Welcome to Remotely Inclined, a newsletter about remote work and remote entrepreneurship. If you’d like to sign up, you can do so here. Or just read on…
Last week I published an article on where to find thousands of non-tech remote jobs, and saw that it was shared widely. That fact is both humbling but also troubling. I’m grateful people liked the content, but at the same time it means that more and more people are out of work and looking for their next role.
It’s one thing to lose your job when you’ve got friends who can take you for a coffee or you can go hang out in a park during your ‘funemployment’. It’s an entire other thing to lose your job when you’re forced into isolation or quarantine. Even if you didn’t lose your job but are now forced to work remotely, life can feel grim.
In short: when in isolation and quarantine, your world shrinks. Or at least it feels like the world is shrinking around you.
And when that happens, we need escapism. Since we can’t get our escapism from travel (or even going outside and seeing friends or family), it’s time for non-physical means of escapism.
A quick note: feeling a bit down at times like these is totally normal, but it’s crucial to not forget about mental health during isolation. Desiree Dickerson, a clinical psychologist, wrote a great guide to managing mental health during a crisis that I encourage you to check out. And, if you need professional help, please don’t hesitate to seek it out. Many clinics are now doing appointments virtually and are offering steeply discounted or free services for those in need during the crisis (Google around to see what’s available in your area / virtually).
And without further ado, let’s escape!
Laugh ASAP, it just helps.
When times are rough, comedians can turn your frown upside down. Whether watching a full hour comedy special on Netflix or just a few minutes in between meetings or job applications, getting a laugh in can really make a difference.
I find the best comedians in times of strife are the ones that draw on personal experiences, inviting you into their world so you can leave your own for a moment.
Here are a few that I really like:
Feel like a Prince or Princess
If this world has you feeling like a pawn in a global game of pandemic chess, escape to the world of kings, queens, and palaces.
One of my personal favorite YouTube Channels is called The Chateau Diaries. Stephanie Jarvis owns the 16th century French Chateau de Lalande and vlogs about her experience buying, restoring, and running the chateau.
During COVID-19, she’s also created a fun sub-series called “The Quarantine Diaries” where she vlogs about her experiences in quarantine and running the chateau in times of crisis.
Dive into a fantasy world
If your world feels like crap, why not try out someone else’s? There are a lot of brilliant authors and creators who built entire worlds for you to enjoy.
While Sci-fi tends to be the biggest builder of worlds, you can find fantasy worlds built in nearly every genre.
Here are a few suggestions based on what I (and friends) have used to escape lately...
Movies and TV:
Downton Abbey (Hello, Edwardian England)
X-Men on Disney Plus (Marvel Universe, anyone)
The Witcher on Netflix (Pure fantasy land)
Nearly anything Disney
A Gentleman in Moscow (Post-revolution Russia)
Belgravia (1850s nouveau riche in London, England)
The Count of Monte Cristo (Post-Napoleonic France)
Anything on Wattpad (the platform is a world unto itself and then you dive into the stories people have written and it gets even better)
(Disclosure: I’m an Amazon Affiliates member so I might make a few pennies if you buy a book by clicking a link above. If you’re feeling generous and would buy the book anyway, I’d be grateful if you used my link! But also don’t stress - you can likely get a free virtual copy from your local library)
The Elder Scrolls
World of Warcraft
Star Wars (Also the movies + TV shows based on the Star Wars universe)
Physical world, mental escape
If staring at a screen isn’t your fancy and you’re too anxious to read, then let your body guide your escape.
Yoga or meditation is a fantastic way to have an “out of body experience” while remaining very much in your own body. I like the Chopra Center’s 21-day meditation challenges, like this Abundance Meditation.
Drawing or painting gets your hands moving and your mind focused. You can draw anything (and it doesn’t have to be good). The goal is to get your mind focused on other things for a bit, not to become the next Picasso. So grab a pencil, paintbrush, pen, or just your hands and get going.
Have too much on your mind? Try writing. Whether it’s a brain dump to get your feelings off your chest or writing that article or novel you’ve been putting off, it can be a great way to unleash your creativity.
If you’ve never written before, I like this exercise: Put pen to paper and start a timer for 5 minutes. You are not allowed to stop writing for those 5 minutes. You can write anything - grocery lists, stories, or even “I don’t know what to write” for 5 minutes straight. This will help open your mind to the concept of writing and unlock some creativity as eventually your mind will get bored of writing “I don’t know what to write” and give you another idea.
Get your DIY on
The last piece of advice is two-part: one of practicality, one of fun.
First, the practical: Clean your place.
Yes, I know. Ugh. But it serves two helpful purposes:
You have a clean place and it passes the time! If you’re staying at home more than usual, chances are things are getting a bit dirtier / messier than usual. That means cleaning is all the more necessary.
Additional COVID-19 protections. The US Center for Disease Control recommends frequent disinfecting of all surfaces to protect against COVID-19 spread. Even if you’re in total isolation, simple things like having groceries delivered can introduce the virus to your home. The World Health Organization notes that COVID-19 can last on a surface from “a few hours up to several days,” so regular disinfecting will help keep you safe.
Now, the fun: Crafts and DIY.
If you have some simple supplies (glue gun, etc.), you can craft. This applies whether or not you have kids cause adults deserve some fun.
Or if you had a small DIY project you’d been putting off, get to it! A while ago I found an old silver candelabra at a second hand store that had been painted gold. But I was so busy I never got around to restoring it. I used my time in isolation to strip the gold paint off, polish the silver, and voila! I have a beautiful antique.
Escapism is all about leaving your world for a minute. Usually, you do this physically - change what you're looking at and you can change your perspective. But you can't do that if you're self isolating. Especially if you're in a small apartment.
And that’s why you need to purposefully change your perspectives. Change what your eyes are looking at, your brain is thinking about, or your body is feeling and doing - and you can escape. The best part? When you’re ready to pop back into your world again, it’s right there in front of you because you never really left.