The worst way to spend your time is with your face buried in a phone or watching TV news
As we all hunker down to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, here are a few ways you can cope and stay productive for your sanity, and humanity’s sake.
1. Take free online classes
Your mediocre SAT scores may not have gotten you into the Ivy League school of your dreams (don’t feel bad, mine didn’t either), but the internet doesn’t give a hoot about aptitude tests. You can now take online courses from the likes of Harvard, Columbia, and Princeton, among other top institutions, without paying a dime or leaving the comfort of your home. More than 450 free courses are available in a collection on Class Central (classcentral.com) in categories that range from computer science and engineering to humanities and art and design. Learn about the United States health policy (which is more topical than ever in these wild times we’re living in), take an intro to classical music, or brush up on Buddhism and modern psychology. You’ll also find LGBTQ courses, including the titles Queering Identities: LGBTQ+ Sexuality and Gender Identity and Monitoring the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons.
2. Get a head start on your taxes
The IRS has postponed the tax deadline. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your time off to get your financial life in order. Doing it now will help avoid the crunch later, provide your accountant a head start before everyone makes their own mad dash, and it’ll be one less burden hanging over your head during this already stressful time of extreme uncertainty. You likely won’t get much assistance from library resources this year considering the wide-ranging closures, which is something to consider if that helps you typically rely on.
3. Hit some of your local trails and practice other self-care
Curfews have been instituted in dozens of states already—and that practice shows no sign of slowing as COVID-19 continues to spread widely and rapidly. While social distancing has been encouraged, it doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself in the house for the foreseeable future. There’s always nature. It will do you good to get out and stay active so long as you’re not spreading germs with person-to-person contact or congregating in groups of more than 10. Take a private hike, clear your mind, and recognize that this temporary interruption in our lives is just that—temporary. Fresh air and sunshine will be necessary to fight the doom and gloom of news and social media. Other self-care to practice includes getting regular exercise (gyms like Planet Fitness are offering free online workout classes to members and non-members alike). Please maintain proper hygiene and routines by taking a shower and getting dressed every day. Treat yourself to mind and body soothing activities like at-home facials, partner massages, meditation, and yoga.
4. Update your resume and plan new goals
If you’ve been considering a career change, take this time to update your resume and set new goals. It may take a while for the economy to get back on track after this crisis has ended. But we will bounce back. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be prepared to hit the ground running when we do.
5. Finish your home projects
Have any half-finished projects around the house? Most of us do. Grab what you need from the hardware store and get to work.
6. Unplug from all your devices a few hours every day
The worst way to spend your time during this recommended period of self-isolation is with your face buried in a phone or television while your hands are shoveling snacks. Constant inundation of negativity combined with inactivity will only make you feel worse. It will increase your paranoia—and nobody needs that. Limit yourself on screen time (sex apps are not the answer to your boredom right now, by the way). Look around to see what you can accomplish in your safe space. A clean, organized home will immediately improve your mood—I promise. And always resolve to focus on the positive. It may not seem like it on the surface, but there’s still plenty of positivity left—if you look for it right where you are.
Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBTQ lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He spends his time writing with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyroxtravels