Wednesday, March 18, 2020

10 Ways to Cure Social Distancing Boredom

Sporting events cancelled. Productions halted. Movie releases delayed. Schools and workplaces closed. As COVID-19 winds it way from country to country, we've been asked to practice the art of social distancing - to stay in our homes as much as possible to prevent the virus from spreading to family, colleagues, and strangers.

If you don't work from home, or you're not used to staying home for extended periods of time, it's easy to catch cabin fever. To stay as happy as possible, here are ten ways to cure boredom while social distancing.

Take A Social Media Break

As much fun as it is to share memes and see how people are supporting each other, social media is filled with more superficial trends and false news than ever before. Even before the coronavirus crises, experts recommended taking a break from social media as a way to ease feeling overwhelmed, self-critical, and fear of missing out, and it's still a good idea. Staying connected to social media makes us feel a little less alone. But disconnecting from social media, even for a few hours, can help us take it slow, improve your rest, and become more mindful of the real world around us.

Practice Yoga

Exercising can be difficult if you can't use the usual equipment at a gym or fitness equipment. (And depending on the weather, sweltering in heat without a swimming pool isn't fun either). To stay healthy, there are plenty of free programs online. From thirty day challenges to short exercises under twenty minutes, Yoga With Adrienne is one of my favorite ways to reduce stress and stay in semi-decent shape. It's also safe to take a walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, etc. if you need a change of pace from staying inside.

Attend an Event (From Your Living Room)

For those in the U.S., a monthly donation of $5 (or $60 annual donation) to PBS' passport service Thirteen includes access to Broadway's biggest shows like The Sound of Music and Kinky Boots. And even more services like BroadwayHD offers shows available to stream too. Full concerts of your favorite artists from Bruno Mars to Billie Eilish are also available on YouTube. Who says you have to leave the house to have fun?

Take A Virtual Tour

Since the coronavirus outbreak, more and more public locations have been temporarily closed. But virtual tours are now available from museums from around the world and Google Arts and Culture. A simple Google search of local sites in your area might expand your horizons of your own backyard even more. Zoos and aquariums are also offering virtual tours. While it's not the same as actually leaving the house, you can see still see another part of the world and maybe inspire planning a trip in the future.

For families who are schooling from home, Ripley's Believe It Or Not's Aquariums and Outside the Odditorium are featuring a variety of educational materials and access to set up Facebook live events.

If you're getting the itch to visit a theme park like Disney World or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can now eat and drink from the comfort of your couch or bed while riding some of your favorite attractions.

Make Your King Lear

As COVID-19 news started in the U.S., social media came together to give each other tips on how to survive. While us introverts had fun admitting that self-quarantine is what we've all been secretly practicing, legend Rosanne Cash reminded us all to aim higher and try to complete projects we've been putting off. And to take stock of goals that truly matter. There's no doubt that this moment in time will be written down in history books. Who knows if another King Lear is in the works, but it's good to dream...or try it for ourselves.

Work On Your Cosplay

Convention season will start again at some point. Even the simplest and silliest cosplay ideas can take a long time to assemble. Start building your first outfit by refashioning old clothes you could donate. Apps and sites like Instagram and Pinterest offer an infinite source of inspiration to start planning cosplay ideas for the next round of cons that are bound to come our way. Even fun DIY projects that have been on the backburner can be a great way to tap into your creative side.

Start A Bullet Journal

Going through the coronavirus is not like anything we've experienced in decades. It can be stressful to constantly listen or read breaking news or crazy social media trends. Bullet journals are great to track your mood, release fears, and doodle just for fun. Keeping a diary or starting a gratitude journal (list five things every day that make you feel thankful) has shown benefits to relieve stress, inspire creativity, and can help you feel a little less worried.

Listen to Podcasts

Just like my pick below, podcasts are a deep dive into historical events, feminism, movies, and tv shows. A few of my faves: Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye explores his curiosity about every topic imaginable, The Office's co-stars Jenna Fisher and Angela Kinsey go down memory lane of the series' history, and Oprah has super-soul conversations with special guests.  From Spotify to iTunes, you can find anything to listen to pass the time.

Fall Down The YouTube Rabbit Hole

In the words of Stefon from SNL, YouTube has everything. From celebrities being interviewed while eating spicy hot wings to old vine collections, there's a channel or video for everyone. I'm personally going with film essays, news bloopers, and time lapse of house construction projects - seriously.

Binge-Watch All The Things

There's absolutely no shortage of shows and movies to watch. Netflix has a wide variety of movies, documentaries, and now, even reality shows that everyone is talking about. Hulu has all the latest tv shows and movies from Fox, the independent scene, and everything in-between. Amazon Prime will catch you up on a fair portion of shows such as Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel recognized during the Emmys season. Disney Plus will keep the kiddies entertained or make you feel like a superhero with all of their animated and live action features including Marvel and Star Wars. If you pace your binge-watching well, you'll have enough to enjoy for this self-quarantine and then some.

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