Pop Culture Q3

Quarantine Culture: New Ways to Pass Time

By Megan Evans

With the current situation being that we are stuck inside for the foreseeable future, it is hard to not worry about the things we should be doing and then the things that we want to do. The mountains of uni work seem really unappealing compared to bingeing the Netflix show you have been waiting to watch (or deciding the minute your eyes wake up, and ending up doing for the majority of the day). My attitude towards the growing rate of extra time we have inside has made me feel more motivated to use it productively in more recent days than I have ever felt in a long time.

I have found the best way to pass time and feeling not too guilty about it is FaceTiming your loved ones. I have been on call to my housemates, friends from uni, friends from home and extended family which has really helped me feel motivated as it provides me motivation and determination to power through these unsettling of times, as it puts my mind at ease that every single person is going through the same thing- the feeling of isolation, the inability to see loved ones and the fear of the unknown as to what will happen over the coming weeks. I have played quizzes and games such as Psych and Photo Booth Challenge which are both engaging and hilarious.

I have also been reading a lot more broadly. Studying for an English Literature degree means that I am constantly reading material, whether that be a play, a novel, a journal article, but I have also started reading more non-fiction which keeps my mind stimulated. I would highly recommend a book entitled Trick Mirror, which is a reflection on society and the negative implications arisen from this, such as through the excessive use of social media, television and through the writer’s life experiences. It is very eye-opening and thought-provoking, and gives me a break from using my phone as I have had some days where all I have been doing is look at my screen, whether through Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or YouTube. Social media in itself is such a big distraction from getting things that I want to do done, so turning that off for a bit and reading is becoming much more satisfying to me. It is a book that helps to see the true side of yourself and the incentives that shape us, and about how hard it is to see ourselves clearly in a culture that revolves ‘us’.

I have also enjoyed participating in quizzes with the family every Wednesday evening, with sections on Music, General Knowledge, Geography, Film and TV, Sport, Nature etc, which help to keep my brain stimulated and also keeping up with current affairs and having a bit of fun trying to guess the answers to some tough questions.

With so much time on our hands, it is also the perfect time to try our hands at a new skill, whether that is baking, sewing, learning to play an instrument, completing an online course, art, whatever takes your fancy! I wanted to try and advance my skills in cooking, as my mum always cooks nice food when I am home and I want to try and cook better meals for myself while I am at uni, instead of waiting until I am at home to enjoy a ‘proper’ diet.

I have also spent more time watching shows on Netflix. Using online forums and social media is the perfect way to share any of your favourites, and with so much more time, I can now watch all the films and TV shows that I have been meaning to watch!

There have also been more opportunities to do little things to help the family, such as gardening, painting, cooking and maintaining a clean room. Things like this are definitely a good distraction from using too much social media, as I am sure a lot of us are guilty of using it excessively. I have also enjoyed taking the time to exercise, whether in the garden or on my one hour of exercise outside the home, around the country lanes where I live. Exercise is important, but also makes me feel motivated to get through the day positively instead of in a slump.

Try to set a routine of what you would like to get achieved within the day, whether you want to some uni work done, go on a nice long walk with a family member, bake something delicious in the kitchen, but have some down-time as well.

The most important thing to take from quarantine is if you see anyone posting negatively online, perhaps send a message, reach out to an old friend or a colleague, as I am sure a little message will make their day. Take care of your friends and family, but most importantly, yourself.