With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting millions of lives around the globe, social distancing is becoming the new normal. Right now, there are more than 886,000 #socialdistancing posts on Instagram alone. 

From self-isolation to working from home and self-quarantine to cancelling all travel plans – people are trying to do everything they can to help control the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, it is not easy putting a pause to life and staying at home – it can take quite an adjustment and can even be a little frustrating at times. 

Whether you are looking for activities and recommendations to entertain yourself or simply looking for to maintain your sanity, here is my list of things to do while being responsible and following social distancing.

Read A Good Book Or Two Or More

With schools and colleges closed and workplaces implementing work-from-home policies in most countries, you suddenly have all this extra time on our hands. Rather than allowing yourself to get bored, why not use this time to catch up on things that you might’ve been putting off due to the lack of time, like finally finishing or even starting that book you bought when you were last at kinokuniya.

Being a bibliophile, I love reading but to be honest, I find myself struggling to find the time and I am mostly (if not always) failing to achieve my #readinggoals. If you are like me, why not use this time to catch up on your bucket list of books that you’ve always wanted to read. The best part is that you don’t have to go out to purchase books that you might want. You can buy eBooks or find free samples online and immerse yourself in good literature.

I recently bought two books that I’ve been keen to read for a while now- Daryl Yam Qilin’s Kappa Quartet and Rebecca Solnit’s Cinderella Liberator.

Pro Tip: Look out for any ongoing online promotions or Literary festivals in your city and you might get good discounts on books. For example, I got ‘Kappa Quartet’ at half the price against discount vouchers during #BuySingLit2020 – Singapore’s annual literary movement. 

Listen To Podcasts

It is easy for us to go in panic mode if we keep staring at social media with so much fake news and hate being spewed around all day. Another insightful, interesting and fun thing to do at this time is to discover and explore the myriad of podcasts out there. 

Podcasts are new and their content is very niche. So, it is easier to find something very specific to your taste. Podcasts can help make your stay-at-home much more interesting. It can stimulate your mind while you clean the house, cook, workout or even while you shower.

I have been listening to two podcasts to keep myself busy- Sex & Singapore City– a podcast that covers everything- from Fashion to Sex and Travel to Beauty, and Ya Lah BUT – for unfiltered, uncensored fun conversations between two of the funniest people in Singapore- Haresh Tilani and Terence Chia from Ministry of Funny.

Binge Watch Netflix

Last but definitely not the least, now is the perfect time to catch up on all the new programs on Netflix! From hit shows like ‘Crash Landing On You’ and ‘ The Witcher’ to Oscar-nominated/winning movies like ‘Two Popes’, ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ and ‘The Irishman’- Netflix has it all!

Or, if you are like me, just indulge yourself in reruns of all time favourites like FRIENDS and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Social distancing can be tough and given the ongoing crisis with probably the loneliest generations of all time, social distancing can also take a toll on our mental health. The key is to keep busy and indulge in positive activities. I hope these recommendations will help you go through the next few weeks.

Stay safe and sane and remember that we are in this together, so be responsible, don’t panic buy and remember to show kindness and compassion to those in need, because it’s at times like this when a person’s true colours surface and all pretence and social niceties fall to the wayside.

So before you act, ask yourself, what kind of person are you and more importantly, what kind of person do you want to be?