The outbreak of COVID-19 has, in one way or another, impacted us all. The lucky ones, like us, are only impacted so far as self-isolation at home, while many others will endure far worse. It is, without doubt, a time of fear, anxiety, and stress. So, it’s important to find a little relief where possible. With self-isolation and at-home quarantine being the global norm, we wanted to share with you a few ideas of things you can do to find mental rest and the chance to recharge. If you’ve got any other great suggestions on things to do, be sure to share them in the comments below!
1. Have a ‘Netflix Party’
We can’t physically be with our friends, family, and partners to cuddle-up and watch movies together. But, we can take advantage of the ‘Netflix Party’ feature! I found out about this scrolling through TikTok the other day and, honestly, didn’t even know it was possible. It is a free, downloadable extension for the Google Chrome web browser. Netflix Party synchronises playback and adds a group chat to your favourite Netflix shows so you can watch and chat together, ensuring much-needed connection with those we treasure most. Find Netflix Party here.
Pro Tip: Get unrestricted access to the Netflix libraries of 15 countries (including the USA) with Surfshark VPN + unlock other streaming services too! Find Surfshark here.
2. Plan your first adventure
There are many people and businesses who have or will be severely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Matt and I work in the travel space so our minds naturally think of all the people we know who fall into this category. Things will, at some point, settle down. When this happens, I know we’ll be keen to get back out on the road and support as many people as possible with our travel. Now is a great time to daydream about or research the places you’re dreaming of visiting. It’ll help lift your spirits, giving you something to look forward to and be excited for and, when we are able to travel again, the money we spend on our first adventure will help support some very amazing people whose livelihoods depend on tourism.
3. Do some soul work
Take the time to do some important soul work! Matt and I like to sit down and do a sort of ‘planning day,’ which helps us mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We talk through all the things we are proud of and want to celebrate then, we use scrap pieces of paper to write down all the things we want to let go of. We talk through each one in detail, saying what we’re purging and why then we burn all the paper (safely!). Next, we set our intentions and goals for the future. It’s a great way to work on yourself and bring some much-needed energy and excitement to a difficult time.
4. Support small businesses
While most of us are staying indoors, small businesses are struggling! Where possible, we can support them by taking advantage of online shopping and contactless delivery options. If you have a local, small business you know and love, be sure to show them some support with an online order. If you have the budget, you can do some online shopping and get ahead of planning for birthday, wedding, special celebration or even Christmas gifts!
5. Do a huge clear-out
Matt and I have been meaning to do a huge clear-out for almost a year now but we keep putting it off. With 11 more days of self-isolation and, potentially, longer, we’re going to prioritise and get stuck into it now. We’ll be going through all our clothes, throwing out those that are beyond use and putting aside those that are fit for donation. We’ll be doing the same with all the cupboards in our house, doing our best to de-clutter and reduce the number of things we have. Clearing out the old is a great way of getting rid of any items that actually cause us feelings of guilt or regret, for example, and creates space for ‘the new’ to enter!
6. Get out in the garden
We have a pretty big garden that needs a lot of love and it’s very conveniently surrounded by a huge fence. So, it’s safe for us to head outside and reconnect with nature by getting our hands dirty. Water your garden, pull-up weeds, propagate some new plants and give your garden a little TLC. It’s a great way to feel grounded, especially as our phones and their newsfeeds are such a constant source of anxiety and stress. Instead of being indoors, scrolling through social media, pop on some great music and get outdoors for some fresh air and sunshine, provided you can do so safely, of course.
7. FaceTime or video chat with those you love
It’s especially important to seek and offer support and comfort to/from those closest to you! While a phone call is great, using video chat will increase the level of connection, which is so vital right now! Call your mum, brother, best friend or grandpa and put them on video chat while you’re preparing dinner, folding your laundry or enjoying a cup of tea in the sun. Making time for these moments of connection is great for sharing anything that’s stressing you out and will help you process what you’re thinking, feeling and experiencing. Organise a few video dates for the days ahead and you’ll have something to look forward to! Put in the extra effort and have a video dinner party or just get all dolled up for your video chat.
8. Do all the things you’ve been putting off
If you’re anything like us, you’ll have a long list of things you’ve been meaning to do but just can’t seem to get around to. This can include anything from finally reading that book and washing all the windows in your house to re-staining the deck and much, much more! Whatever you’ve been putting off, this the ideal time to do it. Not only will it be a welcome mental distraction, you’ll come out the other side feeling as though you’ve accomplished something.
9. Spend extra time with your pets
For those of us lucky enough to be pet-owners, now is a great time to rely on them for a little extra love and mental health support. From a cuddle on the couch or a much-needed grooming session to spending some time playing with them in the living room or back yard, pets are the perfect mental health break! Again, they’re very grounding and have a wonderful way of reminding us that everything can and will be okay.
10. Watch some inspiring movies
Never underestimate the power of a great film! I remember watching a particularly powerful documentary, ‘Happy,’ on New Year’s Eve one year and it set me up for an amazing year ahead. Now’s a great time to get stuck into documentaries and movies to learn from, be inspired by or simply tick off all those movies on your ‘must-watch’ list. There are also some great movie challenges you can do out there. Maybe you want to watch the entire Avengers saga (I did this recently and it was amazing) or take up the ‘Watch every Nicholas Cage movie ever made’ challenge?! Sometimes, we like to host our own mini film festivals where everyone attending gets to choose three movies. We put all the names in a bowl, draw them out at random and watch them!
11. Stay physically and mentally fit
It can be all too easy to get real cozy on the couch and slip into a very relaxed state. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little rest and recharge time, it’s important to stay mentally and physically fit. Exercise is a great way to do this! If you can, get yourself into some kind of home workout routine. Having a structure to your day is a useful tool for getting things done and keeping your mental health in check (take it from someone who works from home full-time and has already tried and tested ALL the bad/self-destructive habits!). You can find plenty of free workouts and programs to follow online and there are some great health and fitness apps offering at-home or no-equipment workouts. I started using Sweat late last year after getting sick of the gym and I love it!
12. Make a special meal
While we may not be able to go out to our favourite bars and restaurants for dinner, we can still have fun with special meals at home. You could get all dolled up for a romantic dinner for two by candlelight or cook up a delicious Indian curry, enjoyed on a big pile of pillows in the living room. Maybe you could prepare a picnic and enjoy it on a blanket, under the warm sunshine in your own garden or create a DIY sundae bar in the kitchen! Putting in a little extra effort is a welcome distraction and will keep things fun and interesting. Besides, there’s only so much toast you can eat, right?!
13. Camp out under the stars
If you’ve got plenty of camping equipment, you can easily break it out for a night of camping under the stars in your own backyard. Best of all, you won’t have to endure communal showers or eco-toilets! Woohoo! If your local area allows fires, you could toast marshmallows or just make s’mores. Tell ghost stories, enjoy a few cold drinks, snuggle up in your sleeping bags and have a night off from the worry and stress of everything going on around us at the moment. Remember, it’s still okay to laugh and find moments of joy amongst all the worry.
14. Have a DIY spa day
It’s finally time to bust out all those amazing beauty products that have been gathering dust on the shelves. You know, the bath bomb from your birthday gift, the face mask you got on sale and never used and the hair treatment you’ve been meaning to get to. Pull together a full roster of beauty products and indulge in a day of well-deserved pampering. I’m talking the whole nine yards! Hair washing, exfoliating, self-tanning, leave-in treatments, deep scrubs, and face masks. Treat yo self.
15. Host your very own cooking challenge
Combine fun and food for a DIY cooking challenge! Keep things simple by taking four ingredients from your fridge or pantry that you may not usually use. Challenge each other to make something delicious from it then, do a taste test of each other’s creation! You could also challenge yourself to make something from a cookbook that you’ve never made before, like freshly baked bread, or just have a good ol’ fashioned cook-off. Everyone takes a turn making their very best dish, serving up one yummy meal per day. Have everyone in self-isolation with you score the meal and, once everyone’s presented their best bites, crown a winner. Bonus points if you make a trophy.
16. Start a journal
For anyone needing an outlet, this is the perfect time to start a journal. Start documenting all you’re experiencing at the moment or find some great writing prompts online to help you get going. Journalling is a powerful tool for working through thoughts and feelings, it’ll help you make sense of anything going on whether it be related to the current situation or things you’re experiencing in other aspects of life. Either way, keeping a journal is a great use of time and will give you something to look back on in years to come. What we’re all going through at the moment is a huge moment in history and having a journal to look back on will be pretty amazing.
17. Make some fantastic playlists and share them with your friends
If you love music, this one’s for you! Get a bunch of your friends and/or family involved in creating public playlists on Spotify, curating awesome mixes of their favourite songs. Then, share them with each other. You’ll get to listen to and discover some great new music and get to bond with them on a whole new level. You can set themes if you like! For example, have everyone curate their ultimate all-time favourite love songs, best songs to dance to or songs that changed their lives. You could also come up with lists of songs associated with important moments in life! You could have a listening party and all listen together or start a playlist group chat where you comment on great finds. Another fun thing to do is have your own silent disco, where everyone put on headphones, plays their favourite music and dances around together!
18. Listen to some great podcasts
Speaking of listening, podcasts are a really good way to tune in and bliss out. There are so many out there to choose from! Maybe you want to do some self-improvement, in which case the Tony Robbins Podcast is a good spot to start. For fans of true crime (me!), you may want to listen to ‘Sword and Scale‘, which was recommended to us by the amazing photographer, Rachel Claire. Another great friend of ours, Tori, put us onto ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno,’ and, on the very other end of the spectrum, you may want to choose when and where to get your news by listening to ‘The Daily,’ podcast by The New York Times.
19. Binge-watch YouTube videos
Alright, this one’s a bit selfish because we make YouTube videos and, honestly, we’ve seen a huge decline in our views and, in turn, our business since the outbreak began. We’ve been watching the videos of our fellow YouTubers, especially those in the travel space, to share our support for them and keep them inspired to keep creating! While we may not be able to travel, we can definitely still support our favourite creators and get some inspiration and information for all the adventures on our bucket-lists. Watch our YouTube videos here.
Useful resources to help you #TravelWell
As always, our guides are completely free. If you found this post (or anything we do) useful, we’d be grateful if you considered using the affiliate links below. We’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Rest assured, these are the services we love and use ourselves. Thanks for your support! XO Phoebe and Matt.
Agoda – for booking hotels
Airbnb – for booking apartments
Booking.com – for booking hotels
Motorhome Republic – for booking RVs
RentalCars.com – for car rentals
SCTI – for travel insurance
Skyscanner – for booking flights
Surfshark – for online security and VPN
TourRadar – for booking tours
Uber – for ground transport