Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have had to cancel their travel plans and instead of a vacation, are restricted to a stay-at-home "staycation". As unfortunate as that is, you don't have to feel like you're under house arrest. Just because your plans of relaxing on a beach or surfing on the other side of the planet have been dashed by the pandemic doesn't mean you can't enjoy your time off! I'm currently on official leave and am practicing what I preach by enjoying my 3-week staycation. Here are 9 things (some more productive than others) that you can do while on staycation (or practicing social isolation).
1. Relax! If you're on official leave from work, delete the alarms that you've set on your phone or alarm clock. Let your natural circadian rhythm take over and revert to your natural sleep-wake cycle. Are you a night owl? Then stay awake as late as you naturally would and sleep in until your body wakes up naturally. After a week off work, I've fully reverted back to my natural circadian rhythm, going to sleep around 3 a.m. and waking up sometime before noon. I'll have to slowly transition back to waking up earlier, but I won't have to worry about that for another 2 weeks or so.
2. Treat yourself. Both men and women can treat themselves to a long, candle-lit soak in the tub. Get an at-home facial. Perhaps you can start a skincare routine. Give yourself a haircut or style it differently. Exercise and do some strength training indoors to get the body you've always wanted. Meditate. You can also cook (if you like cooking) or order (if you don't like cooking) a delicious meal for yourself almost every day. You saved money when you got a refund for canceled flights and hotels, so spend that money on some luxurious food. Try some new fancy desserts! Whatever it is, you have the time to pamper yourself now, so go for it!
3. Find sources of entertainment. Netflix, HBO, Disney+, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, or whatever else you watch, you can find some online streaming entertainment. Watch a show that's been popping up on your Netflix recommendations constantly with a 98% match. Make some popcorn, grab a snack and drink of your choice, and enjoy it as if you're in a private movie theater. If you play an instrument, play some songs and sing to yourself or to others on Skype/Zoom/FaceTime/Google Hangouts/[enter your app of choice here]. Create a video conference call with your friends and have a game night or karaoke night. There are plenty of things you can do for entertainment in the comfort of your own home.
4. Engage in some (old or new) hobbies. Rediscover some hobbies for which you didn't previously have time. I didn't have time to paint, draw, or sculpt so that's what I'll be doing when the mood strikes. If your old hobbies are not indoor-friendly, then try some new indoor hobbies. There are hundreds of things you haven't tried, so pick one that interests you and give it a try.
5. Read. This doesn't mean you should read the latest book on aerospace engineering or a peer-reviewed article on quantum mechanics (unless, of course, you're into those subjects). It could simply be a comic book, newspaper articles, a light-hearted novella, magazine articles, a graphic novel, or a fiction favorite. As the ultimate nerd, I am reading some academic articles, academic non-fiction books, and rereading one of my favorite novels. If you hate reading, then maybe just look at some pictures in a comic book. If you hate looking at pictures, then... you can try the other 8 things on this list.
6. Learn. Learn something new or re-learn something. You can start learning a new language (or continue learning one), computer programming, knitting, baking (for some reason, this seems to be super popular in the U.S. during quarantine... I don't understand why), cooking, hula hooping, playing an instrument, coding, or how to balance an egg on the table. Take a digital yoga class or a free online class on virtually any subject. Honestly, the possibilities are endless.
7. Create. You can write a short story, book, article, or perhaps a poem. Start a dream diary or journal. If writing is not your thing, maybe you can create a new game, a work of art, finish a coloring book (there are many coloring books for adults), or compose a new song. Perhaps you want to start a new social media account or a YouTube channel. Or maybe you want to create a new language! Or maybe there's a DIY project you've been wanting to try but never had the time to do it. Whatever it is, tap into your creative side and start creating!
8. Get in touch. Call your friends, family, or an old friend or acquaintance you haven't talked to in years. Ask them how things are and catch up. If your friends are also in isolation (or on staycation), you can set up regular times to talk.
And last, but certainly not least...
9. Have fun! How people have fun varies from person to person. Playing games on a console, computer, tablet, or smartphone are often good options. Card games, board games, or word games are also good options you can play by yourself or with others online (or in-person if you're on a staycation with your family or significant other). Go on a virtual tour of popular tourist destinations, aquariums, or museums. Listen to a new podcast. Do some bird watching (or animal watching) from your window. If you have pets, play with your pets! Do you want a pet and think you are ready? Then you can adopt a pet. Play Pictionary with a robot (quickdraw.withgoogle.com). Dance like nobody's watching. Do something that is fun for you!