45 Things You Can Do At Home That Don’t Involve A Screen
We're less than a week into the CDC's social-distancing decree to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and people are already running out of analog activities. If previous crises are any indication, screen time is likely to skyrocket. (According to data from the market-research company Nielsen, streaming jumped 61% during the January 2016 snowstorm and 2017's Hurricane Harvey.) Considering that multiple studies have found social-media use having an adverse reaction on well-being and mental health, preserve your unplugged time.
So whether we're social-distancing for a few weeks or a few months, streaming movies and refreshing Twitter will get old quickly. Here, 45 things to do at home sans screens.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC or NHS 111 in the UK for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Bustle’s coverage of coronavirus here, and UK-specific updates on coronavirus here.
1. Clean out your closet
Put on a Spotify playlist and Marie Kondo your intimates drawer. Underwear with holes or stains? They do not bring joy. Here, the decluttering wizard shares 10 tips on tidying up.
2. Read a book
3. Bake bread
If you need to make a grocery store run, take precautions: Wipe down your cart with sanitary wipes at the front of the store, stand at least six feet away from others, and wash your hands when you get home.
4. Clean everything
Experts have that said a regular cleaning schedule can help reduce stress.
5. Do a drip painting
Have some old art supplies lying around? Dig out the paint, a paintbrush, and a piece of canvas to make a drip painting, the abstract style popularized by Jackson Pollack. Lacking the appropriate supplies? Test out a spoon or spatula as a paintbrush, and cardboard as a makeshift canvas. Here's a handy how-to.
6. Pull out some board games
Board games challenge your brain by working your memory and perceptual speed (i.e., the ability to compare numbers, letters, or patterns). If you live alone, consider solitaire. Partnered up, or living with roommates? Get out Monopoly, Clue, or maybe Settlers of Catan if you're OK with hating each other for a few days afterward.
7. Do a puzzle
Like board games, studies have found that puzzles can improve memory, problem solving, and spatial reasoning skills. You'll be surprised at how quickly you can get lost in a 1,000-piece puzzle.
8. Teach your old dog a new trick
9. Start a garden
10. Clean out your kitchen cabinets
It's time to discover what lurks in the deepest corners of your pantry — a monster, mouse, or very expired potato chips.
11. Get all dressed up with nowhere to go
Take the old saying literally. But really, unveil that cocktail attire in the back of your closet and have a night out inside.
12. Make a blanket and pillow fort
The COVID-19 outbreak is not a snow day, but cull some winter-storm activities to boost your spirits, like a pillow and blanket fort, complete with flashlights and ghost stories.
13. Give yourself a massage
Use a foam roller or tennis balls to massage stiff muscles. My recommendation? Place two tennis balls in a long sock, leaving 2-3 inches between them, and tie a knot at the open end. Lay on the floor, placing one ball on either side of your spine, and slowly roll them up and down your back.
14. Take a bubble bath
Release stress with a pre-made soap, or concoct a DIY bubble-bath soap from common household ingredients.
15. Make a face mask
Pamper your skin, which might be unhappy from all the COVID-19-related stress. Here are some DIY face mask recipes — plus, hair masks for natural curls and other hair types, if you're in the mood for additional potion mixing.
16. Make a list of all the places you'd like to go
Since traveling is off the table, brainstorm a list of dream trips and itineraries — without Googling.
17. Give yourself a manicure or pedicure
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, journaling can help people manage anxiety by allowing them to prioritize their problems and worries, and write positive messages to themselves.
19. Practice yoga or stretch
20. Reminisce with old photos
Break out the yearbooks and albums. Feeling artsy? Create a makeshift gallery wall, or tape up your favorite images around the home.
21. Floss your teeth
None of us do this enough. Now's the time to build a routine.
22. Rearrange your furniture
23. Have a cooking contest
Challenge your parter or roommate to a cooking contest à la MasterChef. Set a timer, establish the viable ingredients, and begin the battle.
A 2018 study from the CDC found that more Americans are meditating, up from 4.1% to 14.2% between 2012 and 2017. Meditation is known to reduce stress and anxiety and increase your attention span, and could reduce age-related memory loss. So light a few candles and sit in silence. If you need something to do with your hands, consider a cup of tea.
25. Send some snail mail
On March 17, the U.S. Postal Service said it had experienced "only minor operational impacts in the United States as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic." It's the perfect time to write heartfelt messages to loved ones.
26. Sit and stare into space
27. Have a picnic
Get a few snacks or a meal together for an impromptu picnic — on your porch, in your yard, or on the floor of your studio apartment.
28. Sort through bills and papers you've been meaning to throw out
Recycle what you can.
29. Make birthday cards in advance
Get out construction paper and Elmer's glue, forage for flowers or leaves outside, and put your crayons to work.
30. Polka dot your pants
With a wee bit of bleach and some Q-tips, you can speckle jeans, towels, or socks.
Cracking knuckles? Credit your good hand-washing hygiene.
32. Make your own bath bombs
It's an easy process, requiring just a few household ingredients. If you don't have a bath-bomb mold, consider using a muffin tin.
33. Test out a new recipe
34. Wash your sheets
35. Eat in absolute silence
Can you remember the last time you ate alone without watching TV or scrolling through your phone? I can't. Try being present in the moment.
36. Draw a self portrait
Get out a pencil, paper, and a mirror, and draw yourself. Consider using a famous portrait for inspiration.
37. Flip through old magazines
Reading 2010's best sex tips is funnier than you'd expect. My favorite is from Cosmopolitan, which suggested grasping a penis "with both hands and twisting them in opposite directions."
38. Practice your smokey eye
39. Choreograph a dance to your favorite song
If you're more coordinated than I, play a favorite song and choreograph a dance. It'll be like middle school all over again.
40. Scream into a pillow
Let out some of those emotions.
41. Make a list of things that make you happy, and do one every day.
My list would include porch hangouts, making coffee, stretching, reading, and playing Justin Bieber's "Beauty And A Beat." Don't judge me.
42. Do some jumping jacks
Getting your heart rate up for 1-2 minutes releases those feel-good endorphins. Feeling ambitious? Make them burpees.
43. Do your hair in a new way
As Dolly Parton says, the higher the hair, the closer to God. Challenge accepted.
44. Dress up in '80s gear for an impromptu aerobics workout
Make up your own Jane Fonda–inspired routine, screen free, and enlist your roommate as a willing participant.
45. Practice your go-to karaoke hits
The best time to belt it out? When you're home, alone, and in your pajamas. Now's the time to rehearse those high notes.