With the current situation regarding COVID-19, we are advised to stay at home (with differing rules in Switzerland and France) and it can become very easy to get bored. Although binge-watching Netflix series may be tempting, there are other ways you can spend some of this extra time that you have. I have come up with some potential ideas of things that you could do to stay entertained and that could help you to maintain a good physical and mental state.
Plan your days:
This advice comes from someone who has spent the last month in quarantine in Italy. He told the BBC that the best thing that you can do is plan your day. This way, you avoid wasting your time (which can consequently make you feel down) and getting bored. The captain of a British military submarine (who spent long periods in a small space underwater) also emphasised how essential it is to settle into a routine. The following suggestions can be built into a daily plan…
Write an article:
You can write about something that interests you and submit it to the Update or even another newspaper – Le News is a local English-language newspaper that is always looking for interesting articles.
Although we are limited to staying inside our homes, that should not stop us from exercising. If you can, it’s great for your physical and mental health if you can get outside for a run (of course whilst maintaining the necessary 2m distance from any other people you meet) or even a brisk walk. Otherwise, there are loads of online workouts/ YouTube videos that you can do from your home or garden. Furthermore, apps such as ‘Fitbod’ are offering their premium subscriptions for free for bodyweight workouts and exercises that you can do at home.
If you are already an avid reader, then now you have time to read the books you want to read. If you’re not so keen on reading, then now could be a good time to start. If you want some easy reading spy novels, then Robert Muchamore’s ‘Cherub’ series is always popular – you could also read some Anthony Horowitz or Andy McNab for a similar genre. Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses, a book about transracial love in a dystopian inverted world, gets very good reviews too and has just been turned into a TV series. It could also be an idea to use this time as an opportunity to read a more informative/ educational book – a friend recommended I read Marx, although this might be a little too heavy for my liking!
Make some music:
If you have an instrument around the house that you don’t know how to play, now is the perfect time to learn – there are an abundance of online lessons or apps where you can teach yourself. Also, if you already know how to play an instrument, now could be a good time to improve this skill. If you don’t have any instruments at home then you could get creative like this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muMutEWeS6c. You could also try to create some music of your own using software such as GarageBand.
Many of you may not have cooked much before and now you have an opportunity to learn. If you have more family around than usual due to quarantine measures, then maybe they can teach you some of the basics of cooking. Otherwise, you can follow online tutorials and recipes, and, with some practice, you will soon become a competent chef! It can also be nice to take time (maybe a few hours) and cook a really good meal without time pressure – this has the added bonus of tasting your delicious work!
If you are not keen on the idea of cooking, then maybe baking will seem like an attractive alternative. You can make cookies, brownies, cake or whatever you want and, if you and your family can’t finish it all, why not offer it to your neighbours, especially if they are self- isolating and need a bit of a morale boost. If you are super bored, you could find an inventive way of serving yourself our tasty treats like this guy:
Call a Friend:
Although you are probably still in regular contact with your close friends, you could call a friend who you haven’t talked to for a while – perhaps someone who now lives in another country. You would certainly have plenty to talk with them about and it would be nice to see how someone else is coping with COVID-19.
An Act of Kindness:
At the moment, there are lots of people who could be struggling – it can be difficult to be socially isolated, especially if you live alone. Try and think of ways that you can help the people around you: just a small act of kindness can really mean a lot to someone else and it can be really helpful for them to know that someone is looking out for them.
If your family is around then it would be nice to play some board games – especially the long ones that nobody ever wants to play! If you don’t have any board games then there are loads of fun card games that you can play: rummy, president, go fish to name just a few.
Do you have a 1000-piece jigsaw in a cupboard somewhere that you have always said that what will you do when you have some time? You could do a jigsaw on your own or in a group (with your family) – it can be fun, relaxing and satisfying..
Keep a Diary:
Although my mum suggested that I should write a diary entry every day like she does, I didn’t really fancy doing that. What you could do instead though is voice record yourself explaining what is happening and reflecting a bit because it could be interesting to look back on these strange times in the future and try to remember exactly what it was like.
Learn a New Skill
I mentioned above that you could learn a new instrument, but that isn’t the only new skill that you could learn. Why not also learn to juggle or lean a new language on Duolingo, or any another skill you might like to learn.
This is something that Mr Dijkstra said has been helpful to him, that you can do daily. There are courses online for meditation, mindfulness, wellbeing. Yale’s most popular course “The Science of Wellbeing” is now online for free for anyone to access: https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being#enroll.
I know nothing about yoga, but the PTA is organising virtual yoga classes and there are plenty of yoga tutorials/ live classes that are accessible for free online at the moment.
I have some seeds at home for lettuce, basil and parsley that we never got around to planting before now. If you have some seeds at home, now would be a good time to plant them, if not, shops such as Landi where you can buy seeds are still open so you can start your own little vegetable patch.
You could start writing your own novel or short story – let your creativity run and write something exciting. You could also write a letter to someone, maybe an elderly person as they might really appreciate a handwritten letter (especially at the moment).
You could try some DIY. Get creative with what you have; maybe you could try building yourself a small chair or desk out of wood or use some of your waste and make something creative and useful with it.
Having a clean/ tidy house can make staying home much more enjoyable. It could really be worthwhile to keep your bedroom/ workspace tidy and clean so that this doesn’t distract you or get on your nerves. This time could also be an opportunity to do a big tidy of some messy cupboard, draw, attic, garage: you might find stuff in there you never knew existed. Also, when you are tidying like this, you will undoubtedly find things you no longer want; you could give them away or sell them using sites such as http://www.anabis.ch.
Paper Airplane Competition:
You could have a paper airplane competition with your family: all make a paper airplane, throw them from a height, and see whose airplane flies the farthest!
Make a Domino Run
I am sure that you have seen videos online of people making huge domino runs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0jeohWnmAQ). You could make one too with anything that you can find in your home (Jenga pieces for example) and film it.
Build a House of Cards
I’m sure this is very frustrating when it doesn’t work but you could have a go at building a house of cards if you are really bored… good luck!
All of these are just suggestions but if you have lots more time and/ or are bored then why not give some of them a try, you might find them more fulfilling that watching Netflix and you might have great fun despite lockdown/ quarantine. Either way, soon this will all be over and we’ll be back to normal but we can make the most of this situation in the meantime.
Written by: Kealan Pritchard