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quarantine tips

Quarantine Tips From TV & Movie Characters Who Excel At Social Distancing

The emergence of COVID-19 has made all of us introverts, whether we like it or not. Thankfully, as we pass the time binge-watching, it’s become apparent that a bunch of our favorite TV and movie characters were making social distancing an art form long before it became popular — er, mandatory.

You don’t have to be like the germaphobic, socially awkward Sheldon Cooper or curmudgeonly (but talented) Mike Baxter to get through the self-isolation period unscathed. There are many strategies we can learn from weirdos like these to approach social distancing without losing our minds. Here are some tips from some of the most lovable (or maybe not so lovable!) social misfits on how not to just survive, but even thrive under the COVID-19 lockdown.

Sheldon Cooper From The Big Bang Theory

Sheldon Cooper is the quintessential TV introvert. Played by Jim Parsons on “The Big Bang Theory,” his character is a brilliant theoretical physicist who has an eidetic memory.

Sheldon has great difficulty adjusting to life the way pretty much everyone else lives it. He prefers to be alone, only socializing with a handful of people. He doesn’t even know how to drive, relying on his few friends to help get him to where he needs to be. While he loves classic trains, for the most part, he avoids public transportation because he’s such a germaphobe.

We can learn a lot from Sheldon as we try to get through this pandemic, living an isolated life from home. While Sheldon often seems miserable on the outside, for the most part, he’s happy in his isolation. He spends time reading, playing strategic video and board games, working on physics problems, and anything else that exercises his brain. He knows that if you don’t give yourself a mental workout from time to time, you can become dull and lethargic.

Like Sheldon, you need to make sure to make time for the things you enjoy — and even commit yourself to learning something new. Picking up new talents like playing the guitar or driving a stick shift not only keeps your brain engaged but also adds some nifty skills to your professional toolbox.

Mike Baxter From Last Man Standing

Mike Baxter is the head of the family in “Last Man Standing,” where he lives in a house outnumbered by his wife and three daughters. Mike outwardly admits he hates being around people, going to great lengths to avoid his neighbors and even some of the family’s friends. In one episode, Mike goes as far as to insult one of his wife’s friends at a party to avoid being invited back. Generally, he prefers to stay at home with his family.

Despite his antisocial nature, Mike is a pretty well-rounded guy. He immerses himself in his hobbies, which include classic cars and hunting. He’s a successful businessman who excels at marketing and customer service, actively posting on his vlog to connect with his customers.

To survive quarantine, we can take a cue from Mike and pursue our favorite hobbies. Doing so can re-energize us and help us feel a sense of accomplishment. We can also spend time reaching out to our customers and clients to let them know we’re thinking of them — effectively maintaining those relationships until we’re able to get back to business at full speed.

Side note: Tim Allen, the actor who portrays Mike Baxter, played a similar character in his earlier show, “Home Improvement.” His alter ego on that show, Tim Taylor, preferred to immerse himself in a good home renovation project (especially anything involving heavy equipment!) rather than socialize with other people.

Willy Wonka From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka, played by Gene Wilder and, in a remake, by Johnny Depp, is an eccentric candy maker who lives alone at his factory with his beloved Oompa Loompas. Spending his adult life in solitude by choice, he also has quite the knack for business. Despite self-imposed isolation, he manages to build a wildly successful candy factory represented by an unmistakable brand, even though no one has seen him for decades or knows what he looks like. Even in the pre-internet days, Willy Wonka demonstrated that you could create success without ever encountering another soul personally in the course of doing business.

So, take a page out of his delicious book and use this time of self-isolation to connect with customers, reach out to former colleagues, or spend a little extra time networking on LinkedIn. If there’s one thing we can learn from Willy Wonka, it’s that we can still market and promote our companies while practicing social distancing — and it’s easier than ever with the tools we have in the 21st century. (We don’t even need to package golden tickets in our candy bars.)

In isolation, it’s important to think beyond yourself, although it’s hard to not dwell on quarantine-inflicted misery at least part of the time. But if you focus on the greater good as outlined by health experts, and stay focused on the tasks you need to do to keep your company successful, you can ease the frustrations associated with shelter-in-place restrictions.

Wrapping Up

Today’s quarantine measures are unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, but hopefully within the near future, life will get back to something resembling normal. By staying the course — and perhaps following the examples of some of pop culture’s biggest introverts who self-isolate as a rule of thumb — we can get through the next phase without too much stress. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay sane.


Molly Barnes

Molly Barnes is a full-time digital nomad, exploring and working remotely in different cities in the US. She and her boyfriend Jacob created the website Digital Nomad Life to share their journey and help others to pursue a nomadic lifestyle.

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