Schools buildings have been closed, stores and restaurants have reduced hours or closed dining rooms and events have been canceled — all in the name of social distancing, and for some, quarantine, to slow the spread of coronavirus.
It’s the new reality for now as public health officials recommend people keep away from others — at least 6 feet apart — avoid gathering in groups of more than 10, and stay home when possible, especially if they feel sick.
Of course, by being more or less stuck at home for an indefinite length of time you may find yourself quickly running out of things to do. To help stave off cabin fever, here are some activities to fight the monotony.
Watch Netflix with friends
There have been lots of jokes on social media from people saying they’ll be doing nothing but watching shows and movies on streaming platforms during their self-quarantine. However, this can still be a social activity through a Google Chrome extension called “Netflix Party.” Only one person needs to download it, and once you find something you want to watch, share the link with your friends. Everyone can chat off to the side, as well as pause, play and fast forward or rewind.
Go on a walk
Just because you need to stay away from others doesn’t mean you can’t see the light of day. Whether it’s walking the dog every day or riding your bike on a trail, try to stay active and get some fresh air. Your mental sanity and health will thank you.
Learn a language
This can be practical or just for fun, depending on what language you choose. Duolingo is a free app you can try out that has more than 30 language courses, including the fictional Klingon and High Valyrian. You’ll never be completely fluent through the app alone, but it can at least help you get started on vocabulary and sentence structure.
Read your book collection
I have a bad habit of buying books when I visit book stores, but I never get around to reading some of them. Use what extra time you have to go through your backlog or revisit your favorite classics.
Deep clean and/or KonMari your residence
It’s officially spring as of Thursday, so you know what that means… it’s time for spring cleaning. Some of you may have already gotten a head start on this by disinfecting your home, but use the opportunity to get in the nooks and crannies, as well as sort through old belongings. Imagine cleaning consultant Marie Kondo of the “KonMari method” asking you, “Does this spark joy?” when deciding whether to keep or toss that ratty T-Shirt you got during freshmen orientation some odd years ago.
Start a journal or blog
Consider setting up a blog about a hobby of yours or starting a regular writing journal or diary. Sure, many of those entries right now might be about the coronavirus, but imagine how interesting it will be to look back at those logs, say, 20 years from now, recounting what surely will be a historic period in our lives.
Treat yourself to an at-home spa day
If you can, try to relax. Run a bath, make a DIY hair mask, plaster on a face mask and do your nails. With all the constant noise going on these days, don’t feel selfish for taking some time for yourself.
Dust off old family board games
Maybe it’s been a while since you last had a family game night. If you’re all hunkered down together, get some bonding time in by pulling out the game of Life or Jenga. Just not Monopoly, unless you’re OK with never speaking to your family again with no way to escape.
Fix that thing you’ve been putting off for months
Have a leaky faucet or never finished painting the walls of your basement? No excuses now. You’ll feel much better and accomplished once you finally tackle that problem you’ve had on the back burner.
Cook something new
With limited restaurant and fast food options right now, you might find yourself forced to cook anyway. Challenge yourself to make a recipe you’ve never made before or work on perfecting a go-to meal.
Follow a Bob Ross painting tutorial
The late Bob Ross is the epitome of calm wholesomeness — a quality many people may need right now. He is famous for his “Joy of Painting” TV show on PBS, where he guided viewers on how to paint nature landscapes. Pull up an episode on YouTube and follow along.
Have kids? Children’s book author and illustrator Mo Willems is producing a daily “lunch doodles” program that lets kids follow along as he draws. Go to kennedy-center.org/education/mo-willems.