Depending on where you live, you’ve probably been practicing social distancing for at least a week or two. Maybe longer. It’s important for us to help flatten the curve and I’d like to believe that, by now, everyone knows that.
But let’s be realistic. Social distancing is hard. Keith and I work from home, socialize very little, and even we think this is hard. We’re cutting back on the few things that we enjoyed going out and doing. So, I can only imagine what others who are used to much more active social lives are feeling right now.
Like many, when we first heard about social distancing, it was an opportunity to dust off the to-do list and tackle some projects. We cooked at home. Started organizing the garage. Watched a few movies we’ve been looking forward to seeing. After that, a little bit of social distancing boredom sets in. We still need to stay at home but now we need some new activities to occupy our time and our mind. So, I’ve come up with a list of five things you might want to consider working on while you’re still at home.
- Take a MOOC (massive open online course). If you’re not familiar with MOOCs, these are free online courses taught by some of the best universities in the world. In the past, I’ve taken a course on the science of happiness from Yale. Keith and I just finished one from Harvard on meteorology. Think about a topic that you’ve been saying that you want to learn more about – like investing – and see if there’s a course available. BTW – there is an interesting financial markets course offered by Yale.
- Update your social media accounts. This is the perfect time to update your social media profiles, avatars, etc. Think of it as a social media audit. Be sure to also review the privacy settings for each platform as well. In addition, if you’ve been waiting for some free time to learn newer social media platforms like Instagram, this could also be a good time to slowly ease into it. That could lead to discovering even more activities such as Instagram’s “Photo A Day” – which is very fun.
- Research the candidates running for office in 2020. Oh, and sign up for a mail ballot. For some, the last thing you might want to do right now is pay attention to the news but let me toss out another point of view. Now is when we get to see how political candidates handle the tough times. We get to see if they really act effectively and in our best interest. In addition, it will only take a few moments of your time, but find your supervisor of elections website and sign up for mail ballots. That way you know that you will be able to vote in the primaries and in the general election.
- Attend a virtual event. Everything I’ve mentioned so far you can do on your own. If you’re missing human interaction, consider attending – or even hosting – a virtual event. You can sign up for a free account from Zoom and coordinate a virtual coffee meeting or happy hour. Netflix has a “party” feature where you can watch shows or movies with friends. Social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t see our friends, we’re just going to have to wait a little longer to be in the same room with them.
- Stay healthy. Finally, don’t forget about your own health and wellbeing. I know that in many places, we can’t go to our hair stylist or a day spa. Keith and I have found it challenging to get fresh fruit and vegetables at the grocery store. Gyms, health clubs, and exercise studios are closed. But that doesn’t mean we’re not trying new foods and new ways to get activity. We just discovered an app called “The Walk” (available for Apple and Android devices) that coordinates activity with a story about saving the world just by walking. Oh, and you will ultimately be walking the length of the United Kingdom.
My hope is that today’s post offers a bit of creative inspiration to keep your social distancing activities interesting. This is a tough time – even for a mega introvert like me. If you have some tips or resources for keeping things from getting too boring, share them in the comments. We’ve love to hear them.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby just off Duval Street in Key West, FL