The isolation and social distancing that so many of us are undertaking to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 has left many of us in a place we’ve never been before. We’re home, we’re teleworking, we’re not seeing our friends, or going to the gym. Many of you might be essential workers, on the front lines helping people and stocking shelves, but many of you are also at home, unable to really go anywhere, and unsure of what to do with your time.
This pandemic has definitely had me, A Type A woman, struggling. I like to be productive, I like to be on the go when I can be, and I miss seeing my friends. Yes, I even miss going to work and taking public transportation even, and I know I am not alone in trying to find ways to fill my time and stay sane during social distancing and isolation.
I talked to eleven other women about how they were spending their time in isolation to get some inspiration for myself and for you. As a result, I hope that their stories might help you find new ways to grow as a person during isolation and to keep your mind off a truly scary time in the world.
I am a candidate for state representative here in New Hampshire. It is a different time to campaign while we are all stuck at home. Since I am unable to reach my future constituents through traditional methods such as door to door and events, I am doing things through social media. I am also attending online trainings to learn more for when I get back out there on the campaign trail. While it is an interesting time to run for office, it is a great time to take this challenging situation and strengthen leadership skills. It is really neat how technology allows us to all be connected.
When everything first started, I was eating a lot and generally being lazy by playing video games most of the day. So much so, that I’ve already noticed a slight weight gain! Now that I’ve realized that, I’m doing my best to stop snacking throughout the day, limit myself to watching the news only once or twice a day (to keep myself from getting nervous), and working out from home. I’ve found that going out for a walk with my fiance in the evening (while practicing social distancing) and doing small workouts from home help improve my mood so much! I’ve also been getting into a daily devotional and prayer journal, which has been incredibly beneficial.
I’m working on personal and career goals while in isolation. As a woman with a disability, the quarantine hasn’t changed my routines much. The gravity of the situation has caused me to go within and rethink the way I live. I am writing more, and working on my photography skills. I’m planning to launch a blog to share my experience and offer words of encouragement to other millennials with disabilities. I want to help make the world a better place, even if it’s from my bedroom.
As someone who does freelance writing on top of my full-time job, I am trying to make the best of isolation by getting caught up on my writing. This is a great chance to sit on the couch, pop on a good movie or television series, and throw myself into a writing binge. I’m probably writing about 15 pieces a week, between articles for FFL, my own blog, and blogs for our work website, and I love that I am able to cross those off my list, set myself up for success in the weeks ahead, and ensure I’m going to still be making a paycheck. Plus, writing about something you love (and reviewing books) is a great way to take your mind off stressful times.
Since I’ve been laid off of work and had tons of free time at home, I’ve been participating in a fitness challenge with some of my friends. We all have different goals (weight loss, weight gain, muscle gain, etc.) so we all have different exercises we’re doing. I’ve been focusing on eating healthy and walking daily. It’s been a good way to focus my time and energy on something until our lives return to “normal.”
Even though I’m at home with kids, my job has been furloughed so I’m finally catching up on my book list: strong female biographies and autobiographies. Right now I am reading Jessica Simpson’s “Open Book,” and then I’ll move on to Nikki Haley’s “With All Due Respect,” Ali Wong’s “Dear Girls,” and Mindy Kahling’s “Why Not Me.”
I work as a paraprofessional to preschoolers, but since my state shut down all school, we are moving all classes online or sending home weekly packets; I’ll probably only go in about one a week. To occupy my time, not only have I been dedicating my time to reading, I’m taking a few free classes through Khan Academy and learning the Irish language through Duo Lingo.
Since I am not able to work from home during isolation, I have been focusing on becoming a yoga instructor. I want to officially start the required classes this fall, but this is a great chance to preview what I’ll be getting into. With so many yoga classes online, I’ve been able to view 2 or 3 a day without breaking the bank, and I’ll participate in one or two and then focus on taking notes about techniques, what I like and didn’t like, during other classes. I’ve also ordered digital versions of many of the books used in the teaching certification practice to preview and have been working on my own poses and ensuring I am using all the vocabulary properly. It’s not only a great way to set myself up for a successful future, but it’s also pretty calming in the moment to just give myself over to my practice.
As a student who wants to have a career in International Relations, I am using my quarantine time to learn Arabic and Farsi. Using resources from my university and online programs, I study 10-15 hours per week and converse with other Arabic learners on FaceTime or Zoom for 2 hours per week.
My husband and I have joked that in the future, our kids will ask what we did during the apocalypse. Well, we signed the paperwork to buy our first house a day before the stay at home order was issued! So we’ve spent most of our time painting, cleaning, moving, cleaning again, shopping online for things that we didn’t need at the apartment, and cleaning some more. We’re both struggling as our classes- I’m a part time graduate student, and he has a full semester of undergraduate courses- have been moved completely online, as has my job. The bright light among all of this is we’re able to spend a lot of time talking to each other, and spend just as much time on our dogs. They are four and a half years old, Bucky and Ivy- or, Lord Buxtable Fartsalot and Her Royal Highness Princess Ivy Rose. They’re incredibly happy to have their humans home for on demand pets and playing in the backyard.
I’m going to be totally honest, I’ve spent a lot of time in isolation just playing video games. The Sims and Animal Crossing especially, because they’re pretty low-stress, they give me a lot of control, and it’s fun to kind of simulate action and movement when I can’t leave my house. I’ve also been able to really LEARN about these video games, explore new worlds in them, because I don’t have anything else on my schedule since I’m furloughed during this time.
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