Are you looking for things to do at home during these strange and stressful times?
Traveling is out of the question for most of us for a while.
More and more countries are closing down shops, restaurants, and public spaces or are going into complete lockdown. And other people have decided to self-quarantine.
I am currently in Spain where a complete lockdown started recently. We will have to spend at least 2 weeks inside our houses…
But what to do at home for that long? How do we keep ourselves entertained, stay healthy and stay positive?
Together with friends and other bloggers, I created this long list of things to do at home to make the most of this unfortunate situation.
Things to Do at Home During the Coronavirus Lockdown
1. Read Books
This is definitely one of the easiest things to do at home alone.
If you are anything like me you have a good number of books you’ve been meaning to read.
I don’t know what it is but I don’t allow myself enough time to read books. Therefore, I’m using this lockdown to finally read some of the books I’ve been meaning to for so long.
Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited allows you to read over a million ebooks, so that should keep you busy for a while!
Oh and did you know that you don’t need to have a Kindle to read books from Amazon’s Kindle store? This article explains how.
2. Play Board Games
If you’re locked down with other people then get out the board games!
If you’re alone, then try some online boardgames.
Or what about online puzzles or brain games?
Fun Fact: did you know there is a board game called Plague Inc.? I’m not sure if that’s considered a weird thing to play right now, but at the same time, it’s entertainment and a way to understand how viruses can infect the world… And it’s a board game that can be played alone as well!
3. Learn a New Language or Other Skill
By Megan from Absolute Armenia
One of the best things to do while under lockdown or in self-isolation is to learn a new skill such as a new language.
I recently moved to Armenia and I am currently trying to learn the language despite it being a very difficult one!
There are several apps such as Duolingo or Babbel you can use to dive in, but I am finding a good, old-fashioned book is serving me well. I am using this downtime to finally start taking learning this language seriously.
In addition to the books I have, I am also considering signing up for more language classes on italki or similar websites that will give me ‘face-to-face’ interaction with an instructor via the computer.
I think utilizing this time at home is best spent learning… even if it is a new language!
Tip: check out websites offering online courses such as Udemy.com and Coursera.org if you want to learn a new skill. And of course Youtube also has an incredible number of tutorials, courses, etc.
4. Start Cooking & Baking
By Allan from It’s Sometimes Sunny in Bangor
I was forced into self-isolation before peak panic when my parents arrived from a 3-month cruise through Africa and Asia. Then my wife touched down on a flight from Thailand and we were forced into a near month of self-isolation at the family home in Northern Ireland.
At the same time, the supermarkets were emptied by panic buying and stockpiling. So the shops were quickly out of the long-lasting foods like pasta and rice, along with tinned and pre-packaged food items.
Instead, I was left with more obscure foods that locals rarely buy, and found myself experimenting with the lesser bought foods here, like chickpeas and weird beans, and a variety of spices.
But the fresh foods, with short shelf life, continue to stock up as always. And I’ve never had so much fun cooking various international cuisines using fresh meat, fruit and veg, spices, and I learned to replicate many of my favorite Asian dishes.
At the same time, the family is also eating healthier than ever with my tasty home-cooked dishes, and we even emptied the foods from the back of the cupboards and freezer.
Note: Studies show that cooking and baking are forms of self-care that can relieve stress. So, dig up that old cookbook or do a bit of Google and Pinterest research to find some tasty recipes and start cooking!
5. Finally Make Those Photo Books
By David and Faye from Delve Into Europe
We’re on lockdown here in Prague but haven’t been short of things to occupy us at home.
While I’ve been outside playing with our son, my wife has been catching up on the huge mass of photos accumulated during years of traveling.
We’ve always loved making online photo books of our travels, as they’re such a great way to record our memories forever.
Our problem has always been actually finding the time to get around to editing and organizing our pictures. In twelve months and three days living here, it hasn’t happened.
But, we’re now suddenly confined to our apartment, the garden outside and the local supermarket. Now we can finally see a way clear to go through these thousands of pictures for our online albums.
It’s a great way to pass a few days and a real tonic for the soul!
6. Work on Your Artistic Side
Start painting or drawing.
You’ve never tried it and don’t think you’d be good at it?
There are so many easy-to-follow Youtube videos. You’d be surprised how quickly your skills improve and you’ll walk away from this whole situation having learned something new!
Or, if you want to keep it simpler, what about Paint by Numbers? There are some amazing Paint by Numbers for Adults sets that will help you create a gorgeous painting!
Tip: obviously this is a great thing to do at home with kids as well. Pottery is another option to keep the kids entertained. There are some great pottery sets for kids!
7. Work Out at Home
By Zach and Julie from Ruhls of the Road
Doing a great at-home workout is one of the best ways you can get some endorphins, improve your mood, and stay in shape while on lockdown.
Here are a few tips on how to have a great at-home workout.
First off, set a time for how long you’ll be working out. Make your workout at least twenty minutes, but no longer than an hour. Get a great sweat going, but don’t go so hard that you hurt yourself! Secondly, decide on what type of workout you want to do. There are many great instructor-led workouts on YouTube, or feel free to make up your own!
Third, reward yourself once you complete your workout! You’ll be thankful that you completed a great workout, and you can look forward to a little treat once you finish.
Have a great workout!
8. Practice Yoga at Home
Similar to doing any workout at home, yoga is a great way to stay healthy and fit and it’s a good stress relief.
But, people who practice yoga regularly say it does much more than other types of exercise. From improving your posture and helping you sleep better to helping cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
The University of Rochester’s Medical Center also states that yoga can help improve a whole range of conditions including high blood pressure, arthritis, lower back pain, and depression.
But I would say, try it for yourself and see what it does for you!
There are many free yoga classes on Youtube, for any level, so just look for one that resonates with you.
Don’t give up too easily though. Try to stick with it for at least a week, even if it’s only a short 20-minute session each day, and then decide what you think of it.
9. Practice Meditation and Mindfulness
By Annalisa from Travel Connect Experience
One of the consequences of lockdown is that you have more time to browse the news and fill your mind with alarming content. This adds to the stress of adapting to new routines.
Physical and mental wellbeing are interdependent, as shown by countless medical research. Mindfulness meditation is a tool that’s being used all over the world to support mental health, boost the immune system, and create a more joyful life.
To get the most out of meditation it requires some consistency, but you can benefit even after a single session and can start right now.
There are a few tips you can use to kick-start your meditation practice and support your mind throughout the lockdown.
First of all, create a quiet and comfy space in your house. This can simply be a comfortable chair in the corner of a tidy room. Tell your family or flatmates that you need privacy and calm for some time.
Take it gradually: meditate from 10 to 20 minutes per day in the beginning. Sit with your eyes closed and bring your attention to your breathing and to the different parts of your body. Keep the attention within, while you try to be still, and let thoughts come and go. If a thought grabs your attention for too long, bring your mind back to the breathing and the body.
If you’ve never meditated before, using a meditation app can be very helpful and there are many options out there. One of the most popular ones is Headspace, which offers different meditation programs and a trial period of two weeks.
Tip: The founder of the Headspace app also wrote the book The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness. If you are completely new to meditating that book is a great place to start. In a very down to earth way it explains why meditation and mindfulness are so useful, even for the skeptics among us.
10. Learn How to Make Your Own Soaps, Creams, Etc.
By Anthony from Green Mochila
It’s in times like these that we realize the many things we can do at home.
As for me, I take this situation as an occasion to learn new skills. One of them has been on my mind for a while: to learn how to make my own soaps.
We certainly don’t need a pandemic to start making our own soaps. At a time when we should all reduce our impact on the environment by using less plastic and fewer chemicals, it’s just a very reasonable thing to do.
So here I am, looking for recipes to make soap, shampoo, and washing-up liquid. First good news: there are tons of websites that offer very clear tutorials.
The ingredients are easy to find online; I buy them in bulk to reduce cost. All these products are really easy to make – except soap bars, that require precision in the quantities.
The more I make, the more products I find out about: air fresheners, bugs repellents, even natural remedies. I can feel I’m getting addicted! And a quick calculation made me realize that I’m saving a lot of money too.
The last thing I made? My own hand sanitizer, of course. And that’s actually very simple. You only need rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel and a bit of oil/glycerine to make hands smoother. Fun fact: it can also be made using vodka.
Tip: My friend Mike created an easy to follow recipe for homemade hand cream. With all the hand sanitizing we have all been doing lately, your hands will love this!
11. Check Out Museums That Have Virtual Tours
By my friend Monika, who was kind enough to research the best museums
The good news is that among all the chaos and sadness caused by the pandemic, from the safety of the place you’re currently staying in, you can take a look at the world’s most amazing art collections.
Some museums offer a 360º tour, others just let you browse their collection. Many also have an app you can download, such as the Tokyo National Museum or Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, to enjoy close-ups, audio guides, and games.
Here Are My Recommendations for Museums to Check out Online
- The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art – MACBA. They have made it possible to see the collection and to listen to the description of the works from their mobile app.
- The Museo del Prado in Madrid. This museum has a lot of information about their collections on their website and also offers apps dedicated to specific collections.
- The Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, Italy
- The Louvre in Paris
- The British Museum in London
- The Metropolitan Museum in New York
- MoMA – Museum of Modern Art in New York
- The Museum With No Frontiers which gives you a chance to become more familiar with Islamic art and Baroque art. It hosts images from various galleries and museums from 37 countries.
- Virtual Museum of Canada: the largest digital source of stories and experiences shared by Canada’s museums and heritage organizations.
Note: the exhibits from the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum can also be accessed from Google Arts & Culture – a vast and amazing online collection that can be filtered by places, categories, sources…
But, if you have a different favorite museum, do check out their website as well. A lot of them have started offering more things online.
One more tip: if you are a souvenir addict, you can visit an online shop of one of the above-mentioned museums and order a nice gift that will remind you that even stuck at home you don’t have to stop dreaming about visiting new places.
Ok, and one final tip: culture seems to have moved online for the next few weeks. So check your favorite magazines, theaters, art galleries, digital libraries, etc. Many of them have released free extra cultural activities. My favorite contemporary art gallery in Warsaw, for example, is doing free online guided tours on their Facebook page.
Enjoy all this culture and make the most of the things you can do at home!
12. Reach Out to Old Friends & Family Members
I’m sure you have friends or family members you haven’t spoken to in ages. Probably because you were too busy? Or you just kept forgetting to text or call them?
Well, now is the time!
These contacts, even if it’s just a text message, will make all of you feel better and it will help you come out of this lockdown feeling the situation has brought you something positive.
13. Help a Neighbor Out
Do you have an elderly neighbor or friend who might not be able to get to the supermarket? Or who needs help with other little (digital) chores?
This is a great time to help your community!
Not only will they value it immensely, but it will also make you feel more useful.
Being stuck at home without much social interaction has a strong psychological effect. Random acts of kindness can really help you feel better!
14. Clean the House
Most of us don’t enjoy cleaning. But, now that you are confined to your home anyway, you might as well use this time to get around to all these chores you kept putting off.
Finally deep clean your house!
Cleaning and tidying up can actually be a great stress reliever. Plus, it makes you feel you have done something good, something useful in these otherwise boring days stuck at home…
And, according to Psychology Today, a study showed people with clean houses are healthy and happier.
15. Declutter & Organize
By Justine from Latitude 41
We usually feel too busy to declutter and organize, but now’s the perfect time to clear your physical and digital space.
You’ll have a clean slate once you get back to normal life, which is liberating and freeing!
And you don’t have to do it all at once. You can start with one area at a time, starting with your priority. For instance, you can start with paper clutter. Trash you don’t need. Then file, defer or delegate the rest.
You can also organize your closet, file cabinet, kitchen, book library, or whatever area deserves your attention.
Make sure you have a designated space to put the things you’ll donate so you can grab it once you’re out of quarantine.
The trick is to start small so you don’t overwhelm yourself. You can take it day by day.
Also, you can declutter and organize your digital life, such as your email inbox (Get to Inbox Zero, maybe?), photos, cloud storage, or your computer’s hard drive.
I recommend the Getting Things Done system (GTD) if you want more control of your “things” and to create a productivity system that will keep your mind clear and your daily life stress-free.
Then you can hit the ground running once we get past this coronavirus outbreak!
16. Start Doing Research for Your Next Vacation
By Coni from Experiencing the Globe
For all of us, filled with wanderlust, not being able to travel is hard.
So using this period to start planning your next vacation is an ideal pastime! We all have a bucket list of destinations we dream about, so search the web for ideas and advice from travel bloggers, get an e-book, or browse through Pinterest.
As much as I advocate to leave time to get lost on your trip, research on your destination helps a lot. And we usually don’t get enough free time to do it properly.
Check reviews on hotels/hostels and tours, make sure you bookmarked all the must-sees and read about the history, culture, and politics of the place. The more you know about your destination, the more you’ll get out of your trip.
There’s also little time in our hectic lives to think about the “boring” part of planning a trip, so no time like now to sort it out. Choose which travel insurance makes more sense for your travel style, get that backpack/suitcase you’ve been meaning to change, and get a packing list ready.
Not only will this help the Coronavirus lockdown go by in no time, but you’re going to be fully prepared for that dream trip!
17. Step Away From Social Media
By Claire from This Travel Lover
As tempting as it is to while away the time at home looking at social media, it can have a huge impact on your mental health.
Focussing on your own wellbeing and practicing self-care is vital – which means stepping away from social media, especially right now.
Constant updates about the number of people infected with Coronavirus and the number of deaths is extremely stressful, so limit how often you read the news while still keeping up to date with what is going on in your area. Once or twice a day is enough!
With so many social media updates about Coronavirus it is hard to imagine that anything else is happening in the world, but there is and there will be. Try to concentrate on other things that will keep your mind occupied and leave your phone out of arms’ reach.
Social media is also a magnet for misinformation and fake news. Therefore it is sometimes hard to know what to believe. Stick to advice from the WHO and official government sources, not the potentially fake Facebook post that your next-door neighbor’s work colleague’s friend shared, and you will be better informed and much less stressed!
18. Get a Routine Going
By Dragos from DragosRoua.com
Implement a fixed routine, that you’re sure to follow at least 80%, each day.
This unexpected forced isolation can have some disrupting psychological effects.
Long-term goals can become blurry and once this Coronavirus quarantine is over, we may find ourselves even more disoriented than in the beginning.
To keep some order in your life, write down a daily schedule (or use your preferred scheduling app for it), even if it contains only things like:
- Morning Yoga
- Check Email
- Work on …
- Make lunch
- Do the dishes
- Read for 1 hour
- Take a power nap
- Have dinner
- My evening routine
Check off every item from the list as you do them and keep at it.
19. Eat Healthily
I know, it’s tempting to crack open a bottle of wine every day and eat all the chocolate and cookies you can get your hands on.
But, most of us know food affects our mood. Plus, the last thing we want is to fall ill now that the hospitals are overworked.
So, try to stick to a normal, healthy diet. It will really help you feel better about this whole situation!
WebMD has a good article about what to eat and drink to help you feel better.
20. Get Enough Sleep
Another important thing to stay healthy and positive is getting enough sleep.
Obviously spending the whole day in bed is not what I mean, but getting 8 hours of sleep every night is important.
If you struggle to fall asleep or get a good 8 hours sleep, use a sleep app (Calm is a popular one) or do some research on how to sleep better.
21. Watch Movies
I, on purpose, made this my last tip. I don’t think binge watching Netflix for two weeks is what you should be doing.
But, spending your evening watching a good movie or an interesting documentary is definitely not a bad way to kill some time!
Want to make it more sociable even though you are home alone? Decide with friends or family members to all watch the same movie so that you can talk about it afterward.
And if you miss traveling as much as I do, watch a movie or documentary about a destination you still want to visit. Seeing gorgeous landscapes and fascinating cultures always makes me happy!
I hope this list of things to do at home has given you some inspiration.
Let’s stay positive and healthy and make the most of this!
Also Read: How to Stay Healthy While Traveling
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