During this weird time in our lives, we are experiencing something that we have never really experienced before…being stuck at home and unable to hangout with friends or family in person. Many of us are lucky to live with friends or family members, but others might be flying this quarantine period solo. This can be extremely detrimental to one’s health. It can also cause some individuals to redevelop, or newly develop, bad habits and addictions.
So what are some ways to keep yourself preoccupied, sane and happy while stuck in quarantine with nowhere to go? Below are things that I’ve been doing on the daily to stay occupied.
While some of us are not the most skilled in this department, it can be extremely fun to try or invent new recipes! Prior to being quarantined, most of us led busy lives that made it difficult to bake or cook for fun. Well, here is your chance to bring that back or take it up as a new hobby! Baking and cooking can be extremely therapeutic. You don’t have to take this seriously at all; however, a little friendly competition can be entertaining as well. If you are living with someone, you can formulate a baking competition or even teach your kids basic cooking skills. Some things that my husband and I have done include:
- Trying the hardest recipe online
- Baking recipes from the Great British Baking Show
- Each giving the other a list of ingredients and seeing who can create the most delicious dish. We chose cupcakes 😊 You can have fun by picking weird ingredients.
Not many people are keen on exercising and that’s okay! You don’t have to have an “at-home gym” or workout until you are sick to enjoy some healthy activity. We all need to get up and move our bodies, especially now more than ever. With gyms closed, it can be hard to motivate yourself to workout in your home. However, exercising of any kind will rejuvenate you and help with your mental health. There are videos on YouTube that you can watch, or you can simply go for a run or walk. I found that going for long walks and then doing some ab exercises has really helped me. I try to find alternate walking routes, so that I’m not bored with the same scenery every time. I also put on music and simply daydream. Just let your mind wander. If you find it hard to motivate yourself, I highly suggest looking for fun apps (like “Zombies, Run!”), trying new types of exercises (like Yoga or Pilates), or simply start walking around the block.
- Reading and Writing
I found that my brain is desperately trying to look for ways to stay active during this dormant time. I took up reading and writing again and found that it is bringing me a sense of normalcy. Granted, I haven’t been blogging much because I feel unmotivated to discuss my daily life during a crisis and I also have writer’s block when I try writing stories. However, it is great to write if you are able. You can also simply get out a pen and paper or computer and just start typing. You might be pleasantly surprised by what flows out of your fingertips.
There are also many books out there that I have been wanting to read, but never had the time to do so. I’ve already read two books and I’m starting my third. This has been the most reading that I’ve done in years! Believe me when I tell you that I very rarely finish a book. I’m the queen of starting a book, getting halfway through it, then placing it on the shelf and forgetting about it. I think I have about 30 half-read books randomly placed throughout the apartment collecting dust. So, give it a try and see how you feel afterwards. I never thought I would get back into reading the way that I did or pick up where I left off on my stories that I began years ago. My brain has definitely thanked me for keeping it preoccupied in a more academic way.
- Arts and Crafts
I love to draw, but I found that daily life gets in the way of creativity. Under normal circumstances, I would leave work at 4:00pm, get to the gym by 4:40pm, get home at 5:30pm and eat leftovers or make a microwaved meal for my dinner, and then watch TV until I go to bed at 9:00pm. During the weekends, I would simply catch up on cleaning, spend time with my husband and dog, and let my brain just veg out before the upcoming work week. However, we now have the chance to draw and create at our leisure. Art is therapeutic and can help you to de-stress. Turn on music and make something. You don’t even have to be crafty to do this. It’s about trying something new, getting back lost hobbies, and maybe even finding the time to finish decorating a room in your home. Bring your kids into it as well! Create with them and showcase their masterpiece in your home.
- Learn a New Language
I’ve been taught Spanish, Latin, Greek and Gaelic but God help me if I remember much of these amazing languages. I decided to relearn Gaelic because it’s always been my favorite and I never became fluent in it. I really want to be able to hold a conversation or even understand what someone is saying. I used to have Rosetta Stone for Gaelic, but sadly, many computers don’t have disk holders anymore. So, my hundred-dollar Rosetta Stone disk is now completely useless. Luckily, I have books and flashcards that I made long ago, so I’ve been utilizing those. I also found my old Latin and Greek notebook and thought it would be entertaining to see what I remembered from high school and college. To my surprise, I remembered quite a bit. I still remember the Greek alphabet, and it’s made me feel pretty smart saying it in my head or writing it on a piece of paper at work during a down time. If you are looking for ways to keep your mind engaged, then I suggest picking up a new language or relearning one that you’ve already been taught. A tip for those of you interested – put sticky notes on objects in your house with the name of that object in whatever language you are learning. It will help you to better remember.
None of these ideas have to come naturally to you. As I stated many times in the paragraphs above, this is a moment to learn and keep your mind busy in a constructive way. Now, I will mention that I am fortunate enough to still be working. However, not having things open around me has turned my anxiety down a notch because I don’t have to run errands or go to the gym daily. I’ve been implementing all these tips into my daily lifestyle and I’m loving the physical, emotional and mental results they are bringing me. I feel happier, even if I do still have my down days. Once things go back to normal, I will continue to implement these activities into my life because, not only do I feel more myself, but I realized that I actually do have the time and energy for these hobbies. I lost that creative part of me for some reason and became extremely stressed out whenever I got home because I never thought I had enough time to do all that I wanted to do. However, I can come home from work, workout, read or write, cook and watch something with my husband all before I go to bed. It remaining light out once I’ve gotten off work has had a huge impact on all of these feelings as well. It probably is one of the main impacts actually.
I do hope that these tips help and that it brings you a sense of normalcy. Many are going stir crazy because they are stuck at home and are not used to coming up with new things to do for weeks on end. It’s okay if you are one of those people because it is a bit strange having all of this free time on our hands with nowhere to go. We are so used to living the hectic and demanding lifestyle that so much idleness is overwhelming.
Comment below some things that you have been doing to stay busy during this “stay at home” order. I’d love to hear your suggestions!