Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Looking out the blinds

Six ways to help you survive self-isolation

If you’re stuck at home staring out the blinds during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, there’s a good chance you’re social distancing and in self-isolation. Here are some ideas for what you can do.

Regardless of where you are in the world, if you’re practicing the art of social distancing, there’s a good chance you’re at home, or at someone else’s. Whether “home” is the place you typically live, or a temporary hotel or residence that just become a whole lot more permanent for the foreseeable future, there’s a good chance you’re engaging in self-isolation to ride out the coronavirus.

It’s happening everywhere, too. Australia is practicing self-isolation on a state-by-state level, and much the same is happening overseas. California has asked its 40 million residents to stay home, as have other states, and while the coronavirus is making an impact on everything by forcing cancellation, the alternative is far riskier.

Staying home can prevent the spread of infections including the coronavirus, because it limits your chance of touching an object that someone infected has touched, and helps prevent water droplets from being sprayed from someone’s nose or mouth in your general vicinity. Alongside washing your hands regularly and not touching your face, staying home is a way you can help things, even if it can make you go a little stir crazy.

The simple fact of the matter is that humans tend to be co-dependent, and prefer being around others. We bounce ideas of friends and coworkers, and need that link to feel connected. Staying in your own world instead of going outside can make us feel a little “all work and no play”, and we know what happened to that fellow.

However if you’re forced to self-isolate and distance yourself socially, you probably need a few things to keep your mind off the fact that you’re not going outside as often, so here are some approaches that might just help.

Netflix & chill

Netflix at home

If you don’t have work, or you do and you just need a bit of a breather, it might be time to relax a little with some of that ever-growing list of movies and TV shows you’ve been promising yourself you were going to watch.

We all likely have one, and whether it’s on Netflix, Stan, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, or one of the other services that dots the web, you can take some time out of your day to chill a little, because sometimes we need that.

Stressing about the world around you when you’re stuck cooped up inside isn’t going to help your mental state, which needs to be kept in a good condition, and is just as important as keeping you clean and out of harm’s way.

Be literary and literally stay off social

A phone on a book

Want a sure fire way to drum up the nerves? Stay on social media looking at the horribly frustrating news as it rolls in. There’s an endless supply on social media, which while it has genuinely excellent journalism, also has a seemingly never ending supply of trolls set to annoy, aggrevate, and make anxious.

So instead, set yourself times when you can check news sites and social — say in the morning and in the evening, so you’re not stuck on them all the time — and do something in between.

Pick up a book and start reading, or find a book you’ve been wanting to read online and go read it on a Kindle, tablet, or something else.

Or try dedicating that time to writing your own book, starting your very own instance of NaNoWriMo outside of the month of November. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is typically held in the 11th month, but you can do it any time, and a 50,000 word novel is only 1666 words a day. You can do it, you just need to try.

Shut up and dance

Dancing in the kitchen

Take a lesson from a toddler: when you need to give yourself a bit of a smile, turn the sound up and dance like no one is watching.

It seems crazy, but if you’re someone who loves to dance and you have nothing else to do, grab your phone or smart speaker, and turn it up on some tracks you love. Find a place to dance and just get started. Or switch on your TV, play some music videos, and get started.

Aside for being one of those fun activities you can do when no one is judging you, dancing will at least get you up and moving, which can be a problem when you’re stuck inside self-isolating. It’s never a great thing to be stuck inside, and if you’re watching TV or reading a book, there’s a good chance you’re sitting on your backside doing it.

While it can be hard to build the motivation to exercise in your home amidst self-isolation, dancing is fun, crazy, and playful, and can be turned into a game.

If you have an Apple TV, you might want to look at Just Dance to dance with your remote or phone, giving you a way of playing games while exercising. Alternatively, just load up that music or music videos, and go for your life. We’re sure you could even share it on social if you wanted to.

Learn an instrument or a new skill

Fender Play for the ukulele

While dancing is fun, flexing that big ol’ muscle in your noggin’ is just as important, and is something you can do to bide the time.

Learning a new skill and expanding upon your CV is one way of doing that, or maybe finally learning an instrument you bought on a whim years ago.

New skills and musical instruments are things that tend to take time, and while humans can be adaptive, the phrase “practice makes perfect” applies beautifully to both, and are especially useful when you have plenty of time to stay indoors and practice.

Depending on what you want to learn, consider the web a good place to turn to, with sources such as YouTube or Udemy for skills, while YouTube and Fender’s Play service can provide opportunties to learn musical instruments without leaving the house. Think of yourself in a similar predicament to Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day, and use that time to become a prodigy.

Plan your next big trip

Planning a trip

Thinking about the skills you plan to bring to the world when this whole thing is over is a great way to keep your mind tuned to the prospect of a successful future, but there’s another: plan for something fun.

When this is over, you might want to consider a big trip away. While that might be some time — maybe two months, maybe six, or maybe even a year — that’s time you have to think about all those places you can do, and how you’ll get there.

Consider making a big plan by exploring these places virtually using Google Maps and Google Street View, and creating a bucket list for what looks good and when you’d go.

If you want to go deeper, consider looking at your budget and how you could make it happen, starting a secondary account and adding a little bit extra to it on a weekly level. It might be five or ten bucks, but dependent on how long this whole ordeal goes for, you might find a little nest egg to head on holiday with when it’s all over.

Phone a friend or family

Amazon Echo Show

At the end of it all, you might want to talk to someone, because that’s what we do. Friend or family, take the time to reach out and connect, and talk about what’s going on in your life and what you’re seeing with someone else.

Social distancing is about limiting physical contact with others to prevent the spread of infection, but it’s not about limiting social interaction altogether.

Humans tend to rely on connections between others, and while self-isolation can make that seem more difficult, your friends and family are likely in the exact same situation you are, so at least you know they’re probably going to be home. Give them a video call and get yourself reacquainted.

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