Updated: Jul 24, 2020
Are you bored at home and longing to spend time with friends or family far away? That’s completely understandable. People are social creatures by nature, and the concept of “social distancing” feels acutely impersonal. After a few days, it can be quite distressing, but things aren’t as bad as they might seem after a few weeks alone or cramped alongside the same few family members.
Here are a few fun and creative ideas you might not have thought of to help rebuild lost motivation and get rid of that lonely feeling. 1. Have a Netflix Party: This is a new feature! My friends invited me to join in on Netflix’s latest feature, “Netflix Party,'' and we plan to hang out virtually every Friday night during the quarantine to watch movies and TV together, even though we’re far apart. Netflix synchronizes everyone’s video display and there is also a group chat if you are always ready (like I am) to have a movie analysis discussion after the watch party is over.
2. Go for a hike or a walk: Staying inside for too long is something that really takes a toll on not only physical health, but mental health too. If you live near a forested area, a bike path, a nature trail or any kind of park or nature reserve, take some time to enjoy the revitalizing effects that nature can have on your mental clarity. Getting your legs up and moving also helps lessen the strain and stiffness that come from sitting for prolonged hours in online classes. You can never get enough fresh outdoor air.
3. Learn something new/take an online class: Take the extra time you might have at your disposal to learn something new! Whether that be through watching documentaries or taking short online classes with some of YouTube’s amazing educational channels, it’s never a bad time to learn something new. Staying in a mindset of positive learning and self-growth will make it much easier to return to a normal routine when daily life returns. One of my personal all-time favorite learning platforms is Ted Ed, which offers bite-sized educational videos about a wide variety of topics for free on YouTube.
4. Learn how to cook something new or use an old family recipe: I have been digging around recently in old cookbooks, calling family members and watching recipe videos online to get better at cooking now that I have so much extra time to spare. Last week I made bread, and this coming week I am trying out a family apple pie recipe for my mom’s birthday! Cooking is a labor of love and an extremely useful skill, so why not spread some love in your household and make mistakes while you have more time to clean up the mess afterwards!
5. Cultivate food and flowers: Try your hand at gardening! Throw some seeds into a bed, give it some water and make sure to keep up with your seedlings! You might have a green thumb, but you’ll never know if you don’t try it out. Growing your own food and planting successful gardens is extremely rewarding not only for your own mental health and happiness, but also for your local ecosystem. The promotion of pollinators and the cultivation of healthier soil are some of the most impactful outcomes. Anyone can garden no matter where they live, and with spring right around the corner, there’s no time like the present!
6. Play board games (on apps like Plato) with your friends: Apps like iMessage, Trivia Crack and Plato are all fun throwback apps that allow people to play games no matter where they are, and you can add as many players as you want! There are traditional online board games like chess, checkers and pool on iMessage games. Trivia Crack is filled with interesting trivia in multiple categories, and Plato offers plenty of original creations that you and your friends can try out.
7. Learn a new language: Take these extra minutes you might have throughout your day and use a language-learning app to brush up on whatever foreign language you have always wanted to get better at! Find new bands that sing in that specific language, listen to the news in the country and branch out by watching foreign movies and TV with subtitles! Learning a language makes me feel extremely productive and is a great way to start my day. Instead of choosing to look through Instagram for 10 minutes, replace that mindless scrolling with a flashcard app or Duolingo!
8. Clean your room: This one is simple, but surprisingly effective. Just moving a few pieces of furniture around, rearranging lights and hanging some new pictures or taking away some of the clutter can really give your space a new feeling and provide your eyes with a satisfying change. Studies show that cleaning your space and shifting things around every now and then provides similar effects within the mind as activities like meditation or that amazing feeling of getting rid of old notes and assignments at the end of the school year!
9. Eat a healthy breakfast: Now that there is more time every morning in between waking up and heading to class, resist the urge to lay in bed with your computer until it’s time to click that Zoom link for class!! Wake up as early as you can every morning to do some stretches, shower and eat a more filling and healthy breakfast! I had such a hard time finding the time to eat breakfast during a regular school week. As a commuter, I had to wake up earlier for my drive to school, but now that I have an extra hour to fill I can finally make myself a cup of coffee and enjoy some toast with fruit. This simple thing has really made all the difference towards helping me stay more alert for my classes and kick-starting my energy level as I begin my day!
10. Screen share, well, anything! (via Zoom): With far-away friends and family, you can screen share anything and talk via Zoom. For the past week, my friends and I have been “zooming,” (which is what we have even christened our virtual Friday movie night). Though we can’t be together like we used to, seeing each other’s faces through this app gives me something to look forward to at the beginning of each week!
By Emma Fry, News Editor