This is an extraordinarily bizarre time for all of us.
Across the country – and the rest of the world – people are hunkering down at home as they wait out the worst of the COVID-19 storm. Leaving the house has been restricted to only essential trips: for key work that can’t be completed remotely, essential food shopping, daily exercise, and medical purposes.
While most members of the general public are embracing the importance of doing this, and following social distancing and isolation policies correctly in the hopes of stemming the spread of the virus, spending so much time unable to leave the house and physically interact with friends and family is seemingly starting to take its toll and many are wondering how to deal with the lifestyle change which has be brought about by Coronavirus.
Social isolation doesn’t have to mean you completely pause your life
As we enter our second week of official lockdown, it would seem that the cabin fever has well and truly started to kick in. More than ever, people are turning to quick fixes to help stem their boredom; alcohol sales are up 20% since the pandemic restrictions began in the UK, and social media use has also increased by 76% on some platforms during the same period. The national focus, right now, is on ‘getting through’ this strange time in whatever way possible in the hopes of regaining some sense of normality once restrictions are lifted.
But social isolation doesn’t have to mean you completely pause your life – and time spent locked away from the outside world can even be beneficial to self-development.
If you are wondering about things to do during quarantine to help you feel like you haven’t completely wasted a month of your life, you’ve come to the right place.
…time spent locked away from the outside world can even be beneficial to self-development.
We have compiled a list of 10 things to do when you’re bored at home during the lockdown. These are designed to keep you grounded and stimulated, while also keeping you connected to the rest of the world – be that your family or other people and cultures around the globe.
1. Become a virtual activist
At a times like this, it is very important to find ways to feel connected to the outside world.
Plus, research shows that engaging in some form of activism, or helping those less fortunate, can help you maintain balance and good mental health; altruism can give you a sense of purpose.
Why not try making a small donation to one of the many charities and organisations around the world that are championing social justice? If you can’t afford to do this, read up on a subject and then champion a cause yourself, in other ways! Sign (or make) online petitions, write a blog/social media post about it, or call you friends and fill them in!
2. Read, read, read
There’s really no time like the present to dust off that pile of books you’ve been meaning to read since Christmas.
Why not go one step further and make a list of all the books you’d like to get through before the end of the lockdown. You could even start a virtual book club or write your own reviews online.
Reading can also help you learn about other cultures, as well as become more compassionate to the struggles of others. While it’s easy to become very inward focused right now, it is helpful to remember and learn about what other people experience and go through in their daily lives, as this can help us feel more connected.
Need inspiration? Here’s a list of our top recommended reads in refugee literature.
Reading can also help you learn about […] and become more compassionate to the struggles of others
3. Get crafty and creative
Self-isolation has been around long before COVID-19. Since man started creating art and literature, artists and writers have spent days, weeks – and occasionally years – isolating themselves so that they can give their entire focus to their creative process.
With weeks now at your disposal, why not finally try and make a start on that novel you’ve always been meaning to write? Or take up watercolour painting like you’ve talked about doing for years?
If there’s nothing you’ve always dreamed of doing, take on an entirely new hobby instead. Learn to make origami birds, or write calligraphy. Teach yourself to knit. The list is endless – go, go, go!
4. Go old-school and send letters/cards to loved ones
Phone and video calls can be a great tool in helping us to stay connected to our nearest and dearest. But if you’re looking for something to do something different, why not try sending letters or cards to your loved ones instead, to let them know you’re thinking of them.
If you want to take things one step further, you can even combine this one with no. 3, and make cards/miniature pieces of art to send to people.
5. Cook or bake something new
Having so much extra time in the house gives you the perfect excuse to break away from your usual, rushed weekday routine of quick meals, junk food and takeaways.
Why not spend a little longer preparing and cooking something you might not usually attempt?
Always wanted to try making Thai food from scratch? Well, pasta might be in short supply, but there are still plenty of chillis, lime and ginger on the shelves.
What about that nice slow-cooked stew you saw Jamie Oliver make all those years ago that you took the recipe down but still haven’t found the time for? Stick the slow cooker on.
Or maybe now is the time to finally get into baking like you’ve always fancied?
Interestingly, research shows that cooking (and eating) new food can help to release dopamine, as our brain’s register it as something exciting and out of the ordinary. And since bungee jumping and extreme sports are off the cards, who can say no to that?!
6. Take up yoga
Exercise in general can do wonders for your physical and mental health, as it keeps you fit and releases endorphins which help to make you feel happier and less stressed.
Yoga in particular is a perfect pastime if you need things to do at home when you are bored during the Coronavirus lockdown. It helps you focus on being in the present and finding a place of calm; something which isn’t always easy in these very uncertain times.
Try loading up a beginners YouTube tutorial and spending a few minutes every morning or evening practicing.
7. Reorganise your living space
Have you been meaning to go through your chaotic wardrobe for a while? Or is your living room feeling a bit same-y? Then why not use this opportunity to reorganise your living space.
Having a clean and tidy living space can do wonders for your mental health and a change of scenery can make you much more productive – ideal for those of us working from home.
It helps you focus on being in the present and finding a place of calm; something which isn’t always easy in these very uncertain times.
8. Learn a new language
We are all about cultural exchange at ImmiNews, and while we’re all on travel lockdown, there’s no better way to become immersed in a new culture from the comfort of your own home that by learning a new language!
If you don’t have any language books, there are plenty of free resources online you can use to get started.
Why not combine this with no. 5 and practice Italian while mastering the perfect lasagna?
9. Donate your things
If you’ve been meaning to clear out your attic/under your bed for a while, now is your chance! Grab a cardboard box and get cracking.
When you’re finished, sift through and see what you can donate. There are plenty of charities which are always looking for essential items, be that clothes, bedding or toys to give you those who need them, including asylum seekers and refugees.
10. Find reasons to be thankful
Although it is easy and understandable that we are all feeling bored, stressed or anxious right now, it often helps to remember the things you can be thankful for. If you have a roof over your head, plenty of food in the fridge and (of course) Netflix at your disposal, you are already seeing out the nationwide quarantine with more than a lot of people.
If you are still stuck for things to do and looking for ways which will help you deal with the Coronavirus lifestyle change, try making a list of all the things you have to be glad about. And stick it on your bedroom wall so it’s the first thing you see when you wake up, and the last thing you look at before you fall asleep.
In times of anxiety and panic, it often helps to remember the things you can be thankful for
Remembering the good things can do wonders in helping to keep us calm when faced with the bad.