Making the Most Out of Mandatory Downtime 


Considering the implications that come with mandatory quarantines and declarations of international emergency, Coronavirus (COVID-19) is responsible for disturbing the general populace of the world in a matter of weeks. Businesses are closing and provisions are becoming harder to find. Some countries are closing their borders and dealing with serious food shortages while others gamify the unnecessary hoarding of bottled water and toilet paper as if they were expecting to be locked in their homes indefinitely. As in all matters of current events, broad generalizations and lack of empirical evidence make for poor reading material. Necessary, it is, then to state that the perspective of this article is from that of a resident of New York City and that the effects of Coronavirus are experienced differently in every area it is found.

There is a noticeable change taking place in the neighborhoods of New York City. In addition to the feeling of general apprehension, the subways and grand boulevards are dramatically less crowded, stores are low on stock, bars and restaurants are closed. Many people are losing business because of this pandemic and at the end of the month, the rent check is still due. Every day, news of outbreaks, lockdowns, and quarantines paints a grim picture with a bleak outlook. As easy as it is to react poorly to the situation, there are those among us that make the most of this time while also abiding by the CDC’s health protocols. Maybe this is just a “glass-half-full” observation, but in a city where people are overworked, public transit is consistently inconsistent, and places of business are stressful ON A GOOD DAY, this necessary shift in behavior might help to keep one’s mind in a better place in the long run.

Acknowledging the seriousness of the situation – the first step in combating the spread of the illness is avoiding exposure, practicing good hygiene, and avoiding crowded areas, in general. That might not mean staying locked inside IF your neighborhood isn’t under quarantine. It’s amazing what a few laps around the block or a jog through the park can do for your mental health. I started planting vegetables in my apartment, (some garlic and an old potato from the fridge), that has grown to the point of needing to be transferred to an actual garden; something I really look forward to doing this week. The main point is being outside doesn’t necessarily equal getting sick if you’re healthy. The next few months are going to be rocky for many of us – that’s why making the most of these trying times is the best we can do. Catching up on reading, working out, spending time with family, (even if done remotely for social distancing purposes), and starting a new hobby are just a few of the proactive ways to help pass the time when streaming movies and obsessing over the news becomes a bit too much. 

I’ve created a few lists for your consideration. My hope is that everyone is able to make the most of this mandatory downtime; to find a hobby that can become a healthy way to de-stress and keep the mind in a happier place. 

Books that feel like you’re outside when you can’t be:

Plan Your Next Adventure

  • With the world on lockdown, this may seem impractical right now but think about the excitement that goes with preparing for a trip

Take an Online Class

  • This year, I’ve been studying the Natural History of our planet in order to be a more knowledgeable guide. One of the best investments you can make is on your education. Taking an interesting online class is a great way to learn and grow.

Learn an Instrument

  • Here’s your excuse to dust of that guitar that’s been decorating your room for years. Don’t have a guitar? There’s plenty of other options you can experiment with.

Try Adjusting Your Fitness Routine

Start a Journal

  • I’ve been journaling for years – each journal has a theme. It captures the moment and exercises creative writing skills, not to mention penmanship.