The news is grim these days if you’re at a high risk of complications from COVID-19. The death of a fully vaccinated man shows that there’s no predicting what this virus may do. You can take steps to protect yourself, but the only fail-safe strategy is to continue limiting contact with others.
However, doing so can impact your mental and physical health. You might struggle even more now, when it seems like everyone else is rushing to return to normal. Here are 13 tips for staying sane if you’re the only person you know who’s still isolating.
Throw a home spa day
Your self-esteem impacts everything from your career trajectory to your romantic relationships, but it can take a beating when you feel isolated. Few people like to feel different, and your sense of not fitting in can multiply when everyone else is planning vacations and family holidays. It was one thing last year when nearly everyone stayed home—now, your Aunt Edna may guilt-trip you for passing on the annual fruitcake.
One way to feel better about yourself is through a little pampering. Why not throw an at-home spa day, complete with Yoga, a total beauty makeover and a bubble bath? If you have a partner at home with you, you can take turns painting each other’s toes and providing relaxing massages.
Marie Kondo your pad
Have months of isolation left you wanting to make clutter’s last stand? That pile of half-finished novels once looked like elegant coffee table decor. Now it resembles Literary Mountain, and you can’t find your elliptical machine under all your laundry.
Why not get more minimalist with your decor? You’ll reduce your stress levels when there’s a place for everything in your pad. Several organizations will pick up your donations directly from your doorstep—there’s no need to brave a trip to the centre. If these organizations aren’t available in your area, a quick Google search should bring up some other alternatives.
You can start a garden at any time of the year, when you do so inside. Now’s the perfect time to learn how to save seeds from your organic produce. Come mid-winter, it’ll be time to sprout them into seedlings and get them ready for your summer garden.
You can also pick up windowsill herb gardens for relatively little money. These will offer freshness for your cooking and considerable health benefits.
Phone an old friend
Whatever happened to your old college roommate? If you haven’t spoken in years, why not reach out to them if you still have their contact information? Chances are, they’d welcome the opportunity to catch up with you.
If you’ve fallen out of touch over the years, try social media. You can often contact people you lost track of over the years through school alumni groups and searching by the workplace.
Please don’t think you have to give up your volunteer work. Doing good is one of the best ways to stay mentally healthy. It releases a flood of positive neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine—you truly get more than you give.
Many non-profit organizations are super-sensitive to the needs of the medically fragile. You can sign up to participate in text and phone bank parties for causes you support, or help others in need navigate life’s crises by volunteering on a support line.
Many places of worship, likewise, offer services for those with medical conditions. Even if your particular parish doesn’t provide online ministry, you can find those that do with another quick Google search.
Staying connected with your spiritual side will help you weather life’s storms—like the current pandemic. You can search your soul to find the lesson(s) in the current struggle, and take comfort in knowing there’s a meaning to it all.
Travel the world from your living room
You don’t need a passport when you have the internet! Many of the world’s most prestigious museums now offer virtual tours. It’s almost like seeing the Mona Lisa in person.
Google Earth is another fun way to spend an afternoon at home. Can you spot some of the strangest sights other participants have noticed, or find some of your own?
Sample new cuisine
Ordering off the same three takeout menus, night after night, can try the patience of your taste buds—not to mention your wallet. Why not get a little adventurous the next time you place your grocery order, and take a culinary trip around the world sampling new foods?
Experiment with fusion dishes. You might substitute jalapenos for Thai chilis in a curry for a West-meets-East flair. Try some unusual vegetables, like kohlrabi or jicama.
Learn a new skill
You don’t have to use all your time in isolation for self-improvement. However, if you’ve already wanted to take online Spanish lessons for a while, why not break out that notebook and put it to the test? Right now is the perfect time to connect virtually with people all over the world who speak the language and are stuck at home, too.
Learning new skills encourages neuroplasticity—the ability of your brain to form new channels. It can help you stave off dementia and potentially pad your resume, depending on what you pursue. After all, it never hurts to have a backup plan in case your company sends out the dreaded “all hands back on deck” email.
Take a hike
Getting outdoors still benefits your physical and mental health, although you might not feel totally comfortable on crowded city sidewalks. If you can escape to a natural area, go for a hike.
You’ll find plenty of solitude on the trail. Most outdoor enthusiasts are kind and will respect your request to keep your distance, should you encounter any fellow souls in the wild.
Spend time in a forest
Taking a late-season camping trip could improve your chances of staying healthy. Researchers have investigated those who participated in forest bathing by spending a night or more in the woods. They found an increased number and activity of natural killer cells, which are vital for destroying invading germs.
You don’t have to stare at the same four walls every weekend. Pitch a tent—it’s free in some areas—and enjoy a getaway that won’t put you in contact with others.
Strike a new pose
Yoga is one of the oldest forms of therapy known to humankind. The physical form arose after the mental practice. The ancient ones soon recognized the power of calming the body to de-stress the mind.
You’ll find no shortage of Yoga channels for free on YouTube. There’s also a style for everyone, from energetic ashtanga to gentle yin.
Dance like no one’s watching
Are you worried about your dementia risk, given your isolation? If so, one of the best things you can do to reduce it is dance like nobody’s watching.
Researchers investigated activities from crossword puzzles to cycling to discover which had the greatest preventive effect on a person’s Alzheimer’s risk. Dance came out the clear winner. The combination of physical activity with the mental component of following the moves supercharges your neuroplasticity.
Lonelier than ever?
You might feel lonelier than ever if you’re the only one you know still isolating. Staying sane by using this list of fun and creative tips will help make the most of your time on your own!