Stories for Coffee blog BLOG
The world is full of uncertainty, right now, and many may be looking for peaceful distractions to accompany them as they social-distance or quarantine themselves in their homes. So, I wanted to share some tips on how to keep busy when social-distancing. I hope these tips give you some peace and offer you some normalcy in a time of change.
Remember, not everyone may be able to do these tips due to different situations, and I’m not forcing you to do them. These are just some things I do to keep myself busy when at home for long periods of time.
Make Your Bed Every Day
Yes, it might seem tedious, but making your bed every day is a great way to keep your room clean and tidy in a time when you are at home for the entire day. I also highly encourage only getting in your bed when you’re going to sleep. Staying in bed all day will make it harder to leave it, as the days go on, so the moment you wake up, try to get out of bed, tidy your sheets, and start your day.
Change out of Your Pajamas
We all might feel tempted to stay in our PJs all the time because we’re going to be self-isolating for about two weeks, and while I do encourage a cozy Sunday PJ days, I would highly recommend putting on “real clothes” every day. The moment you get yourself out of bed, change out of your pajamas, and put on some clothes that aren’t your sleepwear. This will start your new day and provide some change to your routine, every morning.
It might be tempting to stay in the same pajamas for the next two weeks, but putting on a new outfit, every morning, will create a routine for you, and routine is key when staying at home. We need routines, structure, and small semblances of change, that way every day at home feels somewhat different from the previous day. That doesn’t mean you have to dress up! Wear what feels best for you, but make sure to change out of those pajamas, if you can.
Make a Daily To-Do List at the Beginning of Every Day
I’m a big fan of to-do lists every day because I’m a Type 1, so I highly encourage you to try and make one every day. Scribble down your tasks onto a piece of paper, no matter how mundane the task may be, like, “water plants” or “call Joe”, and every time you finish a task, cross it off! There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing off a task from your to-do list.
By making a to-do list every day, while social-distancing, you’re creating small assignments for yourself to keep busy and to differentiate each day from the others. This is a great way to keep structure and order for yourself and provides you with tasks to complete to fill the gaps of your day where you’d normally be at work or out of your house.
Go Through Your Closets, House, etc. and Clean!
Now that you have a lot of time on your hands, maybe go through your closets, cabinets, desks, etc. that you always say you’ll get to and clean at some point. I am a big fan of purging my closet at least once a year, so if you want to keep yourself busy, why not tidy your space and go through your belongings? I find it fun to go through my closet and desk because I’m bound to stumble upon lost items or forgotten memorabilia which puts a smile onto my face and makes me feel like I found a small treasure that was previously forgotten.
Not only is it a great way to occupy your time for a few hours, but it’s also a great way to clean your space that you’ll be spending a lot of hours in for the next few weeks. Your environment greatly affects your mood, so be sure to keep your space somewhat tidy, that way it doesn’t feel stifling and overwhelming by day 4.
Get to Those Movies, Shows, and Books You’ve Been Meaning to Dive Into
Remember, you don’t have to write King Lear while social-distancing, in fact, I encourage resting and making this a small staycation, of sorts, because we all deserve to rest. So, while you’re stuck at home, why not start those movies, shows, or books that you’ve been meaning to get to for months?
Marathoning shows and movies are a great way to escape reality, for a few hours, and it’s also a great way to unwind. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty if all you’re doing is watching movies, shows, or reading. Those forms of entertainment bring comfort to us all, and right now we can use all the comfort we can get.
Don’t Forget to Call/FaceTime Your Friends and Relatives
While we’re all social-distancing, loneliness is bound to set in. Not seeing friends, not going to the movies, not going to work, etc. makes us feel trapped in our own homes with no one new to converse with. This is why, now more than ever, I implore you to FaceTime your friends, call your grandparents to see how they’re holding up, or Skype a friend you’ve made online. We live in a digital age where we’re connected now more than ever, so use that to your advantage by checking in on friends.
I’m a big fan of FaceTiming/Skyping friends and simply reading together. Occasionally, we’ll chat (I’ll prompt a lot of conversations in between reading because I’m an absolute chatterbox), but simply calling friends and chatting about your day or cooking as you speak to them is a great way of filing the silence and loneliness that may cloak itself around you, during these times.
Try Doing Small Workouts To Keep Your Body Moving as You Social-Distance
No matter what, it’s important to keep your body moving, even while stuck indoors. Trying out yoga, simple stretches, JustDance, weight lifting, or even walking your dog around the block is a great way to care for your body and keep your heart pumping while you’re at home.
Remember, you don’t need to be training like Rocky to keep yourself moving during these times. As Adriene, from Yoga with Adriene, always says, “Do what feels good.”
ENTERTAINMENT RECOMMENDATIONS WHILE SOCIAL-DISTANCING
Movies: If you’re looking for movie recommendations, check out my Letterboxd lists where I organize my favorite movies into highly specific lists. Trust me, I highly recommend all these movies, so you’re bound to find one you’re interested in: https://letterboxd.com/olivia8397/lists/
Books: My Youtube channel, Stories for Coffee, is FULL of book recommendations, so give that a gander to get some good book recs!
Podcasts (found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.):
- Sleeping at Last – If you’re a fan of the Enneagram Institute and have listened to Sleeping at Last’s Atlas series where he created 9 songs for each Enneagram type, then I highly recommend SaL’s podcast breaking down each song’s lyrics, influence, and how each Enneagram type functions in society, relationships, and with themselves
- Limetown– If you want to listen to a radio drama, this is the perfect one to start with. It follows a woman who decides to create a podcast investigating the mysterious 10-year-old case of Limetown where 300 residents mysteriously disappeared without a trace. (ALSO NOW A SHOW ON FACEBOOK WATCH)
- Serial – This was the first podcast I listened to. I only recommend s. 1. If you’re a fan of true crime stories, start here. This is the true-crime case I know like the back of my hand because I became so absorbed by it and the injustices of it all.
- Undisclosed – BUT, if you’re looking for a more accurate/ knowledgeable discussion about Maryland vs. Adnan Syed, Undisclosed is 100% better. It follows lawyers as they analyze wrongful convictions. This is much more thorough and fast-paced.
- Books Unbound – I’m sure you all know how much I adore Books Unbound. It was my first literary podcast, and I was a guest on it, as well!
If you’re looking for book recommendations and peaceful chats about books, in general, Books Unbound is the podcast for you.
- Homecoming – One thing is for certain, and it’s my deep, deep love and adoration for Oscar Isaac. And, as a deep fan of his work, I discovered, years ago, that he stars in a radio drama called Homecoming, which is about unethical experiments on soldiers in an attempt to erase their PTSD. Trust me, it’s GREAT.
- You Must Remember This – For fans of Old Hollywood, this podcast deep dives into the lesser-known stories of the Golden Age of Hollywood and all the drama that came along with that time period. Immersive, brilliantly structured, this one is a treat to listen to
Shows (based on where you can stream them): HBO: Game of Thrones, The Outsider, Big Little Lies
NETFLIX: Peaky Blinders, La Casa de Papel, Sense8, Stranger Things, MINDHUNTER, The People Vs. OJ, The Haunting of Hill House, We Bare Bears, Hilda
AMAZON PRIME: Fleabag, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Teen Wolf
DISNEY+: Gravity Falls, Lizzie McGuire, Phineas and Ferb
The world might be scary right now, and we’re all feeling a bit of cabin fever, but I hope these tips help ease this process and provide you with comfort. If you have any other tips to keep oneself busy while social-distancing, please comment them down below.
Stay safe, wash your hands, keep faith. All is not lost. xx Olivia
A good friend of mine, Alexandra, does monthly wrap ups over on her website, Twirling Pages, and it inspired me to do the same for every month in 2020! Not only is it a fun way to catch everyone up with what I’ve been reading, watching, and doing each month, but it’s also a great way to reflect, savor the big moments and the small, and remind myself that each month is meaningful and filled with wonderful discoveries.
For years I’ve had a fear of seeing a film, alone, in theatres. I had this grand assumption that films should be a collective experience, and it would be foolish and risky to see one in my own company.
What if someone creepy sits beside you? What will others think when you walk into the theatre alone? Movies are supposed to be watched among friends and loved ones, not by yourself. My anxiety always told me it wasn’t safe or good to see movies alone, in public. Something, anything could go wrong.
But, one day, I went out on my own, bought a ticket to a Marvel film, sat by myself, and watched a film. More
R — 110 minutes — Drama, War, Historical Fiction
Release Date: Jan. 10, 2020
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Starring: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman
“1917” is an explosive, innovative, ground-breaking film that still courses through my mind, long after leaving the theatre and, I believe, will be in my Top Five Movies of 2020 list by the end of the year. Set during WWI, it follows Schofield who tags along with fellow soldier and friend, Blake, as they try to deliver a crucial message to halt a dangerous attack that can put thousands of soldiers– including Blake’s brother– at risk.
People may read the synopsis and assume it’s another tired war movie that will glorify The Cause and send a message that war is necessary to achieve peace, but “1917” is everything but that. Instead, what we get is a cinematic masterpiece that is edited and shot to look like one continuous shot, free of any cuts, transitions, or any other jarring editing techniques that wartime movies love to use. More
PG — 108 minutes — Drama
Release Date: Nov. 22, 2019
Directed by: Marielle Heller
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” first hits you with nostalgia when Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) walks into his home and begins singing the famous theme song to “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”, transporting us back into our childhoods when his soothing voice would teach us important life lessons. We see Tom Hanks wonderfully embody the role of Mr. Rogers as he speaks to the audience and introduces us to Lloyd (Matthew Rhys) whose life is melancholic, mundane, and isn’t filled with any real joy or happiness.
PG-13 — 130 minutes — Drama, Mystery, Suspense
Release Date: Nov. 27, 2019
Directed by: Rian Johnson
In this latest Whodunnit movie, “Knives Out” follows a detective (Daniel Craig) who gets mysteriously called to an extravagant mansion where a best-selling murder-mystery author, Harlan Thrombey, (Christopher Plummer) has been murdered. One-by-one, Harlan’s family and staff are interviewed to see where they were before the crime was committed on the night of Harlan’s birthday. And so begins the utter madness and quirkiness of this movie that was a mixture of “Clue” meets Agatha Christie. More
Throughout this year, I’ve really learned how to master being productive and making the most out of my days. And, because this is one of my most frequently asked questions online, I wanted to share some tips and tricks on how I maintain my productivity.
*Keep in mind these are things I do to maintain my productivity, but these tips might not match up with your own lifestyle*
Publication Date: November 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Adult Fiction
Summary: Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.
What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.
Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.
Publication Date: October 2019
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Summary: No novel in recent memory has spoken more movingly to contemporary readers about the nature of love than André Aciman’s haunting Call Me by Your Name. First published in 2007, it was hailed as “a love letter, an invocation . . . an exceptionally beautiful book” (Stacey D’Erasmo, The New York Times Book Review). Nearly three quarters of a million copies have been sold, and the book became a much-loved, Academy Award–winning film starring Timothée Chalamet as the young Elio and Armie Hammer as Oliver, the graduate student with whom he falls in love.
In Find Me, Aciman shows us Elio’s father, Samuel, on a trip from Florence to Rome to visit Elio, who has become a gifted classical pianist. A chance encounter on the train with a beautiful young woman upends Sami’s plans and changes his life forever.
Elio soon moves to Paris, where he, too, has a consequential affair, while Oliver, now a New England college professor with a family, suddenly finds himself contemplating a return trip across the Atlantic.
Aciman is a master of sensibility, of the intimate details and the emotional nuances that are the substance of passion. Find Me brings us back inside the magic circle of one of our greatest contemporary romances to ask if, in fact, true love ever dies.