How to make the best out of your quarantine - Part 2
Our guide to spending your isolation time productively
Written by Andrea Vushkova, edited by Lindsay Martin, photos by Anastasiia Dehtiarova and Andrea Vushkova.
Since everyone is staying at home, many of us are wondering how to spend our isolation time in a productive and fun way. The Open Sofia team created a guide with suggestions about that. In our previous article, we covered the essentials: self-care, work from home, and self-actualization activities. The second part of the guide will focus on the fun part of quarantine. Time hasn’t stopped and we can actually enjoy our isolation! Here are our ideas.
- Socialize online. Keep making appointments for breakfast, lunch, coffee, and dinner with your loved ones, family, and friends. Just do them online. A cool app you can download for this purpose is House Party. You can have group video chats, play games, and easily communicate with people you care about.
- Share your lockdown stories. A new project from our partner Synergy Bulgaria's volunteer Unlocked: Stories Beyond The Screen collects personal stories of Bulgaria's international community during the pandemic.
- Write letters. Imagine if this mass quarantine was happening a century ago. Oh, the horror. No internet, no chats, and no video calls. Thankfully, we are quite privileged and can be in touch even with our older relatives through the power of the world wide web. However, nothing is stopping us from shaking things up a bit to start writing letters to our friends and family around the world. Something more personal and unique that can put a smile on the face of someone you love and miss sounds like a good idea, doesn't it?
- Experiment with food and drinks. Now is the time to try all kinds of recipes and get creative with food. Not only with ingredients but also with the presentation. This could be a bonding experience for you and your partner or kids. Turn breakfast on weekdays and brunch on weekends into a fun tradition and a group activity. And if you are wondering where to get your supplies safely, check out our article on Grocery, meals, and other home delivery services in Sofia.
- Improve your life in a creative way. The global network for creative minds "Creative mornings" usually organizes physical meetings in different cities across the world. Now, there are plenty of events you can attend online and learn things like how to earn money online or how to love the lockdown time with your partner.
- Start drawing or painting. If you are not the new Picasso, don’t worry. Only your four walls will see your creations. You could also do some anti-stress coloring books.
- Start gardening. If you have a garden or even a balcony, take advantage of that. You can plant anything, from flowers to spices. It gives you the chance to take care of something on a regular basis (if you don’t have a pet or a child). You will see the results every day, which will motivate you to keep going.
- Decorate your living space. Make your room/apartment comfortable and pleasing to the eye. Buy flowers from the local flower shop if it’s still open, make some decorations yourself, dig out old stuff that you haven’t thought of in a while.
- Try some DIY crafts. Here you can find lots of ideas for different projects, which you can try now that you have more time on your hands. This YouTube channel might give you some creative inspiration.
- Learn a new dance. Now you can dance even in your office, and no one will judge you!
- Watch movies/TV shows/stand-up. Our beloved Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, etc. are our friends in need.
- Poetry and podcasts. Here is a cool website you can browse.
- Play video games. Revisit some old classics like Mario Kart, Tekken, or Zelda. Members of “Foreigners in Sofia & Friends” Facebook group recently started exchanging their online game usernames. You can now compete against each other, make new friends, and meet IRL after all this is over.
- Read books. Probably the most old-fashioned way to kill boredom, however still pretty efficient. Many of us probably have a stack of books on the nightstand that can be worked through.
- Look through NASA’s media library. NASA released its entire collection of photos and videos for free public access, and it is totally worth it!
- Visit museums and galleries online. Thanks to Google, over 1,200 museums and archives are available for online tours and exploration. There is a special platform called Google Arts and Culture that allows you to do that. You can also download the app and find your fine-art doppelgänger by using the “Is your portrait in a museum?” feature. Among the most famous world-class museums and galleries opening their virtual doors to the public are Guggenheim Museum in New York, National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay in Paris, British Museum in London, Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Uffizi Gallery in Florence, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, and Museu de Arte in São Paulo. And if you would like to also visit some Bulgarian museums online, here are a few suggestions: The National History Museum, Ethnographic Open Air Museum Etar, The National Art Gallery, a video tour of the Balchik Palace, and The National Archeological Museum.
- Go to the theatre… online. Theatres in Sofia are streaming plays live. National Opera and Ballet Theatre, Alma Alter Theatre and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Sofia offer free online performances, so you can enjoy a cultural treat at home and do not get too sulky. Operas and ballets around the world are also doing the same. The Bolshoi Theatre has performances from their “Golden Fund” coming up online on their YouTube Channel. The Met Opera has nightly streams (see schedule), the Royal Opera House also streams live performances in their YouTube channel and on Facebook. In this article, you can find an extensive list of the best live-streamed classical music concerts available.
- Play board games. Even the good old card deck comes handy during times like these. If you live with more than one person, this can turn into a really fun group activity. Some suggestions: Cards against humanity, Dixit, Monopoly, Ludo (a.k.a. “Man, don’t get upset”).
There's life after quarantine
- Plan out your future. Yes, it might seem a bit uncertain at the moment, but we should definitely not give up on our future plans, dreams, and goals. Your trip got canceled? Plan it out even better! You were wondering if you should look for a new job? Do it! Were you thinking of starting a new business? Work on your business plan!
- Develop a plan for savings. Lots of financial predictions are painting a not-so-pleasant picture of what is going to happen to the world economy after this pandemic. You can create a plan on how to save a little bit of money, just to have some “white money for black days” as we say in Bulgarian.