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5 Things To Do During Self-Isolation That Are Not Staring At A Screen

Call your friends instead of texting, declutter your room — we curated a list of things you can do away from your laptop or phone screen.

The number of reported coronavirus cases in India have crossed 200 now, and many companies have allowed employees to work from their homes. People with the means to do so should self-isolate to keep themselves and others safe, and for many of us, this means a significant jump in screen time.

Apart from using our laptops and phones for work, we are dependent on our screens for many activities, from messaging friends, binge-watching shows, catching up on ALL the coronavirus news and just scrolling through Twitter and Instagram.

It’s very easy to log off work, switch tabs and then continue staring at a screen but for your physical and mental wellbeing, it’s advisable to take regular breaks and do some activities that help you recharge without straining your eyes.

So we asked around the newsroom and came up with a list of things we do to ensure we are staying away from our laptops, phones and tablets.

Marie Kondo Your House

I am faced with the Herculean task of shifting to a new house next week. While the risks of doing this amidst the virus outbreak is giving me all kinds of nightmares, what I find helpful is actually cleaning out and arranging sections of my home to keep things ready for packing. Even if you are staying put unlike me, this is a good time to spring-clean if you’re so inclined. Take it one shelf at a time if you have to. Decluttering your house will not only make it a more pleasant space to spend all these extra hours in, you may find that dusting books and folding clothes could also help calm your mind.

Here’s what my colleagues said:

Playing with cats, jigsaw puzzles, carrom

Our two cats regularly interrupt my work to make sure I get up and take a break from the screen. If it weren’t for that, I could spend hours in the same crouched position. My partner is away for work, so both cats have figured out that I am their only source for food, affection and entertainment right now.
My parents are home right now, so I also make sure I take breaks and talk to them. I have bought jigsaw puzzles and jenga tiles for us to play together, and am also looking forward to arguing over a carrom board after ages. — Sharanya Hrishikesh

Call your friends

Instead of sending a text, call your friends when you have some free time. Check up on them, see if they are doing okay during these troubling times. Or, just gossip if you want a break from all the pandemic updates. While texting is second nature to me, I have made it a point to call my friends since we all started working from home and are maintaining social distancing. It’s just nice to hear their voices after a week at home. — Akshita Jain

Photo taken in Barcelona, Spain
Photo taken in Barcelona, Spain

Go For A Walk, Journal, Yoga

I’m trying hard to stay off Twitter post work hours so I don’t get sucked into a bad news anxiety-spiral, so I don’t have the app on my phone. I’m cooking, doing yoga, have started on a jigsaw puzzle and trying to go for a walk and journal in the evenings. Eating lunch or having a cup of tea with a snack on my balcony—without my phone—is the one activity I’m enjoying consistently while the other things still sometimes feel like chores or distraction measures. — Nehmat Kaur

Cooking With Music

As a person who orders food online at least once a day, cooking is not my preferred method of sustenance. But I do like good food. Working from home has led to my puttering about the house during free hours and I’ve ended up in the kitchen. My friends and family have been sending simple, quick recipes to try at home, and I’m finally perusing all those recipe links I had bookmarked.

What simple but extremely delicious thing can I have next? I have turned this into an exercise in getting away from my laptop for proper screen-free breaks through the day. It also means I stock up on essentials and eat well.

It’s been a great way to wind down at the end of a news-filled work day and give my mind a break. I’ll put on a cheery podcast or sing along to a playlist while I prep ingredients, so I’m not at any point prompted to fall down an existential wormhole, contemplating ‘what is this world?’. — Meryl Sebastian

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This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost India, which closed in 2020. Some features are no longer enabled. If you have questions or concerns about this article, please contact