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27 Ideas to Expand Your Horizons in These Times of Self-Isolation

By Penelope Jane Whiteley April 07, 2020 Lifestyle

If you’re one of the many people currently in isolation, you may be looking at the days stretching ahead with horror. What are you going to do?

Here in the UK, all of us septuagenarians (such a great word!) are locked in for 12 weeks. In this house, we started last Friday and will be out on 12th June. So far, it’s 10 days down and 74 to go. Not that we’re counting.

Make a Plan to Keep Occupied

The secret for us all is to prevent the slow but inexorable slide down the slippery slope to going stir-crazy! We must make a plan for keeping ourselves occupied.

There are plenty of well-meaning and helpful people giving us plenty of suggestions. Some are not necessarily aimed at women of our age and prompt a “You can’t be serious?!” reaction.

At Aging Disgracefully we sat and wracked our brains to come up with some ideas for you. Some you probably know of or have seen elsewhere. There may be a couple you haven’t… let’s hope so…

Before we even start on the list below, I have to say there are so many people who are out of touch with friends and family and have no way to contact them. The reason doesn’t matter.

Often, they are lonely and frightened. The world has shifted on its axis and they need the sound of a friendly voice… even if it isn’t one they know.

Please think of those who are no longer 60 but have moved to their 70s and 80s and beyond. Some of these people have no cell phone or PC and the only way to stay in touch is via landline.

Possible Activities to Do in Isolation

Before you begin, take some time to make a plan. Choose the activities you want to do during this enforced ‘holiday’, create a list and begin.

  • Go through your ‘rubbish’ drawer. I just went through mine and found a lot of stuff that isn’t rubbish and can be used to decoupage or whatever. It was Treasure Trove.
  • Communicate via phone, Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom. People like to hear your voice. If you know anyone who does not have a cell phone or a PC, please phone them on their Landline.
  • Phone the ‘at risk’. When you’ve established contact, create a schedule to call at specific times. Your local council can help you find the people who need you.
  • Volunteer online. In times like this, volunteer for anything; there are so many needing help.
  • Clear your storage spaces of things you no longer need. You have the time now, you might just use it.
  • Spring clean the house – if you’re so inclined.
  • Paint some furniture or paint the walls.
  • Do a Wardrobe Workout.
  • Create a travel/bucket list. It doesn’t matter where you want to go or when or even if you don’t want to go anywhere! Write it down. Create the list and anticipate ticking it all off.
  • Write a book, an article, a poem, whatever takes your fancy. Tell your story or the family history.
  • Crosswords or Sudoku will provide hours of fun, and help you improve your numeracy and literacy.
  • Netflix binge. A series or six. Or even more if you’re isolating for 12 weeks!
  • Find a meditation online or dig out a CD or DVD to help you get started. Meditation really works for quieting the mind and soothing jangled nerves.
  • Board games like Snakes & Ladders, Ludo, Chess, Drafts, Dominoes, puzzles supply hours of endless amusement.
  • Learn a language. If you’ve completed your bucket / travel list, you will have a better idea of what you want to learn. Or perhaps you’d like to learn a language simply because you can!  
  • Colouring books: shop for them online or print some pages off the web.
  • Work out, mentally and physically. It’s very, very important to keep yourself going if you’re in isolation. Exercise, do some gentle yoga and eat well.
  • Read trashy novels or classics or magazines. Kids picture books are great too!
  • Cook: Make an effort to use everything in your larder and cupboards, your freezer and fridge. It’s a great way of cleaning up – then stock up again!
  • Sew a quilt, learn how to make patterns, and design some clothing. Knit or crochet if that sounds to your fancy.
  • Gardening is so relaxing and worthwhile. Even if you don’t have much space, seeing the result is so rewarding. Plant flowers or vegetables – it’s up to you.
  • Keeping a gratitude book to write in 5 things you’re grateful for every day, changes your mood and attitude. It doesn’t matter what it is, just start to make the effort. It changes you!
  • Dance around the house. Turn on the music and move. If you’re with the family, get them all dancing! It’s healthy and will raise your mood.
  • Give yourself a spa day. Clean fluffy towels, a band for your hair, cucumber slices for your eyes, egg white for your face and egg yolk for your hair. Bath oil, skin cream, perfume, the whole shebang. Whatever you have in the house – use it and spend the whole day pampering yourself.
  • Manicure: Spend a day a week to give yourself lovely hands! How often do you get to do that?
  • Pedicure: Same deal! Spoil yourself and give your feet the care they deserve.
  • Be creative: You’ve got time on your hands so start something that you really love doing.

There are so many things you can do to keep yourself occupied if you’re in isolation (or quarantine if you prefer). Let your imagination fly free.

Let us know what you’ve come up with, and we can share some of your fabulous ideas with others.

Stay safe. Be well.

What have you been up to these past few weeks of quarantine? What is your most favorite activity and why? Please share with our sisters and let’s have a chat!

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The Author

Penelope Jane Whiteley is the self-appointed Queen of Aging Disgracefully. A writer, international speaker, clothes designer, stylist and traveller, she helps other women to live their lives on their own terms. Her courses include “Lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes,” “The Reboot,” “Just Write the Damn Book.” Find her on, Twitter, and Facebook.

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