7 ways to beat home isolation in the Netherlands

Spending so much time at home in isolation can be challenging. For most of us, this is our first experience of being indoors for such a long time, not to mention missing our usual restaurants, theatres, and friends. But there are some great ways to beat home isolation. 

Especially for those of us who are usually energetic people, finding some daily activities to do in order to burn off that excess energy, or at least to do something that is useful for yourself, is crucial to keeping semi-sane, as we demonstrate here:

On a serious note, we don’t condone excessive productivity or trying to obsessively better yourself in this period of time. We understand that going through a global pandemic is stressful. Still, we decided to make a list of potential activities you can do at home to help you throughout these coming months.

Do some seasonal cleaning

Spending so much time at home might reveal those little corners in your house that haven’t gotten the attention they deserve. Or maybe you can rearrange your living space in a way that is more fitting for you. Working from home when your home is messy can be difficult.

Why not do some clearing out? You can declutter your living space of things you don’t need and give those corners the love they deserve. After you have thrown away all unnecessary stuff, you can just fill your space with plants; make yourself a living jungle. All that greenery will surely help with your mental wellbeing (and no, we’re not talking about weed — this time).

Reorganise your workspace

Obviously, one of the main activities you will be doing at home is working. This is where some cleaning comes into play because minimising the clutter around you will allow you to focus more on the task at hand. This especially applies to your desk.

Besides, when setting up your home work station, make sure it’s somewhere where you can sit comfortably and can access some light (so you can photosynthesise like one of your new plants). And just like you would in an office, if you’re working for eight hours, don’t forget to take a moment every hour just to stand up and stretch a bit.

Get on top of your finances

We know, we know, doing finances can be a bit of a chore. But considering you’re staying at home anyway, you might as well take the time to consider your finances and whether you’re banking on the right bank (see what we did there).

On a serious note, it’s important to get your finances straight, keep track of spending and maybe even save up some money in these uncertain financial times.

Being an expat in the Netherlands can be a complicated ordeal, but thankfully, you do have some great options. If you’re looking for an expat-friendly bank option, check out bunq, which has great customer support in several languages as well as the option to have a Green Card that plants a tree for every 100 euros spent — perfect for those of you who are eco-conscious.

Alternatively, you can check out N26, which has great options when it comes to tracking your spending, so you know when it’s time to pump the brakes on your new takeaway habit. Both banks are digital, so a sign-up is very easy through their apps — you can do it from home.

Streaming services

Watching TV shows and films might be slightly escapist, but hey, no judgement! This seems to be an ideal season for being indoors, grabbing some popcorn and watching those series you’ve had eternally “saved to your list”.

There’s quite a variety of options when it comes to streaming services in the Netherlands. Of course, there’s the classic Netflix, which will come at 7.99 euros a month for one screen. You could also consider the Dutch-bred Netflix called Videoland, which will be slightly more expensive, at 8.99 euros a month.

Whatever you choose, don’t guilt-trip yourself for indulging in some TV. Just remember to incorporate plenty of other activities into your day too. You can find more details of streaming services in the Netherlands here.

Groceries online

If you want to be extra safe during this time and avoid all travel outside, your best option is to order your groceries online.

Many of the main grocery chains, such as Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Coop and Dirk offer great options for ordering your groceries straight to your home, for a fee of around 6 euros.

Do take into consideration that the waiting lists can be quite long — up to two weeks out. It’s best to check around midnight or early in the morning to see if any additional slots have opened up.

For Albert Heijn, you have the option of purchasing their Bezorgbundel, which will give you a dedicated slot every week if you pay for six months or a year. It will also open more slots in general for you to order groceries from AH.

One of the advantages of shopping for groceries online, besides not having to go outside that often, is that you are supporting the store pickers and the delivery riders. The disadvantage is really just a logistic one, namely that you need to plan your groceries up to two weeks in advance.

Yoga workout

Especially now when you are working at home, you might have noticed that unless you take initiative, you could be sitting down for eight hours working and then spending the rest of the day also sitting down.

That’s why it’s very important that you move your body to ensure that you continue to stay healthy and fresh, rather than becoming a couch potato. And we get it, the couch can be awfully enticing these days, especially with all the streaming services mentioned above.

Nevertheless, as you don’t want to amplify the back problems you (probably) already have, there are enough online resources to get you going. We definitely recommend doing some yoga, as it will help with stretching and ease off that tension in the muscles. Why not even try a 30-day challenge while you’re at it?

Of course, this is just one potential workout you can do. You could also go for a run (but be warned, you might still risk infection even if you keep your distance). Overall, it’s best to work out, whatever that entails, in the confinement of your home.

Chat with friends

This one is probably one of the most important ones. Don’t forget to reach out to your friends. Whether calling them by phone, texting or video-calling, keeping contact with your loved ones will certainly help your state of mind and theirs as well!

And if you fatigue of the usual conversations, there are still plenty of options for a virtual connection. You can try Houseparty, a social app in which you can play interactive games with your friends.

Or you could make up a profile for an online game like chess and geek out with your friends over strategies. Or just play video games if that’s your cup of tea.

This sums up our list of potential activities you can do during the quarantine. And of course, if you just wanna take a day off and be a full-on couch potato, there’s no shame in that. Just take care of your mental wellbeing and try to develop a healthy routine for these strange and trying days.

What other activities have been helping you these days? Let us know in the comments!

Feature Image: Andrew Neel/Pexels

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2020 and was fully updated in December 2020 for your reading pleasure.

Vlad Moca-Grama
Vlad Moca-Grama
Vlad was born and raised in Brasov, Romania and came to the Hague to study. When he isn't spending time missing mountains or complaining about the lack of urban exploration locations in the Netherlands, you can find him writing at Dutch Review.

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