This is not just another one of those lists you’ve been seeing on Instagram or Pinterest of things to “do” while you’re not supposed to leave home. We all know that we could (okay, probably should) do yoga, meditate, clean our kitchen, or learn to meal prep. But this isn’t that.
Instead, we’ve come up with 25 other things to fill your time — ideas that will distract, empower, inspire, and just make you feel better — and we guarantee there are at least a few you haven’t considered.
1. Do: Make a Dinner Experience
We can’t go out to eat right now, but we all love the atmosphere of a favorite restaurant and the feeling of being out and about. One of our Rockstars had an idea: She brought the experience home.
“The Anders Family put on the most dapper outfits we own — my husband and I put on our dusty wedding attire — and had a fancy dinner complete with a lovely bottle of wine, cupcakes, and after dinner dancing! The kids had a blast being silly. My 6-year-old even went so far as to draw on a mustache and create a monocle out of an old pair of sunglasses. [We] didn’t once think about viruses, school outages, or being socially distanced. It was a beautiful family memory made.”Sara, customer experience rockstar
Or, if you’ve joined the masses in downloading TikTok, you’ll see videos of families doing different themed dinners every night. From “meals in-flight” (while watching Top Gun, of course) to your own hibachi night on your griddle, bring that special dinner out in-home.
2. Watch: Tiger King
I’ll make this short and sweet: Jump on the bandwagon. You may regret it, but the experience will be nothing short of entertaining.
3. Read & Watch: Little Fires Everywhere
Hugely popular at every bookstore and now with the first season available to binge — er, watch — on Hulu, there’s no excuse to not get in on this cult favorite. Hello, Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington! <3
4. Do: Have a Picnic
If you’re lucky enough to live close enough to rural, unpopulated spaces, get out of your house, pack up a little lunch and a blanket you don’t mind getting dirty, and have a picnic. Don’t forget to practice safety measures to keep all exposure down for you and your community, though. #6feet
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Miki, I live in a city and I can’t use public spaces right now because #socialdistancing” — but the outdoors isn’t your only option! Do you have a backyard? Or what about your living room? Move the coffee table over, lay out a blanket, and enjoy a meal with no digital distractions, just like you would at a park.
5. Watch: TedTalks
Now’s the time to reflect on your life, take stock of where you are, and see where you want to go. Where’s the best place to get inspiration for who you want to be on the other side of quarantine? TedTalks. With topics on absolutely everything, there’s a 20-min option for everyone.
6. Read: Your Local Paper
Get caught up on your local news — a welcome break from the national headlines — and maybe finally tackle the crossword puzzle (we won’t tell if you have to Google an answer here and there). Or just stare at all the puppies up for adoption. Which brings me to my next to-do item:
7. Do: Adopt (or Foster) a Pet
Spring is normally the best time to adopt a new member into your family, especially if you live in a cold climate, and it’s finally warm enough for you to take your pet on walks outside! Just because we’re being asked to stay socially distant, doesn’t mean that pets out there don’t still need permanent homes.
Many shelters are also in need of foster homes right now because they’ve had to close or reduce their staff. Take a look at your local shelter’s site to see what they need. (Although here’s an uplifting story: New York’s dogs are pretty much covered.)
Added bonus? They’ll get you out on regular long walks, which is a must when we’re all spending more of our days at home.
8. Do: Play Games with Loved Ones
No, I’m not telling you to break shelter-in-place rules to see your friends, but rather, to find creative ways to play digitally. Download games like Words with Friends and Exploding Kittens on your phone. Or use Zoom to play old-school games over video chat:
“We’ve been playing board games with my parents via Zoom, and it’s been really fun.”Wren, QA specialist
This way you can still connect with your family and friends while you’re far apart and still kick their booties in games.
9. Read: The Book Version of Your Favorite Movie
As with many good movies, it probably started out as a book first. I challenge you to read that book now. You’re already guaranteed to like the storyline, and you can imagine the characters as you read them. If you’re anything like my best friend, you’ll find yourself criticizing the differences between the two versions the next time you watch the movie.
10. Watch/Read: Movie/Book Marathons
“Re-read Harry Potter (duh).”Serena, UX designer
There’s nothing more comforting than an old favorite, and even better if it’s a series that can fill even more downtime. Our go-tos (as in, the ones we’ve definitely already done): Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the original Star Wars… I even read Series of Unfortunate Events as a kid, and they have now turned into an eerily great series on Netflix. If you want to kick it up a notch, go big on the theme. Make yourself a batch of butterbeer while you’re watching/reading, or eat an elevenses meal. No judgment for how long you sit in front of the screen/in your reading nook. Time is not a concept anymore…
11. Do: Rearrange Your Furniture
I used to think my mom was crazy for rearranging our furniture every season, but it definitely made for a fresh room feel. And I bet your life needs some fresh feels right now. So, pick a room and start shifting your layout. It’ll feel like a whole new space.
12. Watch: A Walk Down Memory Lane
From One Tree Hill to The O.C., Lost, and The X Files, there’s definitely a show you tuned into every Monday night. Now is the time to go rewatch your favorite shows.
13. Read: Your Favorite Blogs
Sure, you may skim an article from time to time when it pops up on your feed, but you can now go and actually scour their site to find more articles you’ve missed and actually read them. Or subscribe to them and read the new articles that hit your inbox every day.
14. Watch: Hobby Shows and Recreate Them
“Trying new recipes rather than eating out”Blake, QA associate
Or to get even more creative with Blake’s suggestion: Cue up The Great British Baking Show, Chopped, Iron Chef, Nailed It, or the comfort food queen, Paula Deen. Once you’ve thoroughly binged your favorite show, recreate your favorite episode at home. e.g. a la GBBS, make it “Bread Week” and challenge your stay-at-home partner to make three bread marvels to find out whose hand Paul Hollywood would shake. You can do the same thing with other non-food projects by watching any HGTV show (hello, home improvements), Bob Ross, or heck, even Extreme Couponing.
15. Do: Write a Letter
Go old-school and break out the pen and paper to write a letter. Write to your grandma (BTW, Have you called your mom lately?), your overseas friends, or even your next-door neighbor. Maybe instead of spraying your letter with perfume like Elle Woods, spray it with Lysol before you send it.
16. Do: Scavenger Hunt
“Our neighborhood is doing a “Bear Hunt” — neighbors are putting teddy bears in their windows so kids can find them on their walks. We found 29!”Jaime, marketing specialist
Check your neighborhood NextDoor to see what your area is organizing. Kit, our head of content, says that people are doing a nightly “coyote howl” in her area in L.A.
But you don’t even need to go around your neighborhood for this: Consider creating a scavenger hunt in your own house for your roommate, partner, or kids. Use riddles, or games, or puzzles to earn the next clue and get as creative as you can.
17. Read: From a Local Author
Your local bookstores often have authors on display from around the state or even your city. While you can’t visit bookstores right now, you can still visit their websites and even give them a jingle to ask for their recommendations. Most bookstores are still doing deliveries or curbside pickup and it’s a great way to support not only your local authors but your local businesses. Bonus: you’ll probably know the places the author is talking about or you’ll discover places you never realized were around you.
18. Do: Help Others
There are so many ways that you can help your neighbors, your community or even society at large right now. Head to our Instagram page for inspiration and when you’ve found what you can do, share your work with us for the chance to be awarded $500 to your small business (details here).
19. Do: Gratitude Lists
This is one of the most sure-fire ways to keep you from feeling overwhelmed and depressed during this time. It can be as simple as writing down just three things, but try to do it every day. I bet you’ll start noticing things you’re grateful for that you never took the time to notice before.
“Gratitude Lists. Example:Will, software engineer
My dog Vinnie.
Reconnecting with friends.
Working for a company where it’s possible to work remotely.
“My feel good moments are the ones where Hazel, my 9 month-old, is sleeping in the sling carrier while I type away. We don’t get days like this together very often during the week, and I am definitely aware that in hindsight, I’ll be thankful for the time that I got to be a stay-at-home mommy while also working full time. I thought I would always have to choose one over the other, and the universe has given some balance to that, even for just a little bit.”Hillary, customer experience rockstars
20. Do: Get Your Garden Ready
Don’t forget that it’s springtime! It was officially the March Equinox on March 19 (was anyone paying attention?) and although it’s snowing in Bozeman as I write this, gardening season is actually here.
“I’ve been attacking the Quackgrass in my garden. Feels so good to get those weeds out and make a fresh start for the lovely flowers and veggies I plan on growing this year. Plus – I’ve been discovering all the little creatures who have been hibernating, worms, crickets, ladybugs – so fun to say hello to them.” – Lindsey, payment specialist
In the same vein: “Now that we’re stuck inside, it feels good to give the houseplants some love and TLC.” – Kelly, UX designer
P.S. Spring also means Spring Cleaning: “I cleaned my garage, really just getting into all the spring cleaning. Washing drapes here I come.”Kara, customer experience rockstar
21. Read: Not the News or Social Media
“Take intentional breaks from social media and the news.”Caitlin, marketing data analyst
It’s easy to get overwhelmed right now with new articles and posts coming out what seems like every minute. If the stress is starting to get to you, you have permission to take a break from it all. Consume the news when you’re capable of handling it and only pick the information that is relevant to staying generally aware and helps you stay healthy. Caitlin also suggested consuming good news: “When on social media, I am loving this account: @goodnews_movement”
22. Do: Break the Rules
“Eat brownies for breakfast – there really aren’t any rules anymore.”Hannah, social media strategist
She’s right. Do all the “self-care” you need right now even if that means breaking from your normal day-to-day routine — just don’t break actual laws or risk exposure for others. 🙂
23. Watch: Rom-Coms for Date Night
Who says you can’t have a date night while staying in your house. Make your S.O. something special to eat (or if you’re separated, cook up the same thing or order takeout from the same restaurant), and watch a romantic movie. You can use Zoom or HouseParty to join in with your favorite people, and there’s now a Netflix plugin for your browser so you can watch movies at the same time. Our data expert, Dave, has a few suggestions:
- Sleepless in Seattle
- Notting Hill
- When Harry met Sally
- Groundhog Day
24. Watch: Tutorials on a New Skill
If you’re not an essential worker right now, there are no excuses for not having enough time to learn that skill you’ve always dreamed of. Come out of this time better than you went into it by becoming the McDreamy who can now woo with his amazing guitar skills or Mrs. International who now speaks conversational French.
25. Do: Support Your Local Businesses
In a time where a lot of small businesses are struggling, you can help them out in many ways. From buying gift cards or even getting ahead on buying gifts for birthdays throughout the year, to supporting them through simple things like leaving reviews or joining in on their online classes, don’t stop supporting your favorite businesses.