Whether in the spirit of social distancing or to avoid the sweltering summer heat, staying inside is becoming a prevalent new norm for many. And if we’ve learned anything from the past few months, it’s that breaks are important. Juggling work from home, household chores and recreation can be overwhelming sometimes, which is why we’ve put together this short list of ways to change up your routine at home. From games, to hobbies, to activities, you’re sure to find something that will stave off the cabin fever!
1. Listen to a Podcast or Audiobook
It’s the age of the podcast! With thousands available via Spotify, Apple or Google Podcasts, there’s really no limit to what’s being discussed these days. From politics to sports, true crime and history, the sky’s the limit. To help you get started, here’s what we’ve been listening to:
And if you’re not a fan of podcasts, audio books are always an option. Most public libraries offer a selection of audiobooks you can check out online. Websites like audible.com also provide a wide collection with a monthly subscription.
2. Start a Jig-Saw Puzzle
Puzzles have become all the rage during quarantine, and for good reason. Done as a single activity or completed with friends, jig-saw puzzles improve your short-term memory, visual spatial reasoning and concentration. By focusing on looking at the bigger picture, the concentration that comes with the activity is akin to meditation and helps push out the clutter of the day. If you’re new to puzzles, start small before progressing your way up. You’ll be tackling those 1000-piece jigsaws in no time.
3. Turn on Some MusicWe turn on music to enjoy our favorite artists, fill in white noise or set the tone for any environment. Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed or need a way to focus, there’s a curated playlist on Spotify for every mood. Or tune into any of these past music festivals for an eventful night in. If you like white noise, however, give Sound of Colleagues a try. This free service offers white noise options like keyboard typing or ambient sounds.
4. Try Some Gardening
Activate your green thumb with a bit of gardening. With propagation and compost bins trending, it’s never too late to start your own mini garden. Gardening can improve your patience and deliver a sense of joy and peace. If you’re just starting out, a simple Google search can yield tons of resources for beginners.
When the daily news is overwhelming with conflict and negativity, meditation and mindfulness can help bring a sense of peace and tranquility. By putting focus on yourself, you’re recalibrating your mind and re-centering your thoughts amid the day-to-day clutter. If you’re new to mindfulness and meditation, try the MyLife Meditation App or Headspace and start with smaller intervals, like a minute, before meditating for longer.
You’re never too old for arts and crafts! Whether you’re building something new, painting to Bob Ross or filling out adult coloring books, the arts have been one of the best ways to recharge and destress. With a wide variety of tools and mediums, there’s something for everyone at every level to try.
7. Online Games (alone or with friends)
Chances are, you’ve played your share of Jackbox Games or even Animal Crossing. Online Games have become a ubiquitous way for us to relieve stress and socialize with friends we can’t see in person. Through online gaming, we can maintain (or even build!) those relationships. For a selection of games to play with a team, check out the following websites:
- Skribbl.io (1-12 players): A sillier version of Pictionary online.
- Codenames (2-8 players): A social word game with rivalries, spies and, like the name suggests, code names!
- Playing Cards (2 players): A browser filled with all your favorite classics, meant for two.
- Secret Hitler (5-10 players): Set in the 1940s, this game takes a unique historical twist to your classic Mafia game.
8. Try a New Recipe
With everyone inside, cooking has become more essential than ever. So why not change it up! Take an adventurous stab in the kitchen and pick a new recipe to try yourself or with friends over a call.
9. Make a List of Take Out Restaurants to Try
If you’re not inclined to cooking, mix things up with a bit of take-out. Restaurants need your support now more than ever, so make a list of small businesses you’ve been meaning to try. The methodical task of working through the list gives you a culinary roadmap as you eat your way through your area.
10. Stay active
To complete your work from home routine, there’s no better remedy than exercise. It’s no secret that exercise boosts your health, mood and general wellbeing. If you’re looking for a less strenuous route, the Stridekick app is a fitness tracker with a competitive edge. The app lets you add your friends, and compete in local challenges to beat your step-count.