You hear the word “quarantine” and automatically hear the long list of things we’re not allowed to do these days. But perhaps you should think of all the opportunities this slower lifestyle offers. Instead of sitting around worrying about coronavirus or feeling lonely, use your downtime to learn new skills, pamper yourself, and reconnect with what makes you happy. Just remember: It’s called downtime for a reason. So, don’t see this list as pressure or guilt to be productive every single moment but simply some ideas of things to do to get you through this tough time with your sanity intact.
Meditation is one of the best things you can do right now to relieve stress and improve your well being. If you’re like the rest of us, you sit down, try to “quiet” your mind… and then say “Well, now what?” Download Aura, an app that walks you through meditation and mindfulness. It’s offering a free three-month subscription, which includes unlimited access to their expert-created mindfulness meditations, life coaching, inspiring stories, and music.
Set up a home movie theater
Movie theaters around the country are closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get your cinematic fix. At-home movie projectors have gotten a lot smaller and less expensive in recent years, allowing you to project a new release or family-friendly classic on any blank wall. Pop up some popcorn, set up the pillows, and enjoy the show!
Plant a container garden
Just because you have to stay indoors doesn’t mean you can’t get started on your spring gardening. Bring the outdoors in by sprouting seeds or planting a container garden. Bonus: You can use your fresh herbs in your amazing healthy dishes you’re learning to cook.
Learn a new language
Want to know how to say, “quarantine stinks” in five other languages? Now is a great time to learn or practice a new language. Duolingo is an easy-to-use, totally free app that gives daily lessons in 35 different languages. You can pick a standard like English, Spanish, or Cantonese, or you can branch out with Navajo, Esperanto, and Klingon or High Valyrian (we’re not kidding).
Stretch and strengthen with yoga
Do Yoga with Me is offering its high-definition yoga videos for free during the pandemic. They have classes ranging from stress-relieving breathing exercises to popular yoga poses to regular flows—no prior experience (or flexibility!) required. Your body will thank you for doing yoga!
Learn to bake homemade bread
There is no smell better than fresh bread baking but it can feel daunting for beginner bakers who don’t know what “proofing yeast” even means, much less how to do it. Plus, who has the time to sit around rising, kneading, and then baking dough? You do, now! If you’re already a pro, take this opportunity to learn how to bake a new type of bread, like sourdough, and teach this skill to your child while you’re at it.
Find a new favorite podcast
Podcasts—audio programs that you listen to through your phone—are one of the best ways to become smarter in your spare time. With subjects ranging from comedy to history to fictionalized drama, there’s something for everyone. You’ll be amazed at how fast time flies when you’re listening to a riveting story.
Go for a walk or run
In most places, unless you are under a strict stay-indoors mandate, you are still allowed to go outside for exercise while still following self-quarantining rules. (Not in groups and while staying at least six feet away from others, of course.) This is something you should take advantage of daily as exercise and sunshine are two of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health.