I started writing this post in the beginning of this madness and, oh boy, was I a bit too positive. I was all about getting things done, working on projects that I never had time for, learning new skills, etc. What I didn’t expect was the mental impact a worldwide situation like this would have. Therefore, I had to go back in and edit quite a bit. I’m constantly trialing of what will give me the most amount of energy during this time. Regardless, this will be an experience that we will remember for a very long time to come. If you are, like me, looking for positive things to do when stuck at home so that your day improves just a little bit? Scroll through these 17 ideas of things to do and comment down below to add yours!
A forced break for humanity
First, a bit of context. Recently, I was walking through Wollemi National Park (in NSW, Australia). It’s a park that was terrorized by the recent bushfires for weeks. We noticed that a few paths had become really hard to see. Burned trees were strewn all over the place with greenery growing ferociously after the recent rains. We couldn’t help but think that the forest was hiding the path from us. Maybe to get a break from us pesky humans who seem to destroy much of what comes into contact with us.
With the current crisis, I keep coming back to this concept of “a break”. I feel like everyone and everything needs a break at the moment. Nature has most definitely had enough of us. As for us humans, we keep overloading our brains with constant stimulation and screens and just have to be ‘busy’ at all times. One of my favorite podcasts, Shameless, mentioned that “News is for the brain like sugar is for the body.” This couldn’t be more true for me.
Am I saying that it’s nice that our economy is going to suffer greatly, that many small businesses could go under or that people are suffering both emotionally and physically all over the world? Absolutely not! But it is equally important to realize that many of us will be experiencing this dreadful situation with an enormous amount of privilege.
Those of us who are privileged (which could mean that you are young, healthy, able-bodied, etc) have also been given a situation where we have a choice. A choice to either be glued to the TV, lounge around in pajamas all day, and wait it out or we could use this exceptional time to our benefit. And that is what this article is about, about finding positive things to do when stuck at home, whether you’re happy with it or not.
Let’s be clear, by no means is this article downplaying the severity of this pandemic. However, in the midst of all this terrifying news, I truly hope that this article achieves two things. One, that it helps people to come up with ideas on what to do while being stuck at home without going crazy. Two, that by doing so, more people will choose to socially distance themselves.
In this list of more than 15 positive things to do when stuck at home, we are exploring new skills, discovering creativity, learning how to be a more conscious being, or just picking up a book that has been on the list for months, maybe even years! No more being too busy, no more excuses, you finally have time to do whatever you have been meaning to do or learn for the longest time.
15+ Positive things to do when stuck at home
1. Listen to your body
Well, didn’t expect that one here, did you? First things first: you need to be ok with having a slow day or an unmotivated day. This time is all about the small wins, managed to go for a walk around the block? Hell yeah! Managed to make a meal that not entirely made up of pasta and cheese, killing it! Only watched two episodes on Netflix? Good on you!
We’re going to feel extra tired, extra slow and extra unmotivated. Some days you will just need to go with that and give yourself a break. Other days, you might need to start with some yoga and you’ll be up for a full gym session shortly after. But whatever you do, don’t get frustrated with yourself during this time. You have enough going on, stop giving yourself a hard time.
2. Meditate: Control your thoughts
“Don’t believe everything you think” Brene Brown
Before you click away because you hate the word meditate (most of us do), have a read, because meditating can be pretty epic.
Getting quiet and going inside of ourselves is becoming more important in a time where most of us are focused on external stimuli. I’m going to be very honest with you, meditating is not easy. It takes a long, long time to learn, but you do begin feeling the benefits almost immediately.
“But it’s already so boring, why be even quieter?” Because this might be the most important action that you can take during this trying time. After all, how will you ever be able to listen to yourself if you don’t have the ability to stop the chatter in your head, if only for a few moments?
Many resources are offering up helpful advice:
- 10 Percent Happier: a podcast and app about mindfulness, has shared a guide with free resources to promote mental wellbeing during this difficult time. They are also providing healthcare workers with free access to their full app, so if you are a healthcare worker or you know someone in the sector, please do share this with them!
- Headspace: this is the app for meditation that I use the most, is also offering free meditations. US-based healthcare professionals and K-12 teachers, school administrators, and supporting staff in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia all can have free access to Headspace Plus.
- Calm: Another meditation app has also released quite a few free resources for you to use.
3. Start a Bullet Journal
The process of having and actively using a bullet journal had been a blessing and life-changing for me. I can only compare it to going to the supermarket and trying to remember a shopping list of 40 items without writing it down. Let’s be honest, you are going to forget something. Daily life is a little bit like that. We all have busy jobs and have lots to remember. Add social media on top of that and our brains are flooded with information.
If you find yourself struggling to remember what you should be doing first, then the bullet journal is for you.
As a bullet journal is in essence, an empty notebook with dots. Because you can fill it up in 101 different ways, it takes a bit of time to find the way that works best for you. Many people end up trialing several ways to set up their pages before continuing with one. People get VERY enthusiastic about bullet journaling so there are plenty of resources online. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Going back to the founder of the bullet journal, Ryder Carroll, is a good starting point with many tips & tricks. Especially if you prefer to keep it quiet simple.
- Pinterest is an endless source of inspiration. Type in bujo terms such as “weekly spread”, “yearly spread” or “habit tracker” and find countless examples. The most simple ones tend to work the best for me.
4. Turn off the news
Turning off the news is the best thing I did for myself. I highly recommend trying it. I am officially a news-addict, especially in hard times where there constantly is new information. I was glued to my phone during the bushfires and I have been glued to my phone during this pandemic. Am I saying it’s any good? Nope! While consuming news might be necessary to a certain level, it is NOT necessary to be scrolling through news ALL DAY LONG.
If you do want to watch the news, try and limit it to twice a day max (morning and evening). Try to find information that is short and doesn’t have any added drama such as Coronocast (always around 10 minutes), your government website on the topic or your country’s most reputable news source.
“News is for the brain like sugar is for the body” Shameless Podcast
5. Discover new music!
New music is one of my favourite ways to zone out and to have a small feeling of discovery. To my great joy, female singers have almost completely taken over my playlists. Last year I even wrote an article about female singers to listen to in 2019, which you can listen to (and many more great female singers) below. I’m currently also working on a post about my favourite Australian music to listen to. Comment below if this is something that you’d want to read!
6. Learn to play a new music instrument
Keeping in line with my 5th idea to occupy yourself in a positive manner, I’m learning how to play a new instrument. During my farmwork (to get the second year of working holiday visa in Australia), I picked up a little pink Ukelele and learned from the lovely teenagers that lived on the farm. I never picked it up again, until now. In some ways, this pandemic is a bit similar to living very remotely, just with better internet access.
7. Do a beach/forest clean-up and/or microplastics survey
For those of you that are allowed to go outside, a clean-up is a fantastic way to spend some time. Keeping your hands busy is often a great way to distract the mind in a positive way. Plastic is a big threat to our environment and every clean-up helps a little bit.
In Australia, I can highly recommend both AUSMAP, the leading microplastics mapping non-for-profit organization, and Tangaroa Blue, a non-for-profit that focuses on the removal and prevention of marine debris. If you are not able to go outside, but still want to help. These organizations can definitely use your donations as well (and they are tax-deductible!).
When it comes to brands, I want to give a bit of a shoutout to the beer brand Corona. They have done great things in collaboration with Parley to reduce marine debris. They organize beach clean-ups all around the world. Comment down below if you want to learn more about this topic as well!
8. Play! Preferably in a completely unstructured manner
Bet you didn’t expect this one, right? We all know that play is incredibly important for children’s development, but did you know that it is also very important for adults to play? We’re always too busy or try to be too serious to engage in play, but have you tried rolling down a hill recently? It’s a freaking great time!
Not only is playing as an adult fun, but unstructured play is also a great way for adults to be more creative and to reduce stress. It has even proven to repair relationships. Researchers have discovered that as we lose our sense of play, we lose our ability to accept failure, we don’t give in to our imagination (as it’s not useful enough) and consequently, no new ideas can be discovered. So forget about the house chores, or the tv, and engage in the silliest thing you can think of!
9. Brainstorm that idea that has been on your shelf for ages
If you’re anything like me, then you have a few ideas for side projects lying around. Spending more time inside, you might find it harder to come up with fresh inspiration. So I recommend going for a walk or exercising before you attempt this idea. Or even better, try the 8th positive thing to do when stuck at home and play!
Inspiration is hard to force, but when it hits, I recommend having your bullet journal (see idea 3) handy, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to write down the silly idea as well. These often lead to the best and newest ideas.
10. Start that Blog/YouTube channel/Podcast that you have been dreaming about
There is no better time to try things that don’t need to have a positive outcome than now. As we’re all stuck inside, people are not expecting the best quality of content. They expect you to be in your living room or garden and for once, perfection is not something you can obtain. Therefore you can truly embrace that done is better than perfect.
I know everyone and their dog has been saying that this is the perfect time to start a new project. This can be annoying as hell! I’m personally despising people that have been putting how much they are getting done in the day on their insta’s. Feel free to unfollow or mute these people if it is making you feel like sh*t. When attempting this, check back in with idea nr. 1, listening to your body. Only do what feels right.
11. Focus on life admin that you’ve avoided for ages.
Urgh right! Not the funnest activity to do while you’re stuck in the house, but it still needs to get done. I’ve personally been planning to make a proper budget FOREVER and still need to sort out my taxes. This extra time could be perfect to get these annoying tasks out of the way. If you have the brainpower for it, of course!
12. Reconnect with people / Host a video call!
The best part about this crisis? I can be a part again of birthday parties at home or the family gatherings. I know this is a very selfish way of thinking about this, BUT people are more open to a video chat than ever. They also have much more time on their hands and would probably be super happy to see someone else’s face rather than their partner, family or housemates.
13. Get an at-home pottery kit
I see many people turning to crafts to occupy their time. “Dirty hands, clear mind” is the tagline of new start-up Crock’d, an at-home pottery kit. Getting a bunch of clay delivered to your home is probably the best way to spend your Saturday afternoon during this time! I recently made a little boobie-inspired cup and am absolutely loving it! I’m not sure whether they ship worldwide, but check them out regardless. Their branding is simply divine! (photo credit: Crock’d)
14. Learn how to make Sourdough bread
Seriously, who has the time to make bread! Another thing I started when I was bored during my farm work was starting a sourdough starter. Surprisingly, it is actually a ton of fun (and very messy) to feed the beast, aka your starter, on a daily basis and watch it grow into a living creature.
There is an abundance of recipes that can be found online and the trail and error will definitely keep your brain occupied. The only tricky part atm? Finding the flour!
15. Stay or become fit with online apps: Down Dog & Keep It Cleaner
While our gyms are closed, online apps have become the go-to for our daily workout. Whether it is a boxing session, a HIIT class or some yoga stretches in the morning, there is an app that will offer it. Similar to the mindfulness apps, there are a few apps that are also offering free extended trials. We love the app Down Dog for Yoga sessions! It allows you to fully customize your yoga session with what you prefer to emphasize on, how long you want it to last and even how long you want Savasana to last. Keep It Cleaner is my app of choice for HIIT and Strenght.
16. Learn To Cook By Virtual Class
The one good thing about this weird period in which we are living at the moment? The increased access we are getting to learning resources. While we’ve been used to learning anything and everything online for some time now, I feel like the quality of these online resources has really stepped it up. With the travel industry struggling, virtual tours and activities are now also officially an option. Like learning how to cook pasta straight from a kitchen in Rome, not a problem!
17. Do Tim Ferriss’ Fear Setting Excercise
Saving the best for last? Maybe! In times like these where almost everything is uncertain, it is very easy to get overwhelmed. There are a lot of different things up in the air, especially for those of us who are in the international community.
Doesn’t matter where you are or what stage you are in your life, Tim Ferriss’ fear setting exercise is always a good idea. Therefore if you are only going to try one of these positive things to do when stuck at home, give this one a go!
What to avoid during a lockdown?
- Avoid watching TV all day: While I’m all for having a day or two of doing nothing, two weeks of doing nothing will kill so much motivation and joy within you.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol: heeeeey, I do think having a boozy day with the housemates will be a freaking great time. I already have a few video chats planned with drinks! Buutttt drinking every day is just not a good idea.
- Avoid staying in your pj’s all day, at least put on some activewear, you can do it!
Want to remember any of these positive tips to do at home? Don’t forget to pin them!
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