The world seems to have gone crazy recently. The only difference is that this time there is some logic to the madness. You know what I’m going to say next…

Coronavirus! This particularly contagious virus has taken over the world, or at least that’s how it feels. Along with the crazy, but necessary, amounts of hand washing suggested by the NHS and Government, self-isolation is now becoming commonplace. Whether you are self-isolating for seven days due to showing symptoms, to help delay the spread of the virus, or because you don’t want to risk getting it, being on your own and stuck in the same place can really suck after a while.

Even worse, if you live on your own it really isn’t fun. There is a reason that solitary confinement is the worst punishment in prisons. As one of an increasing number of single adults who live on their own, I’m a little concerned about what will happen if I have to self-isolate. Seven days on my own!!! Even introverts need to be around people some time.

So, as my little addition to trying to make this time easier for everyone, I thought I would provide a list of things to do should you have to self-isolate. Or frankly, things to do when you’re stuck on your own.

Things to do

So you can’t go outside. Normal go-to activities like going on walks, running, or heading out for a coffee are off-limits. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Dig out the colouring books. We probably have at least one lying around from the adult colouring fad, when we were convinced that colouring in geometric patterns would magically heal all our issues. 1) Colouring in does actually help with mental health – it’s just not magical. 2) Creating beautiful patterns is something you can lose yourself in quite easily. A good way to while away the hours.
  • Take it up a notch and switch to sketch pads. If you’re not one for colouring books, how about actual drawing? Either find some inspiration via Pinterest (Liza Proch’s pins are a great start) or sketch something from real life. Or if you’re super creative / a total rebel, just doodle and sketch whatever comes into your head.
  • Do some baking. If you’re in isolation with people, then why not some cakes or cookies to cheer up everyone? If you’re on your own and don’t fancy a sugar high while locked inside (these truly are sad times we live in), how about baking some sourdough bread? All you need is flour, water and time!!! Honestly, I’m a little obsessed at the moment and that was before the prospect of self-isolation was even a thing.
  • Grab a pen and notebook. Whether you are the introspective journaling type, an aspiring poet, or there is a book in you trying to get out, now is your time to get words on paper. Just let yourself have a bit of freedom with words and see what happens. You might surprise yourself.
  • Get cleaning, tidying and sorting. It sounds boring but how many of us wish we had more time to sort, tidy, and clean our houses? Take a chance to really sort through your wardrobe, deep clean your kitchen and even dust round those succulents. Even if you feel awful, you can be happy at least your house isn’t dusty.
  • If you are not in isolation but are working from home/currently don’t have work because it has shut down, have you thought about helping out other people? This typically looks like running errands for folk unable to but could also include putting care packages together or offering to wash cars and do other chores they may not be able to do. Maybe even take round some of the baking you’ve done! We’re all in this together after all.
  • How about writing a letter? Ok, I know we’re all video messaging each other at the moment but how about taking time to write someone a letter. Everyone loves to receive post and a beautiful card or handwritten message cheers up everyone’s day. Just maybe don’t lick the envelope to seal it.

Things to listen to

Living on your own can get pretty lonely. Eventually, we have to accept that house plants and cuddly toys aren’t going to respond to your questions. So something to listen to can be a real blessing. Here are just a few of my current favourite recommendations:

  • This Cultural Moment: I’m obsessing a little over all of John Mark Comer’s podcasts currently but I think This Cultural Moment is my favourite. If you have ever wished someone would explain what is happening in the world from a Christian point of view that accepts we’re no longer a majority, this is the podcast for you.
  • Being Human: With a decidedly more British flavour, Being Human is the Evangelical Alliance’s response to the conversations happening in an increasingly post-Christian UK. It’s definitely an interesting listen though a touch uncomfortable at times due to some of the themes you’ll have to confront.
  • Audible: I’m four months into an Audible subscription and I’m hooked. Currently, I’m listening to William Hague’s biography of William Wilberforce (after realising the film wasn’t totally accurate). I would never read it all myself but I’m hooked on listening to it. I’ve been able to listen to books that have been on my TBR list forever while also having other books opened up as options. I’ve even listened to a few twice.
  • YouTube Music’s Suggestions and Mixes: If you find yourself getting bored of the same old tunes, find the equivalent playlists on your music streaming platform of choice. I’ve discovered Matt Maher’s new album thanks to YouTube’s recommendations. Though that’s when I’m not listening to Willow City on repeat!

Things to read

More time to fill but you don’t want to spend all of it staring at a screen? Books are your friends! Here are a couple of great ones to get your teeth into:

  • Fiction
    • The Dark Age series by James Wilde: I’m loving this new take on Arthurian legend. It’s effectively a prequel to the world’s best-known collective of men in armour. We’re talking pre-Vortigern and pre-Uther/Aurelius so proper prequel. 
    • The Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead: Another great take on Arthurian legend. This one also starts with a twist but one that is based more on ancient myths rather than classical history. I also credit this cycle with the re-ignition of my Arthurian love and interest in one day learning Welsh. 
    • Wicked by Gregory Maguire: Whether you like, love, hate or are indifferent to the musical, this book is a must-read. I absolute loved Wicked and would recommend it to anyone!
    • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: Like I need to tell anyone to read these books. If you somehow haven’t read it yet… Why? You have two weeks. Now is a good time to make a start.
  • Non-Fiction
    • Project 333 by Courtney Carver: This is currently on my bedside table as I’m prepping for my own Project 333. If you want to simplify, have easier mornings, or just slim down your wardrobes, this book will make you ask all the questions. And I’m only five chapters in!
    • A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester: During a time when practising hospitality has become a challenge the requires a shifting mindset, this is one book that is a must-read. While we can’t share meals with ease now, Tim Chester’s challenges to the contemporary understanding of hospitality have lessons we still need.
    • God on the Beach by Michael Volland: I read this last year. While it never had the same life-changing feel of Red Moon Rising, it’s a great read if you have ever doubted the purpose of mission trips in your own country. Even in “Christian Britain”, Michael shows us what happens when we get real about the Gospel and telling it to people.
    • Pretty much any Christian biography: Every year at the Keswick Convention, Jonathan Carswell from 10 of Those will tell you repeatedly that everyone should be reading Christian biographies. I 100% agree with him! From The Hiding Place and God’s Smuggler to A New Name and The Case for Christ, Christian biographies and memoirs are life-changing reads. And those are just four I’d recommend for starters.

Something to watch

I’m weaning myself off Netflix again but I am still a total YouTube addict. If I’m honest, it’s only Bon Appetit that I have been missing while giving up all TV for Lent. Watching the snippets on Instagram is the worst kind of temptation. They’re just funny and sassy and make me want to cook all the foods. Plus I’m now a little envious of America’s food culture, where they basically took the best bits of everyone else’s food. 

I’d particularly recommend any of the series specifically focused on one editor or test kitchen chef. For example, Reverse Engineering with Chris Morocco, It’s Alive with Brad Leone, and Gourmet Bakes with Clare Saffitz are all fantastic. They are technically family-friendly but there is a lot of language that gets bleeped out. Still absolutely hilarious though never watch while hungry!

That’s a little bit of a whistle-stop tour around my top suggestions for time on your own. If you are self-isolating at the moment or taking social distancing to the extreme, what have you been doing to fill the time? Let us know in the comments below!

19 Ideas for Self-Isolation