With much of the world being asked to self-isolate themselves during this time of uncertainty, many people are becoming anxious and are unsure of what to do with the many hours in a day that are usually jampacked full of endless running around and keeping to a specific schedule.

So, to hopefully help with this, we’ve come up with a list of things that can help keep people busy over the coming weeks or months. Since it’s out of our control, we might as well take advantage of the free time!

1.) Read a book. This can be one of the first things that get pushed aside when life gets busy, so why not get into a habit of doing it again? Many people have a small pile of “to-read” books that they never get around to, so pull that pile out now and start making your way through it. If you don’t have any at the minute, you can always access your local library on an e-reader or a tablet and borrow books digitally.

2.) Join a virtual book club. Following along with the last suggestion, join a virtual online book club to be a part of a social group and have discussions about the books that you’re reading. They’ve always existed, but more and more are likely to form in the next little while. If you don’t want to discuss with strangers, why not make your own? Whether it’s just you and your best friend or you and five other friends, pick books, read them “together”, and discuss.

3.) Do jigsaw puzzles. Anyone who knows me well knows that this is my favourite pastime! And one well worth getting into, especially with a lot of free time. The long-term benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles are worthwhile anyway, but they’re a great short-term solution for keeping both your hands and your mind busy during a quarantine. Check out secondhand shops and charity shops for used puzzles that can cost anywhere from 50p to £3!

4.) Cook something new. You probably have a few ingredients lying around your house that you thought would come in handy one day, but you’ve never actually used them. Do a bit of research, get creative, and whip up something different rather than your usual quick midweek meals. Not only that, many supermarkets are also running low on supplies, so getting creative in the kitchen with different, better-stocked ingredients may be better in the long run anyway. Another idea – if you had a holiday cancelled because of everything going on, try cooking something local to the country/city you were going to visit!

5.) Go outside. For this one, please keep in mind what your country’s regulations are during this self-isolation period. Some people are discouraged to go out at all, so please abide by those guidelines. Otherwise, go and enjoy nature. Go for a walk in the countryside or go wander through a forest. In the UK, the National Trust is opening their doors to all gardens/parks to people, free of entry (including car parks). Just remember to avoid others while you’re out. Worst case scenario – sit in your backyard and soak up some Vitamin D to make you feel better!

6.) Pamper yourself. Paint your nails, use a face mask, have a bubble bath with a glass of wine, get your partner to give you a massage (don’t be greedy – give them one too!), or have a foot spa. Just because we won’t be seeing people, it doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to look and feel good!

7.) Keep connected with family and friends. Do this through texts, ring them, or, even better, Skype or FaceTime them. Even if you can’t physically visit people, you can still have a face-to-face conversation with them. If you usually meet up for a drink with a friend on a Friday night, there’s no reason that this has to stop. Crack open a bottle of wine at home and video call them and make sure that you keep that tradition going.

8.) Discover new music. I don’t know about you, but I listen to the same music over and over again (hello, ‘90s music!). Ask friends for recommendations or just randomly select songs that you wouldn’t normally. You might find something great!

9.) Word games/puzzles. This can be anything from crosswords to word searches to sudokus (yes, I know that’s not a word game, but you get my point), to word jumbles. You can either find things like this in the newspaper, online, or pick up a book filled with them when you’re next out getting groceries. There are also adult colouring books and adult dot-to-dots (personally I love these).

10.) Garden. Now this can be either indoors or outdoors. If you have a garden, go for it. If not? Try to find some little pots or even some empty food containers will do (yoghurt pots, the bottom half of a pop bottle, etc.). Get your hands on some seeds and make yourself a little herb garden in your kitchen. Perfect to combine with self-isolation activity #4!

11.) Spring clean your house. Go through things that could maybe be donated to charity, clear out the “I’ll put it in here and sort it out later” drawers, go through your closet, go through toys, etc.

12.) Reminisce. Look at old photographs, ring your friends to talk about “the good old days”, or dig up your box of childhood things. Remember all the good times you’ve had and have a laugh at all the stupid things that you did when you were younger!

13.) Build and paint a model. I feel like models aren’t a big thing anymore, but they’re a great way to pass the time and be a bit creative. Whether it’s a model car, ship, or a miniature for a board game, build it, paint it, and design it however you like.

14.) Catch up on chores. When life gets busy, the little “I’ll do it on the weekend” jobs get left behind because, as we all know, they never “get done on the weekend”. Make a list and start to tackle these jobs while you’re stuck at home. Replace the lightbulbs, tighten the screws, and even sort through all your countless random wires that you’ve been collecting from different electronics since 2006.

15.)  Learn a new skill. YouTube is great for this. I taught myself to knit by watching a YouTube video a few years ago. Fancy learning something crafty? How about learning how to do some DIY or learning some useful hacks for around the house? How about learning how to play an instrument? The options are literally endless.

16.) Take an online course. Many schools and organisations are offering free online courses for people at the minute, so if there’s something that you’ve always been interested in learning about or just want to learn something random and new, have a look to see if there’s a course available. This could be in photography, writing, finance, management, history, science, cooking – literally anything you can think of! If you’re willing to pay for a course, sites like Masterclass and Udemy also have a lot on offer.

17.) Take virtual tours. Many companies are creating virtual tours of museums, galleries, and exhibitions so people can still “travel” and learn from the comfort of their own home. No, it’s not as good as the real thing, but it’s a great way to still sightsee while the we physically can’t do it. Maybe you’ll find a place that’s of interest to you and it’ll help you plan a trip in the future!

The Louvre, who is offering virtual tours.

18.) Travel through Google Maps. Along the same lines as the virtual tours, but with Google Maps you can “travel” through cities and towns. If you click the little yellow man in the corner and drop him anywhere in the world, you can “walk” the streets of anywhere you’d like to go.

19.) Plan your dream holiday. This one ties in with the #17 and 18 as well, but if we can’t travel right now, it’s a perfect time to plan for when we can travel again. If there’s a city you’ve always wanted to visit or an activity you’ve always wanted to try, now is the time to do some planning to see how you can make that happen.

20.) Start to set up your own business/become a freelancer. James has his own business and I’m a freelancer, and we’ve had a lot of people ask us questions about these processes because they’re intrigued and interested to do the same, but it can be hard to look into these things when you have a full-time job and responsibilities that get in the way. With all this extra time on your hands, have a look into it now. What kind of business would you want? What type of freelance work are you interested in offering? Come up with a plan, start to research into what opportunities are available, and start to upskill yourself if it’s needed.

Me working hard!

21.) Listen to podcasts. Podcasts are getting huge these days. There are thousands of them out there and cover a wide range of topics from comedy to drama to sports to travel to interviews to business advice to hobbies. If a topic exists, there will be a podcast about it.

22.) Play a board game or a card game. With the people you’re isolated with. Everyone has that stash of games that only come out at Christmas time. Well, this is the perfect chance to bring them back out and get some extra use out of them. If you’re bored of the usual Monopoly and Scrabble type games, there is a huge board game world out there that has been bigger and bigger over the last few years. If you want any suggestions, we highly recommend Codenames, Settlers of Catan, and Pandemic (Ha. I had to add that one in, but it actually is a great game).

23.) Reconnect with people. This can be family or friends from your past that you just grew apart from for no particular reason other than life getting in the way. Well, with life no longer in the way, why not send a message on Facebook and see how they’re doing? They might want/need the company right now.

24.) Write. Anything that comes to mind, whether it’s writing a journal, writing a list of goals, writing a blog, or even writing a book. Putting pen to paper (or fingers on a keyboard?) is quite therapeutic and will keep your brain going (hooray for travel blogs!).

25.) Meditate. Take some time to yourself, put on calming music or a meditation video to follow along with, and breathe. It’s important to stay calm during times like this.

26.) Start a new exercise regime. This is the perfect time to start that new exercise routine that you’ve been promising yourself since 1st January. You can’t make the excuse of not having any time now! Even if you don’t have any equipment, you can still do the regular exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, and squats. If you want something harder, get creative and see if you can make your own equipment. For example, in the past we’ve filled up big plastic milk bottles with water and taped the tops – voila! Homemade weights. Use your imagination and, again, check out YouTube for some videos to follow if you need motivation.

27.) Learn a new language. There are many apps and websites for this. Personally, I’ve used Duolingo (which can be used on a computer or a mobile) and I’ve enjoyed it. They have so many languages on offer, so pick whichever you think may be most useful for you!

28.) Check on your family and friends. This is a hard time for everybody, so make sure that your loved ones are coping okay.

29.) Be a kid again! Build a fort, play with Lego, have a Nerfgun fight. Whatever you have in the house, have some fun and feel young and carefree again.

30.) Be crafty. Make a scrapbook, paint a picture, hand-make some birthday (or Christmas?) cards, or anything else that gets your creative juices flowing.

31.) Support your regular local businesses. This is a hard time for everybody, and a lot of local businesses will be hit hard with people isolating. If you are financially able to, maybe think about helping out these businesses out. If you go to the same pub every Friday night and usually spend £20, why not still give them £20 a week? How about the local café that knows your order by heart? What about your favourite restaurant where the owner knows you by name? Give them your support so they can survive this difficult time and still be there when things return to normal.

32.) Play a video game. There are a lot of good games out there for all systems, and many of them can now be paid and downloaded through an account on a system, so they’re very easy to access. Thousands of games are available in all different genres, so have a search for one that interests you. If you’re interested in computer games, take a look at Steam.

33.) Have a movie marathon. Pick your favourite movies or pick a theme and go with it. Streaming services makes this very easy to do these days. My favourite movie marathon to have is Harry Potter. Yes, I have watched all eight movies in one sitting!

34.) Binge-watch a show. TV is so, so, so good these days, and everyone has a neverending list of shows to watch, so now is the perfect time to catch up on those.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list and if we think of anything else, we will add it.

This is a weird, weird time that we’re living in, and there’s going to be some tough times ahead for everyone. So, keep yourself busy, keep yourself both physically and mentally active, and take this time to learn new things and to improve on your lifestyle.

Keep busy, keep safe, and keep washing your hands!

What are your plans on keeping busy during self-isolation? Has this list given you any new ideas? Mention it in the comments below and we will add it to our list!

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