7 Ways to Chase Away the Isolation Blues

Kevin Young

April 1, 2020

Whatever your individual circumstances, by now you’ve probably been self-isolating long enough to feel a bit stir-crazy. For myself, I am starting to hear voices in my head. More accurately, one voice – my mother’s – saying things like: ‘You need to learn how to entertain yourself’, and ‘Do something productive to take your mind off whatever’s bothering you’.

Although that was, and is, good advice, binging on movies, TV series, and amusing pet videos only goes so far. With that in mind, here are a grab bag of options – all of which my mother and yours would likely approve of – to pass the time.

Engage in some high-value self-improvement

Let’s get this out of the way first. This could involve mastering a second language, a complex instrument like the violin, or getting a postgraduate degree in molecular biology. These are all admirable goals, and if you’ve got it in you, well, awesome.

However, I’m guessing most people’s appetite for distraction would be best satisfied by a helping of lower hanging fruit. If that sounds just about right to you, read on…

Take in a show

Concerts – live and pre-recorded – abound online (this past weekend we had the Diesel Bird Digital Music Festival and the iHeart Living Room Concert, and more and are popping up all the time. Check out the Live From Nowhere series, Sennheiser’s #DontStopTheMusic and Mark Marczyk’s (Lemon Bucket Orkestra), crowdfunded, live streamed concert series URGNT. If you prefer vintage performances, try entertainment portals like Paste and NME for information and options.

Prefer the theatre? Why not browse the Royal Shakespeare Company’s site and YouTube channel, or get a daily dose of the bard from Patrick Stewart.

Want something lighter? Or darker, depending on the comedian! Comedy is good for your health and comedians, like all performers right now, are hurting for gigs, so why not check out some online comedy shows such as those listed here. If they have an option to donate in lieu of a ticket, give what you can.

Curious about how comedians are coping and looking for more laughs?

Find them here:

Forbes

Thrillist

CBC

Vanity Fair

Go on a virtual field trip

Visit one of the world’s great museums from the comfort of your own home (there are now over 50 museums you can virtually tour), dig into the backstory on exhibitions and artifacts with British Museum Curator, Irving Finkel, or even explore the one of a kind Neon Museum and Boneyard in Las Vegas. The options are endless, and only a click away.

Get into some DIY (aka make stuff)

You may not have the engineering skills to take part in Azure Magazine’s Design Can Help: Code Life Ventilator Challenge, but at the very least you can occupy your mind (and the minds of those you’re isolating with) by creating something with your own two hands; from brisket to bagpipes and bass guitars on wheels, to less labor intensive projects – if you can Google it, you can build it.

Step outside your comfort zone, without stepping outside your home

This could be a task you can complete in one sitting, or something you’ll have to go at in pieces, day-by-day. It could be adding some exercise into your daily routine, learning how to draw a 3D ladder, spending a day listening entirely to music by artists you’re unfamiliar with, tuning into a radio station you’ve never listened to, or digging into something you’ve always been interested in, but have never found time to explore. As they say, ‘there’s an app (or a podcast) for that. Finally, if you’re a musician or an aspiring musician of any skill level, book a lesson or two at livelessonsmasters.com – an initiative conceived and launched in roughly 48 hours in response to the pandemic. If you prefer  to hone your production chops, check out some online audio webinars, and learn how to host your own live event from home. With that in mind, feel free to register and join us on Thursday April 2nd for the Play MPE Player walk-through.

Reach Out

Physical distancing doesn’t have to wipe out your social life. Connect to your friends and family – via Skype, Facetime, Zoom or whatever platform you prefer. Try out Houseparty. Throw a Netflix party. Attend a virtual dance club. Or just kick it old school and exercise your phone-a-friend option.

Think globally – act locally

Wherever you live, right now there are local service providers, artists, trainers and small business owners of all descriptions offering virtual sessions, lessons and/or services (often at a discounted or pay what you can rate) who need help to keep their businesses running over the next, well, however long this lasts. Take half an hour to do some online shopping in your neighbourhood, town, or city for something to help you pass the time. Whether it be signing up for a yoga class, counselling session or a guitar lesson. By reaching out for support, you are also giving it back.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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