Tips from Art on How to Spend Your Time in Quarantine – Rachel Levin, Art Lecturer

Rachel Levin, a popular art lecturer who often lectures at the Bernard Betel Centre for our weekly Tuesday Lifelong Learning Lectures, has provided a lovely write-up for the Bernard Betel Centre community on tips from art on how to spend your time in quarantine and physical distancing. Enjoy!


How can we use our time when we’re in quarantine? There are many restrictions that keep us in our houses for who know for how many more weeks? How can you avoid going crazy without the contact of people, going to the movies, going to the theatre, going shopping and other activities? Here are a few quarantine tips from the art world.

Establish a morning routine


Spending hours in bed? No, no, no! Wake up at the usual time, let the sunshine into your room, and get out of bed! Turn on some Salsa music to start your day with positivity; imagine you’re dancing with Patrick Swayze, this will put a smile on your face. Maybe you need to trim your beard? Or, maybe just a shave.

Pajamas are a big no-no

Frederick Hassam (1859–1935) The Breakfast Room (1911)

It is absolutely not recommend to stay in bed in your pajamas, or to walk around the house in your housecoat. Wear a tracksuit or an elegant kimono if you have one, but leave the pajamas in bed! It will help make the distinction between daytime and nighttime easier for you.

 Enjoy long breakfasts

Have breakfast in your sunny kitchen, on your balcony, or on the deck in the backyard (once it’ll get a bit warmer), and make it a routine. Take as long as you want (you aren’t rushing anywhere), read the morning paper, a book, or listen to a podcast.

Time for pampering 

After breakfast you could tend to yourself; give yourself a mani-pedi once a week, it’ll make you feel great. While you’re soaking your feet in water you can also read the morning paper or a book,  or just listen to music.

Gaze out


Put on a jacket, go out to the balcony or the deck in your backyard and get some fresh air. Look out, start noticing the birds flying around, look at the leaves beginning to burst out of their buds – breathe! Once the weather gets warmer and we’re still confined to the house you could sit out read your book, the paper, or just listen to music. 

Pamper your plants 


If you love plants and like taking care of them, dust the leaves and trim the dry parts, water them, change the soil and of course, play some Beethoven so they grow well. If you have a garden in your backyard this is the time to clear, trim and clean all the dry branches and leaves.

Write a letter or in a journal


It is recommended to write in a journal every day to keep the spirits high. Writing in a journal is good, as it helps to let your fears and anxieties out. Nobody has to read it! The art of writing letters has almost disappeared, but we all still remember how it felt to receive a letter in the mail. Write a letter to a friend that might not be computer savvy, write to your overseas friend, or your young grandchildren, they might even reply!

Make time off-screen

You work on your computer, you watch movies on your iPad or TV, you browse Instagram on your phone, you FaceTime with your family members or friends on your iPhone, you read the daily news on your computer, phone, tablet or iPad. Before you know it, you end up spending most of the day in front of a screen, which is not good for your eyes, your brain, or your mental health. Try to plan your activities and spend some time away from screens.

Try new things

Keeping busy is essential to maintaining a sense of purpose, a driving force behind life. Learn a new language (you can find a course online!), learn how to crochet or knit, or get back to it and find new patterns online. Make a collage from old magazines, make a quilt with all those fabric scraps at the back of your closet.

Play music


Do you still have the piano that your kids used to play? Did you ever play the piano (or any other musical instrument?) If you still have those instruments at home, rejuvenate your skills, or if you never played an instrument, take a class online.

Cook creatively

It has been proven that most people rely on eight recipes that they know well and end up cooking them all the time. I do it too, so I decided to try cook new recipes with the ingredients that have been gathering dust in my pantry for way too long. Even if you are not a master chef, treat it as a challenge. Learn how to improvise or follow new recipes. There is a plethora of recipes online, and I’m sure there is one or more with your name on it!

Clean! Dust off the cobwebs and spring-clean

Most people do a serious clean-up in spring anyway; we all did it just before Passover! It’s time to refresh your winter wardrobe before you put it away, so open long neglected closets and drawers and sort through your collection of clothes, shoes, bags and accessories. Donate items you haven’t used for the last three winters, or those which doesn’t fit anymore. Get rid of all the magazines accumulated over time; donate the books you wouldn’t read again. 

Move your body

As I confessed at the beginning of this article, I dance by myself while listening to Salsa music. Dance as if nobody is watching! Try Salsa, Belly-dancing or Flamenco. You can find instructions online. If you prefer, you can lift weights, do some yoga, Pilates or exercise class on ‘YouTube’, or just go for a walk!

Phone everyone

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve called my relatives, old friends from university, friends from high school and former co-workers. Call friends that you haven’t connected with in ages, just to make sure they’re safe and sound.

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