By: Heather Bien
No matter where you are in the world, chances are, you’ve heard the guidelines to practice social distancing as we face the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s no doubt that it’s scary to watch as one country after another deals with an increasing number of cases, but the best way to stop the spread within any community is to isolate ourselves from others –– even if we don’t believe we have come in contact with anyone who might have it.
This means schools and events have shut down, workplaces have gone remote, and many of us are left wondering, “What do I do when I can’t leave the house?”
While this isn’t a situation any of us want to be in, it is an opportunity to reframe the narrative around socially distancing ourselves and, instead, look at it as a chance to work on ourselves and our home environment. So, here are 10 ways that we plan on staying busy at home over the next few weeks.
10 Ways to Stay Busy at Home
1. Check-in On Loved Ones and Neighbors
First things first, just because you’re socially distancing yourself from others physically, doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch. This is the time to send out a text to a friend you haven’t chatted with in a while, to call your grandparents, to remind your mom and dad to stick close to home. If you have a neighbor that’s elderly, give them a quick call to see if you can pick up some groceries for them. We may not all be able to hang out together, but we can still be there for each other.
2. Declutter and Deep Clean Your Home:
You have the opportunity to go into spring cleaning overdrive! Start by tackling one closet or one drawer at a time. Maybe set 30-minute increments on a timer so you can break it down into bite-size chunks. Work your way through the entire house minimizing and cutting clutter. Once you’re feeling lighter and less dragged down by stuff, it’s time for a deep clean. Tackle the mopping, dusting, shining, and vacuuming. Don’t forget the fridge, the microwave, and the baseboards!
3. Work on Your Capsule Wardrobe:
While you may not need any office-ready clothes while you’re working from home, use this time to look at your closet and build a capsule wardrobe that you’re excited about. Try different combinations of tops, bottoms, and accessories, then, photograph them so you’ll never again find yourself stuck thinking, “I have nothing to wear!”
4. Get Creative With Meal Prep:
This is the time to clear out all the pantry staples that have been sitting on the shelf for way too long. You may have done a big grocery run to stock up on frozen foods, canned foods, and other ingredients with a longer shelf life –– now think of new ways to combine shelf-stable items like rice, pasta, and legumes with frozen meats, spices, and veggies. Look into meal prep recipes. Unleash your culinary creativity.
5. Give Your Space a Refresh:
You don’t have to go shopping to give your home a new look. Use this extended period of time around the house to rearrange furniture, switch up your framed artwork, and see what items could have a new life when placed in another room. Shop your existing decor to give your space a different look or take a few items out of each room and see what you think of a more minimal look.
6. Tackle Those Lingering Home Projects:
Those shelves that need to be hung. The touch-up paint and spackle that’s been sitting on the to-do list for way too long. The closet door that doesn’t shut quite right. It’s easy to put these projects off when you’re busy but now that you’re home for a while, set aside an afternoon to knock them out. Bonus: if you have an outdoor space, this is the perfect opportunity to get it ready for warmer weather!
7. Master Your At-Home Workout or Yoga Practice:
We’ve all gotten the emails; fitness studios and gyms are taking necessary precautions to keep us safe. But, the reality is, we may want to move our workout routines in-home for a while. Check in to see if your regular fitness studio offers on-demand online classes (many are offering them for free right now!) or look at what’s available on YouTube. Whether you’re into barre, pilates, HIIT, yoga, or something else, chances are, you can adapt it to your home. Plus, running outside is still fine if you keep your distance from others!
8. Do a Puzzle:
Anxiety levels are high and you need something to take your mind off the endless news cycle. Grab a glass of wine or a cup of tea and settle in with an old-school puzzle or a board game. The nostalgia of these pastimes is like comfort food to bring down the sky-high stress levels and distract your attention for a few hours.
9. Take Up a New Creative Hobby:
10. Shop Local...From Your Sofa:
We know that local restaurants, shops, and bars may lose business as people stay home, but we don’t want to put ourselves or their employees at risk. Consider ordering a restaurant gift card now to use at a later date, placing an online or phone order with a local shop, or ordering “contact-free” delivery from a favorite restaurant if they’re staying open (many restaurants are shifting from dine-in to take-out only!). Find a way to put your dollars back into your favorite community businesses so they can stay afloat through this uncertainty.
And, lastly, a reminder that you don’t always have to be AT HOME –– practicing social distancing can look like taking a long car ride with the windows down, getting out into the mountains to hike, or even biking through your neighborhood. Fresh air does us all some good, as long as we steer clear of others.