While the coronavirus isolation measures have bought us time we didn’t even know we had, it comes with its own pitfalls as we make decisions on what we want to fill out time with. It’s not very often that everything grinds to a halt like this, so rest assured if you’re struggling to stay occupied and engaged while self-isolating, you’re not alone.
Humans are naturally social creatures and we love to fill our days with friends, family and fun. But what do you do when we can’t get out and about to fulfil that social craving? For those living in retirement communities, where the social aspect of village life is abundant and important, this might be an especially tricky time.
Here are some tried and tested ideas to help you through:
Put together a list of boredom busters
Boredom busters can be a quick fix for those moments where you’d rather be having a cuppa at the community centre! Board games, word searches, riddles and crosswords are all great ways to keep yourself occupied and learn a few new things for future trivia nights along the way. Check out the stationery aisle of your local supermarket, the app store on your smartphone (if you have one) or sites like The New Daily and TheWordSearch.com for online versions.
Travel from the comfort of your homeAre you planning your post-isolation holiday, or simply want to see the sights without leaving your armchair? There are plenty of resources on YouTube that can take you all over the world, as well as websites like Random Street View that will take you from the farmlands of Ireland to the hustle and bustle of downtown Madrid.
Engage with your family
Just because you’re separated doesn’t mean you can’t connect! There are so many innovative ways to keep in touch with your loved ones these days – video call your family so you can see their faces, pick up the phone to have a quick chat, send them a message on social media or even write personalised letters. The possibilities are endless.
Spruce up your gardens or start a veggie patch
Do you enjoy gardening? Now is the perfect time to prune and trim to your heart’s content – if you have plants that are easy to propagate you can always take some cuttings of your favourites and watch them take root. You could also try starting a little veggie patch or a crop of herbs in your home.
Update or revisit your photo albums, trinkets and memoriesAs we lead busy lives (especially during retirement!), we don’t often get the chance to stop and smell the roses, reminisce and reflect. Inevitably, life will go back to normal and our schedules will fill up again – so why not organise that photo album, print or develop your latest memories or have a look through that box of trinkets in the cupboard. You never know what wonderful memory you’ll stumble upon.
Visit museums, galleries and zoos virtuallyIf you love arts and culture, then this one’s for you! Google Arts & Culture has pages upon pages of art for your viewing pleasure – you can search by artist, art style and even the time period to narrow down your search and feast your eyes. You can even tour museums virtually as though you were actually there! If art isn’t your thing, you can immerse yourself in animal webcams and keeper talks brought to you by Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney or spy on the otters and jellyfish at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Explore music and podcasts
If there’s one sure fire way to lift the mood or evoke a sense of nostalgia, it’s music! Pop on a record or CD or listen to your favourite radio station while you cook, clean or simply relax. There are also plenty of great on-demand streaming services, like Spotify, where you can listen to whatever you like, whenever you like. Plus, it has a huge range of podcasts about pretty much any topic you can think of – and the big bonus is that it’s free if you don’t mind a few ads!
Learn a language
Have you ever wanted to learn a foreign language, perhaps from the country your parents and grandparents descended from? Now could be the time! With applications like Duolingo and Babbel on smartphones making learning so accessible, it’s never been easier to diversify your language skills. Apart from these apps, there are also a wide array of online resources – you can even get a book delivered to your door from Booktopia if that’s what you’d prefer!
Cook or bake something new
With so many resources at your disposal, isolation may be the perfect time to try something new in the kitchen! Is there a cake or dessert you’ve never quite perfected, or a certain type of ingredient you’d love to learn to cook with? Not to mention, you can get your groceries delivered to your door via Coles and Woolworths priority services or numerous other delivery services that are helping people through the isolation period.
Check in with your neighbours (virtually)
A quick phone call to a neighbour never goes astray and keeping in touch with those in your own community is of utmost importance right now. Give someone on the other side of the village to you a bell, or check in with them via email or Facebook – we’ve even set up a Brookland residents Facebook group so everyone can keep in touch while self-isolating!
However you’re spending this time of self-isolation, we hope you can find a silver lining by doing the things you really enjoy and connecting with the world around you in innovative and interesting ways.