Instead of focusing on the (very long) list of what you can’t do, here are some things you’ll love doing.
You hear the word “quarantine” and automatically hear the long list of things we’re not allowed to do these days. But perhaps you should think of all the opportunities this slower lifestyle offers. Instead of sitting around worrying about coronavirus or feeling lonely, use your downtime to learn new skills, pamper yourself, and reconnect with what makes you happy. Just remember: It’s called downtime for a reason. So, don’t see this list as pressure or guilt to be productive every single moment but simply some ideas of things to do to get you through this tough time with your sanity intact.
Connect with your quarantined ancestors
This is certainly not the first pandemic the world has had to deal with and chances are you have a great-great-grandparent who lived through the 1918 flu pandemic. Find out more about their story and how they survived it through pictures, journal entries, and historical records. You can also find out more about your personal ancestry, which dead celebrities you’re related to, which relative you look the most like, how closely you’re related to your spouse or friend, and much more.
Meditation is one of the best things you can do right now to relieve stress and improve your wellbeing. If you’re like the rest of us, you sit down, try to “quiet” your mind… and then say “Well, now what?” Download Aura, an app that walks you through meditation and mindfulness. It’s offering a free three-month subscription, which includes unlimited access to their expert-created mindfulness meditations, life coaching, inspiring stories, and music.
Set up a home movie theatre
Movie theatres around the country are closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get your cinematic fix. At-home movie projectors have gotten a lot smaller and less expensive in recent years, allowing you to project a new release or family-friendly classic on any blank wall. Pop up some popcorn, set up the pillows, and enjoy the show!
Write in a journal
Sitting at home binge watching Tiger King on Netflix may not feel like you’re doing much, but you’re actually living through a major historical event that people will learn and talk about for generations after this is all over. Writing a journal will help you not just preserve your memories but will also help you process your feelings about this time that manages to feel simultaneously terrifying and immensely boring. You could also consider making it a gratitude journal.
Knit a bad hair day beanie
Needle arts used to be a staple for passing the time while making something useful and pretty. You can learn to knit, cross-stitch, embroider, crochet, or tatt with a beginner kit!
Plant a container garden
Just because you have to stay indoors doesn’t mean you can’t get started on your spring gardening. Bring the outdoors in by sprouting seeds or planting a container garden. Bonus: You can use your fresh herbs in your amazing healthy dishes you’re learning to cook.
Learn a new language
Want to know how to say, “quarantine stinks” in five other languages? Now is a great time to learn or practice a new language. Duolingo is an easy-to-use, totally free app that gives daily lessons in 35 different languages. You can pick a standard like English, Spanish, or Cantonese, or you can branch out with Navajo, Esperanto, and Klingon or High Valyrian (we’re not kidding).
Perfect your cat eye with liquid eyeliner
Drawing a smooth even cat eye with liquid eyeliner is some advanced makeup skills. Then, once you figure it out, you have to replicate it exactly on the other eye! Nobody has time for that on a busy morning rushing out the door for work—but now that you’re only commuting to your bedroom you have plenty of time to experiment.
Take the best bath ever
Bath lovers rejoice: Self-quarantining is the perfect opportunity to take the long, luxurious bath of your dreams. You can even soak all day if you like! All you need is a good book, a favourite beverage, and some yummy-smelling bath products!
Pamper yourself more with these homemade facial masks.
Fortify your immune system with green juice
Whipping up a produce-packed smoothie or a green juice may be too much work on a normal morning but what is normal anymore? These days it’s more important than ever to support your immune system and your waistline with plenty of fresh or frozen fruits and veggies.
Make a cocktail
Make great cocktails with any of your favorite wines or whisky. We will recommend some HERE
Upgrade an old shirt with tie-dyeing
Tie-dyeing isn’t just for kids or people who never outgrew the ’70s—it’s a versatile art form that is fun and easy to do. Upgrade a T-shirt, pair of leggings, baby onesie, hat or any other cotton item.
Stretch and strengthen with yoga
Do Yoga with Me is offering its high-definition yoga videos for free during the pandemic. They have classes ranging from stress-relieving breathing exercises to popular yoga poses to regular flows—no prior experience (or flexibility!) required. Your body will thank you for doing yoga!
Create some quarantine art
Channel your feelings by doing something creative. Painting is a great way to express yourself, learn a new skill, and help you see ordinary things (like everything in your house you’ve been staring at for weeks) in a whole new way.
Talk to a therapist
Feeling stressed and anxious? Try teletherapy. You can arrange online sessions that allow you to video chat, call, or text with a therapist without ever leaving your house.
Get your feet sandal-ready
Eventually, you’re going to be able to leave your house and when you do it will likely be warm enough for sandals. Keep your feet from looking like they were quarantined with a werewolf by doing a little prep work now. Use a foot soak to soften everything, push back your cuticles and trim your nails, paint your nails, pluck any rogue toe-hairs, and—this is the best part—buff the dead skin off your heels.
Do a hair mask (don’t cut bangs)
With salons being closed, people are being forced to learn to do their own manicures, hair trims, and even dye jobs. You might want to avoid the urge to cut new bangs, but one thing you can do risk-free is a hair mask.
Take a history class
So many interesting things to learn but so little time? No problem now. Edx offers free university courses—including from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and University of California, Berkley—in hundreds of subjects. Brush up on skills for your job or take a course in something purely for fun, like astronomy or history. You don’t get official credit for them but you get to keep all the knowledge you learn.
Try something new in the bedroom
Nothing relieves stress and adds some fun like some good sex and thanks to the quarantine you don’t have to resort to quickies to get your fix. Not to mention that sex can be great exercise! Use this time to try out new positions, role play, or toys. Although parents with children home may find this a little more challenging!
Read a happy book
The antidote for all the doom and gloom news you’ve been reading lately? An ebook about happiness, success, self-help, or another positive subject. Sure, romance or sci-fi novels count too! Ebooks come in a wide variety of subjects, are instantly readable on a device, and are delivered 100 per cent germ-free making them the perfect activity for those staying in to avoid illness.
Learn to bake homemade bread
There is no smell better than fresh bread baking but it can feel daunting for beginner bakers who don’t know what “proofing yeast” even means, much less how to do it. Plus, who has the time to sit around rising, kneading, and then baking dough? You do, now! If you’re already a pro, take this opportunity to learn how to bake a new type of bread, like sourdough, and teach this skill to your child while you’re at it.
Play some brain games
Keep your mind active and agile can be a challenge when you’re stuck in a quarantine. Thankfully there are plenty of fun and educational brain games to help you stay sharp. Lumosity is an app developed by neuroscientists with over 60 games designed specifically to boost cognition and memory. It’s available on Apple, Android or computer.
Find a new favourite podcast
Podcasts—audio programs that you listen to through your phone—are one of the best ways to become smarter in your spare time. With subjects ranging from comedy to history to fictionalized drama, there’s something for everyone. You’ll be amazed at how fast time flies when you’re listening to a riveting story. Need a family-friendly option? Be sure to listen to these amazing history podcasts!
Organize your home office
With so many people now suddenly working from home, it’s no surprise that home office arrangements for small spaces are in high demand. And you deserve better than your laptop on a sticky table with cords snaking around your feet! Start by setting apart a dedicated space to work (even if that’s on your couch), and then get productive with these working from home rules.
Clean your windows
Because you’re constantly looking through them, not at them, you never realize how dirty your windows really are until you clean them. The world will suddenly start to look a lot less dreary and more hopeful if you scrub the dirt and grime off your glass.
Go for a walk or run
In most places, unless you are under a strict stay-indoors mandate, you are still allowed to go outside for exercise while still following self-quarantining rules. (Not in groups and while staying at least six feet away from others, of course.) This is something you should take advantage of daily as exercise and sunshine are two of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. Nature is one of the wonderful things that will never be cancelled!