8 Things to Do While Under Quarantine

Self-quarantine wasn't on your bucket list. But here are activities you can try.

Posted Mar 16, 2020

 L N/Unsplash
Source: L N/Unsplash

Here are a few things to consider. If you’re not in self-quarantine or isolation, you should seriously consider it. Transmission of the coronavirus is breathtakingly easy, and some medical experts say that the virus can survive on surfaces for up to three days. It needs to be left alone three days to start breaking down without disinfecting measures. This is why it’s important to not provide coronavirus “a ride” to its next vacation destination.

The models for what happened in China and what is happening right now in Italy and Spain are sobering. Social distancing of three or six feet is all well and good, but the issue of coming into contact with a family member or friend who has coronavirus but doesn’t know it (it can incubate up to nine days, experts say, and some younger people might not even be symptomatic but can still transmit it) should be taken very seriously. Plus, just because you are not over 60 doesn’t mean you should go out and potentially expose the elderly or other folks with compromised immune systems to coronavirus.  

Cher did a 1980s public service announcement where she told sexually active persons to use a condom to prevent the spread of HIV. She intoned, “Don’t die of embarrassment.” That still applies to folks too "embarrassed" to not kiss grandma and other loved ones on both cheeks or shake their best friend’s hand even though he just returned from training with a lot of people out of state and flew in on a plane. When I think about your potential skin-to-skin contact with folks particularly susceptible to the virus (e.g., grandma, or your young nieces and nephews), the mantra could be updated to, “Don’t kill out of embarrassment.” Lecture over.

Eight things to do while you are in quarantine or self-isolation:

patrick hendry/Unsplash
Go outside and walk a lot.
Source: patrick hendry/Unsplash
  1. Phone a friend. There used to be a Bell telephone commercial jingle, “Reach out and touch someone.” (Hey, it was right after the swinging ‘70s). Instead of that, I’m recommending that you call, text, FaceTime, or Zoom someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. I texted a high school friend yesterday and the jokes picked up where they left off (he's the one responsible for toilet paper being in such short supply). Think of this as a great opportunity to reconnect. 
  2. Work out at home. Can’t go to the gym? Cycle, and do calf extensions on the steps, and pushups and planks like there’s no tomorrow. I already met my fitness goals for 2020, but I guess I’ll be able to maintain them now, too.
  3. Read five books that you’ve intended to but just didn’t have time. There’s enough time now. Just don’t break your reading glasses, unless you have a backup pair.
  4. Find substitute TV programming now that all sports are suspended until further notice. Catch up on three, four, or more great shows that your friends have highly recommended. I hear The Good Place is worth a look. I haven’t seen it, but it’s on my watch list. If you’re into sci-fi/supernatural shows? Watch The Expanse (Amazon), The Outsider (HBO), and I Am Not Okay With This (NetFlix). Trust me now, and thank me later. (Have you seen Fleabag? Go to my analysis here to see if you're up to it).
  5. Write a poem or a Great American Novel. Tap your muse. In addition to blog posts, I plan to complete a book proposal and finish my second novel, if two weeks go to six, eight, or more.
  6. Commune with nature. Walk around outside in the sun at a healthy distance from other humans (trails, forests, etc.). (I discussed the issue with a veterinarian, and there is no evidence that the next-door neighbour’s adorable pug can become infected with coronavirus). Exercise and naturally forming Vitamin D? What could be better?
  7. Cook. Make a great YouTube recipe reality and create a meal to be proud of. It's a good idea to stock up on pasta, rice, canned vegetables, and spices so that more recipes are within reach.
  8. Start a betting pool on how much of a baby boom there’ll be due to all of this time on our hands with nothing else to do. It may put the spike from the Blizzard of '78 to shame. Some of you may contribute to that boom. And why not? As long as neither of you tests positive (for anything), there are lots of good reasons to do it. Check out some of them here and here.

If self-quarantine doesn't appeal to you, some of these activities can hopefully make it more tolerable. And here are 10 more tips for handling distress during a pandemic.