The Corona Virus has officially reached Austria. The situation here is simply crazy. Sold-out stores, closed museums and theatres, people are advised to stay inside...it's apocalyptic to say the least (though I wouldn't have thought the apocalypse came with so much pasta and toilet paper).
But could there be an upside to the whole situation? I think so. Maybe it's a good self-exercise to explore what your house holds for you and what you can do while staying safely inside. My husband and I have decided to stay the entire weekend in and not engage in any social encounters, but what is there to do when you're "locked" inside? Well, as a freelance writer working from home, I know a thing or two about locked-in-syndrome, but these 10 things to do could help you get over the quarantine and enjoy it, too.
1) Clean and declutter your apartment thoroughly
Understood, this first one doesn't sound like fun, but it can be cleansing to go through all these stacked up drawers that are filled with old documents you don't need anymore and bric-a-brac that should have found its maker a long time ago. Pile the items in different stacks to decide what goes straight to the bin. For example, the last few days I went through all our drawers and cabinets to see what can go out, sorted old photos, started a memory box for the items I didn't want to trash - and a little trip down to the bin containers doesn't kill you, so the generic stuff you can toss out immediately.
2) Take your time to cook or bake a more complex recipe
Assuming you stocked up on you ingredients beforehand, you can seize the opportunity to cook a recipe from one of your "fancy cookbooks". You know, the ones that gather dust on your shelf and look posh more than anything else? Maybe it's time to delve into them and cook something that will take you a little more time - after all you don't waste any more time on tubes, trains, car rides, etc. Why not make a culinary treat out of that?
Two days ago, I decided to finally attempt making vegetable lasagne (I know, it's not a difficult recipe, but I hate cooking, so for me it's a big step). It took me a while and I had to engage with the recipe, but it was a rather delicious result and I realised it's not so difficult to make after all.
3) Get back to playing your instrument
If you have a guitar or piano sitting somewhere in the house (or any other instrument), this could be the time to become the maestro. I have a kalimba, guitar, ukulele and piano at home and suck at playing all of them - but now is the ideal time to get them back out and start picking again - however, if you play the drums do your locked-down neighbours a favour and don't practise too often.
Maybe you have an instrument and don't even know how to play it it? As long as the internet is on, you have millions of teachers who can give you the easy steps into playing it, so why not emerge from this crisis a better version than before?
4) Finish long-time projects
It's been my goal for years to finish my photo albums and get the pictures into the right order. The past days found me fighting with glue to get all the pictures I have into order and stick them into an album. If you neither have an album nor print-out photos, it is still a good idea to get all your photos organised and you can create an online album, which can also be delivered to you, so no need to leave the house.
Maybe you also wanted to finish reading a specific book or reordering your kitchen cabinets, or continue writing this book that has been sitting on your laptop for far too long - whatever long-time project was itching under your skin, now is the time to get on it. Then the time at home will not feel like time lost, but time gained.
5) Tuck yourself in and read a book
Staying at home, even if you still have to work, means you save plenty of time that would otherwise be spent on journeys, outdoor activities, meetings, friends, etc. "I don't have time" is not a feasible excuse to not read anymore. Grab that dusted book from your bedside table and delve into in. A lockdown is only half as bad if you can escape into other realms beyond the grasp of reality. If you need inspiration what book to read, head over to my Book Corner where you find plenty of reviews or check out my posts Some Fantastically Narrated Books to Read and my Summer Reading List.
6) Binge-watch a show on Netflix
What better excuse to binge through a series when you're confined to your home? Thanks to Netflix you can spend lockdown conveniently in front of your telly. And because there is not much else to do, there is no need for a bad conscience. Some better documentaries I watched on Netflix recently were "Babies" and "Dogs", but if you fancy yourself some trash (no one can judge you, they're all shut out), why not indulge in "Yummy Mummies" or "Love is Blind"?
Other great shows I recently watched on Netflix include:
The End of the Fucking World
The Umbrella Academy
Anne with an E.
7) Have a game night with your family
Being in your flat 24/7 alone can get really depressing, but if you're on lockdown with your husband or family, it's time for quality time. Get the packed away games out to compete in a family-feud-inducing showdown of Ludo, UNO, Romme, Trivial Pursuit, or whatever else you have stored away in that cupboard of yours. Pictionary and City, Country, River don't need any supplies except for paper and probably a stopwatch and/or term generator for Pictionary. If you are more people, you can also play games like Who Am I? which don't require any additional material. My husband and I regularly have game nights and they are always the greatest fun. If you're on your own, you may want to get into online gaming with others, so you feel like you're still connected with the outside world.
8) Do a daily sport routine
With more time on your hands and no access to the gym, you can employ YouTube or books you may already have to devise a daily workout for you. This way a time of quarantine and sickness actually feels like a revitalising trip for your body and soul. For workouts like Zumba you just need a little space and a cool YouTube video to get you going.
If you prefer slower workouts like Yoga you can do it on a carpet if you haven't got a mat. Also, for Yoga you don't need much space or music. There are plenty of videos on YouTube if you want to be guided through the exercises (I really like Yoga with Adrienne) - and you'll reemerge into the post-virus world renewed and rejuvenated, regardless for which sport you opt.
9) Use up your stacked beauty products
Remember all those peelings, hair masks, face masks, etc. people gave you for your birthdays or Christmases and you never had the time to use them or wanted to wait for a special occasion? Consider a near-apocalyptic mood a special occasion. A relaxing spa day is the perfect way to cherish the inside time and to cleanse your skin from street muck and polluted air. If you don't have any beauty products at home, you can easily find recipes online to whip up your own mask from basic ingredients, for example here.
Oh, and speaking of masks - as they are the nonplus ultra in these times, you can spice up your daily cloth. For my birthday I got two masks that I prefer to the boring medicinal-looking masks, which you can see down below (there is even one for baby). On happydiyhome.com, you find comprehensive and helpful tips how to make your own masks and individualise your face mask style to make your coronavirus outing still a fashionable affair.
10) Catch up with friends online
Apart from the friends I have in Austria, there are some friends whom I only see a few times a year, if even, and the rest we keep up over Skype. With everyday frenzy going on, I usually have troubles finding a suitable time to do a Skype meeting and dedicate time to our online encounters. Now is the perfect time for your online friends. Whether it's family far away or friends in Barcelona and Hanover (in my case), they can keep me entertained without either of us needing to leave the house.
Writer. Editor. Blogger. YouTuber. Freelancer. Traveller. English fanatic.