Making The Most of Your Enforced Staycation
Whatever you’re calling it, whether it’s self-isolation, social distancing or self-quarantine the fact remains the same, we’ve been ordered to stay home in order to slow down the spread of COVID-19. And whilst the homebodies amongst us rejoiced at the announcement, for others the thought of several straight weeks cooped up at home holds less appeal. It might seem like there are very few benefits to our current situation during this global pandemic but I’m here to suggest one upside for you. More Time. More time for ourselves, for others, for forgotten hobbies and all those things you put off doing due to lack of, you guessed it… time!
Those of us not still providing essential services have likely transitioned to working from home, or perhaps not working at all during this time, throwing off our daily routines and leaving us a little out of sorts. There are a thousand and one articles out there shouting about ways to “stay productive” or “hack your work from home situation” but perhaps what we really need is just to cut ourselves some slack. It’s an uncertain time for all of us and if you’re not feeling your most productive and motivated self, that’s okay. You shouldn’t be made to feel bad about an afternoon (read: days) spent binge-watching Netflix. If that’s what you need to do, then I say do it.
But if you’re starting to feel a little bit judged by the ‘are you still watching this’ pop-up then here are some suggestions of other ways you can stay sane (and perhaps a little bit productive) whilst cooped up at home. After all, there’s only so many hours you can stay horizontal on the sofa before you need a break…
Don Your Apron
Is your phone filled with saved recipes you’ll make one day? Well then, get yourself in the kitchen and make that day today. No longer confined to quickly throwing something together after you’ve rushed back from work or for the hungry kids crowding round the dinner table, use this time to experiment and try all those recipes you’ve been hoarding. If you’re looking for inspiration, Pinterest is the ultimate blackhole for recipe ideas whatever your dietary requirement or current craving.
At some point things will return to normal (fingers crossed it’s soon!) so why not use this time to get in some meal prep. Stock your freezers with delicious dinners and lunches you can fall back on when you’re in a time pinch again. Future you will be very grateful.
Gone a bit too far with your baking habit and can’t face eating 40 cookies by yourself? What about gifting some to neighbours or donating them to the people in your area still providing essential services and spread a little love in your local community. Make sure that’s all you’re spreading though and maintain a safe distance!
Seriously Spring Clean
In the wake of the virus we’ve all been told to up our hygiene standards, from washing our hands more often to disinfecting surfaces regularly. Use this time to give your house the thorough deep clean it hasn’t had since the Christmas you hosted the in-laws! Finally tackle the mould in the corner of the shower, do the laundry pilling up (and clean your machine while you’re at it) and wipe down every surface you normally overlook – I’m looking at you TV remote. If you’re running low on supplies and don’t fancy braving the supermarket queues (who can blame you!) try charrli’s new sustainable home delivery service that will deliver all your essentials straight to your front door.
Resurrect a Hobby
The unfinished knitting project in the corner. The set of paints yet to be opened. The stack of books waiting to be read. The abandoned hobby is an all too common sight in today’s society where if it isn’t a ‘side hussle’ is it even worth doing? Go back to a time when we did things purely because we liked them and not because of an Instagram trend. Find or re-find a hobby that brings you joy and get down to mastering it, or just being average at it but having fun regardless. Jumpers can have three arms, at least you tried...
Check-in with Yourself and Others
Whether you’re self-isolating alone or with others it’s easy to feel lonely or a little off without your usual social interactions and routines. Check in with yourself regularly to keep on top of your mental and physical health whilst you’re stuck at home. Use this time to treat yourself; get moving with an at home workout, fuel yourself with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and bake (or buy) some delicious treats. Turn your bathroom into an at home spa, dance around your living room, meditate; do whatever you need to do to put a smile on your face and do it often.
Just because you can’t go out doesn’t mean you can’t still get together with friends and family. Try hosting a virtual game night or getting a group together (virtually of course) for an online exercise class. The regular Friday night drinks might look a little different over Facetime but look at the positives; you can’t turn up to the bar in pyjamas but in your house, anything goes…
You can’t go to the shops but that doesn’t mean you can’t go shopping. Pull out the contents of your wardrobe and shop your closet. Play around with different combinations, rediscover old favourites and perfect your look so you can dress to impress when human interaction becomes normal again.
Finding items you forgot you had? You’re not alone, the average item in a UK wardrobe is worn 14 times before being relegated to the back of the wardrobe or discarded completely. Help change those statistics and consider a rental service next time you feel the need for some retail therapy. Not only are they a more sustainable and cheaper source for those typically one wear items such as the office party outfit (although it’s high time we change our attitude to rewearing), renting offers the opportunity to constantly shake up your look whilst doing you’re bit to help curb the environmental impact of fast fashion, perfect for those who subscribe to the maximalist wardrobe approach but with a conscious. Marie Claire has done a round-up of rental services here, but as a fast growing trend in the UK there are new ones popping up all the time.
You can also use this time to pick out anything that doesn’t fit, you don’t wear, or you don’t like and get rid of it. You might not be able to take it to the charity shop just yet but set it aside for when life returns to normal and donate it then. Or, if you feel the need to get it out the house pronto, most large supermarkets have clothing donation bins next to the bottle banks so take it next time you go for your food shop. With all this extra time on your hands now is also your chance to make do and mend anything with a hole or missing button and keep those clothes out of landfill. There are plenty of tutorials online to help with any clothing dilemma so grab the needle and thread and get sewing!
Examine your habits
Slowing things down and spending more time at home is a fantastic opportunity to take a deep dive into your habits and see what sustainable swaps you’ve already made in your life and what new changes you can make.
An easy sustainability trick is to look at what you’re throwing away and see if you can swap it for something more environmentally friendly or eliminate it altogether. The bathroom is probably one of the easiest places to start. If you find yourself with a bin full of shampoo bottles and empty shower gel containers, why not look at refillable or solid options. At some point we convinced ourselves that soap had to be liquid, but the humble soap bar is much kinder to the planet and less likely to contain nasty chemicals making it the better, more sustainable choice. For all the ladies reading this another great swap to consider is the move to reusable menstrual products, whether that’s in the form of washable pads, a menstrual cup or period pants. Not only is it better for you, your bank balance and the planet but you never have to worry about not having supplies on hand ever again!
Something to remember while you’re busy overhauling your lifestyle - the only environmentally friendly plastics are the ones you already have so make sure to use them up and dispose of them properly before you make those new sustainable swaps.
Written by Hannah Beazley, a freelance writer and illustrator with a passion for sustainability. Main photo by @nicolemadethat; illustration by @oh.aloethere