Like many of you, I have been self-isolating for a few weeks now. I am an introvert, am lucky to be able to work from home, and don’t have to juggle working with childcare, like many of my colleagues do, so overall my experience has not been too bad. I am very grateful that I can self-isolate and I realize that I have many blessings that allow me to be in this situation. Everyone’s circumstances are different and there is not one way to navigate this crazy uncharted territory. Many parents may find themselves with no time on their hands while those of us without children in the house are twiddling our thumbs. New parents, people who live alone, and more senior adults may be struggling and feeling more isolated than others, and the natural extroverts might have a harder time than introverts. All that to say, there are so many things that make our quarantines different, and I want to recognize that before digging in to some things that help me in my personal situation.
With extra time, or perhaps differently allocated time, I sometimes find myself wanting to do something, but not really knowing what to do. Over the weekends I have started to make to-do lists for myself. This isn’t new for me – I am a perpetual list-maker – but it does help give me a sense of purpose for the unscheduled days and provides a ready-made list of ideas I can choose from when I get bored. I decided to round up lots of ideas in one place in hopes that these may help you if you get stuck in a rut, as they have helped me. Hopefully they make your quarantine a little easier and we can all add to this as we think of new things to do.
50 things to do in quarantine:
IN THE KITCHEN
- Try a new recipe using pantry staples. Some ideas:
- Chana masala
- Homemade hummus
- Shakshuka (add that hummus you made to top it) – we like these two recipes
- A gussied up version of ramen (maybe add a soft boiled or soy marinated egg?) Google has lots of versions, but this one looks tasty.
- Chocolate chip cookies – one of my faves
- Shortbread (so easy, only 5 ingredients)
- Homemade pasta
- Scones – my favorite base recipe, and some of my variations
- Biscuits – plain or cheddar herb
- Try a time consuming recipe
- Homemade bread
- Homemade croissants
- Pie with homemade pie crust
- Homemade pizza dough
- Decorated sugar cookies
- Naan bread
- Milk Bar layer cakes (birthday cake, chocolate malt cake, and more in this cookbook)
- A chocolate chip cookie tournament – check out version 1 and version 2!
- Have a movie night, complete with freshly made popcorn or movie snacks
- Have an appetizer night – dinner completely made from great appetizers. My family did this every Saturday night and the one rule is that everyone who eats has to help, even if your contribution is melting cheese onto chips to make nachos. It gets everyone involved in the kitchen and invested in their dish, and is always a lot of fun.
- Have a picnic in the backyard or on your stoop if the weather is nice
- Practice your cocktail making skills with a new recipe, a twist on a classic, or by perfecting your favorite drink
- Make your coffee/tea experience fancier – make a flavored simple syrup, use a milk frother, enjoy your ritual.
MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH
- Practice daily gratitude – think of 3 things you are grateful for each day
- Do an at home workout. Some of my favorites and some I’ve heard good reviews about:
- Barre3 Online (15 day free trial)
- Pure Barre On Demand (7 day free trial)
- One Peloton App (90 day free trial, and you don’t have to have the machine – they have yoga and running too)
- Tone It Up (free workouts available online and through the TIU app)
- Kayla Itsines’ BBG Workouts on the SWEAT App
- Obé Fitness
- The Nike Training Club app
- Yoga with Adriene (so many different options for your level, all free on Youtube)
- Do daily stretches
- Go for a walk outside (if allowed) and keep a safe distance from others
- Practice prayer and/or meditation (or if you’re like me and struggle to fall asleep, use sleepcasts) on Headspace
- If you celebrate Easter, find a daily devotional during Lent (maybe you can keep it up after Easter too)
- Have a spa night – take a relaxing bath or shower, use a face mask and that lotion you always mean to use, maybe paint your nails
HOBBIES, SKILLS, AND ENTERTAINMENT
- Learn a new skill on Skillshare (first 2 months free)
- Brush up your foreign language skills or learn a new language on the Duolingo app
- Find a few blogs to read – I have always been a big fan of blogs, but I find them to be an especially great escape right now when the news is so heavy. Many are full of good ideas and inspiration for these quarantine days. A few of my favorites are Carly the Prepster, Love Taza, Cup of Jo, and How Sweet Eats (for recipes).
- Read a new book – I have been using the Libby app to check out digital and audiobooks from my local library, but Scribd is also offering a 30-day free trial. If you are looking for something less novel-ish, one of my favorite easy reads is How to Celebrate Everything. It seems like the perfect concept to dig into right now, doesn’t it?
- Revisit an old favorite book (Harry Potter series, anyone?)
- Start a new podcast. I love interviews with entrepreneurs, and some of my favorites right now are How I Built This, Second Life, Skimmed from the Couch, Influencer Business by Trove, LiketoKnow.It Influencer Radio, and Dear Alice (this one is not interviews, but decorating tips).
- Watch a show – new or familiar. On Netflix, some of my go-tos are West Wing, The Great British Baking Show, Madam Secretary, and The Crown.
- Get hooked on Bon Appetit Test Kitchen videos (Gourmet Makes and Making Perfect are my favorite series)
- Print out a coloring page or buy a coloring book online and color
- Paint a picture just for fun
- Start a new sewing, knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, or embroidery project, or learn how to do these!
- Have a virtual happy hour with friends via Zoom/Skype/FaceTime
- Have a family FaceTime – my family picked a recipe that we all had ingredients for and made it together over FaceTime, then enjoyed the final products together from our own homes.
- Visit the virtual galleries and parks that are closed but online right now. Some great places to start are the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago virtual field trips, Cincinnati Zoo on Facebook Live, Georgia Aquarium animal webcams, National Gallery of Art in DC gallery tour on Instagram, virtual tours of some of the National Parks , including Yellowstone
- Play a card game or board game. Solitaire and double solitaire are family favorites in our house, and great because you can play alone or expand the game to be multiplayer.
- Play a virtual game with family – Heads Up Houseparty, Cards Against Humanity, Scattergories (if all parties have the game), and charades are some to start
- Put together a puzzle
- Support local by buying take-out (if still available) and having a themed dinner at home
- Buy gift cards to your favorite small businesses that are closed to use later
- Write some snail mail, bonus points if you make your own cards
- CROSS OF TO-DOS AND GET INSPIRATION
- Donate to a food bank, shelter, or other necessary community resource, local or national
- Go through your closet and make a donation box/pile/bag for anything you didn’t wear this past season
- Get rid of all of the socks that don’t have a matching buddy
- Complete a home project that has been on your to-do list
- Finish doing (or preparing) your taxes
- Complete the census
- Organize and backup your digital photos
- Make that photo album you’ve been meaning to put together with your digital photos on Chatbooks, Artifact Uprising, etc. You can also send these to loved ones who may want a copy and could use a pick-me-up.
- Try a new hairstyle that you haven’t had time to practice before
- Start a list of goals you want to complete in a certain time frame (i.e. 60 before 30, 101 in 1001, etc)
- Make a bucket list of things you want to do in your town, your state, or within driving distance that you can look forward to checking off once we get out of quarantine
- Peruse Pinterest for inspiration or look specifically for photos for your favorite board (mine are interiors right now)
- Gather ideas for a new decorating project
- Create a new Spotify playlist to listen to while you are at home. Maybe you create a few for different moods, including one to lift your mood when you need it most.
- Go through your cookbooks, saved recipes on Instagram and Pinterest, and your recipe box, and tag or write down all of the recipes at the top of your list. Maybe make some of them while you are home.
- If you have a yard or a garden, tend to it by pulling weeds, picking flowers for inside arrangements, mowing the grass, planting any plants you can pick up at your grocery store. I picked up a few herb plants from the grocery store a few weeks ago and planted them in a pot to use in the kitchen throughout the season.
What else should we add to the list? Let me know in the comments!
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