10 ways to make the most of self-isolation (Quarantine and chill edition)

We’re all staying at home during this pandemic. Because self-isolation is a must. It’s weird to not have the option to go out for a meal or grab a drink. And I miss hanging out with friends.

But, I’m dealing like everyone else. Washing my hands, staying inside, and taking long (socially-distanced) walks with the pupper. He really is my best friend right now. We quarantine and chill.

quarantine and chill

And we are staying worked out and hydrated throughout this thing, ok?

Here are 10 things getting me through this lockdown.

May the lord open.

10 things to do during quarantine and chill

I’m not sure what today is or how long I’ve been here, but March 2020 is shaping up to be the longest year of my life. I’m actually enjoying the chance to slow down for a bit and reconnect to myself.

Here’s what I’ve been up to.

1. Order Uber Eats/local delivery

The service industry is taking a beating right now. No movies, concerts, sports… or restaurants. As much as I love cooking at home, I still want to support the eateries my area.

I use Uber Eats to get food delivered. They have no contact delivery options. And they’re waiving all delivery fees if you order local. How cool is that?

quarantine and chill

No delivery fees with Uber Eats

If you use my code, you can also get $7 off your first order with no minimum. After downloading the app, click the “Promotions” tab and enter an existing user’s promo code.

Mine is “eats-rfufr” if you want to use it. This will give you $7 to use toward your first order.

Or if you’re in Dallas like me (or Austin), order directly from the restaurants because now you can get cocktails delivered. Yes, you can have a margarita delivered right to your door.

Lord knows restaurants need all the business they can get right now. Order local – no chains!

2. Get groceries delivered

I can’t order in every day because that gets expensive. And tbh, my company is trimming their budget left and right and I’m low-key worried about my job. Thank gods I have Amazon Prime, because 2-hour delivery from Whole Foods is free (and I mostly eat fruits and veggies at home, so that’s perf).

a group of logos in a circle

Instacart will send a driver to shop for you and deliver groceries to your door

If you prefer other stores, definitely checkout out Instacart because they have most stores available on there. My mom is obsessed with getting Aldi groceries delivered via Instacart.

With both services, you can schedule a window of time to get your items delivered – and both offer no contact delivery.

a screenshot of a recipe

Don’t even have to go out and practice my social distancing

The good thing about Amazon Prime is you can verify store availability before checkout, which is helpful for items that have been selling out quickly, like TP, tissues, hand soap, etc. It’s not a perfect system, but at least you don’t have to get out and check for yourself.

3. Try new recipes

What do we do with these delivered groceries? Get to munchin’.

Now’s your chance to bake, sautee, air fry, Instapot, slow cook, and generally experiment to your heart’s content.

a salad in a bowl

Salad game strong

I for one have been making some bomb-ass salads. They’re little masterpieces, each one.

a plate of food on a marble counter


And baking delish homemade crisps, steaming veggies, and trying new combinations in my morning smoothies. Viewing this extended stay-at-home retreat as a culinary cornucopia is a much better way of thinking of it than a “lockdown.”

My wanderings to the kitchen fill me with wonder whereas before it would be a rushed fumbling to “get it done.” It really is the little things.

I’ve also been telling my food thank you and pondering their long journey to my kitchen before eating. I haven’t lost my marbles – it’s a small but powerful act of mindfulness I’d encourage you to try. Again – little things.

4. Catch up on movies

I love firing up Netflix and Hulu knowing I got all night, baby. Just me and you. I rewatched The First Wive’s Club, started Little Fires Everywhere (no one plays an uptight suburban housewife like Reese Witherspoon), and added Tiger King next to my queue (can’t wait!).

a screenshot of a tv series

<3 Riveting

Now that film productions are suspended, it makes me grateful to all the actors and artists that made these films and shows over the years. I finally feel like I can catch up a little – although there’s soooo much content out there, it’s nigh on impossible to ever really get caught up.

5. Read books

I am loving my mountain of unread books right now. I have a few paperbacks and loaded up several to my Kindle. There’s nothing like grabbing a beer and swaddling under covers with a book and consuming words and ideas, conjuring images in my mind, and being transported by another’s descriptions. Things I ordinarily wouldn’t notice or describe are laid out so differently than I’d perceive. That’s the magic of reading, ain’t it? ✨

a woman covering her face with her hand

This book is exquisitely kinky

Right now, I’m reading Existential Kink, which is a delightfully kinky way of uniting your unconscious desires with your ego and transmuting them into a glorious alchemical marriage. It’s about making the unconscious conscious and taking delight in the adorable, quirky, mess of life and realizing you’re the context on which the content is based.

It’s heady stuff, and perfect for ruminating with a cold beer in hand on a quiet evening at home. 🙂

Next up is Inward by Yung Pueblo, a South American poet. Really looking forward to that one.

I’m using these texts as a catalyst for getting some spiritual work done, which is another aspect of this long isolation. Taking time to reflect and reconnect to the visions and dreams you had for yourself so long ago is something that requires space and plenty of room for your mind to roam. I’m deeply enjoying all the lovely thoughts that are passing my way thanks to my mountain of books.

6. Exercise vids/apps

Yes, honey. We are staying worked out and hydrated throughout this pandemic, OK? I’ve been hopping on my rowing machine and grinding out 5,400 meters (3.4 miles) nearly every day since we’ve been on lockdown.

Afterward, I’ve been doing yoga, stretches, and some situps/pushups. I’m drenched in sweat by the end. And I love it.

a screenshot of a running schedule

We getting these row sessions in and DONE!

There’s a cool app called Seven – 7 Minute Workout that I plan to explore. And YouTube is simply a plethora of workout vids. Run a few searches and see which ones you like and connect with. There really are so many.

I’ve been doing my own thing, but plan to start using apps more to give me some variety – especially if this thing keeps on going. 🥵

7. Make art

This one is wishful thinking for me. I suppose that by writing here, I am making art.

I want to get back into painting, writing poems, singing, and just… creating. Before life, work, money and responsibilities sucked all my time and energy away. There’s still that soul of an artist that wants to apply paint to canvas, make up melodies, and go into a trance writing stories and lyrics. Perhaps that version of myself will return. I can feel him there, just underneath.

In any regard, if you like to make things – make them! Knit, sew, bake, doodle, journal – whatever “making” means to you. Now is a perfect opportunity.

(As an aside, I remember grabbing a bottle of wine and spending entire evenings painting when I was a college student in Chicago ten years ago. At the time, those nights seemed like they’d continue forever. How I wish I could have that energy and outlook today!)

8. Meditate

Far and away the best app for meditating is Insight Timer. I use it to fall asleep, meditate, or just have ambient sounds playing when lyrical music is distracting.

quarantine and chill

Insight Timer is THE place to go for guided meditations and sounds to meditate to

I also find binaural beats on YouTube are fun to set the mood for meditating. After doing the Vipassana course, I promised I’d stick to meditating. Even if it’s been a while, I’m still amazed at how quickly I can turn off my mind and send thoughts away. This is a good practice to get into for so many reasons: mental clarity, power over your thoughts, and a sense of peace chief among them.

9. Take long walks

I love walking my pup around the block. Lately, we’ve been going a little farther and a little farther. The weather’s been resplendent and I love feeling the fresh air and sunshine. Get out of the house! If you don’t, you’ll go mad. 🌤

a sunset with clouds and trees

Nothing like a Texas sky

Nature is healing all on its own. Be sure to spend time enjoying simple quiet and being fascinated with the trees, air, and flowers. All so pretty and amazing.

10. Plan future travel

This thing will blow over. We don’t know when, but it will. So bust out your bucket list. Where do you want to go when the skies open back up for air travel?

Me? I’d love to go back to Europe – maybe England and Paris. I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland. I miss Ireland. Budapest was so amazing. I always love Madrid.

But yeah, Europe is on my mind. And it’s such a nice thought to have. I hope this will be over soon. 🙏

Bottom line

Stay safe and healthy out there. This is an opportunity to connect with so much if you can see it that way.

What are y’all up to? How are you spending your days and nights?

Sending you goodness during this strange time.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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  1. Love your writing Harlan. Please write a ton of stuff while your quarantining! And I agree, dreaming about Europe is always fun!

  2. I’ve been making some essential runs, and grouping things together. I’m helping out a non-profit, so Friday’s run was to fund a business checking account, so the non-profit could then apply for the PPP/CARES. Then it was a run to the grocery store.
    Pluralsight is offering a month of training during April due to Covid-19, so that’s how I plan to use the new-found free time.

    • Sounds awesome – and good on you for taking advantage of the CARES Act funding. All I’ve been doing is going to get groceries and then straight back home. Dallas is still a bit locked down, though a few places are just beginning to open. How is it now where you are?

      Hope you’re staying safe and healthy. How’d the Pluralsight training go?

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