We recently asked our audience who live alone to tell us how they're keeping busy, motivated, and upbeat through the COVID-19 lockdown. Here are some of their answers:
1. Add to your garden.
"Every week, I buy a new plant for my (very small) balcony. So far, I’ve got two orchids, mint, and basil. I work from home on the balcony most of the time so I’ll talk to my plants while I work. Besides cultivating a new hobby (pun intended), my friends and I have set up a weekly Discord game night every Saturday and get drunk over video games."
2. Actually get those pesky DIY jobs done.
"I’ve finally done the house repairs I have been meaning to get around to for what feels like forever."
3. Add some personality to your space.
"I rearranged my bedroom which was great except now my bed is across from an empty white wall so I have decided to fill it with art. I ordered some supplies on Amazon and now I am trying to slowly add to it everyday. I hope by the end of this quarantine I’ll have something beautiful to show for it."
4. Give yourself some time off.
"Since being furloughed I have felt like I have no purpose when I get up. It has been hard to motivate myself when I am so used to working a ten hour day with a strict routine. Then I realised that this is a huge break for my mental health. I allow myself to do what I want when I want to without any guilt. Some days I’m really productive and I’ll workout, cook an elaborate meal, clean, etc. Other days I binge a show, have some day drinks, and don’t change out of my PJs all day. I keep telling myself 'one day at a time' and it has been HUGE for me. I let myself live each day as it comes, and I feel proud of myself when I’ve made it through another day."
5. Set boundaries.
"I’m sure a lot of people will say FaceTiming with friends and family, which is awesome but I’ve also found it to be really helpful setting boundaries with it.
I noticed that everyone thought they could call me at their convenience because I was alone all day with “nothing to do.” It got really draining hearing everyones' problems about being quarantined with their partner or kids. I felt lonelier than ever after those conversations. So I told everyone that I have set times for when I’m down to FaceTime, and I also try to make it something other than just talking. Last night I watched a Disney movie and played a drinking game with my best friend and it was honestly one of the best nights I’ve had in awhile! It felt really normal."
6. Claim back some free time.
"I am using this time to regain my work/life balance. Before, I would be at work until 7-8 pm at night everyday, now I am ending my day at 5:30pm and making sure I am only working eight hours. So I actually am just getting back into having free time. I don’t particularly feel guilty for trying to occupy all my time. I finally have time to rest — I am taking advantage of it."
7. Two words: video games.
"I live alone, and all I can say is: 'thank God for Nintendo.'"
8. Volunteer your time remotely.
"I am a mental health professional and though my clinic has been closed, I've signed up as a volunteer for tele-counseling related to COVID-19. I get almost a dozen calls on a daily basis, and I feel good that I am helping in whatever way I can. Of course, I have been allowing myself to have lazy-days, which as a type-A personality has been a little difficult."
9. Research your next adventure.
"One of the things I’ve started doing to avoid boredom is making a travel journal. Each day I pick a new state, and then research places to go. Also I’ve been printing out coloring sheets, having mini photoshoots with myself (great excuse to get out of sweatpants), and FaceTime has really helped!"
10. Separate your living space.
"Take advantage of your whole living space! I set up my work station in the dining room, and have an activity, like a puzzle, set up in the living room. I make an effort to eat my meals on my porch. I also reserve being in my bedroom for the end of the day, so I don’t end up just laying in bed. It’s nice to physically put yourself in a new setting to boost productivity."
11. Organise a virtual dinner party.
"I always make sure I FaceTime my friends and family and we'll have dinner or something at the same time so it feels like we're together."
12. Become better at communicating.
"Well, I actually started replying to texts my friends send me. On the same day even."
13. Set yourself attainable and achievable tasks.
"Sadly I lost my job as a result of the pandemic and my housemate left a few weeks ago to wait this out with family in the countryside – I’m now all alone with nothing much to do. So, I’m taking each day as it comes. We have a chalkboard in our living area so I’ve divided into what tasks I want to complete daily and what tasks I want to complete by the end of the week. I’ve not tasked myself anything too strenuous; make my bed each day, drink two litres of water daily, home workout etc. Then for the week I’ve tasked myself to clean my bathroom, paint my nails etc. I even completed a paint by numbers gift from a friend. They’re all pretty simple and attainable and it keeps me from staying in bed all day at the very least.
Each day is different. Yesterday was a bad day and I didn’t move from the sofa but today is a new day and woke in a much better mood and completed two of my weekly tasks!"
14. Learn some new skills.
"I am embracing this time to do all the things I always said I would do when I had more time. Make bread from scratch, retrain my hair to not be washed every day, work on my tan, read a book, watch that show, workout every day. I also am really into the work-from-home life, when I can just easily just turn off annoying coworkers and step away from the computer."
15. Pretend you're on MTV Cribs with your friends.
"Using the Zoom app with friends has been a life saver – we’ve done MTV Cribs-style tours of our homes – as mine is a 450 square foot apartment, mine took about three minutes..."
16. Start playing Animal Crossing.
"I’m busy chopping trees and catching bees...playing Animal Crossing!"
17. Build a fortress.
"I live in a small single bedroom apartment, and one of the vexing things about quarantine is literally seeing the exact same room with the exact same stuff 24/7. It will easily make your thoughts run in a circle no matter how active you try to keep – especially in the evenings.
So one night I got really bored and I built a small fortress in the corner of my room (basically just pillows on the floor and a blanked propped up like a curtain). Then I crawled in and watched a movie from my laptop. Just having my view temporarily blocked gave me a real sense of being removed and provided me a much-needed break. Not to mention that doing something slightly weird and silly throws you off the usual cycle. Now when I feel stressed out I build the fortress again. It really works."
18. Create an alter ego in Sims.
"Well me and my six dogs are staying inside our gorgeous seaside mansion. As a wealthy widow who owns every business in town I don't have to work so I spend my days playing chess and cooking new meals. I think I might get a horse.
Oh wait... that's my Sims. I'm playing Sims."
19. Take stock of the little things in life.
Taking daily walks – notice and enjoy little things like birds, squirrels, and flowers. I always say hello to my neighbours from at least 6 feet away."
Some submissions have been edited for length and clarity.