"Are you bored?" was the question I got asked most often when people learnt about my hotel quarantine.
I have to admit, there are definitely times when boredom crept in during my stay. I can get bored easily when I have nowhere to direct my energy, or have difficulty focusing on a task. To fight boredom in quarantine, these are some activities I did.
I exercise several times a week. I can get bored doing the same thing two days in a row, so I alternate between these exercises in my living room
- Yoga: Flexibility keeps my body feeling agile and youthful, so I stretch to music.
- Dancing: It's impossible not to feel vibrant and awake through dancing. I watch and get inspired by Youtube videos of dance choreography like 1 MILLION Dance Studio
- Interval training: Burpees, squats, dips, push-ups, leg raises. I like Pamela Reif for her quick intense workouts which don't require weights.
When I exercise, I feel more energetic and motivated. It is a great healthy way to pass the time.
When I first shared on social media that I was doing the hotel quarantine, I received a lot of questions asking about the lodging, food and conditions. That was where I got the idea to write about my experience so others can access and benefit from it. Writing the blog was a fun and creative way for me to pass the time. Writing is a skill that I have always wanted to get better at, and it gave me a goal to strive for while making productive use of my time.
For more about my hotel quarantine, read this.
Before and after: My needlework project
I was given a needlework project to sew by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA). The kit includes linen stencil, needle, thread and a booklet of stitching techniques. Once I stitched my project, I can upload them to the Connectart virtual exhibition and share them with other users who are unwell or in isolation during COVID-19. It was immensely satisfying for me to sew again. I haven't done this since my childhood and made me re-discover a handicraft that I loved doing.
LISTENING TO PODCASTS
I like to walk after meals, and podcasts are a great alternative to music when I'm in the mood for something educational. When I am pacing the length of my room, I listen to She's on the Money. It offers invaluable tips for millennials on how to manage their finances, which is an especially relevant topic to know about today. There is a great episode on how to make the best of your money situation during COVID-19.
I am learning to live in stillness. I have a terrible monkey mind, where my brain is constantly chattering about my restlessness, my anxiety and my boredom. To calm my monkey mind, I meditate for 10 mins each morning. Meditation takes me to a quiet place where I can harness my imagination and creativity. When I feel centred, I make better choices about my day, choosing more mindful activities like sketching and handicraft over social media to pass the time. All it takes is 10 mins to practise, which can be easily incorporated into my day. I use apps like Oak and Insight Timer for their guided meditations.
Princess Mononoke by Hayao Miyazaki
I am a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki's animated films, and was thrilled to see them released on Netflix recently. His films are set in a gorgeous hand-painted world that is both bewitching and bewildering. His heroines (like Princess Mononoke) are strong yet vulnerable, with compelling character traits that many women can relate to. I'm re-watching mythical favourites like Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, and discovering new quieter tales like The Wind Rises and Whisper of the Heart. When I am designing jewellery and creating a theme for the collection, his stories of love, loss and longing never fail to inspire me.
Howl's Moving Castle
I've had a list of books that I wanted to read, and now was the time to tackle them. I read a non-fiction when my mind is more awake during the day, and a fiction in the evenings when I need to unwind. I'm currently reading 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss (a book about prioritising time by re-designing your work life) and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in the latter (I'm a big fan of thrillers and murder mysteries).
Practising gratitude allows me to reflect on what I have, rather than what I don't have. At the end of each day, I take 5 mins to list 3 things that I am grateful for. For me in quarantine, this can be
- Having uninterrupted time to do the things I love
- My hotel stay and COVID-19 test are free (it could easily have cost thousands of dollars in a country that doesn't provide public health care)
- Trying different vegetarian options provided in the meals (I watched The Game Changers on Netflix and have been wanting to add more plant-based foods to my diet)
Gratitude opens the door to simplicity and curiosity. I find it easier to let go of feelings like boredom when I am grateful in the moment.
FINDING INSPIRATION AMIDST CORONAVIRUS
"We have the opportunity, even in difficult times, to let our spirit shine."
- Jack Kornfield
As we mourn the old ways of how things were, it is easy to lose our sense of purpose and feel bored. Learning to live a new way takes time, so please be extra kind and compassionate to yourself. Incorporate activities that you love into your everyday. Re-visit your childhood hobbies. Master a new skill. Let your mind wander and daydream, and turn boredom into creativity.
What new activities are you doing in isolation?