With the global pandemic happening longer than we expected it to, many of us are struggling to occupy our free time. Eating outs are limited, and your daily activities are no longer the same. But if you’re at home and looking for things to do to occupy your time, you’re at the right place.
Sure thing, we can go out now and resume some of our leisure activities, but not everyone has this luxury. People living with at-risk individuals can’t stay going to crowded places often or any other outdoor areas for that matter. But that doesn’t mean our lives have to stop.
Out of my own quarantine experiences, I listed here some of the productive and enjoyable things you can do to pass the time. It’s also a great hobby to take your mind off the stresses brought by the coronavirus.
Below are 11 of the productive things you can do this pandemic. But hey, take it easy and slow. You should also take this opportunity to enjoy things when you can.
1. Start an indoor garden
Gardening is probably one of the most popular pandemic trends, right next to baking. More and more people are starting their own garden to pass the time.
Don’t fret if you don’t have a yard. You can get succulents and other indoor plants that do well with limited sunlight. I live in a third-floor apartment unit, and I have a mini garden on my balcony. Mostly are potted succulents, ornamentals, and I’m starting to replace some with fruit-bearing plants.
Some of the best picks for beginners are snake plant, dracaenas, cacti, lucky bamboo, and bromeliads. These plants are easy to rear indoors and are very decorative, too.
Well, I recognize that not all of us have green thumbs. With that, I went ahead and asked a local nursery in our area which plants thrive for people with black thumbs. Some of their hard-to-kill recommendations are Aloe vera, hosta, petunia, common lilac, and hydrangeas.
However, if you own a house pet, you should check first if it is poisonous to dogs or cats.
Try your hand on gardening and see if you’ll have fun. Personally, it has become my stress reliever ever since the lockdown began. It’s an effective distraction from all the stresses of life.
2. Start working out
The pandemic is also the best time to evaluate your fitness goals. Those with poor immune systems are highly susceptible to the virus, so you might as well pump up your defense with a good workout routine.
I used to have a sedentary lifestyle since my work is home-based. But a few months ago, I started exercising and now aiming to lose more weight.
You don’t have to start with a 30-minute HIIT routine right away. You can get an exercise bike so you will have some form of cardio indoors. From there, add weights and improve the intensity of your workout.
I must admit, I never imagined a minute would feel so long until I started exercising. Boy, I was running out of breath 5 minutes into a cardio routine! But as the muscles warm up and the sweat drips on my face, it feels really good.
If you’re starting and looking for ideas, here’s the current routine I’ve been doing.
During these days, when hitting the gym isn’t safe yet, you can improvise at home. Try to find ways to move around to keep your fitness in check.
3. Learn new recipes
For those fond of cooking, the lull in your schedule is a great way to learn a new recipe. You can put your cooking chops to the test by trying a new style. There are Mexican, Italian, French, Mediterranean, and more flavors that you can try.
The good thing nowadays is you can shop for everything online. If you don’t want to go for a grocery run, order your supplies on the internet.
You should also cook something for your family and friends. It can be a healthy bowl filled with veggies that will boost the immune system.
If your family is stuck at home, you can cook and stage a restaurant-like dining experience. You can set up your yard for this, complete with furniture, lights, and some good music. The kids will love this, too!
You can also involve the kids in cooking so they won’t get bored at home. Baking is a good start then some salads. For older ones, you can try simple meals, but make sure that you supervise them the entire time.
4. Learn a musical instrument
You don’t have to get a grand piano since any small instrument will do. I bought a ukulele back in May, and I can now play some tunes and sing during my free time. It’s an effective stress-reliever as long as you won’t bother the neighbors.
If you want to be extra, you can take online classes. But for those who are not willing to splurge, YouTube is more than enough.
For those with kids, learning an instrument is also a great way to keep them busy. Just remember one thing: stay away from woodwinds. We’ve had enough of recorder-blowing kids at home.
5. Declutter your home
Two months into the pandemic, my family staged what probably could be the biggest Spring cleaning in our home. Literally, no beds are left unturned; no room is left dusty. All five of us are hustling around cleaning and removing every clutter we could find.
If you don’t have anything to do for a couple of days, you can do the same. It’s probably time to clean up the basement after many years of leaving it untouched. You can also perform deep-cleaning on your kid’s rooms.
If you’re not short in cash, you can also get your HVAC system checked for any problems. That way, your home is fully prepared for the incoming winter.
However, if you’re alone and have no one to help you out, just start small. You can begin with the kitchen by organizing your food containers and spice rack. The next day, you can move on to the fridge and pantry. Bigger areas like the living room and bedroom can be decluttered on separate days.
If you’re looking for something to keep you busy, decluttering will not disappoint. At some point, you might be the one to give up.
6. Hang out with your friends online
The pandemic deprived us of the chance to spend time with our friends. Trips have been canceled, and everyone has to keep distance. Although this is the case, you can still hang out with your friends and families online. You can even host an online party with games and digital prizes.
But what if a friend invited me to a house party? As much as possible, avoid crowded places, especially if it violates minimum safety standards imposed by authorities. Parties are a no-no these days, so say no and explain why you can’t go. A true friend will understand for sure.
Moreover, the pandemic is also the perfect time to call your parents. Talk to them and check how they are doing. Since the elderly are at a higher risk for the virus, they need more care now more than ever. You can also send them some healthy gift baskets.
7. Brush up your financial plans
If there’s one thing that the pandemic made me realize is that nothing is promised. When coronavirus hit the world, my insurance coverage will make any doctor scratch his head. It dawned on me that if I were to get infected by the virus, it would dig a sinkhole in my bank account.
With that, I contacted my insurance agent and talked about my best options. If you haven’t reviewed your health insurance policy for long, I suggest you do it now. And if you have the extra cash, you might as well consider expanding your coverage.
Also, you can fill your schedule with financial planning. Re-evaluate your spending and if you need to re-align your budget. Many people lost or at risk of losing their jobs. If you’re worried about financial stability, planning is the key, so you will get out of this pandemic without going broke.
8. Start a DIY project
Are you asking this question: how to keep my mind busy? The internet isn’t short of DIY guides, so it should come handy for you this pandemic. You can unleash the carpenter in you or a life hacker who makes simple yet useful items at home. It doesn’t have to be a wooden shed or a treehouse. You can start by making a stool or utensil rack for your kitchen.
Painting is also a fun hobby to start during the quarantine. It will let you express your creativity while relieving your stress. You can also knit a jacket or beanies for your kids.
Again, you can involve the whole family in your project. This will help pass the time for the youngsters who are still out of school due to lockdown restrictions.
Are you the nerdy type? If so, the pandemic is an excellent opportunity to learn a new skill. Also, Ivy League schools are offering free online courses that you can take advantage of. This way, you will have added edge for your job-hunting or once you get back to work.
9. Take photos with your family
Seriously, do this because tomorrow is never promised. Although it sounds overly dramatic, that’s one lesson everyone can learn from this pandemic. Gather the family and take some photos together. To make it fun, you can stage photoshoots with different themes. From there, you can make a photo book, pandemic-style.
Remember that once all of these are over, we will resume our lives, and we will get busy again. Start cherishing the little moments and get some souvenir shots when you can.
10. Do something crazy
Let me set things straight before you proceed: I said crazy, NOT illegal. You can dance like crazy in your living room in the tune of your favorite song. You can day-drink and talk to your cat about life.
All of these are a great release from all the stresses of the situation. The world is in a crazy state right now, so why not go crazy yourself for once?
If you’re confident enough for the world to see your antics, go on and throw yourself into the TikTok world. You can try and learn magic tricks to leave your kids in stitches. Anything meaningless but fun is still a great thing to do. During this pandemic, everyone can make use of a laugh to at least light things up a little bit.
11. Pamper yourself
Lastly, don’t forget to pamper yourself. Quarantining doesn’t always have to be spent doing something. Each of us deals with different emotions and problems. Others thrive being productive, while others need more rest.
If you’ve been losing sleep before the pandemic, go on and sleep as much as you want. You can order your favorite food and binge-watch your favorite TV series. You can also treat yourself in a homemade facial treatment while soaking in the hot tub. You don’t have to go to the salon just to relax because you can do it at home with DIY kits you can buy online.
At this time, when the world is in crisis, these little luxuries are worth celebrating. Not all people have the privilege to enjoy having me-time during this period. If you can, treat yourself from time to time as long as it won’t hurt your savings.
If you don’t know what to do when bored at home alone in your room this pandemic, these 11 activities will fill your schedule. Just note that you don’t always have to be productive. Give yourself a break and resume once you’re well-rested.
Do you have more items to add to our list? Share it in the comment section below!