These are certainly unprecedented times. It’s not unusual to feel anxious, bored, trapped or like you’re going crazy, but you don’t have to feel that way. Take charge of your quarantine to (hopefully!) diminish those feelings of despair.
With the cancelations of concerts, plays, sporting events and much more, it might seem that the world stopped turning. To kick your own world into gear, try some of the activities compiled in the slideshow gallery below.
1. Tune in to a live-streamed concert.
Musicians are taking their craft online since in-person concerts are out of the question. Miley Cyrus, Niall Horan, Josh Groban, P!nk, Luke Coombs and more have already put on concerts for their fans to enjoy from the comfort of their homes.
Billboard launched a “Live at Home” series, and WHO and Global Citizen partnered for “#TogetherAtHome” on Instagram “to help us all practice social distancing and promote global health.”
NPR compiled a list of audio and video streams from around the globe. Check it out daily for links to streams, ranging from free performances to ones on a subscription basis. Don’t forget to support local artists, too!
2. Go outside!
Currently, unless your county or state of residence has a stay at home order or lockdown in place, it’s okay to go outside! Breathe in the fresh air while you can—it’s spring, after all.
While you can continue most activities as normal, note that Pennsylvania state park and forest facilities remain closed until April 30 to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Trails, lakes, forests, roads, and parking areas will still be accessible to the public during this time.
Whatever you do outside, respect social distancing and stay away from crowded areas.
*Use your own discretion. I’m not a medical professional.
3. Write letters.
There’s many reasons to write handwritten letters, but most people say they just don’t have the time. No excuse now! Handwritten letters are a memorable way to express your love to others. Research even suggests writing letters can make you happier.
Steven Toepfer, Ph.D., who researches intentional activity subject well-being at Kent State University, says this about making a habit of writing meaningful letters: “you’ll feel happier, you’ll feel more satisfied, and if you’re suffering from depressive symptoms, your symptoms will decrease.”
Write to your loved ones. Then, consider writing to strangers who might feel isolated such as those in nursing homes, prisons or the military. Find out how to help people in your community, or check out these programs:
Letters to Strangers, benefitting mental health de-stigmatization and treatment.
Sunshine Snail Mail, focusing on childhood and life-threatening illnesses.
Letters of Love by Love for the Elderly, uplifting elders.
Operation Gratitude, thanking troops, veterans, wounded heroes and caregivers.
Write A Prisoner, connecting inmates to positive contacts outside of prison walls.
4. Binge-watch without the guilt.
Thanks to the quarantine, you can binge-watch without feeling bad about it.
Feeling lonely watching hours on end by yourself? There’s an extension on Google Chrome called Netflix Party that allows friends to sync their Netflix programs and chat in real-time. Download it here and have movie night safely from home.
Meditation can help us understand our minds and transform our thoughts. Mindful reports five reasons to meditate are to understand your pain, lower your stress, connect better, improve focus and reduce brain chatter. These benefits can be especially valuable during the coronavirus outbreak.
Meditation is a skill. Practice regularly and hone the skill over time—do not fret, because it’s not about being perfect!
Headspace and Mindful both have a lot of information about meditation, including different types and skill levels, how to sleep better and free guided meditations. Search YouTube for other free meditations, including this 5-minute meditation led by John Davisi.
6. Try your hand at cooking.
Cooking is fun! Put your apron on, dust off the family recipes or whip up your own and get cooking.
Something New For Dinner provides recipes as a starting point for trying new things. The founder encourages visitors to think of cooking as a blank canvas; in other words, mix flavors, textures and colors to create your own masterpiece.
Twenty-somethings might enjoy trying 29 dishes you need to know how to cook by the time you’re 30, according to chefs or these 74 cheap and easy dinner ideas for food on a budget.
Get skilled in the kitchen and wow your guests once the virus settles down and life returns to normal.
7. Learn a language. учи язык. Aprende un idioma. 言語を学ぶ. Teanga a fhoghlaim.
It’s never too late to learn a new language. You’ll be able to better connect with people around the world, gain more respect for other cultures, improve critical thinking and much more.
Don’t make Duo sad! Download Duolingo, the “world’s best way to learn a language,” and let the owl guilt-trip you into never missing a lesson. Duolingo is a free service with optional premium features that can be accessed via their website or app.
Duolingo currently offers 35 courses for English speakers, including fictional languages such as High Valyrian from “Game of Thrones” and Klingon from “Star Trek.” Whether you aim to become more worldly or just feed your inner nerd, Duolingo is a wonderful place to start.
8. Virtually tour future vacation spots!
Traveling is an enriching experience, but now is not the time to hit the road. Plans have been canceled, bags have been unpacked, but the whole thing doesn’t have to be canned. Instead, take a virtual tour!
DiscoverNEPA compiled a list of virtual tours to explore right from your laptop. The expeditions include national parks and world wonders.
Grab your headphones, your wanderlust, and go!
9. How are you keeping busy during the quarantine?
Drop your creative quarantine activities in the comments, and don’t forget to wash your hands!