The stay-at-home orders that have us hunkered down across the country have brought with it an epidemic of boredom — most of us have an abundance of free time we would’ve otherwise spent socializing, at the movie theater, or playing a sport.
For me, however, the stay-at-home order gave me the opportunity to finally tackle so many things that I have wanted to do but could never find the time for. I have several passions and interests — probably too many or just one person to handle — but now I can use my extra time to dive further into my hobbies and pick up a few new ones that have fascinated me. Here are some of the things I have been doing during this time — maybe they’ll spark an interest in you as well.
Learn something new
Recently I watched a team dance to a Maverick City song, and tears welled up in my eyes as I felt the emotion in the piece. Instantly I knew I wanted to learn how to dance. Normally it would not be one of my top priorities in life, but now that I have a bit more time on my hands, I want to give it a shot. I have already added videos that teach the basics to dancing to my watchlist on YouTube. You might not feel an impulse to start something as deeply as I did with dance, but you can still find something new to learn. Whether it’s learning to dance, a new language, or how to play an instrument, imagine how accomplished you’ll feel once our society is back to normal and you have a whole new lifelong skill.
Become an amazing chef
Now that all the restaurants and bars have closed their doors to the public, this is the time to open a cookbook, turn on that Cooking 101 tutorial, and try your best at making your own fancy dishes. If you’re anything like me, you might not be able to replicate a recipe exactly like a professionally trained chef would — I can make food taste good, but to make it look both picture-ready and drool-worthy is a whole-nother skill I have yet to master. But you can at least try to elevate your spaghetti recipe to a new level. If worst comes to worst and your meals offend your tastebuds (I’ve definitely been there), you can always order takeout and support your local businesses.
Create a vision board and start setting some goals
Have you ever heard of the phrase “new year, new me”? It’s something people say once the new year hits and they plan to make some changes in their lives to better themselves. It’s something that I said once 2020 hit, but I didn’t actually write down any of these changes or goals until three months later when I forced myself to step outside of the busyness of life to do it. I can’t emphasize enough how motivating it was just to have goals written down so that I know what I’m working toward. Recently, I got specific and wrote down dates, deadlines, and check-in times so that I can hold myself accountable to reach my dreams. If you haven’t done this already, I encourage you to write your goals down and create a vision board (you can get fun with this by using magazine cut-outs and all, or you can just use a Sharpie and a piece of cardboard like I did). You can write your career goals, your fitness goals, financial goals, goals for hobbies — any and all of them. Whatever goals you choose, I’ve learned that the more specific you are, the easier it is to reach them. And the more flexible you’re willing to be about the process, the less stress you’ll put on yourself.
Find an online job
The government orders to shelter in place are meant to protect people, and I understand that. I’m grateful that we are trying to keep people in our communities healthy. One result, though, has been that many people are out of work. If that is you, or you are just looking for another side-hustle, then the internet is your new friend. There are a lot of job opportunities on the internet that allow you to work straight from your living room. Some options are online tutoring (tutor.com and studypool.com are well-known, accredited websites), becoming a personal assistant (which you can find on several freelance sites like taskrabbit.com), or freelance writing.
Spend more time with your living mates
A couple of my married friends have told me what a blessing it has been that they get to spend more time with their kids now that everyone in their household is working from home. Though it has some challenges (especially because one friend has four small, active young boys), having more time with them has allowed my friends to appreciate their family life more. If your roommates are not children but adults your age, being holed up in a living space together could mean deeper relationships for you all because there is no one else around to talk to. The fortunate side of not being able to see your close friends is that you get the chance to get close to the ones you live with. Think about starting a conversation over a meal that has potential to be self-revelatory and get to know each other and what you think and believe.
Read the Bible
We all have been dealing with fear and anxiety, which makes this the perfect time to grow deeper in your faith. Reading the Bible not only reminds you of God’s promises to us, it strengthens your faith, maintains your peace of mind, and connects you with a community that transcends space and time. Once you bring faith to Scripture, you discover that the Bible is a living thing — it is one way God speaks to us.
We have come to my favorite option thus far — not because I enjoy the actual work it takes to declutter my house, but because I know I will enjoy the calmness I’ll feel as a result. If you’ve ever seen the show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, then you know the importance of the organization of your living space with only necessary items. I understand, however, that not everyone is like me (or Marie Kondo). Not everyone needs a super-organized and tidy place to have an organized mind and stay sane. Some people like piles of clothes stored in closets and 10-year-old broken radios sitting on their shelf as decorative memorabilia. That is totally okay, and I actually understand where they are coming from. I, on the other hand, definitely prefer a minimalist living space that still allows it to look good, furnished, and uncrowded. Unfortunately, I don’t always have the time — or I guess I just don’t make the time — to keep it that way. If this sounds like you, too, decluttering every room completely can be your main activity for however long we are required to stay home. I know I’m excited to get started on it.
These are only some ideas of activities and hobbies you can do at home during this pandemic. One key to all of them is that they all require an intentional choice — you’re not going to learn that new skill or clean that closet by scrolling through Instagram. Take advantage of this time so that you emerge on the other side of this crisis stronger and more mature.