8 Ways to Entertain Yourself and Stay Connected While At Home
Staying at home doesn’t have to mean being bored and isolated
Across the globe, the day-to-day routines of billions of people have come to a halt. With physical distancing measures being enforced in almost every major country on the planet, many of us are spending our days inside our homes unable to be with our loved ones.
Most restaurants, cafes, gyms, and malls are temporarily closed, and keeping yourself occupied and socially active may be a struggle, particularly for those of us who are accustomed to busy lives outside the home. Being stuck inside doesn’t have to be boring, however, and just because we’ve been asked to physically distance ourselves from family and friends, doesn’t mean we have to be bored or socially isolate ourselves. Here are eight ways to keep yourself entertained and engaged with your loved ones while physically distancing at home:
Stay physically active
Let’s face it, we’re living through a very uncertain and emotionally stressful time. During a period of high anxiety, we seek comfort and that often comes through decreased mobility and increased comfort foods. For many of us, our instinctual reaction is to sit on the couch and watch mindless television for hours on end and limit our physical activity to short trips to and from the kitchen for snacks.
While remaining inactive may be a natural response, research has shown that staying active helps to drastically reduce stress and anxiety and helps to keep us focused. While gyms might be closed, there are plenty of ways to stay active while practising physical distancing. If you have old workout equipment around the house, time to dust them off and get to work. Don’t worry if you don’t have any equipment handy, use whatever is handy.
If you have no idea where to start, YouTube has a vast collection of workout routines to watch. Additionally, many gyms and personal trainers are offering free virtual classes on social media like Facebook Live and Instagram.
Staying active is a great way to not only burn off a few extra calories, but also help to keep your anxiety levels down during these trying times.
While many governments are encouraging, or legally enforcing, stay-at-home measures, many jurisdictions allow people to leave the house for exercise. You can still go outdoors while physically distancing yourself from others. For many us, this is the time of year we start getting outdoors more as the warmer weather returns. So, don’t ignore that urge, just be sensible.
If you have a backyard, common area, or balcony, head outside and pull up a comfy chair. Read a book, call friends and family, listen to some music, or do some yard work. Just getting outdoors and soaking up a little sunshine is a positive mood enhancer.
If you feel safe doing so, go for a walk or a jog. Just remember to keep your distance from others and if you’re living in an area that requires you to do so— or you feel more secure by putting one on— don’t forget to wear a mask; masks have become the fashion accessory of 2020.
Put on your chef’s hat
For many of us, the kitchen is the heart of our homes. With reduced options available, many people are dusting off old recipe books or looking for food ideas online. If you’re an amateur chef, now is a great time to experiment and play around with your favourite dishes. If the microwave and frozen dinners are your normal go-to, why not start to learn the basics? You’ve got the time.
Since many of us are going to the grocery store less frequently, pantry cooking is currently the ‘in thing.’ It’s time to get creative and see what you can do with all that dried pasta, cans of tuna, and frozen peas you’ve had for ages. Don’t know where to begin? Don’t worry, many celebrity chefs like Martha Stewart, Ina Garten, Jamie Oliver, and Gordon Ramsay are all posting daily recipe ideas that just may help to inspire you.
Many of us have the stack of books on our nightstand that always seems to be growing taller. Well, good news, you’ve got the time now, so start reading. Get comfortable and give yourself a little ‘me time’ by getting lost in a good book. Research has shown that reading is more mentally stimulating than watching TV as it engages both your language and imagination skills.
Also, you can use reading as a social activity. Get your friends involved and start a book club. Read the same book together and have regular discussions about it. Don’t know what to read? Well, most book retailers and libraries have you covered with book club selections. Most bookstores are still delivering orders, and while many libraries are closed, their digital collections, including eBooks, are still available for borrowing.
Throw a Netflix party
Going out to the movies has long been a popular social activity. What do you do when all the cinemas are closed and you can’t be with your friends? Throw a Netflix party, of course.
Chrome has added a new extension to its browsers that allows you and your friends to watch the same content at the same time. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows. While you might not be sitting next to your friends in a theatre enjoying the latest blockbuster, it’s a fun alternative. So, grab some popcorn, make a few cocktails, and have a fun movie night with your friends.
Virtual coffee chats
Catching up with friends over a cup of coffee at a local café is something of a tradition for many of us. Many of us have regular coffee dates with our best friends, but with the current situation as it is, these social outings are on hold. However, this doesn’t mean they have to stop! Thanks to Facetime, Zoom, and other video chat apps, there is no reason why coffee catch-ups need to be re-booked.
If you and your friends have a regular date and time you usually meet for coffee, keep them. Brew a nice pot or cup, find a comfy corner of your house, and get caught up. While the gossip might be a little more limited these days, it’ll still be nice to hear your friends’ voices and share a few good laughs.
Don’t forget ‘me time’
If you’re living with a partner, roommate, or family let’s be honest, being with them 24/7 for days on end can be trying even if you get along fine. In normal circumstances, living together doesn’t equal being together all the time. Most of us have jobs and other social commitments that get us out of the house and surround us with different people daily. When you’re stuck at home with the same person, or people, for weeks at a time, it can get tense.
Give yourself some space. Find activities that provide all of you with the opportunity to be alone and recharge. If you live in a small space, this can be a challenge, but why not read outside, or go for a ride in the car, or even lock yourself in the bathroom and take a luxurious bath. Even if you adore who you live with, their constant presence can get under your skin. It’s okay, and healthy, to admit that you need a little space and time to yourself.
If you live with a partner, staying at home together presents the opportunity to rekindle the spark. Even tiny little gestures like making a special meal together, or cuddling on the couch while watching a romantic comedy, is a great way to spend some quality time together. And since most of us aren’t coming home exhausted from a day at the office, why not use some of that energy in the bedroom?
If you’re dating someone but not living together, don’t let physical distancing hinder your socializing. Communicate regularly, have virtual dates through video chat apps, and get creative with ways you can interact with each other. While it may be frustrating, stay positive. Not being able to see each other physically may actually solidify your relationship. It will help to build emotional intimacy and excitement for the next time you see each other in person. And while you might not be able to ‘Netflix and chill’ now is a great time to brush up on your sexting skills.
Finally, if you’re single, don’t let the current situation damper your ability to meet new people. Dating apps and sites like Tinder and OkCupid are still open. You can meet someone, chat for a while, and by the time you meet, you’ll have already established a strong connection.
For some people, physical distancing may result in increased sexual frustration. Well, many adult sites are offering free access to their extensive collections of ‘mature videos’ to help alleviate some of your tension.
As we continue to face this situation, remember that we may be physically apart, but we’re all in this together. Staying at home and away from loved ones doesn’t mean you need to be bored or disconnected.
Take this opportunity and do things that you don’t always have the time for. Find new hobbies and interests. Who knows, when this is all over, you may find that some of your priorities have shifted in ways you didn’t think possible just a few short weeks ago.