1. Start a journal
This is a pretty standard alone-time conception, but it’s cliche for good reason. Writing down your thoughts is a good way to materialize — and maybe let go of — some ambiguous and lingering feelings. Being by yourself can feel pretty isolating when there’s no one to talk to, and writing about your day, recalling a dream or even scribbling random things is a good way to keep your brain engaged.
2. Fantasize about your future
Spending a lot of time not socializing can feel pretty redundant and boring, so try thinking about the reasons for your everyday actions. Setting goals for things you want to accomplish is seriously helpful in actually getting those things accomplished. You could also get crafty and make a vision board to stay motivated. Thinking forward helps you get excited about what you’re doing now and keeps time alone from feeling stagnant.
3. Reorganize or redecorate
With time and space on your hands, changing up your bedroom layout or reorganizing your closet gives you something to work on with immediate payoff — plus, I’m 85 percent sure that box of old clothes or miscellaneous items is still taking up space in the back of your closet. Taking time to update your living space is a good way to change your environment, get rid of obsolete items and feel a little accomplished.
4. Make some new playlists
Many people are culprits of finding a really good song from a niche, eclectic band and never taking the time to listen to their other music — myself included. Spend time with your tunes that have been gathering dust, and maybe make some new playlists just for you. Or go the other route and make a collaborative playlist with your friends. I’m currently making a “quarantine dance party” playlist with some school friends, and of course “It’s The End of the World As We Know It” by R.E.M. made the cut.
5. Go down that rabbit hole
There’s always that one unimportant but relevant Reddit debate or Twitter thread that inevitably leads to seemingly endless procrastination. But, hear me out — with more alone time, this honestly isn’t such a bad idea. It’s a prime way to keep up with people and what they are worried about during a time like this — serious debates, like which sporting events would be best if the players were drunk.
6. Learn something new
It’s difficult to pick up a new interesting hobby when spending time with friends or doing work. When you have more time to spend alone, you can start to focus on learning something fun and new, like playing the guitar or making pasta from scratch. It could even open you up to interests you haven’t explored in a while and help you rediscover your passion for denim embroidery or crochet. You know who you are, embrace your craft.
7. Create good habits
This excludes bingeing the same series for the third time in a row — which also includes myself. With more time to focus on your own wellbeing, creating and sticking to good habits can be super productive and beneficial. This could mean anything from yoga and doing at-home workouts to amping up your self-care routine and focusing on good nutrition. Making yourself cozy and comfortable is also a super underrated habit. Grab five blankets, burrito up and snuggle up.
8. Have a solo dance party
There is seriously no way to go wrong with this one, except if you don’t actually do it. Putting on some headphones and crazy dancing to your favorite music is incredible for getting out pent-up energy and boosting your adrenaline. You can jump all over the place or dance however you want without fear of judgement, and you get to be on aux. So, just dance — after all, no one is watching.
9. Keep other people in mind
Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation. Have Zoom parties with friends, write letters or call to keep in touch and show them you care. If you find yourself unintentionally isolated from your friends, chances are that they feel the same way. If you’re looking for a fun way to stay connected, try online shopping for other friends. Even if you don’t buy them something, you could send them a picture of what you picked out for laughs. It’s the thought that counts, right?
10. Adjust your mindset
Right now, the FOMO in the U.Va. community is pretty high. Getting used to being alone all the time can be really weird and problematic. It’s sad to be away from close friends who used to be a part of your everyday life, which makes it easy to get discouraged. But it’s important to remind yourself that feeling disoriented and confused by all these sudden changes is OK. And it’s OK to not know how to react or feel immediately — now is the time to adjust and adapt to a new set of rules. Right now, however ambiguous and uncertain, this period of your life can be an opportunity for personal change and growth.