You might have been hearing the words “social distancing” more and more in the news these days now that the World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. You’ll see lots of events being canceled as measures are taken to stop or slow the spread, as well as individuals taking it upon themselves to avoid public gathering places.

It’s easy to feel dispirited by these changes and panic can be contagious, but it’s important to stay rational and positive. I have a trip planned to New York City at the start of April that’s in jeopardy, a trip that got planned because the last time my friend was in Minnesota a blizzard stopped us from being able to see each other. I’d be really upset if we had to postpone seeing each other again, but we have to remember that this is something that will pass and the world isn’t ending (yet).

One thing you can do to stay positive is brainstorm with family and friends things you can do indoors by yourself. As a chronic self-isolator, I have lots of ideas. First, I borrowed “The Name of the Wind” from the library last month and I’ve been really slow about reading it, but now I have lots of time to catch up.

Second, the new Animal Crossing game comes out for the Nintendo Switch on Friday. I love Animal Crossing, it’s an extremely wholesome and comfortable game. You play a human who moves to a new village full of animal villagers. You help your villagers with errands, go fishing, catch bugs and collect fruit which you can sell to buy upgrades for your house. You can buy clothes to customize your character and furniture, wallpaper and flooring for your house. There’s little shops around town like a tailor, a coffee shop, a furniture store and more.

Third, I never got around to watching the new season of “Altered Carbon” even though I said I was going to in a column a few weeks ago. Now I have no excuse! At the same time, the new season of “Castlevania” came out and I want to watch that, too, because it’s about handsome vampires.

Fourth, I finished the first act of the novel I’m working on — 58,000 words and 212 pages. I’ve been working on getting it all edited before I move on to Act 2, where I introduce some new characters and one of my more mysterious central characters gets her point of view chapters. Honestly, almost everything else I just listed will be taking a backseat to this project, but it’s good to have a solid list of alternative options in case I start to feel burnt out and it might inspire some of you to reflect on hobbies or interests you’ve cast aside for more extroverted pursuits.

Now might be a good time to revive that Netflix subscription, subscribe to Kindle Unlimited or get an Audible subscription if you prefer audiobooks. There’s also lots of podcasts you can search through for your personal areas of interest, perfect to put on in the background so your house doesn’t feel so eerily quiet.

Remember to take time each day for self-care and therapeutic screaming sessions. We’re in this together and we’ll get through it together.


Johanna Armstrong is the Lifestyle Editor for The Daily Journal.

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