Many of us are stuck at home with a lot of time on our hands. I’ve put together 50+ isolation activities to help you make the most out of social distancing!
How to Make the Most Out of Social Distancing
The world has been turned upside down in the past few weeks. The coronavirus has bloomed into a full-blown pandemic, forcing millions of people to stay inside and avoid social interactions. People are suddenly facing lots of time on their hands while they wait out the storm, but unable to gather socially with friends and family. So what do you do with all that time? In this post, I’ll share ideas for ways you can build skills, connect with your social circle, and improve your life while you practice social distancing.
General disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, so make sure to check with the CDC for how to protect yourself from COVID-19. With new information every day, we may find that some of the activities suggested in this post are no longer an option in the future. I will try my best to update this article as new information becomes available, but it is always a good idea to stay up to date with the CDC’s recommendations.
Step Back from the News
Now that we all have a lot more time on our hands, we can spend it in a lot of interesting ways. But lots of people (myself included) have been so overwhelmed and stressed that it’s hard to focus on using time productively. Instead, we tend to find ourselves nervously updating social media, scrolling through the news, and engaging in anxious conversations with our loved ones.
While it is perfectly normal and healthy to experience these feelings, it’s not healthy to dwell and continuously worry. We need to stay informed, of course — the news has a constant stream of new information that is shaping our future. However, it won’t do you any good to stay plugged in to all updates in real time. Allow yourself one or two check-ins a day where you update yourself. Then for the rest of the day, try turning your phone on silent, put it in a drawer, and go on with your day. Give yourself some space to breathe and your mental health will thank you for it.
50+ Isolation Activities
While there is nothing wrong with binging TV shows and movies, you’ll probably get pretty bored of consuming TV pretty fast. But don’t worry! There are tons of things you can do that will grow skills, challenge you, and give you a sense of socialization.
- Play console games with others – If you have a game console and games that allow you to go online (like Call of Duty or Red Dead Redemption), you can ask around your friends group to see who else has those games. Then you can play your favorite games online while being social! It’s even better if you have headsets that allow you to talk to each other while you play.
- Play mobile games with others – Download mobile puzzle and word games on your phone and play against your friends.
- Learn Solitare – It’s literally designed for this exact scenario!
- Hold regular board game nights with others in your household – This is great for family units or roommates.
- Play console games solo – Try an online download of a new game or bust out an old favorite. Video games are great isolation activities because they can keep you occupied for dozens of hours.
- Play computer games solo – There are a plethora of computer games to play for hours and hours that you can buy or download for free.
- Play computer games with others – Just about everyone has a computer nowadays, so you can play with your friends even if you both own incompatible game consoles (Playstation and Xbox online don’t mix).
Unleash Your Creativity
- Use your stockpile of art supplies – If you, like me, have an ever-growing pile of art materials, then now is the time to use them. It’s time to bust out any supplies you’ve been saving for the “right time” and get to making art. You have materials and time — no excuses!
- Color – Grab an adult coloring book and relax while you create intricate patterns.
- Participate in a drawing challenge – Instagram is full of different drawing challenges and prompts. Use that to your advantage!
- Try a 100 day theme challenge – Pick a theme (like cats or trees) and create art within that theme for 100 days. You can use my free printable to track your progress.
- Try a 100 day medium challenge – Focus on mastering a particular medium like watercolor by using it every day for 100 days.
- Draw gesture studies — Practice timed gesture drawing with the free online tool Quickposes.com (heads up, there are lots of nude images on this site).
- Practice an instrument – Making music is a human instinct, so lean into that by practicing your instrument. If your spouse or roommate has an instrument, see if you can learn to play it.
- Try paint pouring – This messy, tactile, and vibrant painting technique is messy and incredibly fun.
- Start a Youtube channel – Have a desire for making videos but not enough time to create them? It’s your time to shine.
- Try alcohol ink painting – Create gorgeous abstract art that you’ll want to hang on your wall.
- Practice photography – Try your hand at photography! This handy skill can easily be practiced in your home or backyard, making it the perfect isolation activity.
- Create lettering decor – Make use of your time and decorate your walls with your favorite quotes or lyrics.
- Play the Fantasy Genesis drawing game – This book has a unique way of creating drawing prompts for you. If you have DnD dice, you’re all set! If not, there are online dice rollers that you can use.
- Start hand lettering – Begin building a marketable skill and get into an enticing hobby with hand lettering.
Try New Things
- Read – Read books you already own. Try Audible or Kindle Unlimited and consume books that way. Digitally check out books from your local library. Just read!
- Cook – Now is a great time to experiment with cooking and baking! Personally, I’ve enjoyed learning how to make bread. Hopefully, the grocery supply situation will settle back to normal as we get past this upheaval.
- Learn – Pick up new skills with Skillshare! You can get 2 months of Skillshare free when you click here and gain access to thousands of amazing classes.
- DIY – See if there are any DIY projects you can tackle while you’re home. If you don’t have the supplies now, you can take measurements and make plans so you’re ready to begin ASAP.
Write Your Heart Out
- Start Morning Pages – This powerful journal writing technique has helped me immensely and it is especially helpful right now with this pandemic.
- Try journal writing prompts – Not sure what to write? Try journal prompts and see where they take you.
- Write a short story – Flex your creative muscle. It’s totally free to try and you might love it.
- Write a book – There’s no excuse to not work on that book you’ve always wanted to write!
- Write a List of 100 – This list-writing technique will help you boost your creativity and come up with new ideas.
- Try writing poetry – Poems aren’t just for angsty teens. Give it a try and see if it doesn’t stir something in you.
- Start a bullet journal – Keep your thoughts and plans organized in the amazing bullet journal system.
- Start a blog – Blogging can be anything from a fun hobby to a side hustle to a full-blown career. This isolation activity might actually make you money down the road!
Utilize Video Chat
- Cocktail hour with friends – Grab a drink and just catch up with your friends with video chat. It’s simple and fills that socialization hole.
- Video chat and game – If you both have a deck of cards, you can try playing easy card games with each other over video chat.
- Just be together – If you’re generally introverted but don’t want to be alone, find a friend who will put you on video chat while you do other tasks like read or tidy up. Sometimes just having someone on the chat with you is enough to feel less isolated.
Do Spring Cleaning
- Do a deep clean – Clean baseboards, cabinets, behind the toilet — the whole nine yards. Leave your home squeaky clean.
- Declutter – Go room by room, decluttering each room until you are satisfied. You’re stuck inside anyway, so why not do this productive isolation activity?
- Organize your pantry – Take the time to really get it organized the way you like it.
- Tick off the honey-do list – Repair what needs repairing, install what needs installing, and catch up on any unusual chores on your list.
- Take a walk – It’s easy to forget that we ARE allowed outside right now. Make sure to take at least a walk every day the weather permits and stretch your legs. It’s a great way to feel less stressed and more in tune with nature. Of course, make sure you are able to do this responsibly in the suburbs or country — stay away from other people and avoid popular locations where people tend to gather. And be careful to not sit on benches, use water fountains, or touch anything!
- Sunbathe in the window – If you’re in a crowded city and going for a walk isn’t responsible, find a window with sunshine and open it. Sit next to the open window while you read, clean, or do any other activities to get some fresh air and absorb some sunshine.
- Ride your bike – Get some exercise and take your bike out for a ride somewhere isolated if you live somewhere where this is possible.
- Go for a run – If you’re starved for cardio, get your running shoes on and go for a light jog or extended run. Just keep your distance from people and bring your own water so you don’t have to rely on water fountains.
- Have a backyard picnic – With the weather getting warmer, you can pack a nice lunch and step into your backyard to enjoy the sunshine.
- Go fishing – This is a perfect summer isolation activity! Bring your own folding chair so you don’t have to sit on public benches.
- Play a game on the porch – Take a board game (something with pieces that won’t blow away) onto your balcony or porch.
- Garden – There is no time like the present to think about growing a vegetable or flower garden. Utilize your outdoor space like a balcony or backyard to unleash your green thumb. If you don’t have an outdoor space, try getting a houseplant to brighten up your interior.
Enjoy Things Together
- Watch something together – Pick a new show with some friends and schedule nights you’ll watch episodes at the same time. Then hop on a video call afterward and discuss the episode.
- Start a virtual book club – Get a group of your friends and family in one group chat and pick books you’ll all read together, then discuss.
- Call your loved ones – Reach out to your loved ones and connect (especially with your elderly relatives) and just talk. There’s nothing quite like having a simple conversation.
Practice Self Care Isolation Activities
- Go to online therapy – Lots of people are struggling with this new reality and need therapy. Try one of the many online therapy options that have popped up in the past few years and talk to a mental health professional.
- Take a bath – Soak the stress away with some bubbles, wine, and candles.
- Exercise – Create a home workout routine to help you stay in shape while you stay inside.
- Stretch – Be good to your body and stretch once a day.
- Meditate – Take ten minutes each day to try meditation and see how it helps ease your mind.
Take Care of Yourself
There is a lot of uncertainty with what the future may hold, but the only way to get past this difficult chapter is to take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself, allow yourself to feel everything you feel, and take each day at a time. This isolation may be tough, but you might find that it is the catalyst for a brand new hobby, skill, or habit that changes your life. Stay safe and stay informed!