I am an only child who was raised by parents who strongly believed that children should have their own interior and exterior worlds (also known as get out of my face and entertain yourself). Coupled with the fact that most of my dearest friends live many borders away and I have an adorable matching set of a cat and boston terrier, I am very good at being on my own. Actually there are times when I need a respite away from other people and as I get older, these times are more and more common. Boston is currently facing a deluge of unrelenting snow and the current snowfall has already broken all past records. So most people are trapped in their homes or the last place they rested their cold bones. The same people who complain about never having enough time are now complaining about this forced hibernation. Here are some ideas from my well honed lone-time instincts:
∇ stay in sweats all day and enjoy that now you don’t have to worry about spilling anything on your clothes and can wipe you hands right on your pants
∇ meditate – we all know we should and we all find something else that needs to get done. no more excuses. look up a video, app, book, or call a friend who has a meditation practice and realize that all it takes it sitting there and trying to clear your mind.
∇ Read. Finish that book. Read all the articles in that magazine. Go through your internet bookmarks and find all those intriguing stories you skipped over. Read my blog. Read old emails, nostalgia is perfectly acceptable on snowed in days. Or organize your books, magazine, email, computer files and bring order where the hectic days left a path of chaos.
∇ now that you are in your working clothes – clean. Clean in all the ways you rarely can fit in: vacuum ceiling corners, scrub the shelves of your pantry, spot clean old stains on your clothes, wash your pillows, clean the inside of the dish washer etc. It is actually an ideal time to clean out the fridge and freezer since one of the greatest impediments is where to put all that food where it won’t spoil or make a mess. Take advantage of the cold outside and just fill bags with what lives in your fridge and place it outside. Now you can really take your time with those spills that have taken on the quality of dried lava.
∇ cook or bake something new. don’t worry about how it will turn out, no one will be the wiser. now is your chance to use that waffle maker, bread maker, ice cream maker or other excessive appliance you stash in a cupboard. plus having the oven on makes the kitchen a toasty mini-world.
∇ what if you don’t cook? well with days like this you no longer have any excuses. Figure out exactly how to make scrambled eggs the way your favorite diner does.
∇ don’t stay in sweats too long. There is a reason why depression is embodied by the image of a disheveled person with stains on their shirt and the strong impression that they don’t take care of themselves. Once the grimy work is done, take a long shower or bath. Use all the hotel and magazine samples that you have collected. Put on layers of moisturizer. Any bottle that as one or two uses remaining needs to be finished and tossed out.
∇ style your hair in some new way or the way the stylist does and you think you will never have the time to replicate.
∇ inspect your body for cancer. yup here is your chance to really rub all those glands to check for any bumps and compare any moles to internet pictures of melanoma. if you have any concerns, make a doctors appointment for three months later. when else will you remember to schedule your bi-yearly physical.
∇ put on an outfit that you would never be caught dead in where people could see you. or dress like your favorite movie character. try on the pants that you subconsciously know don’t fit after that last weight gain and put them next to the door to donate. try on your formal wear and make sure it looks as good as you think it does – better now then a day before the big event. shine your shoes or research the best cobbler in your city and set a time to get your shoes repaired.
∇ put on heels. yes they are a stupid social practice. but damn they do look good and they are hard to walk in. now you have the time to get comfortable in that crazy pair of heels so that someday you can actually wear them out.
∇ while in your heels and formal dress dance to some of your favorite songs. try out some new moves. if you have no moves, watch an internet video and get some. never learnt how to dougie, now it’s your chance.
∇ once you get moving, you’ll remember all those times you told yourself “I’ll buy this ten pound weight and use it when I’m watching tv.” Or “Of course I need a yoga mat at home, it will remind me to do a few simple poses without the pressure of a class.” If that has never been the case, do squats. You can never do too many squats.
∇ find new music, movies, youtube series, vines. by new I don’t mean the next episode of your already favorite, I mean find something completely outside your norm, and then find another.
∇ ∇ ∇ ∇
Now I hear my parent people out there rolling their eyes and saying of course they would do some of these ideas if only the kids weren’t also trapped at home. I would say young people can easily be invited to join in any of these activities. Except that you may want to photograph or videotape more of it for future entertainment. But if your kids aren’t intrigued by any of these options, here are some ideas for fun with the kiddies.
∇ break the rules, let them draw on the walls. choose the wall that you can most tolerate being chaotic and let them go wild. you can always paint over it. is that wall really precious somehow? is blank white somehow a rule? get glow in the dark paint so that it can mostly be seen with the lights out
∇ build forts. build forts using as much or as little furniture as pleases you. My mom used to nail sheets to the ceiling and walls and turn my room into a whole new world
∇ let your kids dress you. ask them to be your personal stylists and let them make you over.
∇ do science experiments. they don’t have to be real science. just baking soda and vinegar should amaze anyone under the age of six. make a whole path of baking soda or write their name in script with the powder and then slowly pour the vinegar to make a bubbly version.
∇ Reenact their favorite television show or movie. Have them decide the characters and scene they want to play out. They may need to watch the original version and make some notes on how they want to do it. Make sure to videotape it and show it back to them.
∇ Make a music video. Even just tin foil can make an inter-galactic set and those new outfits with crazy hairstyles are now ready for their closeups.
I know that being stuck inside can begin to seem like a punishment. But think of it as infinite time in your own little world and do all those things you’ve wanted to do but haven’t had the time for.