1. Take a scenic drive
This is my personal go-to for a little change of scenery after a two-and-a-half hour torture session — I mean, virtual class. After sitting on Zoom for what feels like an eternity, forcing yourself to sit upright and look presentable in case your peers are on gallery view, there is nothing more freeing than getting in the car and jamming out as you endlessly loop around Grounds. Just beware — gas isn’t free.
2. Head to the kitchen
If you’re like me and chose to forgo a meal plan — O’Hill lunch isn’t worth dying for, let alone eating — you’ve suddenly been thrown into the world of self-sufficiency. I have found cooking to actually be mind-cleansing after a few hours in front of the screen. Plus, if you’re bad at it like I am, it can easily take a few hours to make that PB&J, resulting in lowered screen time for the day — and therefore less eye strain.
3. Take a hike
Tucked away in what Google Maps tells me is the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Charlottesville area is full of fantastic hiking trails — or so Google Maps tells me. While I cannot say I have been on one in a good two years, having the option nearby gives me great comfort. For those without a car, there are trails near Observatory Hill that are fantastic, as long as you accept the one-in-five chance of stumbling upon a dead body.
4. Lie on your bed and dream that it’s 2022
If you don’t want to leave the house, even a nap may do the trick for your Zoom fatigue. As you’re struggling to fall asleep while thinking of those readings you really ought to do instead of napping, you can look forward to the chance that you’ll have a vivid and realistic dream about a post-virus world, where the world is safe again and the Nau Hall Starbucks finally re-opens. It’s the little things.
5. Watch old TV shows
Comfort TV is comforting for a reason — it has a sense of familiarity that reminds us of better, simpler times. It’s the reason that — if you’re a student reading this — you’ve likely watched The Office four times through. Well, nowadays, comfort TV is special for another reason — watching an episode of a show from even just 2019 and seeing normal life can be comforting — but incredibly depressing at the same time. Choose wisely.
6. Get some quality outdoor exercise
As your Fitbit tracker could attest to, those consistently frantic sprints to your next class actually added up last semester, and it was never hard to hit that recommended 10,000 steps. Nowadays, with all my classes taking place in my bedroom, it is an arduous task to even hit 100. Before it gets dark at 4:15 p.m. in a few months, take advantage of the daylight and go for a jog, do some parkour or try using a tree branch for pull-ups — your quarantine body will thank you.
7. Support a local business
To my pleasant surprise, the Corner has actually been relatively mask-abundant during my trips out. So, if you’re hungry and tired of making PB&J two times per day, take a journey out to some of your favorite places on the Corner.
8. Support a non-local business
Since time is hardly an object anymore — especially if your classes are asynchronous, in which case life is just one long blob — why not do some exploring? Drive out to the country and see what’s out in the world — you never know where you might find a roadside pie stand.
9. Find a spot on Grounds and relax
Just because Grounds isn’t back to normal doesn’t mean you can’t visit it. The Rotunda, the Lawn and even the set of picnic tables outside Nau Hall that are never open are still there. Find a spot outside and take some time to relax. Even if it’s just studying or attending class via Zoom, there’s something better about doing it from a new location.
10. Spend time with friends
If you’re bored right now, chances are that everybody else is too. So pick up the phone and give your pals a text — while hanging out in these conditions may not be the same as it was before, it may be just what the doctor ordered. After all, friends are better six feet apart than they are through a laptop screen. And that’s a fact.