I am sure you’ve already read tens of “How to quarantine?” articles telling you to sleep, meditate, read, watch movies and documentaries, cook, bake, dance, sing, listen to music, chat with friends, start a quarantine journal, do yoga, learn a new language, doodle, declutter your home and the list goes on. Although I believe these activities are a great way to cope with the difficult times we are facing, repetition is not my friend. So, here’s a list of slightly different, but awesome things you can do at home while quarantining.
1.Every day, at the same time, go to your favorite window and observe. What do your senses tell you? What can you see? What can you hear? Observe patterns and how the view changes as days go by. Choose a trajectory for your observation and make sure you stick to it daily. Record these observations in a notebook or visually, through photos or videos taken from the same angle. Today’s tree branches shaken by the wind might become tomorrow’s blooming branches.
2. Pick a work of art you love and fully immerse in the atmosphere. Let’s take van Gogh’s The Potato Eaters, for example. What lies outside the frame? Do the potato eaters talk to each other? If so, what do they talk about? Or are they so hungry that the sound of cutlery hitting the plates is the only noise ruining the silence? Are the potatoes tasty? Are they filling or leaving their stomachs longing for more? How does it smell like in the room? Is it warm or cold? What relationships are there between them? How do they feel? For all the art lovers out there, this exercise is an awesome sensory exercise and a great lens to look through when interpreting paintings.
3. Find an old magazine or newspaper and cut random words. Put them in a hat and mix them. Take the words out of the bag, one after the other, and glue them on a piece of paper in a chaotic order. Voilà! Here’s your Dadaist Poem!
4. Write down your top 10 favorite words and study their linguistic roots. I generally use Etymonline.com – itdoes a pretty good job. For example, quarantine derives from the Italian quarantena – literally “forty days” –, referring to the 14th century Venetian policy of isolating ships suspected of carrying diseases for a period of 40 days. Etymology is just great, isn’t it?
5.Look around your room. What is the first object that attracts your attention? Could be a coffee table, a vase or a book. Whatever it is, write it down on an empty page. Now come up with 50 uses of your chosen object. A vase is used to hold the freshly cut roses on a summer day. Basic, isn’t it? But also, could be used to hold pens and pencils… Or to place on your head during balance exercises… Or as a candleholder… Or as a terrarium… The list in endless! So why not test the limits of your creativity?
6.Write a letter to your future self. FutureMe.org allows you to select the date when you’d like the letter to be delivered in your inbox and does the job for you. I sent a letter to myself in 2014 and received it on my birthday, in 2019. It was so interesting to find out how much I, my dreams, my beliefs and certainties have changed in the five-year span. Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, was quite accurate when saying that “Change is the only constant in life”.
Stay safe and positive. And home!