With the government now officially advising us all to practise social distancing and to stay at home, more and more of us are finding ourselves at home.
Whilst the idea of having more time at home might seem novel at first, it can soon seem hard to find things to do when you’re not allowed out — especially when there are kids at home too!
With the extra time from quiet weekends and no more commuting, there are many different things you can do to make your time in isolation productive, interesting and fun.
Here’s a list of ten ideas to help the time pass and keep mentally and physically active whilst you’re at home.
1. Catch up with friends
Normally we’re so busy with work and social commitments that it can be difficult to keep in touch with friends and even family. Use the extra time to make a list of people you haven’t seen for a while and get in touch with them to schedule a time to talk. You could also use video calling to feel like you’re getting the chance to see each other and have a proper conversation. Take a look at our post on staying in touch when you’re in isolation.
2. Throw a virtual movie party
Sick of watching TV on your own? If you have Netflix, use the ‘Netflix party’ feature to watch a movie or TV show at the same time as a group of friends. You’ll be able to have a group chat alongside your show.
3. Spring cleaning
It’s the time of year when we start to think about giving our home a spring clean, and this year there’s an even stronger reason to have a sort out and deep clean your living space. Take inspiration from the now infamous Marie Kondo and streamline your space by sorting out that cupboard or filing you’ve been meaning to get to.
4. Learn a new language
With the possibility of social distancing measures stretching on for several months, it’s the perfect time to learn a new skill that requires lots of practice. Duolingo is a free app with over thirty languages all in bite-sized chunks and if you visit bbc.co.uk/languages you’ll also find lots of free resources for over 40 different languages. You could even find a tutor for online Skype lessons to really perfect your skills.
5. Keep up with your professional development
Put your former commuting skills to good use and brush up on some skills you use at work. There are many webinars, training courses and other resources available to help you.
6. Take up a new hobby
Always wanted to learn to knit? How about play chess? Or make your own podcast? With video tutorials on just about anything available on YouTube, it’s the perfect time to learn a new skill. If it needs materials you don’t yet have, use the time to do some research into what you’ll need to get started and the best place to get it from.
7. Get active
Being stuck in the house doesn’t mean you can’t still exercise. In fact, staying active is an important way to boost your mental health and immune system at a time when both are under pressure. Take a look at our post on ‘Staying active in isolation’ for more information and resources on exercising at home.
8. Be creative
Even if you don’t consider yourself the creative type, some colouring or doodling can be an easy way to relax and distract your mind from any worries. Google ‘Daily drawing challenge for inspiration, there are even drawing challenge apps too! You could also turn your creativity into a thoughtful gift for friends by making ‘hello’ or ‘get well soon’ cards. If you’re indoors with kids who are beginning to get sick of the same toys, challenge them to create their own with household items like washing up bottles, kitchen roll inners and paper.
9. Try mindfulness
Being in isolation can make you feel frustrated, alone, angry — many different things. As it’s important to follow the NHS and government guidelines on isolation and distancing, unfortunately it isn’t something you have control over. Practising mindfulness can be a good way to acknowledge and accept those feelings and help clear your head and feel calmer. Visit Every Mind Matters for more information on maintaining your mental health during this difficult time and for links to further resources.
10. Make a reading bucket list
Ask all your friends and colleagues what their favourite book is and compile a reading list of highly recommended favourites that you can start to work your way through. Head to our post on 5 free e-book resources for ideas on the different ways you can get hold of new reading material even from isolation.