22 more ways to entertain yourself and feel productive when stuck in isolation

While it seems like the world might be falling apart out there because of coronavirus concerns, it’s important to remember that in order to not lose your marbles entirely, you must control what you cannot accept and accept what you cannot control. 
Many people have been told to work from home or are self-isolating, which is, of course, the sensible thing to do. 

However, this newfound sense of “spare time” is leaving many people anxious and bored because they can’t think of what to do when stuck at home. 

So, I am taking a short break from focusing on hen party ideas, to offer my advice on some things you can do to develop yourself as a person, feel productive or in the very least, entertain yourself while being socially responsible.

You can find PART ONE of this blog here, with even more suggestions.

Household/ Organization/ Productivity 

1. Clean your fridge and defrost your freezer 

This one might not seem like very much fun, but you know it’s needed. Just think about how good it will feel to open your fridge or freezer door to see rows of beautifully organised shelves where all the food is in date and where it should be. If you follow these tips, you will have a fridge that would be sure to impress Gordon Ramsey himself.  

2. Clean your oven / microwave and try internet cleaning hacks 

Another one that you have definitely been avoiding. Again you have to concentrate on the feeling of achievement you will have when you have an oven/microwave that looks super shiny and new. I would also look at this as a really fun chance to try out the various “Cleaning hacks” that you see in 5-minute videos on your social media feed. Such as these ones or these ones (which, fair warning, are a bit more questionable).

3. Empty out “that drawer” 

If you don’t know what “that drawer” is then you obviously don’t have one and I bow down to your organizational prowess. However, if you are like most of us then you have a miscellaneous drawer that has grown into a realm of chaos and lawless mayhem over the years. It’s got everything from batteries to blue tac to random screws for furniture you don’t even own anymore, as well as a key that came with the house so you’ve no idea what it opens. Well now is the time my friends. Roll your sleeves up and dive in to the madness. Find out what that key is for, throw out those screws that don’t fit anything. Test those batteries. Make an executive decision on what that drawer is actually for and then find homes for everything else that doesn’t belong there. Here is a helpful guide to help you declutter and organize that drawer in 30 mins! Apparently. God speed!

4. Start a vegetable/herb garden 

Even if you are more “kill anything green” (100% me) than you are green-fingered, this is a pretty rewarding way to spend your time if you manage to get it right. Also, the temperatures will be slowly climbing over these next uncertain weeks. So, if you can’t gather with friends to enjoy it, you can at least make the most of being out in the sun by growing your own vegetables. Buy the supplies you need online and follow this guide. You don’t even have to have an actual garden since you can grow a herb garden even in an apartment.

5. Organize your computer 

If you own a laptop or a desktop computer, I would put money on it that it’s got a fair amount of junk you don’t need floating around on it, taking up precious storage space. As someone who works from home and operates almost entirely from my desktop, I can vouch for the fact that properly filing everything under clear folders and sections will make your life 100 times easier. To get started, follow this guide on organising your desktop and this one on organizational systems.

 

6. Organize your phone, especially your photos

On the same note. Your phone is also probably full of screenshots, random downloads and never used apps that are just cluttering it up and slowing it down. These days, photos and videos are king, but if you just leave everything in “Camera roll”, it can be a real struggle to find that one photo of your cat sleeping in a funny position that you took like 3 weeks ago when you need to show it to your Grandma. While most phones have a search function to search for specific images, you know that if you type “cat” you will get everything from that Halloween costume you wore this year to the screenshot you took of the specific brand of cat food your vet recommended. 

For this reason, I am a big advocate for the use of albums. Instead of wasting your time in isolation endlessly scrolling social media and making your anxiety worse, go through all the photos and videos you have on your phone and put them into specific albums, deleting any junk you don’t need along the way. You can do the same on Google photos, which I love and personally use all the time as it has unlimited free storage that will autosave anything you take on your phone and back it up to google. Saving precious memories along the way. Here are some more tips on de-cluttering your phone in general. 

Unleash your Creativity 

7. Design an entire fashion line 

Are you a fan of fashion? Do you find yourself sketching or doodling outfit ideas when your mind wanders? Or have you often tried on outfits and said “This would be so much better if it had (whatever feature you think is missing)” etc. then why not use this time to channel your creative juices and design a full fashion line. Here is a fun lil’ tutorial to help you start. If you aren’t really a budding designer, this can still be a fun activity to do and you can even do it with friends. You could set a brief like “Design 4 Game of Thrones outfits but if they were in the 21st century”. Or “Design 7 outfits that could be worn to a nightclub and an interview” give everyone the same amount of time and get them to send photos of their ideas to the group chat. You can use these 10 ten challenges from project runway as a starting point, or better yet take a look at my game “Category Is” under the Glam Bride section of How to Hen, for a comprehensive list of my favourite RuPaul’s Drag Race categories. 

8. Write a song (or an album if you are already a songwriter) 

Composing and songwriting will always be a skill that totally blows my mind. If you aren’t quite the next Ed Sheeran it’s probably going to take you some time to come up with a great song but who knows, you might just create a number one hit! Here’s a little tutorial to help you get started. If you are already a bit of a musician then why not focus your creative energy and use this downtime to finally create that whole album you’ve been talking about. 

9. Learn to sew/ dressmaking 

This one is on my bucket list for sure. My mum made all my clothes as a kid and I would love to be able to make my own now! As someone who dances on the “Plus size” edge, I would really love to take designs I see in shops online and recreate them, so they fit me perfectly. If you have always thought about it, then now is the time to learn. If you don’t have a sewing machine already then it’s a pricey investment. But if you are really committed to making more clothes then you will save money in the long run. You can buy fabric, patterns and even the machines themselves all on amazon. 

10. Create your own skincare products 

Granola ingredients

This one is already a featured activity on howtohen.com because it’s such a fun way to treat yourself without having to buy in any products (usually). You can make face masks and scrubs, as well as toners and washes, from totally natural ingredients that you’ll find either in your cupboards already, or in your local supermarket. Here is a huge list of 100+ DIY beauty products you can make at home. *
* as always, be careful and test patch everything you create to make sure your skin won’t react badly to it.

11. Scrapbook stuff you’ve been meaning to 

If this one instantly resonated with you then I know you’ve got a box or a drawer or a whole cupboard somewhere full of stuff that is special to you and that you wanted to scrapbook. Maybe its stuff you collected while wedding planning? Maybe its bits and pieces you saved from your holidays abroad or your time travelling. Whatever it is, now is the time to dig them out and make them into something beautiful that you will cherish for the rest of your life. Here is a super-quick guide on scrapbooking to get you started. 

Have some Fun 

12. Have your own silent disco 

The nightclubs may be closed, but that doesn’t mean the party can’t continue. While you could do what the Italians and Spanish have done and go out onto your balcony with a sound system and hope your neighbours are in the same mood to party as you, its potentially safer to stick your headphones in, get your favourite big anthem playlist on and dance away to your heart’s content. To really add the disco atmosphere, get yourself a disco or strobe light, some glow sticks and turn all your other lights off. 

13. Make a pillow fort 

You’ve probably turned into a boring adult and can’t remember the last time you made a pillow fort. Now is the time to rectify that. Here is a handy how-to guide and also a helpful video, as well as these cute examples to inspire your creativity.

14. Master the single ladies dance (or other iconic dances)

You know you want to. Every time you hear this song after a few drinks, you do the little arm pump move and twist your wrist, but that’s about as far as it goes. Imagine the next time you are out, you bust out the full routine and your friends are stunned and amazed. Everyone claps. You are a star. Here is a tutorial. No excuses now. If single ladies isn’t your thing (or you already know it because you’re no amateur) there are a plethora of other icon dances. Why not relearn the dance to 5,6,7,8 or Tragedy?  Or Saturday Night or Hit me Baby One More Time? The possibilities are endless. 

15. Have a full-on pamper day 

If you followed the tip I suggested earlier to make your own skincare products, then you have the perfect opportunity to use them! Even if you didn’t, you can order yourself some cool facemasks, use your fanciest products and just have a day of indulgence. Stick on some soothing spa music, eat some chocolate, put on your softest robe and slippers and then treat yourself to every beauty treatment you can think of. Use a hair mask, exfoliate places you’ve never exfoliated and use your prettiest bath bomb. Here’s a fairly comprehensive list of ideas to help you have the ultimate guilt-free day of self-care.

16. Recreate scenes from your fav movies/TV shows

If anyone remembers the dub smash app, you‘ll know this is something that’s more addictive than you realise. While the premise of dub smash was to lip-sync along with the audio of a particular scene, I suggest you take it a step further. Get props involved and really use your creativity to video yourself fully recreating scenes from your favourite movies or TV shows. This is even more fun if you happen to be quarantined with someone else because then you can really go to town. These guys who make “low-cost versions” are a perfect example. 

Educate yourself/ Self Development 

17. Write a letter to your past self, future self, your best friend, a relative and/or your local care home

When was the last time you wrote a letter? Test out your letter writing skills (mainly your ability to spell now that you don’t have autocorrect) and pen a series of letters. The postal service is still operational in most places so writing a letter to your friends or your family is a lovely gesture to show them that you are thinking of them and make them feel like you’ve popped round to visit. You could also write some lovely letter to the residents of your local care home. Many elderly living complexes are under very strict isolation rules right now which means they are even more isolated from the rest of the world than usual. So, they would love to receive some kind communication from stranger*. Outside of writing to others, writing to yourself is a great exercise in self-awareness, reflection and goal setting. Write one to your past self, your current self and your future self (which you can seal and then reopen when you reach the age you are writing to). Here’s a little guide to help you on your way. 

*It goes without saying to wash your hands thoroughly before you write or touch the paper and write on a freshly sanitized surface. Also, don’t cough onto the paper. Obviously.

18. Make a vision board

If you have heard of vision boards but have always thought it’s a load of rubbish then you aren’t alone. However, during times like this, it’s easy to feel a little hopeless, so really what’s the harm in trying? If you aren’t familiar with vision boards, it’s basically a board with pictures and words on it that represent everything you want in your life. It is there to act as a reminder that these things are what you are striving for and not to lose sight of your goals and dreams as so many of us tend to do. People who swear by these will tell you that it really manifests these things into your life if you want them bad enough. This sounds mad but the psychology behind it is that if you really tell yourself that you can, and will have these things, then every decision you make will be driven by that and you will be more likely to push forward and achieve these things than if you just sit at your desk aimlessly daydreaming about them in an abstract way. There are a bunch of videos on how to do this so do a little research and follow one that makes the most sense for you. 

19. Learn cocktail making 

If you are anything like most of my friends, you will have stocked up on the essential supplies…I’m talking about alcohol obviously. But rather than sitting drinking alone like a sad sack, get creative and learn a new skill. Which you can then use as an excuse to drink. YouTube is filled to the brim with cocktail making tutorials so all you need is some cocktail making equipment and the right ingredients. 

20. Teach yourself a new dance style 

Telling you just to “Dance” to fill the time might feel a little vague and not that interesting. However, you could use the time constructively to learn more about a style of dancing you don’t know much about. Are you normally more into hip hop and street dancing? Then why not try and learn some contemporary moves? Usually into ballet? Try your hand at disco. Ballroom fan? Give popping and locking a go. You get the idea. Here is a video on some (not all) dancing styles listed from A-Z so see what catches your eye and find an online tutorial for that style. 

21. Improve your reflexes 

Are you a terrible catch? Do you have the reaction time of a sloth? Well, the good news is that you can change this, and from the comforts of your own home no less. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Use one hand to throw a coin into the air (open palm) and use the same hand to catch it
  • Increase your peripheral vision by staring at one object and the slowly taking note of what else you can see around it without looking away. Try and increase what you can see by a little bit every day 
  • Bounce and catch any ball from any surface. Use a reaction ball for extra difficulty (drills here)
  • Play more video games (great for hand-eye coordination)
  • Play Jacks
  • Play some brain training games
  • Mediate 
  • Throw and catch pretty much anything (nothing too heavy mind)
  • If you are with someone, play snap or Dobble

To test your current reaction times you can use this reflex test.

Bonus activity – Socialise in isolation 

22. Play an online group game

While most people would probably agree that the internet is doing more harm than good at the moment, you can’t argue that the availability of group games that can be played via an app, isn’t a truly valuable thing at the moment. Here are some of the best ones I could find:

IMPORTANT: I fully understand that for some people this isn’t just about being bored at home, but the massive pressure of not knowing if they have any financial security or how they are going to continue to feed their family. This list is not intended to make light of those struggles, but to help take your mind away from obsessively panicking about things that are outwith your control for the moment. Please see the following links for more helpful resources to help those struggling:

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