25+ 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.

Household/ Organization/ Productivity 

1. Try on and sort everything in your wardrobe

Let’s start with something I know you’ve been putting off FOREVER. When I say try on everything, I mean everything. Empty out every single item including all your drawers. Wipe all the shelves down and clean it from top to bottom. Start trying things on* and put into piles. Example; 

  • Definitely keeping  
  • Need to keep (work stuff etc) 
  • Will keep if I find something that goes with it…
  • LOVE but it’s stained, broken, old and tired**
  • Charity***
  • Textile recycling 

Once you’ve done this you can do the next bit. 

Top Tips:

*Put a bit of makeup on (if that’s your thing)/ fix your hair so that you get a truer idea of how these clothes look on you. 
** Don’t throw out items you love but can’t wear anymore, take them to a good seamstress or tailor and if it can’t be repaired, ask them to make you another one of the same in whatever colour(s) you want. 

*** if something hasn’t fitted you for years but you keep holding onto it anyway, give it away. Someone who needs it could make good use of it, and if you do get to your dream size then you will want to buy new stuff anyway!

2. Clean all your shoes

Before you go ahead and start packing everything away, take a good look at your shoe collection. Are those trainers in need of a bit of TLC? Could those boots do with a polish? Give your shoes a thorough clean and then marvel at how well you can bring some life back into them. 
Here’s a handy article to help you on your way.
Once your shoes are all shiny and new you can move on to the last step.

3. Reorganize your wardrobe 

If you followed the first two ideas then by now you should have an empty, clean wardrobe and a decluttered selection of items to now put in it. How you choose to organize is totally up to you, but here is a great guide to get you started.

4. Clean out your makeup bag

This one has been on my to-do list for so long. I’m willing to bet that buried in wherever you keep your makeup, there is at least one half used, long expired lipstick and a mascara you’ve never opened because you got it in a magazine or a free gift set. So, use the time you now have to really de-clutter all the rubbish cosmetics you have been hoarding. 

First, check the expiry on every product. You can see how to do this here (who knew that’s what the number meant right?) and throw out anything expired.  

Then really think about what you are using regularly and what you need. Put that important stuff aside. 

Anything else, donate. Here is a helpful guide on places that will take unused or gently used cosmetics. 

Clean your beauty blenders and your make up brushes and then clean out your makeup bag thoroughly (get all those pencil shavings out). Then carefully put the products you kept back in. You can always treat yourself to a makeup organizer too if you want to get really fancy. 

5. Reorganize your bathroom

Once you have conquered your makeup bag, you can tackle the rest of your bathroom. Here is a guide to help you really make the most of your space. But the general rule is declutter, deep clean and create smart storage (you don’t need to buy a bunch of products if you don’t want. Even labelled shoeboxes hidden in cupboards are better than nothing.

  

6. Change the layout of a room/ move your furniture around 

Feeling like you are stuck inside can make you go a bit stir crazy. So why not rearrange the room to make it feel like a brand-new space. If you can, move every bit of furniture and really change the layout of the room. Move your sofas to face the windows instead of the TV, swap the pictures on the wall etc. If you have really limited space, even moving one or two small things like changing the position of the coffee table or turning your bed to face another wall, will help break up the routine and trick your mind into thinking that you are somewhere other than home.  Here’s a handy website that will let you design a room from scratch so you can really let your imagination go wild! 

7. Paint a room a different colour 

If you can’t move all your furniture around, or maybe you just want to go that extra step, then crack out the paint and give any room in your house a new lease of life. You could paint one feature wall, a whole room or the whole house! You could also get creative and use the paint to turn one of your walls into an interesting geometric design or an ombre dream. Here’s some advice on feature walls as well as some inspiration

Unleash your Creativity 

8. Try a new recipe / get creative with ingredients 

While the shops in your area may have been ransacked by crazy panic buyers, that doesn’t mean you can’t try some new recipes. Websites like Supercook or  My Fridge Food will let you pop in whatever ingredients you managed to scavenge and will suggest recipes that you can make. Use the shortage of certain things to force you to think out of the box and create new gastronomic experiences that I’m sure whoever is stuck in quarantine with you will be thrilled about… (sarcasm only applies if you aren’t a great cook to begin with)

9. Try painting or a new art technique 

Whether you are already an art extraordinaire or haven’t lifted a paintbrush since school, there’s something amazing about creating something out of nothing. Art can be frustrating but if you let go of making something “perfect” then you can feel accomplished with whatever you achieve. If you aren’t artistically inclined, you could start by following a Bob Ross video. Otherwise known as the king of calm, you are basically guaranteed to feel relaxed after painting along to one of these. If you are already a bit of an artist and you are lacking in inspiration, you could try switching it up and working in a totally different style or medium than you are used to. You could also use this random drawing generator for some truly hilarious end products. 

10. Copy some makeup tutorials you’d normally never try 

You might not be very into make-up, or you might be a contouring queen, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t push your creativity and try to follow along with some weird and wonderful tutorials. Maybe you want to become a full-on mermaid? A zombie? Or a pop art cartoon? Or maybe you just want to try learning how to do cut crease eyeshadow or finally figure out what “baking” is and how to do it. Whatever your taste, I guarantee there’s a YouTube tutorial out there for you. This is your chance to go bold and try things because if it goes wrong… it’s not like you are going out anywhere anyway right? 

11. Choreograph a dance to your favourite song 

Do you have a song that makes you get up and move around every time you hear it? Well instead of your usual flailing around, why not spend some time choreographing a full routine that matches the music? If you are a professional dancer, then this is a chance to throw yourself into your art and be the one creating the routines for a change. If you aren’t, then it’s a chance to dive into your creativity and really listen to the song in a way you maybe haven’t before. Here are some tips to get you started

12. Learn to sing or learn a style of singing very different from your own

If dancing isn’t your thing, maybe you prefer to sing. Whether you are a shower superstar, a karaoke queen or a professional, there are always ways to grow and learn when it comes to singing. If you are beginner, watch some tutorials or even sign up for some online singing lessons to help really develop your voice and help you learn about techniques. If you are already a bit of a singer, then why not play around with styles you’d not normally sing in? Normally a classical fan? Try some RnB riffs and runs. Normally a big belty diva? Try some soft, breathy styles. Test your creativity and ability to adapt and you might be surprised how versatile you are. 

13. Try cake decorating. If you do this already try a different style

Who doesn’t love CAKE? Literally no one. What’s better than cake? Cake that’s so pretty to look at you don’t want to eat it. If your creations tend to look more like Pinterest fails than wins, then use this time to practise your decorating skills and then when all this craziness is over, you’ll be able to throw a party and impress all your friends with a gloriously decorated masterpiece. If you are already a bit of a pro, then why not get really creative and try some new techniques. Normally a fondant fan? Try using only buttercream or, challenge yourself to decorate with nothing but chocolate etc. The options are endless so get creating! 

14. Learn how to plate anything beautifully

Why stop at pretty looking cakes? Learning how to plate any kind of meal in a visually appealing way is a great skill. When you can go back to having guests come over, imagine their delight when you serve them their chicken stir fry on a plate that looks like a professional chef made it.  There are hundreds of tutorials on this so go ahead and get creative!

Have some Fun

15. Complete a video game you’ve been avoiding 

You know the one I mean. That one that made you lose your temper months (or even years) ago and you never went back to. Now is your chance to face those demons and overcome the obstacle once and for all. You can do this. If by some miracle you don’t have a game like this, just replay an old favourite all the way through, or make your way through your whole collection!

16. Learn the lyrics of a fast rap or an entire album 

If you are anything like me, you’ve definitely got at least one song that features a rap that makes you keep saying “aw I wish I knew the words to this bit” or “I’d love to learn this”. Well if not now, when? If rap isn’t your thing, you might have an album you love but if you are being honest, you only know a couple of the songs word for word. Rectify that by listening to the album all the way through over and over. Go song by song and memorise those lyrics until you could recite the whole thing with your eyes closed. 

17. Watch classic movies that everyone should see or read classic books everyone should read 

There are some films out there that will earn you actual gasps if you admit to not having seen them. There are also some books that you hear constantly referenced in pop culture and life in general, but you’ve never got around to reading them. So whether you are a movie fan or a reader, use this time to educate yourself on the classics and rid yourself of that FOMO once and for all.  Here are a list of “must-see” movies (here’s some specifically on Netflix) and “must-read” books to get you started. 

18. Read that book you’ve been meaning to 

If classic novels maybe aren’t your thing, but you still like to read, I am willing to bet that you have at least one book gathering dust that you keep meaning to read but never seem to get around to. Maybe it’s that fiction one your bestie recommended, or that biography you bought yourself, or that one on communication and relationships your wife gave you at Christmas…Awkward. Either way, find the time now to get comfy, pour yourself a hot drink and curl up with the book you’ve been neglecting. If audiobooks are more your style, Audible are currently giving free access to a huge number of titles to help everyone get by (it says these are kids titles but there are some adult titles too). 

19. Create a domino maze/run 

I guarantee you have seen at least one domino-based video that has made you go “Woah I wonder how long that took”. Or, maybe something snarky like “Someone has too much time on their hands”. Well looks like that someone is now you. If you don’t have any dominos then just order some online, watch some tutorials to help you build cool tricks into your run and then get started creating your viral video masterpiece.  

Educate yourself/ Self Development 

20. Start a diary/ mindfulness journal 

There are so many benefits to keeping a diary/ journal. They help you organize your thoughts, record ideas and most importantly, they relieve stress and allow you to self-reflect on where your mind is spending the most time. In these uncertain times, anxiety and depression is high because many people are left feeling hopeless. It’s important to remember that while there are things happening out of your control, you should concentrate on the things that you can. Practising mindfulness is a great way to do this and there are many journals out there that can help remind you to be more mindful and they range from full pages to entries that take just 5 minutes.  Here are 7 of the best ones you can get, (Although my personal favourite is “Zen as F*ck, the mindful art of not giving a Sh*t”) and here is a basic guide on starting a diary in general

21. Learn to use excel or any other software that scares you or you don’t understand  

If you are anything like me you have a basic grip of Microsoft Excel at best and while you can figure out basic things you need it for, you are definitely not using it to its full capacity or as efficiently as you could be. Even if the thought of it fills you with dread, committing to learning how to really use it will undoubtedly make your life so much easier. If you are an excel wizard already, then choose another program, app or technology that you haven’t quite managed to wrap your head around. It might be intimidating, or even dull, but you will feel so accomplished when you can finally use it with confidence. 

22. Master the keepy-uppy

If you’re a football fan, you’ve probably spent a bit of time trying to hone your keepy-uppy skills. Now is the time to get serious. Set yourself a goal like” By this time next week I will be able to do 50”. Or 100 or 500 or whatever is a challenge to you. Then once you’ve hit it set another goal, then once you’ve reached that you can start trying to master tricks and cool stuff to video and send to your friends as evidence of your physical prowess and clear superiority.  Here is a guy who documented doing exactly this! If you don’t have a ball, you should have plenty of toilet rolls to practice with…

23. Teach yourself to do the splits or any other physical challenge 

If football maybe isn’t your thing, there are a whole load of other physical challenges you could set yourself. It’s a personal goal of mine to be able to do the splits. But if that’s not what you fancy you could choose to master a handstand, headstand, cartwheel or backflip. Or any other physical skill you’d like to challenge yourself to achieve.  These things take practice and time, so they are a great goal to set yourself while you have the time to dedicate to it. 

24. Learn to hula hoop 

This probably counts as a physical skill but you need a little more equipment than just your body. Order yourself a good weighted hula hoop and follow an online tutorial and before you know it, you will have a new party trick and the exercise is just an added bonus!

25.Learn how to do nail art

With the closure of salons, there are women everywhere in a state of panic about what their nails, among other things, are going to look like. So how amazing would it be to not only be able to maintain your own nails but also cover them in some really gorgeous designs and art? Order yourself a nail art kit, get inspired by watching some YouTube tutorials and give it a go!

Bonus activity – Socialise in isolation 

26. Have a Netflix watch party  

Netflix is, of course, the obvious choice for most of us who want to unwind and “chill”. However, being isolated from others can make you feel lonely and anxious. Netflix have anticipated that watching breaking bad for the fifth time might not quite be enough to keep those feelings at bay. So they have created their new “Party” extension to allow you to watch your favourite movies and shows together with friends, and chat on screen at the same time to share your reactions*. It’s unclear if this works on smart TV’s as it’s an extension for google chrome. But, you can use it on computers and iPads. Get some popcorn and a stupidly large drink and you are good to go!

*I’d like to add that this situation is the only time talking during the movie is acceptable. 

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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