Whilst this is a bit off-topic for a Scotland travel blog, seeing as no-one (including local Scottish people) is supposed to be travelling around Scotland at the moment due to Covid19, I thought I’d share some handy tips of productive things you can do while you’re at home during isolation. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing the matter with binge-watching your favourite programs on Netflix for example, but after a while that is going to get boring. You may also just get a yearning to do something that is actually productive with your time during the day – so here’s some ideas!
Become a telephone befriender
This is basically my top thing to do if you’re sitting in your house anyway looking for something productive and helpful to keep you occupied! Become an official telephone befriender! It’s essentially like being a normal face-to-face volunteer befriender except instead of visiting vulnerable/isolated people in their homes for a chat and a cup of tea, you have that chat over the phone instead. There are so many isolated people in the world already (nothing to do with Covid19) who may not have family living nearby or who may not have any family or friends left at all to help them. These people will doubly struggle with not being able to get out at all during this time. A simple quick “hows your day going” type chat with you would honestly make their day and help preserve their mental health.
When I was a face-to-face befriender a few years ago, I met elderly people in particular who literally hadn’t had a visit from someone in over a year. Now when you add covid19 into the mix, a lot of these people won’t even be able to even go out to talk to a waiter or waitress in a café or the shop assistant in the supermarket. In many cases this was their only form of social contact at all. They’ll have just the telly for company for what may be months if they are in the physically vulnerable category of the public, of which many of them are. I know the organisation that I did my befriending through, Cyrenians, offered a telephone befriending service that you could sign up for as a volunteer, but you can also just google befriending services in your area and ask if they offer a telephone befriending service too. It’s something we can all do during self-isolation as most of us have access to a phone during this time and will have some spare time on our hands – so why not give it a go and register with an official service that you will put you in touch with people in need?
Research a potential business idea + write a business plan
Ever had a business idea in the back of your mind that you’ve felt you didn’t have the time to properly research? Well, now’s the time! Why not even go one step further and write up a full-blown business plan for it? If you don’t know what to put in your business plan, try downloading a template business plan from somewhere like Business Gateway or look on the website of your local bank. Usually banks have template business plans you can download and fill out. To access funding for your business, be it loans or grants, you’ll most definitely need to submit a business plan anyway – so this could be helpful if you’re serious about starting your business in the future. It’s also just a helpful way to get you thinking about aspects of business you may not have thought of if this is your first foray into researching for a serious business idea. You never know, you might end up setting up a business in the long-term once self-isolation is no longer needed that could give you the work/life balance and/or income you always dreamed of! Or you may even rule out a particular idea which enables you to move onto the next project! Either way, it’s more productive than binge watching movies/tv programs!
Research for or write that book you always wanted to write
There’s an old saying that an old tutor of mine used to always say that “everyone’s got a book in them.” I tend to agree with him too. We’ve all got a story somewhere to tell, be it fictional or a real-life story. You’ve got the time now and the solitude to write, why not do so? Don’t forget, most books be they novels or something different usually take a lot of planning and research. Why not use this time productively and start that planning and research phase now? Better yet, start writing!
Start a website or blog about something you’re passionate about
Got a passion for something? Want to share it? Why not start a website or blog and start writing about your passion too? It could be anything from a craft blog to a dog blog or a blog all about music? Just pick your passion and share! If you’re experienced in your passion you might even be able to help others with the content you publish too by giving them guides to follow or providing how-to content!
Keep fit at home using online video content
One of the great things about the internet now is that there are so many exercise classes online – particularly free ones on youtube. With everything from yoga to Zumba online, you can stream an exercise vid on your tv or device and be keeping fit whilst at home. I know it’s not as good as the gym in the long-term, but at least it’s something. It’s also something you can do everyday to get your blood pumping and take away the boredom for an hour.
Spring clean your house from top to bottom
Got a lot of stuff that needs thrown out or that could go to charity? Get it bagged and boxed and ready to go. Or maybe you could re-organise that cupboard you kept wanting to re-jig but never quite had the time to before… Of course, with no access to the outside world, a trip to the recycling centre or charity shop might be out of the question, so you don’t want to go too far with it and have a load of boxed/bagged stuff clogging up your living space. Provided you have the space to store things though to be given to charity for example until it’s recommend we go out again, this could be a good use of time!
Learn to draw or paint
As a keen artist in my younger days, this is a skill I’m keen to re-learn. Even if you’ve never picked up a pencil or paint brush since your school days however, there is something quite relaxing about painting or sketching onto a piece of paper that is super de-stressing – which during this time may be what you need! All you need is a basic pen or pencil to start doodling or sketching out ideas and if you need a wee bit paint or paint brushes, most things at the moment anyway can still be bought online and delivered to your doorstep so no-one needs to leave the house. Of course, other than drawing or painting people and objects around your home, you might not find much inspiration, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using photographs to base your artworks on in this case while you’re stuck indoors.
Learn to knit
Drawing not your thing? Know someone who’s expecting a baby soon? Now could be a really good time to get the knitting needles out if it’s already a hobby of yours or learn if you’ve never knitted before. Again, if you don’t have basic knitting needles and wool you can order them online to get delivered to your door. You can find knitting patterns online to follow and lots of how-to videos on the internet too. Alternatively, if you know someone who is already good at knitting, you could ask them to video call you and show you how. Baby hats and mitts are usually a good starting point as they are small. If you knit a lot of them, once isolation is over for everyone, you could hand all your wee baby hats into a local baby ward at a hospital for example. That way all your knitting will have gone to good use!
Update your CV/resume so it’s ready when isolation ends
Not everyone could work from home during this isolation period. In fact, many people were simply laid off and lost their jobs since the Coronavirus outbreak began. If that’s the case it really sucks, but why not use the time in isolation to update your CV so it’s ready for when you are able to make it outside again? Update your Linkedin profile while you’re at it too! Even if you already have a job but want another one, update your CV so it’s ready to be sent to companies once this whole thing calms down so you’re ready to move onto the next step in the career ladder. It’s the kind of thing we always talk about doing anyway but never get around to, so why not stop and make yourself do it now?
Trip plan but don’t book anything yet
I never thought as a travel blogger these words would utter from my mouth, but please don’t travel to Scotland right now (time of writing is 23rd March 2020). Everyone is being advised to stay indoors so that our health service does not become overloaded and so that we can save lives from the spread of Coronavirus. That said, I am hopeful that this time next year this will all be a memory and people will be able to travel to Scotland again safe from the spread of Covid19. If you’re really eager to come to Scotland therefore, I’d recommend doing all your trip planning now, but please don’t book anything until we all know more about how long we need to be in isolation for here. This is to keep everybody safe. So, look up and plan Scottish itineraries, places to go, eat, drink, dance, sleep etc. and plan it all out. At this stage though, I wouldn’t book anything until we know more about how this virus will spread and how long it will take to contain it. There is no reason why you can’t look for inspiration though for when you are able to book a trip.
Isolation right now might not feel great but it is necessary to avoid the spread of this deadly virus. Hopefully my wee list of productive things to do while you’re in isolation will give you some ideas of things you can do though that will be of use to both yourself and potentially other people too!