: Tierney O’Daniel
Social distancing. At first, it was nice. We got to sleep more, disregard some responsibilities, and even just bask in our own company, but that time of relaxation and peace quickly turned into complete boredom and later evolved into torture. (Just me feeling that way?)
So, what does one do during a time of boredom? Do we choose to become productive and organize our lives, or take an opportunity to binge Netflix shows and sleep 14 hours a night?
Well, I’ve surprisingly been able to do both in these two glorious weeks. Procrastination is my specialty, but with all this time on my hands, I thought maybe I could be proactive and get some stuff done before I convince myself that I’m going to do it the next day. As someone who gets bored easily, I have somehow been able to make the best of both worlds.
By just knowing what your options are, you may be able to as well. So, here is a list of some things to distract yourself with during these trying times:
Organize your Life
Start with your room, closet, desk or car. Keep it simple. If you have a hard time parting with items, think about donating them – sometimes it’s easier when you know your stuff is helping someone else. (Start with Goodwill, Evansville Christian Life Center, and St. Vincent de Paul here locally!)
If you want to get ahead of any worries of the future, set some short-term goals and plan them out, either by writing them down and working on the action steps, or making a vision board with inspiring pictures and words.
Change Something Up
Wardrobe, diet, hair color…if you’re really pushing your limits (temporary dye works as well). I’m about to do this to my hair soon and no one can convince me otherwise. That is, of course, unless my mother says no. Otherwise, if you do have free range of all decisions, I suggest putting yourself out there and taking that step in a new direction. No matter what you choose, you’ll look fantastic!
The best thing to do in this time of isolation is to start doing something time consuming and purposeful. You can make gifts for people or decorations for yourself. I have a bunch of printed pictures thatI’m thinking of making some frames for!
If you don’t want to make small crafts, build something that will be of good use to you. It’s a good feeling to actually use something that you make.
In case you’re not the construction type, thrift flip some clothes into something you’ll want to wear or sell. If you want your efforts to look more advanced, all you need is a sewing machine, thread, and some inspiration.
Explore New Music
You may find something good you never thought you’d like. You can use a variety of free and paid music streaming services to do this. If you don’t know what to listen to, ask a friend for any playlists that they may like.
For a fun challenge, try Elsie Larson’s Year of Music. Make a list of artists – old favorites and ones you’ve always wanted to list to. Write each one down on a slip of paper and put them in a jar (or just pick from your list each week). Then, go all in on that artist’s discography for one whole week. Of course, if you find you really don’t like the artist, quit and pick another!
Learn TikTok Dances
This may be controversial, but they’re short, and some are complex enough to take up time and give you a good workout. You’ll also feel very accomplished knowing you put in the effort to learn something voluntarily.
On TikTok, there are a variety of dances ranging from easy to difficult. If the dances aren’t for you, you could either try making different TikToks or spending all your waking hours just scrolling through the app. Warning: it’s addictive.
Go Online “Window Shopping”
Proceed with caution because you can start at noon and realize it’s 5pm, but you will not have been bored. Pro tip: Make sure not to have any form of payment near you during this process.
If you do want to purchase something, think local. Think about buying gift cards to local coffee shops like Penny Lane, White Swan, River City, River Kitty, and Honey Moon, or juice from Sunshine Juice Co. Mail them to local hospitals or long-term care facilities for healthcare workers, or just to a friend as a pick-me-up.
Play Video Games
Ideally, play video games with your friends online. Although I personally don’t partake in this activity, I recommend proceeding with caution because it may have you locked in all day.
Start a New Series
Instead of binge-watching something you’ve seen before, or watching movies, try something new! I’m currently watching a show that is twelve seasons long. I started a week ago and now I’m on season four. That’s true dedication if I’ve ever seen it.
Listen to Podcasts
There’s huge variety in podcasts: from comedy to true crime, current events and news, sports, lifestyle, video games, leadership, motivation, entrepreneurship, personal finance, and so much more.
Once you find the best podcast for you, you will not be bored. If you have trouble deciding what you want to listen to, ask a few friends for suggestions, or just find the category that interests you the most and listen to lots of episodes until you find a show that you love.
Overwhelmed? Don’t know where to start? Read “A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Into Podcasts”.
Learn a new recipe and make a meal for your family. Utilize your talent to have the family try new foods. Use the items in your pantry that are typically avoided to get out of your comfort zone. If your family doesn’t appreciate your cooking, that’s okay. I guess they just can’t see the true art of it. I appreciate your effort already.
If you’re more interested in baking, bake cookies, or bread. The whole family can enjoy those. You can also save cookies to eat later. Win-win.
It’s spring now, so it’s the perfect time to plant some flowers and beautify your yard. Not so keen on the outdoors? Try houseplants, or succulents! I have it on Bailey’s authority she would be happy to offer you a start from one of her 1,000 aloe plants sitting in the window at the YR office.
If you’re more interested in planting vegetables, that’s perfect too. You can use them as you hone your new cooking skills.
Write to Loved Ones
Becca mentioned this one in her blog post, but it bears repeating. A quick note on a postcard or a longer letter will be very appreciated and worth the time and effort. Everytime I receive a letter, it means the world to me. Especially if you haven’t talked to someone in awhile, it will mean a lot to them too.
Not sure where to start?
But do your best to maintain a normal sleep schedule. Keep those healthy habits, even if you do feel like sleeping until 5pm. I will say it is easy to slip into the trap of falling asleep at 6am, so try to wind down a little earlier in the night. If I really need to sleep early, herbal tea works for me, but reading and staying off your phone are also things that will make it easier to relax when you need to.
There is no shortage of content through all the different genres of literature. Find something you like and read it. There is something very rewarding about finishing a book. If you don’t necessarily like sitting down and reading, you can listen to the audiobook version of it.
Start a book club with your friends. You can send one another your favorite quotes from your readings that day, or you can read the same book and discuss it on the phone. Or send favorite articles if you’re into shorter reads right now.
They’re time consuming and take a good amount of effort. There is a sigh of relief after finishing a puzzle that may have taken forever. Seeing the finished product is rewarding. Plus, puzzles are just fun.
If you don’t have any physical puzzles hidden away, you can enjoy your time doing some puzzles online.
Also, here’s a 736-piece, all-black, uniquely-shaped puzzle if you’re up for a challenge!
Play Games with Your Family
Every family is different, so just find a game that everyone loves. From Go Fish to Scrabble, there’s something for everyone.
Here are some favorites from game nights at YR:
Throw, Throw Burrito (Bailey’s favorite)
And of course, everyone loves an old-fashioned Euchre tournament.
Play Games with Your Friends
How you may ask? Use Facetime, Zoom, etc. to play games like Heads Up (find it in the app store), Five Second Rule, and Scattergories. Cheating makes you boring so for the good of society, don’t cheat. Seriously, don’t.
Do Something with All Those Photos
FInally upload them all to cloud storage (Google Photos), organize physical copies, put them in albums, start a scrapbook. Scrapbooking is an art in and of itself. It takes a lot of work to make a scrapbook, and if you’re interested in detailing and decorating, this may be the activity for you.
Don’t forget the app Becca mentioned in her blog post: One Second Everyday. If you’re not into having physical albums, try it out. With the basic version, you can upload up to 3 seconds of video each day. Mash together a week, month, or year and see your life literally flash before your eyes – in a good way!
Learn a Language
Continue a language that you used to learn, but never followed through with, or start something completely new. If you already know a language pretty well, maybe just work on your speaking.
You can use Duolingo to learn a language in your free time instead of spending all your time on social media. As an alternative to verbal language, you can also practice learning sign language!
There is a sense of nostalgia in chalking your driveway. It’s something we’ve all done but have unknowingly distanced ourselves from. If you don’t want to create a world with your chalk, maybe write some encouraging messages for people going by.
Ride Your Bike
It’s not only fun to ride a bike but also it’s a good workout. I’m a big fan of riding my bike – it’s very relaxing to me. All I’m saying is if it’s sunny and warm with some slight wind, you’ll know where to find me.
Spend Time with Pets
Shower with them with the love and affection they deserve. Pets make us happier and healthier, so this is a great way to just relax. (Want the science? Here are some ways pets relieve stress.) So take your pupper on a walk. The air is good for both you and your pet. Win-win situation if you ask me. (You can try to train your cat to go on a walk, maybe just around your yard. Good luck.)
Work on a Habit
Always wanted to journal every day? Have a daily skincare routine? Go for a run three times a week? Meditate? Now’s the time to start building the habit. You have time to focus on it, and you have time to forgive yourself for the days you don’t.
Work on a Passion Project
It’s all about self-motivation here. No deadlines. Just pushing yourself to start is how you’ll get it done.
If it is a passion project, it is something you’ll enjoy doing. You may run into some part about it that isn’t the most fun, but just keep going! The end result will be worth the journey.
Do Something You’ve Put Off
Finally, do something you’ve been telling yourself you’re gonna do or have always wanted to do, like starting a new workout routine, learning how to do a flip (be safe, know your limits), or calling the person you haven’t talked to in forever.
Just like the passion project, this is all about self motivation. By pushing yourself to just do it, you’ll feel an immense amount of satisfaction in your efforts, even if you don’t quickly reach your goal.
Take a Break
It’s easy to think you HAVE to use this time to do all the things. You don’t. Pick the things that mean most to you, or choose to just get through the day. This time is not all good, nor is it all bad. Doing the next right thing for you and the people you love is the most important of your “daily tasks”.
This social distancing thing is new territory for all of us. Maybe this pandemic is a sign that we all need to take a breather and just relax for once. We’re all so used to such a go-go-go lifestyle, that we’ve forgotten but a handful of ways to do that. Our job is to decide whether or not we’ll take advantage of that opportunity to loosen up. Since our lives are consumed by the company of others, this is our chance to make ourselves better. By adopting new habits, we can improve our overall lifestyle.
Although we can’t physically see one another right now, we can still make some fun for ourselves. Learning how to enjoy our own company is the first step of being happy around others, and that’s a lesson we’ll all learn one way or another.
So, try something new. Push your boundaries. Whether your efforts work out or not, you’ll grow for the better and hopefully by the end of this, we’ll all appreciate one another just a little more.
Tierney O’Daniel is a junior at Memorial High School. She co-chairs TAC’s Leadership Committee and is a member of TEENPOWER’s Youth Staff.