It would be fair to say that we all are (and by all I mean the majority of the population of planet Earth) dealing with facing ourselves day in and day out. Seemingly easy task you might say - but as weeks turn into months and the uncertainty of when it will end looms over us, we (or at least the majority of us) begin to wonder if we indeed enjoy our own company just as much as we once thought we did. Crafts and meditation aside, we are growing restless by the day in this semi-volunteer captivity. I can't stress enough how important it is for all of our sakes to remain socially distant and at home. So here are some thoughts on how we can make this time work for us as opposed to be an emotionally draining waste of time.
Learn useful skills
With most educational institutions migrating rapidly into remote teaching/learning mode, it is here to stay. Once the pandemic is under control, the physical classrooms will undoubtedly reopen and be filled to the brim, but the advent of digital learning/teaching is now our new normal. So we might as well get really good at it. Whether you are taking a class or teaching a class, the experience can be either awkwardly embarrassing or adventurous and fun in a way we never expected. Some basic pointers:
Make sure you are well lit. Sit by the window with the light hitting you straight on (if you are in a super sunny location - be reasonable and find the right amount of light by graduation the shades/curtains and moving away from the window). To engage in meaningful exchange, we have to be able to see each other's eyes and read the facial expression. I also recommend getting a LED beauty light - they are inexpensive and house your phone /iPad on the tripod and make a HUGE difference. Whether you are addressing the UN or FaceTiming with family - it will make you look MUCH better on their screens.
Make sure your internet connection is stable. If you are on WiFi - make sure you don't have 12 devices on it all at once - it slows it down. For most reliable, consistent signal - plug-in Ethernet cable into your working computer/laptop.
Brush up on your FaceTime/Skype/Zoom/Google hangouts' latest features perusing a very helpful plethora of YouTube tutorials. They are growing like mushrooms and usually are faster learning experiences than reading written literature.
Incorporate interactive apps/software. Not only is it more efficient and begets a better result, but it is also a way to feel 'closer' to those you are interacting with. Scribble Together app, for example, lets you mark up whatever you are doing in real-time among all involved. There is a magic marker tool that disappears within a few seconds. Fun. Useful. Engaging. Lots of opportunities to show off your comedic chops.
Improve your hobby. If you are a photographer - learn new editing techniques. If you are a chef - learn new recipes. If you are furniture restorer - check out the latest gear. There is an abundance of upgrades in every possible sphere available, and we all have something we always procrastinate with. Now is the time. And have fun with it. Again - YouTube is brimming with tutorials and reviews of everything you might possibly need. Make good use of it. Search keywords. Be specific. You'll thank me. (You can learn Dior Haute Couture hand stitching and how to 3D print a house)
Experience Art at home
For music and fine arts lover (which I presume you are since you are reading this), most of the world's leading museums and theaters have created virtual tours and live HD broadcasts of past performances.
MetOpera for their nightly HD - the performances are available for a couple of days on the website. Bolshoi Theater YouTube channel has world premiers of never-before-seen ballet and opera performances - usually, they disappear in one day - so check-in frequently. Louvre has excellent virtual reality experiences, and so does The Met Museum and Hermitage, to name a few. This alone can take hours and hours of fantastic exploration of art and beauty.
Go to our blog post and watch our extraordinary roster of pianists invite us to their homes for at-home piano series.
You can also search online pretty much for the name of your favorite cultural institution, and they will surely have digital programming available for you to enjoy. All are free at this time - so there are really only a few keystrokes between you and the world's most spectacular treasures.
The streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime aren't just for movies and entertainment. Consider browsing their documentary department - there are many scientific series that has just been released that are most educational while visually stunning. The Planets, Blue Planet, Earth, and Explained series, among many others.
Work on personal Fitness
Whatever your age or level of Fitness - sitting all day may not be the best strategy for the stay-at-home period. There are dozens of new at-home videos produced by the world's leading fitness gurus on stretching, enhancement of mobility, and muscle toning that don't require any equipment or special preparations. Merely a few stretches and a light barre warm-up while holding your kitchen island/cabinet daily can be beneficial and even improve your pre-at-home posture.
Most importantly - remain positive, surround yourself with things that you love: art, music, crafts - whatever floats your boat. Do something every day to get better at something, learn something new, introduce new artists/artwork to your roster of favorites, and remember you are not alone.
We are all in this together.