Home Alone

self isolating

So, this is the inevitable pandemic reaction post…

No, I’m not going to remind you of proper hand washing technique, or overwhelm you with science (I’m a big fan of science, which is why I leave it to professionals).

I’m here to celebrate social distancing and spending time alone.

Yes, the choice of words is deliberate: we Finns are culturally predisposed to needing some alone time every now and then, and social awkwardness (e.g. strong distaste for small talk) is more the norm than an exception.

Thus, even though the country is not in lockdown (not yet, anyway), anyone who can is working from home and avoiding social contacts. With gusto.

OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But the stereotypical Finn is an introvert (except in summer) who does anything to avoid interacting with other people. Like the character in this book I found in my bookcase.

At Home 1300 x 1000

social distancing

So, what about me?

Yes, I’m an introvert (though it may come as a surprise to many people), and I need a lot of time on my own. Yet, my work is very social and requires me to interact with (and talk to) a lot of people. It can be exhausting at times, and I have been looking forward to a bit more peace and quiet after a hectic period at work.

As a freelancer, my working hours vary, depending on the time of the year (= either there is too much work or not enough), and it’s a slow period on the work front at the moment. I was going to focus on personal projects this month anyway, even before the pandemic made us all social recluses.

Besides, it’s not like I’ve barricaded myself into my home. I still go out when I need to (grocery shopping, a few errands, going for a walk). But I haven’t seen any of my friends (and I love my friends), and I haven’t been out shopping for spring clothes. I’m sure I will start missing this (my friends and shopping, that is) eventually.

But for now, I’m making the most of the (bad) situation, as it is. I choose to see the recommended social distancing as a socially acceptable way of indulging my secret desire to just be left alone for a while.

And yes, in case you’re wondering, I understand that loneliness is a severe problem for a lot of people who have not chosen to be alone, or who are self isolating because they’ve been exposed to the virus or are ill.

 And how am I going to spend my alone time?

Well, my wardrobe needs a spring cleaning. The laundry needs doing, and the windows need washing (what a pity it’s too cold to wash windows…not really).

And I’ve been wishing I had time to read more. Or at least sort out the books that keep piling up in my bookcase…

Now would also be a good time to continue my German language studies, so that next time we visit the in-laws I could actually say something…

I also plan to continue my on-off KonMari project (you’ll get an update in a week or two), or start writing that novel I’ve always wanted to write (don’t hold your breath).

The only downside at the moment is that my husband, Professor M, is in Scotland, and I don’t know when he’ll be able to get back here. I miss him already. But not enough (yet) to start Skyping. Or FaceTiming.

Come on, I even hate speaking to people on the phone! With me, it’s either face-to-face or texting, DMs, WhatsApp etc (anything in writing, to be dealt with at my convenience). But who knows, maybe, in time, I will need to learn new ways of being (a bit) more social…

At Home 1300 x 1000

At Home 1300 x 1000

home alone

Details (all old):
cardigan:  Johnstons Cashmere / top: Custo Barcelona / trousers: PBO /
mug: “Taika” by Klaus Haapaniemi for Iittala /
book: “Finnish Nightmares” by Karoliina Korhonen (also a webcomic)


Have you been practicing social distancing or self isolation?

Linking up with:

Elegantly Dressed and StylishHigh Latitude StyleA Labour of LifeCurly Crafty Mom, Doused in Pink,  Not Dressed As LambLiving on Cloud NineElegance and Mommyhood, Nancy’s Fashion StyleShelbee on the EdgeA Pocketful of Polka Dots Style SplashAway from the BlueMummabstylish Mutton Years Style and I, Independent Fashion Bloggers


  1. 17 March 2020 / 1:32 pm

    These days I’ve been thinking that we introverts manage this compulsory isolation better, so I’m considering my own introversion as an advantage. I usually consider it just a distinctive quality, something I’m neither proud of, nor ashamed. Same to be a book worm, quite nerdy and a crafty person. These qualities look usually dowdy for most people (which I don’t care!), but they’ve always bring me lots of joy, particularly these days!.
    Glad that you’re keeping yourself (and others) safe and enjoying your time. Obviously, it’s better if you can stay at home with your partner!.
    Lovely outfit and lovely matchy cushions and mug!, red color is so appealing!. And the book looks really humorous!

    • Tiina
      20 March 2020 / 6:56 pm

      Yes, I think it is definitely easier for introverts, for sure. But at some everyone needs to get out and see other people, too. I can just imagine how difficult it must be in Spain, in lockdown. We can still go out, restaurants and shops are open (just empty, as most people follow the recommendation to stay home as much as possible and avoid social contacts).
      I was very lucky: Professor M decided to get back, just in time before the borders were closed. And now he’s stuck here, with me, for at least a month.

  2. q
    17 March 2020 / 7:28 pm

    I so recognise the “when the bus is full” situation, it is truly awkward and very stressing. So thanks for linking the Finnish nightmare blog.
    But it will be no buses for quite a while here. I wonder if this is the thing, that pushes me to use bicycle for going to work regardless of weather conditions. Before that, it will be one interesting experience to have two adults working remotely and two kids studying remotely in the same house. Not that I complain, things could be worse. -q ps. I hope you overcome your natural dislike for phone (which again I can relate to) and get at least to hear your Professor M’s voice.

    • Tiina
      20 March 2020 / 6:59 pm

      Oh no! I hope you have a big house so you can all make it work and everyone can get some personal space.

  3. Flora
    18 March 2020 / 4:21 pm

    We are retired and spend our days in separate rooms unless we are out together, or alone, so we are used to self isolation, :). We even email each other. Many days we are in all day, quite happily, but now that we have strict rules in France we are itching to get out. My husband says why didn’t we get a dog? I’m reading all the books that are too heavy to read in bed. We are both introverts which makes things easier at the moment. My only worry is getting enough fresh vegetables and fruit I’m addicted. Be philosophical maybe you’ll be able to finish your pile of ironing as well as sorting your wardrobe.

    • Tiina
      20 March 2020 / 7:04 pm

      I do the same: I sometimes text my husband when he is in the other room (we only have two rooms, unfortunately) when he’s working…
      I can imagine it must be difficult in France now. It’s one thing to choose to stay at home for a while and quite another to be forced to do it. Perhaps you could borrow a neighbour’s dog? The dog might be happy to get a few extra walks…
      As for the ironing and wardrobe: sorted.

  4. mireilleftm
    19 March 2020 / 8:11 pm

    That book I think would be great right now. We are spending a lot of time in our backyard and in our neighborhood taking walks and riding our bikes. Baking a little more and finding ways to keep the kids entertained. So glad we have 4 so they can have each other to play with!

    • Tiina
      20 March 2020 / 7:07 pm

      It must be challenging to keep the kids entertained. But at least you can go out a bit, and I’m sure they’re happy to have the whole family together.

      • mireilleftm
        23 March 2020 / 3:35 am

        Yes, being able to go outside has been a big bonus!

    • Tiina
      24 March 2020 / 7:47 pm

      It’s actually true, honest. That’s how we Finns behave: try to avoid talking to other people as much as possible. Except in summer, of course.

  5. 20 March 2020 / 3:06 pm

    Hello (non)social sister! I hear you on the phone thing. The book looks like fun!

    • Tiina
      20 March 2020 / 7:08 pm

      Oh yes, talking on the phone is the worst. I take after my grandmother: she was always very brief and to the point. A phonemail with her usually lasted approximately 5 seconds…

  6. shelbeeontheedge1
    20 March 2020 / 5:35 pm

    Tiina, I am right there with you. I am good in self isolation for about 3 months, then my inner extrovert needs to be let out! That is when I go on my solo road trips to engage with and meet new people. Fortunately, I just did one of those trips so I am fine in isolation until the end of May! Hopefully, this passes by then. However, I don’t have any down time during this like everyone else does! Since I already work from home on blogging and writing, the only difference for me now is adding in activities for my kids. So I am busier than ever. But that’s a good thing because I am just cruising through the days with beautiful distractions. I hope your husband can get home soon. But also like you, I am used to long separations from my husband and we only video chat for the sake of children when he’s away. I’m good with texting! Keep on with your positive attitude, my friend.


    • Tiina
      20 March 2020 / 7:11 pm

      I hear you! I think we all have that point when we just need to go out and do something new.
      So, you have two jobs now: your own and as a teacher. I can imagine how challenging that must be.
      Yes, my husband got back home, just before the borders were closed. Now he’s stuck here for a month…

  7. Maryellen Reardon
    21 March 2020 / 12:51 am

    Love all the read in the photo and I really must come to Finland as I too dislike too much ‘people time.’ Stay safe,

    • Tiina
      21 March 2020 / 11:15 am

      Thanks! Yes, you should definitely visit Finland, for many reasons.

  8. Anna Shirley
    21 March 2020 / 7:48 am

    We need to find our happy moments, even under these circumstances. It is good that this situation isn’t stressful for you, and you see it more like an opportunity to finish the unfinished projects. It is interesting how different people react to the same situation. As an ex-pat, I feel quite isolated already. So I need more contact with family and friends. We are texting and calling each other more than ever. The feeling that they are there (even on the other side of the planet) is a big comfort to me. We still can go out, so we are not closed home, we just need to avoid big crowds, which is in Singapore pretty much everywhere. o) We are not going anywhere for two months now – we do only necessary things like traveling to work or school and grocery shopping. I’m glad that we have a tiny park nearby, walking there almost every day is keeping me sane. Let’s hope that the situation will be over soon. Stay safe.

    • Tiina
      21 March 2020 / 11:19 am

      I think we can all cope with this situation, for a while. But two months sounds long… I’m glad you can at least stay in touch with friends and family.
      We’re not confined to our homes, either (at least not yet), but told to avoid crowds and work from home if possible.

  9. 21 March 2020 / 7:55 pm

    Wow! A country of introverts! In America, I would estimate that at least half the population is composed of extroverts. I think I would love Finland! As an introvert, I am similarly relieved to forego the pressure I often feel to socialize. But I do feel sorry for my extroverted acquaintances. I realize that not socializing is as difficult for them as it is when I feel I must.

    Tina, I am glad you are making the most of this challenging environment. I really enjoyed this thoughtful post.

    • Tiina
      22 March 2020 / 10:27 am

      Thanks, Michelle.
      Well, the stereotypical view of a typical Finn is a socially awkward introvert, but I suppose there’s some truth to it. However, we’re much more social and outgoing in summer (must be the warmer weather, and increased daylight hours).

  10. Arlene Gomes
    22 March 2020 / 8:11 pm

    Well, here in NJ (US), we are being told to stay home and only go out if you need to shop for food or go to the pharmacy. It’s quite scary for most of us. I miss my daughters and even though I’m probably considered an introvert, I do miss other people. The other night in our town, we had a “toast” at 6:00 pm – invited everyone to come out on their porches and toast to all our neighbors and ask how everyone is, do they need anything, etc. etc. It was fun and nice to see them. Some people did not participate but some did. It happened to be a very sunny day too and I felt so much better once I went inside. It is getting worse here every day (more people with the virus) and now I am afraid to go to the supermarket. I tried the online shopping (delivery) but it’s in such demand that the site said no deliveries right now. One of them said Friday would be the first day of delivery to me. It is Sunday! So I gave up. I can’t wait for this to just go away! Sorry to be so down but it’s already getting to me. I love time alone but I guess because I can’t go out, I find it unbearable. Apologies for this post but I needed to vent!! Arlene from NJ

    • Tiina
      24 March 2020 / 7:45 pm

      I understand your need to vent! Just go ahead, venting is good for you.
      And what a lovely neighbourhood you have! So nice of people to come out and greet their neighbours this way. That means a lot at a time like this.
      It’s a bit surreal that normal life, like going to the supermarket, seems suddenly dangerous, isn’t it? It’s not quite so bad here, we’re not in a lockdown situation (at least not yet) but obviously we should stay home for the most part. But we can still go for walks, provided we keep our distance from other people.

  11. 25 March 2020 / 11:21 am

    Oh my lord – perhaps I am not a Kiwi after all but Finnish, right now in Scotland with lockdown the husband is working at home having come up with me from London, this may get very difficult. He is present, very present, present all the time – conceptually I like him after all we have been married a long time, but right now??? We have a small house and he seems to either inhabit it ALL, or move things and put things in odd places or commandeer space for important “things”. I go back to work (from home) next week having been off for 3, I am actually delighted that I wont be in the open plan office with my boss (no personal boundaries whatsoever) and some very loud women in a far corner that shriek like chickens, because my work laptop has all the work software on it, the boss will have to email me if he wants me – I have blocked him from my personal phone already. This is a terrible situation for people, but after a normal workday I am over-peopled and totally fried.

    • Tiina
      26 March 2020 / 12:34 pm

      I hear you…
      I also spend my days in a very small flat, with hubby conducting video/phone meetings in the other room. And I can so relate to the need to police that ‘things’ are not left all over the place (because it gets so messy so fast).
      I think that even if Covid19 won’t kill us, the constant presence of our nearest and dearest might…

Leave a Reply