While the euphoria of staying home has worn off, and most of us are finding it difficult and frustrating, there are things that you can do in order to make self-isolation more bearable. The following five activities will ensure that you have more energy and create a more enjoyable atmosphere in your home during the coronavirus quarantine.
#1 Enjoy a Taste of Japan with Bokksu
Just because we’re unable to travel far and wide around the world at the moment, it doesn’t mean you can bring a little bit of your favorite destination into your own home. If you have ever visited Japan, or even if you haven’t you will probably know that there is a huge emphasis on great food. For all of you that plan on going to Japan soon, you might want to try out Bokksu.
This gourmet Japanese snack delivery box boasts a different theme each month, which means you can expect traditional Japanese desserts like wagashi or castella cakes to be mixed in with new flavors like white chocolate butter cookies.
Working directly with artisans in Japan, Bokksu now has more than 55 snack makers, some of whom have taken part in the snack and candy business for generations. For many of these snack makers, it was the first time ever that their snacks have been shipped overseas.
You can choose from
- Classic box that contains around 20-25 Japanese snacks and tea pairings, as well as a tasting guide that explains each of the product’s stories and flavors. This will cost around $33 to $39 depending on your payment plan.
- Tasting box, which will see you armed with 10-14 Japanese snacks and tea pairings. This box also comes with the guide and will cost around $22 to $25. Not only does Bokksu source its snacks straight from Japan, but each box is also sourced from a particular region in Japan making for a new adventure each time.
#2 Stay Active with Aaptiv
One of the biggest things keeping you sane while being cooped up inside is fitness. While many of you cannot envision not going out cycling or for a group run, the reality is, our new COVID-19 situation calls for people to remain at home.
Enter Aaptiv. This fitness app is different from all the others on the market as it talks you through all each activity meaning that you will not have to stop whatever you’re doing mid-action in order to peer at your phone.
As soon as you download the app and start the free seven-day trial, you will be met with one of the lead trainers asking you a number of questions to determine your fitness level and preferences. Some of these questions include:
- What is your current fitness level? Choose from beginner, intermediate, advanced
- What are your fitness goals? Options include Losing weight, running farther, and getting stronger
- What music gets you going? Pop, electronic, dance, hip hop, rock, chill, or r&b
- How long is your average workout? Choose from under 20 minutes, 20-40 minutes or more than 40 minutes
- What are your favorite types of workouts? It includes outdoor running, indoor cycling, elliptical, yoga, stretching, meditation, stair climber, strength training, and treadmill
As soon as those questions are answered, you will also be asked to enter how often you would like to work out so that Aaptiv is able to come up with a fitness plan for you. This is updated each Monday.
The two main things that the Aaptiv regime is based on include music and continuous personal training prompts. All of your workouts are set to music that is based on your preferences. This is in order for you to keep motivated and also feel energized during your workout.
The other part of the Aaptiv regime is the continuous personal training, where instructors are in your ear the whole time, pushing you further and getting you pumped up during your session. You can save workouts that you browse through, allowing you to complete them at another time.
The cool thing about Aaptiv is that you can set long-term goals such as training for a half marathon. This will come up as a suggestion on your profile, where you will be able to see a week-by-week breakdown of the workouts which will need to be completed in order to prepare for the half marathon. There is also a printable .pdf option as well and you can download classes so you can listen to them offline for when you know you will have restricted wifi.
As mentioned, Aaptiv comes with a seven-day trial, followed by an annual subscription fee of $99.99, which is billed on day eight unless you cancel within those first seven days. It should be noted that you have thirty days to cancel your membership and get a full refund, no questions asked. Your other payment options include:
- Purchasing the Lifetime Membership option which costs $399.99
- Signing up for a monthly plan for $14.99
#3 Take a DNA Test
Learning new things during self-isolation is a great achievement in itself, but learning about your own ancestors has to be one of the coolest things you can do while in quarantine. Many of the best DNA testing companies will offer a wide variety of regions that you can pinpoint in finding out more about your family history. These DNA tests can lead to you connecting with long-lost family members that may have separated from your great grandparents and moved to the other side of the globe.
DNA testing will not only help you find out about your ancestry, but can also shed light on your health, and help you achieve a balanced lifestyle.
Julian Savulescu, a visiting professor in Biomedical Ethics and the holder of the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford says:
“Yes, knowledge is power. Genes don’t determine who we are – but they play an important part. Genetic testing can tell you whether you are at risk of disease, like some breast or bowel cancer, and you can take steps to prevent it. Or if you can’t, say you find you are at increased risk of dementia, you can make career, family, retirement, and other plans around the reality of your own life, not some imagined fiction. You can choose to use prenatal or embryo testing to have children who don’t have the same risks as you, or others.
Ancestry testing uncovers your broader family and shows how linked we are to people all over the world. In the future, polygenic testing will give better estimates of talents and personality, the opportunities and constraints on our lives. Power can be used for good or misused. Genetic testing requires understanding and proper counseling. And genetic knowledge can be used to restrict freedom. But it can be liberating – freedom is choosing to set your own rules within the limits of your life.”
The best DNA testing kits are simple to use and should see your results come in. If you think that you might have Jewish, Asian, Native American, African or European ancestry, why not find out more about your family history today and share your findings with loved ones?
#4 Bring the Outdoors Inside
If you’re stuck in quarantine it doesn’t mean you cannot still feel the joy of bringing the outdoors in. Why not create a window garden? There are plenty of herbs that grow both indoors and outdoors that can not only add value to your cooking, but also give you a sense of achievement when you see them flourish.
The first step is to choose your plant. Lettuces are simple to grow from seeds and will do so without needing much sun or attention. Other plants that are great to grow include kale, radishes, and herbs like mint, cress, and basil.
Next, you will want to find a windowsill that gets plenty of light as well as a window that you can open and close so that your plant gets its daily dose of fresh air. If you’re worried about the right position for your plants to grow, check out the printed instructions that you get on virtually all seed packets.
You can order your plants and seeds online from places like Home Depot, White Flower Farm or Leaf & Clay, with all of these options delivering straight to your door. Choosing pots is your next step where clay, metal, resin, and wood are all options. The most important thing to remember is that your pot needs to let excess water escape or else your herbs will experience root rot.
If you want to save time on growing your plants, you should forget about the seeds. Using starter plants will mean that you can save up to two- or three-weeks growing time and you also increase the chances of your plant succeeding.
Getting the right soil is incredibly important, so when it comes to your window plants you will want to use potting soil rather than gardening soil. This is because it drains more effectively, while gardening soil is denser and traps moisture within your containers.
Remember to take constant and regular care of your plants, watering them on a consistent schedule. Harvesting them is also important as it primes your plants for new growth. In no time, you should have a blossoming and healthy window garden for all your neighbors to admire from their own windows.
#5 Organize Your Home Marie Kondo-Style
When in self-isolation, taking care of your mental health is of incredible importance. One of the biggest factors in how we’re feeling or dealing with a situation has a lot to do with our surroundings. This is why reinventing your living space is a perfect idea for stress relief. Clearly, this is something on a lot of people’s minds with Pinterest reportedly having a 4,000 percent increase in people searching for “deep cleaning tips” in the past few weeks.
Japanese organizing consultant, author, and TV show host Marie Kondo has written numerous books on getting your home tidy and your life organized. When it comes to minimizing and de-cluttering, one of her infamous mantras is to only keep things that spark joy. This isn’t about getting rid of things, but rather thinking about those that bring joy, allowing you to make room for more meaningful items to come into your life.
So, how do you actually know which of your items spark joy in your life? Marie answers,
“It’s important to bring each and every item you own out and touch it. If it’s difficult for you to connect with your sense of joy when holding your belongings, I suggest starting with an item you really love – and then compare the feeling you have holding each subsequent item to the feeling you had when you held your favorite item. Sometimes you will experience impulsive, fleeting joy when you encounter an item; other times it’s more of an enduring, lifetime joy. Both serve a purpose. The important thing is to be aware of the difference.
There are some cases when an item doesn’t directly spark joy in the present but might in the future. I have had an uncanny experience with many of my clients where they will pick up an item and feel a strong spark of joy – but not really know why. Within a few weeks or months, they report back to me that the item ended up playing a significant role in their lives – one that they never could have predicted! Part of this process involves constantly honing your sensitivity to joy and developing an instinct for what items are going to be necessary for you in the long-term.”
The first thing that Kondo suggests is to visualize the life you want this year. Once you have a clear goal, it is easier to come up with a plan. To begin your minimal lifestyle, you should start by letting go of your attachment to the past or your fear for the future which is what most people face when tiding up.
“The key to overcoming this obstacle is to ask yourself why it is difficult to let go of something, and understand your ownership pattern,” she says. “Do you tend to keep items from the past for fear of losing a memory, or are you prone to keeping things that function but that you don’t like, because you are scared you won’t be able to find a replacement? Once you understand your patterns, it becomes easier to face your fears and attachments.”
Many of us have little trinkets or plenty of toiletries in your bathroom or bedroom. The trick is to get boxes in your drawers so that everything is in its compartment, visible, and easily transferred. Another tip is to keep the coins instead of putting it away in a piggy bank at home. The latter just sees you hoarding these coins in your home for years, whilst keeping them in your wallet means that you are likely to spend it as soon as possible.
We are all guilty of having rows of forgotten clothing, some even with tags still on them. Vertically fold your garments so you can clearly see them when you open up your drawers. When hanging your clothes make sure that they rise to your right. This means that all your heaviest items that are thick in fabric or dark in color should be on the left, while all the lighter pieces go to the right.
Whatever category you are tackling, be sure to leave nostalgia at the door, and only leave items that spark joy.
Staying home during the COVID-19 virus is essential for the wellbeing of many, especially the most vulnerable. At the moment around one-fifth of the world’s population has been asked to work from home. It is unsure how long self-isolation will last, so it is best to keep occupied and productive while at home so as to make sure this frustrating situation doesn’t get the better of you.
Look at introducing any of the above five activities and get the most out of this time at home.