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Monday, August 2, 2021

Living online: What to do when there’s nothing to do

Suggestions on how to approach this slow-paced new way of life amid COVID-19

We prepare for earthquakes, gas leaks and even heartbreak — who knew that for some of us, the most unexpected disaster was boredom? The pandemic of COVID-19 has altered our lives. Sure, an incurable, potentially fatal virus has struck the entirety of our planet, but what about our livelihood? Perhaps a selfish question in the midst of global outbreak, but we’re all thinking it — I’ll just be the one to say it. 

 COVID-19 has truly tested the human race, but as the most advanced species, we can handle it. Simple solution: move our lives online. Frankly, it’s not that big of an adaptation when you think about how much time we, as technological beings, spent online prior to the pandemic. 

Confession: So maybe we spend a few more hours on Tik-Tok than we used to. Instead, rather than sitting on our tushies staring at a wall asking ourselves “What to do?” like a broken record, perhaps take a few of these suggestions and put them to use. Besides, as of right now, all we have is time. 

  1. Take a walk outside. Of course, as long as it’s six-feet away from others and wearing a mask! Although isolation may seem unsettling, a little fresh air is Earth’s natural remedy. In fact, public health officials are actually encouraging it. There is something about gazing over a serene landscape that makes you feel at peace, despite the chaos perpetually surrounding our everyday lives. Nature is the one place where COVID-19 headlines aren’t glaring in your face, instead you get some nice trees, or maybe even the ocean. If you decide to take a hike, or even sit and watch the sunset, being outside will guarantee a renewal of the soul. Just make sure to check out your local hiking spots and state parks beforehand, as they may be limited during the pandemic. 
  2. Zoom in on each other’s lives. Well, there’s actually so far we can go via webcam, but it’s still worth it. As social creatures, it is imperative to maintain our social connections. Even though we can’t give our best bud a little snuggle, we can at least brighten each other’s day by communicating online (or six feet apart). Get creative and do normal activities through the Zoom app: happy hour, social clubs, Shabbat meals or simply catch up with a friend (or two, or three, or more). Software programs such as Zoom and FaceTime have made it easier to sustain relationships — it would be rude not to use them. 
  3. Start a new hobby. We have all the time in the world to try something new during this uncertain time. Instead of thinking of the shelter-in-place as a bottomless pit of boredom, change perspectives and consider it leisure time to expand on already possessed talents or pick up something new. An amazing thing about the inexhaustible internet is the plethora of resources to learn anything your heart desires — no exaggeration there. Guitar, recipes, arts and crafts, you could even learn perfect Shakespearean English for Pete’s sake! 
  4. List it out. Boredom is quite daunting, ergo, write it out, and earn the satisfaction of checking it off the box. Lists aren’t as boring as they are made out to be — they can quite literally be about anything you choose. Make a list of movies you’ve never seen but want to, plans for when the pandemic is over, a workout plan or simple day-to-day tasks. During this unprecedented time, it’s all about little victories — dipping your toes in the water rather than jumping in head first.
  5. Quality time. Whomever you may be quarantined with (even if it is just you), make the most out of the time and enjoy that company. Although this pandemic has completely pulled a 180 on our lives, it has forced us to recognize the important things in life (as cliché as it is). It has forced our busy-bee lives to slow down and adapt to a more minimalistic routine. Time to pull out an old board game to play with the family, catch up on each other’s lives and enjoy this quality time that may leave as fast as it came. In addition, it’s important to take this time for self-reflection and to focus on yourself for once. Often we forget to take the time we need for oneself in the midst of the chaos of everyday life. Journal, meditate, make yourself an even better person than you were coming into quarantine. 

During this time, the glass may seem to be half empty, but it is crucial to stay positive in all the little ways that we can. This pandemic has taken us back to a time of life’s simple pleasures. We are so accustomed to going about life as a sprint and not a marathon — we now have time to finally breath and relax. So sit back and enjoy the fact that for once, we have to do. Absolutely nothing. 

Written by: Sierra Jimenez — arts@theaggie.org

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