Things to do while on self-quarantine

“Home sweet home”, the saying goes. But that sweetness can quickly dissolve when we have to stay in because of COVID-19. 

It’s only normal for us, as social beings, to start feeling down after a week – especially when your only companions are your computer and your own thoughts. Despite the doom and gloom that’s currently hovering over us, there are things you can do to make yourself feel a bit better.

We’ve put together a list of 11 things to do when you’re on self-quarantine, which range from cooking healthy meals to exercising to watching movies on Netflix.

1. Work from home efficiently 

work from home - self-quarantine

Most of us still need to earn a living during this pandemic, and a portion of the working population of Jakarta – which currently has the highest number of confirmed cases in Indonesia – is lucky enough to be working from home. 

However, working from home might not come easy for those who have never done it before. There are many distractions – from chores to caring for family members to being tempted to take way too many naps.

It helps to impose strict time limits, dress in your usual office attire, avoid snacking too much, and most importantly, allocate yourself a special work zone away from your bed. Click here for more useful tips that might work for you.

2. Cook healthy meals

Resep Tahu Telur
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Resep Tahu Telur

Tahu telur recipe
Video credit: Rasamasa

Not all of us were born to rule the kitchen. Some of us have tried and failed, but when we’re living through a pandemic, we might have no choice but to try our best to prepare our own meals. This way, we can also control the amounts of oil and salt in our food, and make our dishes healthier.

While there are restaurants that offer boxed meals, as well as the service of delivery workers who brave the streets of Jakarta to deliver them to you (please don’t forget to tip well!), there’s nothing wrong with gaining or polishing a practical life skill.

YouTube channels such as Masak.TV, Dapur Dina and Rasamasa can guide you on how to make your own tahu telur or nasi uduk.

3. “Visit” Indonesia’s best tourist spots through your computer

borobudur 360 degree view
Image credit: Project 360 Indonesia

With travel restrictions in place, you might have been forced to cancel all of your holiday plans indefinitely. While it’s definitely not ideal, it’s important that we work together to prevent the virus from spreading.

raja ampat 360 degree view
Image credit: Project 360 Indonesia

Lucky for eager travelers, there’s still a way to see some of Indonesia’s most renowned tourist destinations in 3D without breaking your self-quarantine. Project 360 Indonesia lets you go on a virtual tour through attractions such as Borobudur and Raja Ampat– while staying safely at home.


4. Exercise or meditate

10 min Morning Yoga Full Body Stretch - Yoga with Kassandra
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10 min Morning Yoga Full Body Stretch - Yoga with Kassandra

10-minute morning yoga full body stretch
Video credit: Yoga with Kassandra

Spending days on end at home can make you feel sluggish, and the realization that you are cooped up because of a pandemic is bound to make you feel blue. One way to keep any thoughts of impending doom at bay is by doing simple exercises or meditating. If you’re working from home, it’s especially good to take short breaks to stretch.  

Whip up your yoga mat or a thin blanket and get your daily dose of exercise. Newbies can go on YouTube to get inspiration from the many instructors who demonstrate quick body stretches to relax your muscles, such as the video above.

5. Finally watch the movies, music, or podcasts you’ve been too busy to get into

listen to music and podcasts - self-quarantine

To keep your mind stimulated you can also fill your days in self-quarantine by watching the many exciting movies and series available on online streaming apps such as Netflix. Those of you who need some ideas on what to watch, check out the list of Indonesian movies on Netflix we’ve compiled for you. 

When you need to rest your eyes, there are also tons of music and podcasts available on Spotify, YouTube, and other streaming websites and apps. 

Many of us already rely on music to soothe our souls, and it’ll definitely have a stronger effect on us now more than ever. Listen to some Indonesian indie artists to kickstart your music binge. Or have a go at these Indonesian and international podcasts on pop culture. Those of you who live alone might find it comforting to listen to people having conversations on fun topics, as if you were in a room with chatty friends.

6. Catch up on some reading for the first time in years

catch up on your reading - self-qurantine

Even the most avid readers are guilty of keeping a stack of unread books. When work, commuting, chores, and social activities already take up a lot of our time, it can be hard to get into the ideal headspace to dive into a book.

Now might be your chance to catch up on your long-neglected reading list. Focusing on a book – especially a paper one – has the added benefit of giving you a break from potential online distractions.

It’s not a good time for readers who are out of books to go to the bookstore, but don’t worry because Jakarta-based independent stores such as POST and Transit are open for online orders.

7. Try your hand at artistic activities

try your hand at art - self-quarantine

Unlock your inner artist and try your hand at activities such as drawing or painting. There’s no harm in picking up a new hobby that can also have therapeutic effects – you’ll be practicing mindfulness and concentration, besides having more art to post on your social feeds. 

Draw some characters or scenes from the movies and series you’ve been recently binge-watching, or sketch a self-portrait rather than taking a selfie with your phone.

YouTube is an excellent resource for beginner and more seasoned artists to follow along as professional artists draw from scratch, while dishing out their tips on how to bring their art to life. Some great channels you can start with are Sketchbook Skool and Love Life Drawing

8. Check in on your loved ones who’re also on self-quarantine

check in on your loved ones - self-quarantineImage credit: Christina Morillo 

Being apart from our group of friends and family members for an extended period of time – especially at a time like this – can make one feel gloomy real quick, even if you are well. You might be thinking about your aging parents or friends who have chronic illnesses that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus. 

Even though you may be physically apart, that doesn’t mean you should stop talking to each other completely. Keep up with the lives of those dear to you and find out what they need by regularly checking in via text or phone calls. Set up virtual dinners with them on Skype or other video chat apps, and keep each other close at heart.

9. Wash your hands and keep your home clean

WHO: How to handwash? With soap and water
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WHO: How to handwash? With soap and water

Video credit: World Health Organization

This is possibly the most obvious point, but it’s important to wash your hands and keep your kost, apartment, or house clean. Disinfect door knobs, dining tables, and kitchen counters. Have enough soap and aseptic gel at home – but please don’t hoard.

At the very least, the simple act of washing your hands properly for 20 seconds can go a long way, especially if you share a living space with others.

Get hand sanitizer, soap, and other cleaning products online at Tokopedia, Shopee, or Blibli.

10. Get enough rest

get enough rest - self-quarantine
Image credit: @mollathekitty

Just because you don’t have to get up early the next morning to beat the traffic doesn’t mean you should stay up until 4AM to watch everything on Netflix.

Make sure you get plenty of rest so your body will stay strong. It’s not enough to eat well and take vitamins – you also need to recharge your body despite being in self-isolation.

11. Keep track of the latest updates on COVID-19 in Indonesia

covid19 map - self-quarantineLatest COVID-19 Indonesia update as of 19th March 2020
Image credit:

Keep tabs on the COVID-19 updates from time to time. These include the latest number of confirmed cases, the list of hospitals that offer tests and treatment in your region, and news regarding lockdowns or other restrictions in place.

Check the official Indonesian website and follow reliable news sources for the latest updates in your city and the rest of Indonesia. 

Things to do while on self-quarantine

You might already have some of these activities on your list, but it wouldn’t hurt to consider adding more on your list of things to do when you’re on self-quarantine. We can only hope that this pandemic will blow over soon, but we have to be prepared to spend more days at home.

More articles to read while self-isolating:

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