First of all, this is a crazy time we are living through right now. I’m an optimist, so I’m really looking forward to that day in the future when we can look back and say, “Wow. I’m glad that’s over with.” And I can roll my eyes at the people who say, “See, it wasn’t as bad as they said. They should never have cancelled all those things.” (Duh. That will mean the preventive measures worked.)
If you are following the social distancing recommendations of health experts (Rick and I are), in addition to feeling disappointed at cancelled events and anxious about the news, you may be feeling…bored.
Instead, let’s see this as an opportunity! How many times have you looked around your house and said, “If I had more free time, I’d do ___?” Well, here it is. Lots and lots of free time at your disposal. If you need some ideas, here are ten activities to keep you busy while we ride out the storm:
1. Read! “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are,” said Mason Cooley. I’ve always loved that quote, and it is especially true in this situation. For me, reading is a better escape than even television or movies. If a book is well-written, the real world falls away and I find myself consumed by the story. If you don’t have anything you feel like reading on hand, borrow a book from the library using a Kindle or Nook (if you have one) or order from an online bookstore.
2. Catch up on the shows you like on streaming services like Netflix, Apple, Amazon etc. I’m currently making my way through Mrs. Maisel and looking for new faves. Any suggestions?
3. Spring clean! Seriously, cleaning and organizing is a great way to burn off nervous energy and when you finish, you’ve got a sparkling fresh space to relax.
4. Catch up on home and garden projects. We picked up this outdoor furniture restorer a few weeks ago at Home Depot and Rick put it to work today. Look around your garage and basement and see what you might have on hand to prep your flower beds or complete a chore you’ve been putting off.
5. Iron. Does anybody besides me do that anymore? I currently have a pile of clothes on a chair in the guest room that will take at least a couple of hours. ~sigh~
6. Put together spring outfits to go out in once things calm down! I like to arrange the clothes along with accessories that match and snap it on my phone as a reminder of what items I plan to wear together. There’s probably a word for that behavior and I probably don’t want to hear it.
7. Try some new recipes! Dig out those underused cookbooks and whip something up! If you’re missing ingredients, take advantage of the grocery delivery services widely available now or try to visit the supermarket when there are fewer customers, early in the morning or late at night. Conversely, you can download the SuperCook app and enter the ingredients you have on hand to see what recipe options there are!
8. Speaking of apps, download Duolingo and use some of your downtime to start learning a new language. I used it religiously before our trip to France, but I haven’t kept up with the lessons since we got home. I’m committing to spending at least 15 minutes a day on it now. It’s free and fun and a lot better use of my time than solitaire.
9. Learn to make sourdough bread! Yes, it takes a bit of time, but it’s easier than you think, it makes your house smell delicious, and what is more comforting than fresh bread warm from the oven? If you have flour, salt, and water, you are good to go. We got our sourdough starter from our daughter-in-law and we keep it in the refrigerator until we’re ready to make a batch, but you can make your own using the directions at www.thekitchn.com. For the bread, we follow the recipe for No-Knead Sourdough Bread from https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018028-sourdough-no-knead-bread
10. If you normally have seasonal allergies, talk to your doctor about starting your usual springtime meds now. The trees are beginning to bud and bulbs are coming up, so why risk worrying that your sneezes are something other than run-of-the-mill hay fever?
I’m confident that our world will make it through this and learn from it, hopefully improving and strengthening our healthcare systems and our ability to fight the next pandemic to come along.
Let’s support one another, stay calm, and…wash our hands. If you have additional ways to pass the time at home, please share them in the comments section!