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Social Distancing Check In: How is the Isolation?

Social Distancing
By Melissa Bondar

So. How’s everyone doing with the isolation? I hope we’re all getting our social distancing properly on. I feel like every day is sort of roller coaster-y. Some days just zip through and I get a ton of stuff done. Other days, I feel like my brain is mush and I can’t do much more than binge watch 10 hours of TV.

I suppose both are reasonable and OK (other than the fact that I’m still working, so I definitely have to force some productivity on days when I feel like a useless lump).

In some ways, I’ve found the forced solitude restful.

I’m pretty darn introverted. I actually think it’s pulling literally all the extrovert out of me that I actually do have, because I talk with a friend for at least an hour every night and while I started out the first few days with very close friends, it has now branched out to catching up with old friends just as often.

I think it’s also created some creativity. Last night I was Zooming with a friend from college and we decided to start a “chain letter” to our old classmates and we each texted two old friends with a date, time and Zoom link and told them to text two old college friends, and we would see who shows up.

I’m kind of excited to see how our reunion experiment turns out.

I also alternate between DO ALL THE THINGS and do no additional things at all than exactly what you have to do.

Another thing I find interesting is the fact that for years we’re like “self-care, self-care, self-care” but a lot of our work environments don’t really encourage it. Now I finish teaching my classes by like 1:00 PM and I’m like “don’t schedule meetings then, I go for a two hour walk” and my colleagues are like, “yes, of course, makes sense, that is a high priority thing right there.”

A walk. I mean, science has said for a long time that it should be a high priority thing.

Now my co-workers, who are scattered to who knows where are like, “yes, Mel, you live alone, walk in broad daylight, and you should go for a walk – you doing OK over there? Need anything?”

It only took a plague for all of us to collectively see something like that mattered and for me to put my foot down and be like – this is what I’m doing for two hours. That time is mine.

I’ve been starting each day with a goal list. Most of the days, I get the majority or all of it done.

Some days, nothing but the necessities get crossed off.

But I like my list, because I wake up naturally (I have stopped keeping my phone in the bedroom, another interesting twist from 15 years of being hyper connected as a stage manager) around 7:30 AM and usually go to bed around 11:00 PM.

That feels like an overwhelming number of hours if I don’t give them some structure in the morning.

I usually have the majority of my lesson planning and teaching done from 8 or 9 AM to 1 PM. I take a lunch break and go for a walk. Then if it’s a day with some meetings, they usually pick up around 3:00 PM. Or I’ll check emails, work on the Production Manager details of our cancelled spring production, or grade papers.

If I’m working on a blog post, like now, that’s first thing in the morning too.

Other tasks that regularly make the to do list:

  • Yoga (30 minutes)
  • Russian (30 minutes – finally putting the Rosetta Stone I got like 8 years ago to use)
  • Practice an Instrument (30 minutes – sorry, neighbors)
  • ETC Training Courses (1 unit – cause they are free right now)
  • The Science of Well-Being Course (1 unit or homework/practice- a really cool course on the science of happiness by a professor at Yale – it’s free right now on Coursera)
  • Read (1 hour)
  • And then there are my little projects, like trying to figure out how to give my hair better volume. Sure, laugh, but each day I look up a new method and give it a go. Shortly, I will have to buy a hair dryer, but it is a silly little thing keeping me occupied – and from buying crazy colored hair dye, because I’m on the verge of that too.

Also, there’s a lot of memes about folks thinking about bangs and I understand them all too well.

A nice thing about this, other than the purchase of that blow dryer I’m thinking about, is that everything listed above is free. I already have a Rosetta Stone just sitting around, but if I didn’t, Duolingo is awesome and free.

There are so freaking many courses being offered online right now. And you can do most of them on your own time.

So total use some of the quarantine to slow down and breathe, but if you want a little structure too, pick a free course that will help you professionally and one that just looks interesting and sign up for them.

The majority seem to be broken down into 10-15 minute videos, so it’s not a huge commitment to plod through the lessons slowly over the next few weeks.

Do you have an instrument just sitting around too? I actually have four in my apartment, so I just rotate through them. It’s nice cause I can definitely play one, have a clue about two of the others, and the guitar and I may be firmly mortal enemies, but now is the time to give it a final go.

Reading though has been one of my favorite activities. Sometimes I read educational books, but for the most part, I’m devouring Stephen King and other fun authors. I mean, it’s awfully similar to binge watching Netflix, but as you readers out there know, also not at all. I never feel the same way about accidentally reading for 6 hours as I do about binge watching Wonderland for 6 hours.

Though Wonderland was a delightful way to spend several hours at the beginning of this quarantine. It’s on Amazon Prime. I highly recommend it.

And finally, just looping back to that catching up with friends – I’ve downloaded Houseparty, which is a free and delightful app that has video chatting features like FaceTime, but you can also play games with each other in the app.

The games are super basic and a bit repetitive at the free level, but for .99 you can unlock additional packs and themes for each game. I find HeadsUp to be particularly delightful.

Alright folks, how are you staying sane? Are they budget friendly choices?

Published in Collaboration with brokeGIRLrich

brokegirlrich TheatreArtLife

Also on by Melissa Bondar:

Gig Cancellations due to Coronavirus: Survival Tips for Freelancers

Financial Stability in the Arts amidst the Coronavirus

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