My personal tips for coping with Social Distancing during COVID-19
I’ve been social distancing for officially two weeks now and this is how I’ve decided to pass the time.
Keeping a routine
- I make my bed every day 🛌
Allow me to be completely transparent with you — this is not something I did often before COVID-19, but I found it to be a very quick and simple action that allows me to maintain a bit of order and control in my life. Plus, climbing into a freshly made bed at the end of the day mentally helps me unwind.
- I meditate every morning 🧘♀️
This is another simple action that I was practicing somewhat actively for the last year, but it truthfully was one of the hardest habits to get into because my mind would rather focus on anything else than being in the moment. But, during a pandemic, I’ve actually found a lot of comfort in focusing on the moment and it’s helped me take things one day at a time as opposed to thinking about all of the unknown variables that this situation allows for.
- I do a bit of exercise 🏃♀️
Also something a bit foreign to me, but if I didn’t do it, my step count would literally be 8 steps every day and I’d be finishing quarantine looking like Mike Wazowski. I had just started going to a personal trainer at the beginning of the year, so with that on hold, I had to make lemonade out of lemons.
My fitness starter pack includes:
- A resistance band
- Exercise mat
- Running shoes
I do a couple of weighted exercises every day and then go for about a 3km run at lunch. Luckily, we’re still allowed to go outside in Amsterdam (in groups less than 2 people), so I’m trying to take advantage of this while we still can as I prepare for my beach body (coming Summer 2022 when we’re allowed to travel again).
- Cooking more than I’ve ever cooked before 👩🍳
Silver lining to all of this is that COVID-19 thrust me into adulthood rather quickly, and I’m forced to make at least 2 meals a day (as I often skip breakfast). It’s quickly become one of the highlights of our day as we also subscribe to Marley Spoon (which is still delivering), so we have 3 new recipes to try out every week. I find that produce in Amsterdam grocery store produce literally stays good for 1.5 days, so having fresh produce delivered every week has been protecting me from getting scurvy and eating only Mars bars.
- Self care to the max 🛀
When we bought our apartment last year, one of my top requirements was that I’d love a place that has space for a bathtub (a rare find in Amsterdam). My friends always said “I don’t understand why that’s part of your criteria, you’ll never use it!” — let me just say that I use it every. damn. day. Now, I know that not everyone has access to a tub, especially in tiny apartments, but self-care can manifest itself in other ways: I’ve invested in great face masks, the smelliest of candles, lots of candy — and if you still want a tub in your house, a bunch of friends of mine have purchased a Tubble, an inflatable tub to help you get through the quarantine like the queen you are.
- Memes 😹
Need I say more? I’m adding this to the routine because I genuinely look at them every day and they make me feel better.
I find that having something to work towards, even during quarantine, gives me a sense of purpose.
These are a few of the goals I had set before COVID-19
- Read 20 books in 2020 📚
Happy to report that this has quickly accelerated and I’m now on book 11 for the year — already an 1000% increase from last year, as I spent the entire year painstakingly finishing Sapiens (it was a great read, just required lots of digestion)
- Improve my Dutch to the point that I can take the integration exam 🇳🇱
I was embarrassingly stuck in the present simple tense for my 8 years of living here — i.e. “I am going to the store” — so if it wasn’t happening in that exact moment, I definitely was going to avoid talking about it. While my verbs have been pretty strong, I still lacked many adjectives and nouns. I’m now doing 4.5 hours of Dutch a week, only conversational, online with a tutor and doing at least one Babbel lesson a day (a lot of the vocabulary I have learnt is through this app, I can’t recommend it enough). Now, I’m starting to make sentences in the present perfect (“I have gone to the store”) and past simple (“I went to the store”) — or this useful phrase for the next time I’m in the UK: Ik ging naar de kroeg en nu heb ik een kater.
- Make a small video every day 🤳
This was a great idea at the beginning of the year but has quickly turned into a cat compilation series, so I don’t have faith that this will last too much longer with social isolation.
- Becoming more balanced 🧘♀️
This is less quantifiable, but I was exhibiting signs of a burn out at the end of last year and decided to refocus my energy on things that helped me feel more balanced and energized — I started going to dance class every Wednesday, which is obviously on hiatus now, but our instructor has started creating her own YouTube tutorials. I read Atomic Habits at the beginning of the year and it really helped me with adopting micro-habits: 15 minutes of exercise is better than no exercise, 10 minutes of meditation is better than no meditation. Having less pressure on the end result and more about the action of starting has helped me incorporate things that I would’ve otherwise felt were cumbersome.
- Travel less ✈️
I had spent much of 2019 on the road and was looking forward to spending more time in Amsterdam. Well, safe to say that I won’t be travelling any time soon 😅
Here’s what some of my goals are during COVID-19
- Getting into podcasts 📻
Right now, I listen to half an episode of Reply All or This American Life in the bath but would love more recommendations as I’m putting my toe in the water still (pun intended). My good friend Drake also has a great podcast about Queer Entrepreneurship called Out and Up that you should check out.
- Clean out all of my closets and drawers 🧹
Spring has officially started so time to get your scrub on
- Watch all of the Studio Ghibli movies on Netflix 🏯
I’m a big fan and haven’t seen as many as I should have
- Binge watch The Crown on Netflix 👑
Happy to report I’m well on my way with this one and can’t believe I waited so long to finish the series 😭
- Remove all my spam emails and unsubscribe from as many email lists as possible ✉️
Did anyone else notice during this pandemic how many companies you haven’t ordered from in 5 years had you on their mailing list still?
- Update my personal website 👩💻
Because, according to it, I currently work at a company that I worked at 3 jobs ago. And because I want to start helping friends of mine bring their businesses online with Shopify.
- Making a ‘Forgotten Hits of the 90’s and 2000’s’ Playlist 👩🎤
For B-side jams that we all forgot existed (think Soda Pop from Britney Spears or any song by Savage Garden). It’s collaborative, so feel free to add your hits!
- Doing some sort of creative challenge 🎨
I’m thinking ‘draw something every day for 30 days’ since I have / use Pro Create, so stay tuned
- Reading news that won’t push me over the edge 🗞
I find Pocket is a great app for article curation and I’m now a subscriber to The New York Times
Apps / Services that are da real MVPs
- House Party 🏡 — FREE
This app has quickly become the holy grail of COVID-19. I’ve spontaneously caught up with friends I haven’t seen in months, and have kicked off a weekly kiki with my best friends throughout Europe. Last week, we played ‘Most Likely To’ as a drinking game and a quiz through the app and it was a great way to spend the evening. I would recommend that you make dinner before going down that rabbit hole 🍹
- Marley Spoon 🥘(competitor to Hello Fresh) — €37.50 / week, for 3 meals
Staying healthy, 95% due to this service.
- Babbel🗣 — €9.95 / month
Worth every penny and way, way better than Duolingo.
- Headspace 🧘♀️ — €5 / month (I have an annual plan)
But I also hear that Calm is pretty good — if you have experience with both, let me know. Balance is also offering a year subscription for free
- Netflix 🍿(duh) — €13.99 for all the bells and whistles
I actually use my mom’s account (no shame in my game) but we also have Amazon Prime because we accidentally subscribed to expedited delivery 🤷♀️.
- Over the ear, noise cancelling headphones 🎧— €50+
Great for all those Zoom calls I’m having so I can cancel out my partner in the background and cover up the fact I haven’t brushed my hair properly in days.
- Productive App — $14.99 / year
This is where I track all of my routines and habits because turns out I’m 100% that kind of person.
As a side note, if you’re wondering what to watch, listen to or eat during lockdown,
this list is everything.
All this to say, 14 days in, I’m still feeling rather optimistic, hopeful and grateful amongst many other things. The Earth is breathing again, communities are coming together in ways I haven’t seen before (aside from the whole toilet paper hoarding). Let’s see where I’m at with everything in another two weeks 🙃
What are your tips for staying in and social distancing?