ME: “Hey, how are you holding up during this quarantine?? It looks like coronavirus is getting serious, hope you are healthy.”
FRIEND: “Hey! I’m doing ok...but super bored. I think I officially watched all of Netflix haha. It’s weird seeing all these people wearing masks and avoiding contact. I miss normal life. (SENDS FUNNY QUARANTINE MEME)”
I’ve had many conversations similar to this with friends and family members since the local authorities ordered us to stay home on lockdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As the virus continues to spread rampantly throughout the world, President Trump and health officials have warned us to stop spreading the risk of disease by avoiding non-essential activities and “social distancing.”
Restaurants are closing, unemployment rates are hiking back up, big life events are being cancelled (weddings, birthdays, concerts), and the state of our economy is uncertain.
Frankly, everything feels uncertain right now.
It seems as though we are being forced to put our lives on hold for the rest of the foreseeable future.
What’s interesting is how differently everyone is reacting to these newly imposed life changes.
Some people are frightened and stocking up on food and materials to last them a lifetime; others are defiantly ignoring lockdown guidelines and having house parties;
and then there are those who are in between, mostly staying at home but feeling stir crazy and not sure what to think.
If you lean towards the latter, like me, you may be wondering what to do with your time while staying at home. This post is for you. Hopefully you have not lost your job and are able to work from home during normal working hours. (If you have lost your job, my heart goes out to you.)
So many of us these days are used to living fast-paced lives and having our free time consumed by various forms of entertainment. We may find ourselves glued to our phones, constantly distracted by social media, and chasing the next fun TV show or social engagement to attend.
Our culture thrives on being connected and included and we get really disappointed or even depressed when we miss out on an opportunity that looks fun. This pretty much explains why the concept of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) exists today.
For those of you who aren’t clued in, FOMO is the sense of anxiety that occurs when we realize that something exciting or fun is happening somewhere else or without us.
It’s perfectly normal for us to sometimes feel bummed about missing out on something, but the advent of social media has made it THAT MUCH HARDER for us to cope.
It’s especially tempting to see others having gatherings and hanging out via social media during a time when we are supposed to be staying home and avoiding these scenarios.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make a case for disconnecting or removing ourselves from social media. In fact, it’s a great way to help us feel socially connected during a time where we must socially distance ourselves.
What I am making a case for is for us to find other activities in addition to binge watching Netflix, impulsively checking instagram or tiktok, and letting FOMO get the best of us by deciding to hang out with a group of friends.
As you may know, COVID-19 is a serious disease, and we are being asked to do our part to not make it worse. As you also may know, staying at home and having our normal daily lives disrupted by a quarantine can make us feel like we are trapped or going insane.
So here’s what I propose: think about some of the hobbies or things that you always wish you had TIME for but never got around to.
At first, it may be hard to drum up some ideas. But don’t give up.
Maybe you are creative and want to take some time to paint or draw...
Maybe you love to exercise outdoors and decide to go on more outdoor walks or runs...
Maybe you wish you had the time to call your friends and family and check in with them and so you start organizing skype daily conversations…
Maybe you love to bake or cook delicious meals so you take time to find new recipes and prepare them...
Maybe you love makeup or skincare and want to learn how to use a new eyeshadow palette or fine tune your skincare routine…
Maybe you are intellectual and want to read a new book or take an online course…
I could go on!
The point here is that while it may feel like our lives are being rudely interrupted (which they are), this is also a time that we have to do other fun things that we don’t usually have time for.
We can use this time to our advantage rather than our disadvantage by slowing down, focussing on ourselves, and starting to engage in a new activity!
As much as it may feel like the end of the world, it’s truly not.
I’m going to be mom for a second and say, think of how much we can get accomplished or learn if we, just for a little, set aside our normal distractions of: happy hours with friends after work, constantly checking social media updates, and binge watching TV.
My challenge to myself and to all of us is to figure out what new hobby or activity we are going to pick up and to start nerding out on it!
Good luck and have fun! And remember, NO FOMO.
NOTE: My heart goes out to all those who have suffered or know people who are suffering from the coronavirus. Thank you to all the brave doctors and healthcare professionals on the front lines of this pandemic, risking their lives to help heal people with the disease.