How to have a happy quarantine

post by mingyuan · 2020-03-15T03:42:56.085Z · LW · GW · 20 comments


  Big list of activities
    you can do alone

As you may have noticed, things in the world are a bit cuckoo bananas right now. Social distancing is becoming increasingly widespread, which means that people are going to be experiencing social isolation at an unprecedented level. In this age of global connectedness, this seems really scary to some people, but I prefer to think of it as something akin to the experience of weathering a snowy winter in a log cabin on the western frontier. That is, cozy and exciting!

I live in a house with about ten people. We all have different personalities and we're all afraid of going stir-crazy spending five months together, so I did some research on how we can avoid that. (We also have a dry-erase monthly calendar where we can plan out activities!) Below are my ideas :)

Epistemic status: these recommendations are based on a combination of (1) things that are required or recommended for astronauts, (2) recommendations for people homebound due to injuries, chronic illnesses, or old age, and (3) common sense.

Body interventions:

Brain interventions:

And remember that everyone else is in a similarly stressful situation to you. Interpersonal conflicts are fairly likely to arise, and you need to do your best to minimize their impact on your household. For some people that might mean you need to walk away from the situation for a while rather than letting it escalate. Maybe you need to talk to a trusted friend and/or try third-party mediation. Maybe you need to let your feelings out in a dance battle. In any case, dealing with conflict in a way that minimizes negative externalities is really important. I’d love to hear additional advice on this.

Big list of activities

Activities you can do alone

Group activities

I welcome other ideas and will add them to the post if you want!


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by DanielFilan · 2020-03-15T20:46:04.705Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Board games one can play for free online:

Board game arena is a website with a variety of games including Carcasonne, Puerto Rico, and 7 Wonders.

Replies from: DanielFilan, dspeyer, cocoa, howie-lempel
comment by DanielFilan · 2020-03-15T20:47:00.370Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd like to advertise my desire to play go with rationalists, either on OGS (linked) or KGS. I am sloeb on both platforms.

comment by dspeyer · 2020-03-18T04:37:00.737Z · LW(p) · GW(p) is another website with a variety of games has Brass has Through the Ages, both original and updated deck. (Despite the generic name, it's just that one game.)

Words With Friends is imitation Scrabble available as a Facebook app.

comment by michaelcohen (cocoa) · 2020-03-18T14:18:17.326Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've purchased the expansions on Hit me up if you want to play.

Replies from: DanielFilan
comment by DanielFilan · 2020-03-18T17:29:54.421Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Care to share your username? Mine is loewenheim_swolem.

Replies from: cocoa
comment by Howie Lempel (howie-lempel) · 2020-03-18T12:29:37.479Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I used to play Innovation online here - dunno if it still works.

Also looks like you can play here:

comment by Raemon · 2020-03-15T06:36:42.038Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I definitely forgot to get up and move around a couple days in a row and that was a mistake. 

comment by JoshuaFox · 2020-03-18T20:08:49.077Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm thinking of an online LessWrong meetup for some socializing with similar minded people. Please comment/upvote at this post [LW · GW].

comment by Eli Tyre (elityre) · 2020-03-15T04:16:05.709Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Opt-in mandatory daily exercise

This is probably a joke of some sort. But I don’t get it.

Replies from: mingyuan
comment by mingyuan · 2020-03-15T04:25:04.043Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sorry no, it wasn't a joke - my internal doc explains this better but I thought it looked unwieldy here. The description is "Opt in once, then we’ll make you do it every day to overcome the activation energy. Maybe morning calisthenics or some other group exercise." Does that make more sense?

Also I corrected your spelling of "borders" in your recent question :P

comment by romeostevensit · 2020-03-16T00:10:16.913Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Casual/co-op games that aren't super high mental overhead combined with voice chat can be more connective/sustainable than the slightly more formal video calls. I can only stay on a video call for about an hour to an hour and a half, but I can jump in to and out of group games regularly.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2020-03-15T20:48:29.476Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Make sure you get real alone time

This one was the most surprising and I like it. I have no lack of it but anyway.

Set up passive Skype calls with other houses so it’s kind of like we’re hanging out in each other’s living rooms

This is a great one and I hope we will see more of it. Setting it up is not trivial though. Mostly because of the permanent part. Zoom for example limits to 40 min even in the paid version.

Anyway here are some pointers:

Setup in general

Jitsi video solution (which you can host yourself and can have a permanent call then):

I had good results with a Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam because it has a good compromise of which sounds it picks up in front of the screen. A Jabra Speak 510 is better but who can afford that?

comment by lolobo · 2020-04-29T17:20:39.847Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hey, can you give reference for "Tasting exercises from the book Taste"? There seems to have at least two

Replies from: mingyuan
comment by mingyuan · 2020-04-29T18:46:46.993Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah yes, sorry about that! Some of the exercises are available here; there are more in the book :)

comment by Neel Nanda (neel-nanda-1) · 2020-04-11T19:57:39.879Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks a lot for writing this! I read this a while ago, and discovered that "under-desk bike pedal things" exist, and have now successfully trained a TAP to idly cycle on mine every time I'm on a video call, which is surprisingly effective for ensuring I get some actual exercise done

comment by William_S · 2020-03-18T17:31:46.116Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The chrome extention Netflix Party lets you synchronize playing the same video on netflix other people, which you can use along with Skype to watch something together.

(You can always fall back to counting down "3,2,1" to start playing the video at the same time, but the experience is nicer if you ever need to pause and resume)

comment by silentbob · 2020-03-16T12:30:43.081Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One game/activity I generally recommend because of its potential 11/10 fun payoff in the end, which also works in relative isolation, is having fun with gap texts (just figured out this is apparently known as "mad libs", so maybe this isn't actually new to anybody). The idea being that one person creates a small story with many words left out, and then asks other people to fill in the words without knowing the context. So "Bob scratched his <bodypart> and <verb> insecurely. 'You know', he said <adverb>, 'when I was a(n) <adjective> boy, I always wanted to become a(n) <noun>, but I couldn't, because my <bodypart> is/are too <adjective>" might be part of such a story. You pick these gaps in random order and query people for the thing you need (or if you're alone, you can even do this yourself given you manage to hide the context from yourself). Afterwards you read the story out loud to everybody involved.

I've done this a few times both with groups and just with my girlfriend and it never disappointed. Usually takes some time to write and fill in the story, but I think it's very much worth it. Also, this gets funnier with experience as you figure out both what kind of text works best (involving body parts is certainly a great idea) and also what kinds of words to fill the gaps with (e.g. very visual ones, or such with certain connotations).

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2020-03-15T20:52:48.777Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My ex-wife has cancelled a party and replaced it with an outside gathering. It is much easier to keep a distance there and talk. Just do not get close or touch. I think she will even provide food - muffins fresh from the oven for everybody to pick up from the tray.

comment by leggi · 2020-03-15T07:15:04.653Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If anyone's looking for something to do, you could always try learning a little human anatomy:

5 main muscles made easy. [LW · GW]

A minute a muscle so say 5 minutes a day. Do you have the time to spare?

Go on - connect body and mind!