Coastal Club

An Introvert's Guide to Quarantining

Let’s start off by saying this is a scary and sad situation. None of us wanted this to happen, Dwight’s “We need a new plague” line was just a joke, and to best flatten the curve it is pivotal that we limit social interactions. That being said, it also does little good to scroll through Reddit, Facebook and Instagram looking at the same poor-taste tomato drawings and selfies of friends in masks for 12 hours a day. Here are some suggestions (with links) from an introvert on how to make the most of your time indoors (cue Spongebob’s “Indoors” solo):


  1. Binge-watching
    1. Yes, this is a cliché. Still, now is as good a time as any to watch any television show or movie series you’ve been behind on. Especially for college students, so many things have hit the theaters since you may have last checked. Now, Netflix, Disney+, Crunchyroll, etc. have their own listings of recommendations, but also ask friends and family what they enjoyed. They have random show/movie roulette online options if you want something completely out of the blue. Also, there are some classics available online. I’m personally starting from episode one of The Simpsons and I have no clue how far I’ll be able to go, but I’m enjoying it; soon to come will be a Studio Ghibli DVD marathon. VPNs are also available; Private Internet Access is a personal favorite (with the first two months free!) but other options are out there, as well. Binge-watching can be a group activity toothere’s this internet plug-in called “Netflix Party” that allows you to watch Netflix in-sync with friends who have the shared URL. 
  2. Video gaming
    1. I’m not talking about the Candy Crush you play for about 5-10 minutes before surfing the web. There are so many different video game genres out there and you can play online with friends. Computer gaming software like Steam have lots of cheap/free games. I recently got hooked on a very simple card-game style game called Slay the Spire (we’re talking 43 hours on record in one month). They have old favorites, like Sonic Adventure DX and Sid Meier’s Pirates and more modern remakes like Doom. There are also lots of VR options (though VR takes up a bit more living room space).
    2. Another option for those a bit more tech-savvy would be emulating games. Old games like Simpsons: Hit and Run from the XBox or Jak and Daxter from the PS2 can be emulated to play on your PC. 
    3. For those without a computer, you can play lots of games on your smartphone. I am not particularly well-versed in smartphone-gaming, but I know tons of people who play Plants vs. Zombies, Zero21 Solitaire, Sudoku, Words with Friends (aka Scrabble for your phone), Clash of Clans, Word Searcher, etc. 
    4. Much like how binge-watching could be a group activity (even from afar), the same can be said for gaming. Steam recently put out Halo: The Master Chief Collection which has co-op functions. For large groups of friends, you can Discord-stream a game in the Jackbox Party Pack (this game lets people play on their own smartphone devices and only needs one person to run it on their computerso only one person needs to buy it and share their screen on a Discord chatroom [more on Discord to come]). I particularly recommend this for friend and family groups with people who don’t like most video games, as it has games similar to Pictionary, Fibbage, etc. and is incredibly simple to use. There are also games like Golf With Your Friends and Human: Fall Flat that are solid for multiplayer fun and simple enough for non-gamers to enjoy. There are even D&D campaigns online.
  3. Reading
    1. Everyone always references 12 Rules for Life (An Antidote for Chaos) and The Count of Monte Cristo but you’ve never had the time to read them? Well, here’s the time. There are countless classics available online, as well as more recent hot pieces. As a college student pursuing an English minor, I can tell you that almost anything is available online. Check out websites like Project Gutenberg and your local library’s online selections for free titles. I recently read Ender’s Game and really enjoyed that for those interested in some science fiction reading, as well as the Necromancer manga series for those interested in a dark graphic novel (I use the app Manga Rock for most manga searches). 
  4. Volunteering online
    1. If you feel like being a good Samaritan with your time, now could be a great time to do some volunteering. A lot of projects are virtual and could use a set of human eyes for proofreading (like Distributed Proofreaders which is an extension for Project Gutenberg) or doing a variety of services (through organizations like All for Good). For one of my honors seminars, we worked on projects for Zooniverse, which has lots of microvolunteering availabilities (meaning volunteer by completing small, quick tasks). I particularly recommend this platform for simple volunteering in short energy burstsit even lets you select topics that interest you or that you feel best equipped for (although most tasks are very simple to understand and complete). 
  5. Picking up a new hobby
    1. Now could be the time to develop a hobby or interest that’s (relatively) low-cost and manageable. Have you ever wanted to learn to paint? What about baking or cooking? Dancing? Wanted to improve your cursive or regular handwriting? Decide to become ambidextrous? Discover an interesting podcast series or YouTuber? Learn to sing or play an instrument (this one may cost the relationship with your loved ones if your walls aren’t soundproof)? Now may be the time. There are lots of online resources available for these.
  6. Taking up an online course
    1. Just because you’re holed up inside doesn’t mean your brain needs to stagnate. There are many online courses you could sign up fornot all of them need to be done through colleges or universities, either. For instance, Dave Ramsey has a Financial Peace University course that many credit towards giving them the insight they needed to pay off their debt sooner. Also, LinkedIn Learning has tons of courses and single crash videos on informative topics (and, special tidbit here, if you take a course through them, they will give you a certificate you can place directly on your LinkedIn profile that shows you are proficient in a specialized area). Now could be a good time to brush up on your Excel, marketing, finance, coding, chemistry, etc. and boost up your resume at the same time. 
  7. Learning a new language
    1. Pretty closely related to the online course, now could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn a new language. Minimal distractions and an abundance of free time sets a good atmosphere to clear your mind and apply yourself. You could try doing this through an online course, or through self-learning. I haven’t spoken/written much Spanish since high school and Duolingo has been pretty good about getting me back up to speed (it’s no Rosetta Stone but it has the basics). The internet is full of free material for language learning if you’d preferred to go unstructured, as well. Also, the best way to get a grasp on a language is to speak it with others, especially those who have it mastered. Check out online chat rooms with people who speak a language natively, such as HelloTalk.
  8. Dieting
    1. A key element to any diet is the frustration you feel towards anyone and anything. Because of this, it makes it hard sometimes to diet when you know you have work/school because you don’t want to take it out on those around you or feel lethargic when you need to be productive. In comes the quarantine, where you have an abundance of time and a lack of work. This could be prime time to kick off your diet, especially the first week or so when you are most likely to get the hunger pains and irritability. After the first week, cravings for greasy foods really start dying down and the sugar/caffeine withdrawal headaches start going away. And, so long as you keep up good habits after the quarantine, you won’t have to diet like this again.
    2. Involved in the weight loss routine is the exercising portion. With gyms closed this can throw off your system a bit, but there’s always in-house exercising options (i.e. pull out the old Hip Hop Abs DVDs and get going). Think back to grade school with jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, burpees, etc. Also, you can still go for a run outside (just maintain some safe distance between strangers and try not to touch anything). 
  9. Meditating
    1. Amidst all the craziness, meditating can do wonders. Meditating could mean any number of things. For some, it’s yoga. For others, it’s reading the Bible, theological or philosophical books. Even simply putting on some music quietly and laying in bed could be a form of mediation. For those who like museums and pondering the artifacts, many have virtual tours available. Some studies are coming out putting stress even on par with smoking on the levels of how bad it is for your health. Yes, we need to stay informed on how to prevent the spread of the virus. At the same time though, there isn’t much more we can all collectively do right now. Reading every article and keeping your ringer on for updates isn’t needed. The best thing you can do is stay healthy to prevent the spread. If you get sick, recovering quickly and acting as a barrier to the spread of the disease is the next best thing. 
  10. Organizing and cleaning
    1. This could be my non-OCD-but-really-mild-OCD talking, but free time is often put to best use with some mild cleaning and organizing. Yes, in the pandemic scares many people have already gone on a Spring Cleaning tangent. But, even more than basic surface touching up, there are many things glossed over. How clean is your keyboard and computer box? What about the buttons on your remote? The switches on your lamp? Your fan blades? Keyring? Cell phone case? Watch wristband? After doing a deep clean, try organizing. This doesn’t have to be alphabetizing your bookcase, but it could be putting your dishes into the cupboard instead of leaving them on the drying rack. It could be hanging up your clean clothes instead of pulling them directly from the laundry bin, or going through the one drawer of random paperwork to decide what to keep, what to file, and what to throw away. 
  11. Setting up desired routines
    1. A bunch of free time could also be put to use in establishing solid routines. Want to start waking up earlier? Start making yourself go to sleep earlier with minimal distractions at night and a crap ton of alarms in the morning now that your roommates are out of town. Want to start eating healthier (not full blown dieting)? Then tape up the bags of candy, put them in a trash bag and store them under a sinkout of sight, (relatively) out of mind. Want to spend 30 minutes a day reading? Start setting up a timer on your phone to remind you. 
  12. Staying in touch
    1. Just because you’re basically a hermit locked up indoors doesn’t mean you have to be a social pariah. There are a number of ways for you to remain in contact with your distant friends and family. Obviously, many universities are switching to Zoom, an online video teleconferencing service. Earlier, I mentioned Discord—this is a similar service with less professional undertones. It’s great for gaming groups (i.e. Pokémon Go groups often have a Discord channel) and it lets you stream gameplay in a friend group; this is my most used (and thereby most recommended) communication platform. Many people also use Skype and Google Hangouts because they are simple to use. You are not alone and your friends are probably about as stir-crazy as you are; “Cabin Fever” will wind up getting extroverts and introverts alike. Reach out to your friends to make sure they stay sane too. 


This list isn’t all-encompassing. There are other things you can do at home. Make a regular phone call to loved ones to make sure they are okay. Join a silly Facebook meme page and enjoy those making light of a dark situation. Create a bucket list of places you want to visit, things you want to experience, foods you want to taste, etc. If you are quarantined with people, talk with them; eat with them; play games with them. You may never have this opportunity again. If you’re tired of being on the sidelines and want to help, check out Folding@home. This platform needs the graphic card/CPU from your computer to run coding and calculations to find a cure for COVID-19, among other diseases. Just remember: in all this craziness, we as a community are fighting this disaster together. And right now, as illuxurious as it may seem, the best thing we can all do is stay put.


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