From remote learning to cancelled events to social distancing, the stress and anxiety of the COVID-19 outbreak has ensued nothing short of chaos. If you’re like me, the speed in which this situation has progressed seems unreal. When I left campus for spring break, I packed enough to last the week — never did it cross my mind that I wouldn’t return for five months.
As much as I wish it were all a bad dream to wake up from, there’s a lot to learn from and be grateful for right now. I made a list of five things I will personally be doing to keep myself busy — and sane — while stuck inside. And I’m here to share it with my beloved Distractioners.
Read “Room” by Emma Donoghue…and watch it, too!
This New-York-Times-best-seller was on a summer reading list for my high school English class, and I’ll never forget it. The novel is told from the perspective of a five-year-old boy who has never been outside of the 11×11 room he and his mother are being held captive in. The story is particularly humbling right now — if you think being stuck inside for a two-week quarantine sucks, imagine seven years. The fun part about diving into this book is that there’s a movie based on the book’s plot — and it’s on Netflix! I definitely recommend reading the book before watching. That way, when you finish, you have a movie night to look forward to.
Missing Netflix nights with your friends? Challenge them to read the book in a designated time frame, then schedule a time when everyone can watch the movie from their own homes. Make a group chat and blow it up with thoughts and feelings as the scenes go on, just as if you were all together on the couch.
Clean out your effing closet.
Okay, now you have no excuse — it’s the perfect time to sort through your wardrobe. Swap out your winter sweaters, pants and boots for your white jeans, tank tops and shorts. Go through every drawer, bin and shelf to decipher what you actually need and use. And don’t forget shoes, bras, socks, underwear and accessories. As Marie Kondo, the woman behind the Netflix series “Tidying Up” says: If it doesn’t’ spark joy, get rid of it. Her tidying method has decluttered and de-stressed the homes and heads of the clients on her show. Once you know which items you don’t need, consider separating them into what should be given away to places like Goodwill, and what could be sold to consignment stores or on apps like Poshmark for extra cash.
Develop new skills on LinkedIn Learning.
I’m going to tell my fellow UM students about a tool many may not know they have — LinkedIn Learning. This website, formerly Lynda.com, was acquired by LinkedIn and is now directly connected to the popular networking platform. It offers hundreds of virtual courses relating to the business, creative and tech industries. Courses range from learning Microsoft Office, Photoshop and HTML software to building skills in leadership, productivity and even public speaking. You can also earn certifications in things like Python programming and graphic design that are great to add to your resume. They have a course for just about any skill or computer program you could want to learn. I personally plan on sharpening my Adobe Illustrator skills and might even learn some coding on HTML. The best part? Every UM student already has access to these courses for free! Simply visit the website and sign in with your student email address. Might I also suggest from their courses during this time of at-home classes and work: “Time Management: Working from Home” and “Working Remotely.”
Make a scrapbook or photo album.
My mom bought me a “Class of 2018” photo album for my high school graduation. I’d always wanted to fill it with my countless photos and memorabilia. But, to this day, it collects dust on my shelf and is empty except for the stock photo on the cover. Now I’m thinking I’ll finally have time to sit down and fill it. Being at home is a good opportunity to take a walk down memory lane and create your own scrapbook or photo album of memories. It doesn’t have to be about high school – it could be a road trip you took last summer, a compilation of UM game day photos or even favorite moments from studying abroad. If you’re feeling super crafty and don’t want to leave home for extra art supplies, this tutorial shows viewers how to make an entire scrapbook with nothing but paper, glue and scissors! Otherwise — if you’re like me — just order a photo album, cute paper and maybe some fun stickers on Amazon.
Stay Active At Home For Free!
Over the past week I’ve been bamboozled with ads on social media offering at-home fitness subscriptions and workouts. I don’t blame the companies — I imagine this is an opportune time to grow such businesses since gyms are mostly closed and many are left wondering how to maintain fitness. But as a college student — and one who is now out of a job because I worked on campus — I’d like to save money and avoid committing to a monthly or yearly membership. Plus, I don’t have a Peloton or any at-home gym equipment. I’ve tried a couple of workout videos on the POPSUGAR Fitness YouTube channel before, but now I think I’ll be doing them much more. They have hundreds of video classes from Zumba and barre to kickboxing and HIIT. I’m also a big fan of 10-minute ab and butt workouts, which they have an entire playlist for. So before you pay for a new workout app or video subscription, take a look on YouTube — you might be surprised by what you can find for free.
If you didn’t get a chance to pick up our Spring 2020 issue before campus closed, don’t worry! You can read it online here. Stay safe and healthy!
words_emmalyse brownstein photo_alexandre chambon on Unsplash