In the past week, a national emergency has been declared as the United States sees rapidly increasing cases of COVID-19. And it’s not boxed into any one region — it’s everywhere.
Though Western Washington may be feeling it the most, where the majority of coronavirus-related deaths have occurred. Just recently, Governor Jay Inslee laid out his plan to shut down all restaurants and bars in the state to try to halt the spread of the virus. Following the announcement, he took to Twitter.
“Most Washingtonians are helping slow COVID-19’s spread by practicing strong social distancing. To those of you that can be but are choosing not to: Your actions could kill someone. Stop it.”
As the number of cases and deaths continues to climb, it’s not a time to panic but rather a time to practice the measures recommended by the CDC. If we can learn anything from Italy, it’s that ignoring the problem doesn’t help; their citizens are currently in full quarantine.
Since “strong social distancing” is really the main focus here, let’s look at some of the things you can do while stuck at home.
15 Things To Do at Home
1. Start a puzzle.
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t completed a puzzle in a long time. Even if you don’t have a physical puzzle, you can download all sorts of puzzle games from the App Store (or Google Play). If you’re willing to part with a few bucks, you can subscribe to the NYT’s online crossword, or try Vox’s for free.
2. Journal or write.
Pick up a new bullet journaling hobby, or start out with the trusty “Dear diary,” method. Journaling is actually a way that many people relieve stress, which could be useful in light of current events. You can also get ahead on Mother’s Day and try your hand at poetry, or commit to the goal of writing your first novel by the time the pandemic’s over.
3. Practice guitar, or piano, or another instrument.
If there was any time to fulfill your dream of becoming a rockstar, I guess the coronavirus pandemic is it. If you’re already a decent enough player, try writing a song or recording a YouTube video. If not, find some tutorials on how to get started.
4. Movie marathon.
Do you have a full queue of movies to ‘watch later’ on your Netflix/Hulu account? Well, later is now. You could also start a new TV show — preferably one with a lot of seasons — or binge-watch an old favorite that’s gotten you through rough times before. Or hey, maybe you should finally commit to that Disney+ subscription — it’s never been more needed.
5. Download Duolingo.
This app helps you learn a new language for free. If you’ve always wanted to be multilingual, or maybe just need a refresher on your high school courses, Duolingo is a great way to get started. What else do you have to do, anyway?
6. Tackle that shelf of unread books.
For me, it’s the shelf with all the thousand-page leather-bound tomes I bought because I thought they looked nice. For you, it could be working your way through Stephen King’s greatest works (good luck), or the latest release in that Spanish pirate romance saga you’re too embarrassed to bring into the light of day.
7. Finally learn how to cook.
Boiling pasta doesn’t count. If you’ve been searching for the time to try a more complicated dish, or finally start meal-prepping your weeks, this is it! Dig out grandma’s box of recipes or visit a popular cooking site. If you need to go grocery shopping, remember to wear gloves and wash your hands and any produce you pick up thoroughly; the most common way to get coronavirus is by touching an infected surface, so be wary.
8. Get a penpal.
When’s the last time you wrote a letter? Practice writing the old-fashioned way and send it to a family member, old friend, or find a penpal online. This is a great way to get in touch with people beyond the screen of your phone or computer, and potentially make a new connection with someone you’ve never met before.
9. Play board games.
If you’re in a family of two or more, you already have a built-in entertainment system. Convince your family member(s) to do activities together to make the time pass easier. This could include board games like Clue, Monopoly, Scrabble, chess, and a lot more. You can also do a lot with just a deck of cards.
10. Find out how that magician did that one trick.
On that note, pick up a card deck and learn some magic tricks. There’s tons of tutorials on YouTube that show you how to perform simple card tricks that don’t even require slight of hand. It’s a neat thing to know that not many people do, and fun to bring to family parties and gatherings.
11. Be your own Marie Kondo.
Organize your stuff. It might not be a “fun” activity, but if your excuse is that you don’t have enough time at home, that excuse has expired. Go through your closet and decide what sparks joy for you and what doesn’t. Then, pack all of the items you’re giving away into boxes to donate after everything with coronavirus dies down. It’ll make you feel productive, and it’ll also make your space more livable.
12. Become a brownie connoisseur.
Your mission is to make the perfect brownie. Just gooey enough, just crunchy enough, just chocolate-y enough, just whatever. Find out what you like and aim for that 10/10 mouthfeel. Then, replicate it for your friends next time. This can apply to really any baked good.
13. Test your drawing skills.
Are you a good artist? Then this will be fun. Bad artist? Then at least it’ll be funny. Challenge your family members to face each other with a sketch pad and create portraits of each other — the most accurate portrait wins. And if you’re too scared to offend, then do self-portraits instead.
14. Make a TikTok.
As someone who just recently got into the TikTok trend… it’s actually pretty fun. And a big time-suck, but that’s the point of this list. Making a TikTok is kind of like directing a really, really short movie. Plus, the actors can be your family members, pets, or even inanimate objects. Right now there’s a common theme with videos: they’re all about coronavirus quarantines. At least you can know that others feel your pain.
15. Take advantage of technology.
Nobody was facetiming back when the Spanish Influenza hit. And they probably needed it a lot more than us, because it was way deadlier. Take advantage of modern-day tech and Skype or facetime your family and friends. Most people are at least a little freaked out and could use the friendly face, even via screen time.
Being stuck at home can feel like a drag — especially if you’re not already a homebody. But it can also give you the chance to find new hobbies or take more time for yourself if you don’t already. Stay safe, everyone.