End of week 2, start of week 3. I am so done with social-distancing, but well, it’s not like I have a choice in the matter! Living in the city, any big city for that matter, is amazing. Why? Because there are so many great things to do all year round! Museums, theaters, movies, galleries, walks in the park, shopping, the list goes on. The downside of the big city is when you need to self-isolate. Since you used to spend most of your time outside, you find yourself stuck at home not knowing what to do. Especially as everything is now closed. Fear not. Here is how to fill your time during self-isolation in the city.
I have always found ways to keep myself busy. As a blogger, I spend a lot of time writing, taking pictures, managing my social media, etc. As a book lover and booktuber, I read a lot of books and film book-related videos. I also workout quite often. Or at least, used to. And I also bake sometimes. Also, having spent a good chunk of time last year at home upon moving to New York City and not knowing many people, I had to find ways to fill my time. Ways that I will be sharing with you today.
How To Fill Your Time During Self-Isolation
But really, what pushed me to write this blog post is knowing that making it through the pandemic and self-isolation is gonna be so much harder for city dwellers than countryside folks. Not sure if you have heard but most Parisians flew the city to get to their secondary home in Brittany or Normandy. Students travelled back to their parents’ home before quarantine began. A few of our friends are also getting to the country side.
I get it. Indeed, fresh air and green spaces are much nicer conditions to self-isolation. At least you can get out, sunbath, enjoy nature. My mum and dad walk around the garden of our house in Normandy. They try to walk at least 7km. Which is what they used to do at the weekend around the village they live in. In New York, I do not really have that option. And considering the river bank of the East River are just as crowded as before the start of the pandemic, I’d rather not go there. Thus, I need other ways to fill my time during self-isolation!
1. Read books
I read a lot of books. I also hoard a lot of books. My bookshelves in New York is rather small compared to the one I have at my parents’. Yet, I probably have something like a hundred books. Most of which I still haven’t read. Which of course does not prevent me from getting even more books. The curse of a book lover. How am I supposed to keep up when so many amazing books come out each months?! Anyways… Self-insolation, confinement and social-distancing are a great opportunity to get into reading and help that way-too-long TBR reduce a bit.
If you need precise ideas of books to read, you can check out my monthly reading wrap ups. January was pretty good, and so was December! I believe the books mentioned are great suggestions. Otherwise, self-isolation is great to get into a very long book series and read it all in one go. Harry Potter, Mistborns, The mirror visitor, Blue Bloods, The lunar chronicles, Throne of Glass are all great suggestions. Indeed, they all have four up to eight books each so that should fill your time during social-distancing!
You could go even further into this and start your very own Booktube channel! I have not been as active as I used to on my own but I definitely noticed a subscribers growth since confinement began. Since you are reading a lot of books and people need to find way to fill their time during self-isolation, and also book ideas, you would be of great help!
2. Play games
Let’s be honest, this economy is taking a lot of shit. Since half the world has come to a halt, of course, businesses are not doing well. However, if there is one industry that is thriving at the moment, liquor industry excluded, it is the video game industry! No need to be a genius to get why! If you are the lucky owner of a Nintendo Switch (or alternatively decided to get your own Nintendo DS out), there are a lot of games that will keep you busy during self-isolation.
Pokemon, for instance. As someone who grew up on Pokemon games and who played on each single installments, from Pokemon Yellow up to Pokemon Shield, I can guarantee the game will fill your time real good! I mean, how long does it take to gather all 896 Pokemon in your Pokédex?! Ages, I tell you! Going through all the gyms and completing the game will take between 20 and 40 hours, but completing your Pokédex, man… That will take up much more time!
If your partner or someone in your household also happens to own a Switch and Pokémon, then you can even exchange Pokémon and do battles. Other games that will fill up a lot of your time include Animal Crossing of course, which has seen an exponential growth in popularity since self-isolation started. Alternatively, you can kick your partner’s ass on Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros Brawl, which is gonna be just as satisfying, I am telling you!
3. Get into baking
Back in the summer, when I was waiting for my work permit to arrive, I had plenty of times on my hands. As someone with a huge sweet tooth, I decided to get back into baking. Indeed, back in London, I did a lot of baking content and quite enjoyed it. Only difference was I had no baking equipment in New York. Not that you need many things to bake good treats of course! But I can guarantee that it took up big chunks of my day and was a great way to fill my time!
Plus, when I was baking, I also killed two birds with one stone. What do I mean? Well, I filmed while baking and took photos afterwards. Thus, I had video content for Instagram and photos to use on my blog! Not only is baking a great way to keep busy during self-isolation, it is also very fun and a good challenge if you are looking to improve yourself! Since social distancing started, I challenged myself to more difficult bakes. I mean one, to be honest. I tried to make butterbeer macarons which had the right taste but were a miss when it comes to the looks.
Confinement was the occasion to carry on with my Harry Potter recipe series: a Harry Potter treacle tart recipe and coming soon, Harry Potter butterbeer cookies. I have other ideas in the back of my mind for more recipes. Turns out, they are also quite popular on Pinterest (you can follow me there) and have been driving some traffic to my blog! Like I said, two birds with one stone! Believe me, baking will fill your time plus make your neighbors happy, since sharing your bakes with others will bring some light in those troubled days.
4. Start writing
Before we even get started on this, remember that writing means anything and nothing. It could be writing a novel or it could be writing poems. For bloggers, it could also mean writing an e-book and either giving it away for free and selling it as a digital product. For the sake, let’s take “writing” in its broadest sense.
Something a lot of book lovers often have in common is that they have a fruitful imagination and very often are quite good writers. When you read so much, you get to exercise your mind with different syntaxes, improve your grammar, stimulate your imagination, etc. Writers usually are avid readers. Whether you are a book nerd (like me) or not, if you always wanted to give writing a go, now is the time. Because why not?!
If you are a blogger and have been sharing your top blogging tips with your audience. If you have been researching and researching ways to improve your blog, managed to make SEO or social media management easier to understand. Maybe you just want to share your experience. There is no reason why you should not be able to monetize that. After all, a lot of SEO and marketing bloggers (or companies) will make you pay to access e-books so why not do the same? You would diversify your income, make a bit more money and also add an e-book to your resume!
5. Host a virtual cocktail night
Right, so. Remember to drink responsibly. We are not allowed to see each other anymore. No way you can travel all the way to your friends’ house. Social distancing you all. We need to practice self-isolation so that we flatten the curve. Yet, that does not mean we are not allowed to drink! But again, drink responsibly. What you can do is host a virtual cocktail night or happy hour. How to do that? Simple. And if may not fill your time for long, but it will at least keep you busy for an evening.
Create a whatsApp group with your friends. Arrange for everybody to be on Skype or FaceTime at the same time. So that everybody can see everyone. Have everyone make their own cocktail at home. Drink all together while you are on Skype. You can also add some drinking games! Never have I ever, anyone? Or, play some other games like “Time’s Up” (not that Time’s up though, the one with names to guess).
If people are not keen on cocktails, a wine night is just as fun. You will be busy for one evening, drinking and playing with your friends, or just chatting. Plus, the day after will also go in a flash as you will be busy dealing with your hangover. Remember to drink plenty of water before going to bed so that you can still function the day after. Also, host virtual happy hour on Friday or Saturday night. Not on a week day. Because you still need to work from home, whatever that means.
6. Workout indoors
I have to be honest, as much as I want to exercise and fill my time during self-isolation, working out indoors is something I really suck at. Personally, I do not do great in a small space. I am also not that good at indoor fitness. I need to run, bike, use the elliptical. Thus, you get how hard it may be for me to stop doing that all together and having to get used to a yoga mat and Youtube videos as guides on what to do.
Being stuck inside during the pandemic does not mean you need to stop working out. If you wish to, feel free to. You do you after all. But if you really miss working out (like me) and need to get a move on, spend some energy, you will have to adapt to what you have. Maybe it is not ideal but working out indoors is still better than nothing. Remember that you are at home so no one will see you. Thus, no reason to feel ridiculous (which I felt for some time).
Get your yoga mat out. Put on your work out gear. You can either do your own routine or check out Youtube for ideas. There are a lot of fitness influencers out there who, has it turns out, have made their fitness routines available for all for free. So now is the time to make the most of it. Sure, it will take some time to get used to exercising at home, but at least you’ll get moving and will still work out!
7. Hone or learn a new skill
Something I noticed since this whole craziness started is how toxic hustle culture can be. Girl boss, boss babe, hustle, it does not matter what name it takes. Since the beginning of lockdown, loads of people have flooded Twitter with condescending injunctions to make the most of this free time and start something to be proud of. No need to tell you that anyone not following the advise would be considered an idiot, wasting their time, lacking entrepreneurial spirit and basically someone who should not complain should they not make enough money, etc.
So yeah, that hustle culture on Twitter is something that annoys me a lot. Beyond being condescending and obnoxious, what those people do no take into account is that lockdown does not mean extra free time. I personally work just as much as I did before. Instead of going to the office, I work at home. A lot of other people do that. Also, this is a very stressful time for a lot of us, especially those working in the private sector who are afraid they may lose their jobs. So no, now really is not the time for someone over on Twitter telling us we are doing self-isolation all wrong and should be diversifying our incomes or use that time to make something of ourselves.
Yet, if you do have extra times on your hands and always wanted to say, learn Spanish or improve your SEO skills, now is the right time. Even though Duolingo will harass you with notifications, it may be time to give the app a go and learn some Spanish basics. Or find some free online SEO courses, read blogs and best practice to improve the skills you already have in that field. Do things your way, at your own pace and forget about what Twitter may say.
8. Organize a virtual movie marathon
Who does not like a movie night with your friends? Especially when you are binging a classic or a beloved series? And adding some drinking games to the mix? Again, drink responsibly. Sure, you can’t physically host a movie marathon since we need to practice social-distancing. Yet, if you can host a Skype happy hour, why not have the same with a movie marathon?
Let’s pick something we all universally like. Sure, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings are good candidates. Especially when it comes to drinking games. However, nothing beats a good old Harry Potter marathon! Pick a date, a time, make sure you have enough snacks (and wine), invite everybody on a Skype conference call and you are a set.
If you are like me and love to live comment when watching something, a Skype conference call will allow you to share your thoughts with everyone on real time. If on the other hands, you get annoyed when people talk while watching a movie, mute them with Skype. Which you can’t do when you are all physically together in a room. Alternatively, you can start a Gossip Girl or Hart of Dixie marathon. So many episodes and seasons to binge! Something that again will fill your time during self-isolation!
Shop my outfit
There are of course many other ways to fill your time during self-isolation and as we get through social distancing. However, I wanted to find ideas of things to do that help you relax and have a good time. Those times are stressful enough for many of us, without adding pressure to accomplish something big as we get “extra free time”, which very often isn’t even true. I hope those ideas will help you make it through self-isolation and add some fun to your daily life.
What do you do during self-isolation? How do you fill your time? What do you do to keep busy? How do you handle social-distancing?
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you liked this post.
See you soon,