5 ways to make the most of your social distancing

Hello, friends!

Today I want to be that person who’s going to cheer you up. Despite all the negative consequences of the coronavirus pandemic (both personal, social and economical), I am here to tell you we should stop worrying and start making the most of our government-imposed or otherwise social distancing or quarantine. Here’s how!

1: Breathe

First of all, let us all be happy that our beloved planet is getting a few weeks of clean lungs. Since the travel bans and social distancing have been imposed on a lot of countries, the level of CO2 in the world has dropped phenomenally. I, for one, would like very much to celebrate that!

According to an article published by CNN, ‘from February 3 to March 1, CO2 emissions (in China) were down by at least 25% because of the measures to contain the coronavirus, according to the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), an air pollution research organization. As the world’s biggest polluter, China contributes 30% of the world’s CO2 emissions annually, so the impact of this kind of drop is huge, even over a short period.’

Enjoy clear air and maybe unfold that mat that’s been gathering dust in your cupboard and do some yoga and breathing exercises. The world of YouTube is full of great tutorials just waiting to be discovered.

2: Read

There are proven benefits to reading every day, such as mental stimulation, vocabulary expansion, stress reduction, knowledge, improved focus and concentration, stronger analytical and writing skills, to name but a few. But if you’ve been too busy reading anxiety-inducing tweets and chasing deadlines, you may find yourself in need of a spiritual reboot. If you’ve also been hoarding books, hoping that one day you’d have this stretch of time to finally get around tho reading, your moment is now.

I would highly recommend staying away from dystopian scenarios (these might trigger or enhance your anxiety) and focus on stories that will inspire and elevate your mood.

I’d be hard pushed to find a more appropriate read than Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Gracia Marques, but the world is your oyster when it comes to books. I have just bought Lianne Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers and Philippa Gregory’s Tidelands. Not my usual purchases, but I have done my fair share of transformational books – I am allowed to enjoy a bit of escapism now and again. If you need some inspiration, here is a list of 30 classic books that will change your life to choose from. Get your reading glasses on and let yourself be taken on a journey of discovery that may end up with some important life-changing decisions.

3. Create

If you think we’re having it bad with the coronavirus, think again! The year 1816 – also known in history as the year without summer because of a volcanic eruption in Indonesia – has seen unusual climate abnormalities that made temperatures to drop in the Northern hemisphere and led to extreme food shortages. That summer, Mary Shelley, together with her husband Percy Shelley, their son William, her step-sister Claire Claremont, Lord Byron and his physician, spent time in a chalet near lake Geneva telling horror stories. Mary Shelley attributed the birth of her novel Frankenstein to the nightmares she experienced after hearing all the horror stories and philosophical conversations about the nature and principles of life discussed between Shelley and Byron.

I know so many other people died because of poverty and food shortages during the year without summer, but we have also been gifted with the cultural legacy of Frankenstein. If you amongst the lucky ones whose biggest enemy during coronavirus lockdown is boredom, I suggest snap out of it and try to get creative. Or at least hope someone else will and you’ll get to enjoy it further down the line.

4: Listen

If you’re not the bored kind and are still out and about your home cooking or making repairs, I find listening to podcasts a very enjoyable way to kill two birds with one stone. Many a times I cleaned the shower while listening to writing advice. Why not, mend a pair of socks and listen to something uplifting? Here is a list of a few of my favourite podcasts for your delectation:

The Robcast with Rob Bell

Dear Sugars with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond

Where should we begin? with Esther Perrel

The mindbodygreen podcast

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

The Love Project with Iulia Calota (this one’s mine haha! – stay tuned for more episodes are coming your way!)

5: Stop

Keep sane by not compulsively reading the news and / or perpetuating fear. Nothing that affects us directly won’t happen without us eventually finding out about it. Follow steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 whenever you feel the compulsion to go back to Facebook or Twitter again. Use this time wisely to reflect and regroup instead of react, like you’ve always had. See it as a gift of time when you are no longer commuting, chasing deadlines and multitasking yourself into physical and mental exhaustion. Think about the fact that perhaps the outside disruption may also be a good disruption to your patterns of thinking and behaving. Take one little step today to breaking those patterns!

PS: Yes, you are allowed to Netflix. Just don’t over do it and make sure you share your favourite shows with us!

PPS: Tune in soon for our next episode of The Love Project podcast where we will be talking with speaker and lifestyle coach Harriet Waley-Cohen about body confidence, resilience and more useful tips on how to survive coronavirus crisis. Love to you all!

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