Americans are famous for making the best out of bad situations — for finding the silver lining even in the darkest clouds. So even if the coronavirus has temporarily confined us to our homes, this nationwide house arrest doesn’t have to drive us stir-crazy. Indeed, this mandatory time-out may make us realize once again that there’s truly no place like home.
Here are some homebound pursuits, passions, activities and tasks to engage you through the coronavirus crisis that you may want to continue long after the pandemic passes:
Enjoy an in-house concert
Tune in to radio stations from around the world. A website (and app) called Radio Garden streams channels from Paris to Casablanca, Cairo to Quito, Los Angeles to New York and beyond. The Seattle Symphony in Seattle, the first U.S. city to experience the coronavirus outbreak, had to cancel its concerts, but offers free re-broadcasts on its YouTube channel. Meanwhile, the New York Metropolitan Opera is streaming online encore performances originally broadcast at movie theaters around the country. This free service will continue every day for the duration of the Met’s closure. Meanwhile, LA Opera also lets you stream productions from the comfort of your couch.
Vent a little
The Nextdoor app is a social networking platform for local communities and neighborhoods. Instead of connecting you to any user across the world, Nextdoor narrows your network to those in your surrounding area. It’s the perfect platform to report a coyote bounding down the street, a bear digging through your neighbor’s trash cans or to complain about the long lines at your local supermarket. It’ll give you a real-time sense of how your neighbors are coping.
Finally finish a crossword puzzle
Crosswords became popular in the 1950s, so they should be right up the alley of today’s seniors. Crossword puzzles will keep your mind nimble and stretch your critical-thinking skills. The best part, you’ll have all the time in the world to successfully fill in every grid and blank. For more help, order a crossword dictionary from your favorite online retailer.
Get your important papers in order
You’re completely normal if you’ve put off this dreaded task countless times. But the coronavirus has left you no choice. It’s time to tackle this unexciting, but very necessary project. Your heirs will thank you and you’ll thank yourself for the peace and satisfaction it will give you later.
Get a step ahead
How many times have you sat out a dance because you didn’t know the waltz, the fox trot or the tango? You’ve got no excuse now because YouTube is teeming with dance videos that you can follow at your own pace. Even if you have two left feet, you’ll be dancing like Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers in no time.
Scrabble is a word game that can be played by two to four players. It’s a strategic board game that exercises one’s memory and vocabulary skills. It is a good form of mental exercise among senior citizens.
Call this “addition by subtraction.” If new shelter-in-place rules restrict you from running off to Home Depot every 5 minutes to buy lumber for that new flower box you were going to build, pull weeds from an existing flower bed. Your weed-pulling efforts will yield beautiful results and make your yard a neighbor standout.
According to Livewire.com, the total number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day exceeded 293 billion in 2019 and is forecast to grow to more than 347 billion by the end of 2023. Chances are you were the sender or receiver on more than a few. Take the time, which you now clearly have, to unsubscribe to those that no longer bring you value. This will make it easier to scroll through and open the ones that really do matter. It’s like weeding your electronic garden.
Get jiggy with it
Jigsaw puzzles come in all shapes and sizes, including larger-than-ordinary ones so persons with vision challenges can easily maneuver the pieces into their correct places. Assembling puzzles by sorting and fitting pieces reinforces hand-eye coordination and strengthens fine motor skills.
Teach your dog one new trick
Who doesn’t love to show off his or her dog? Imagine the extra “good boys” your dog will bring if it can kiss, bark, fetch, roll over, play dead, spin or bark on command. Teaching your canine pal a few tricks will prove a great bonding experience for you and your dog. To get started, watch some training videos on dogtime.com.
Expand your academic horizons
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) continue to grow because of the value and enrichment they provide people interested in continual learning and improvement. Top universities like Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Stanford and Cornell offer free courses on subjects ranging from poetry to programming. There are no requirements for participating.
Plan your next vacation
This may sound illogical at first, since vacation travel has virtually ground to a halt. But this is a chance to map out and thoroughly research your next destination so that when you finally get the all-clear signal to start traveling again, you’ll be ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Remember the 5 Ps: Proper Planning Prevents Poor (Vacation) Performance.
Transfer photos from your phone to an external hard drive
You probably have the equivalent of 10 scrapbooks of memories digitized on your phone. If you were to lose your phone, those might be memories lost forever. Upload your images to the cloud or to an external hard drive. Just do it. You don’t want any regrets.
Clean up your digital profiles
It’s human nature to want to adopt the next hot thing, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., but if you’ve moved on from certain social networking sites or simply stopped using them, one can only imagine what your old photos or profiles are still communicating about you. Start weeding. Let the world see what you want them to see. This is also means updating your resume or CV, especially if you’re still working or thinking of going back to work once the crisis passes.
Start a diary or blog
If you haven’t started this introspective activity already, you might think it is a little late to do so. But we are living in unique and historic times. Your words may someday provide a primary record of what it was like to have lived through and survived the Great Isolation or whatever the chroniclers of history end up calling this period. In fact, you can even share your ideas in real time by starting a blog. A variety of online platforms, such as WordPress.org, allow you to get up and running with little to no technical expertise. Your words and thoughts matter and are worthy of being recorded.
Watch the 91 Best Picture Oscar Winners
From “Wings” (1927-28) to “Joker” (2019), you can see the best films Hollywood has to offer. Between Amazon, iTunes, YouTube and Turner Movie Classics, you should be able to stream most of them. After you see them all, apply for “Jeopardy!”
Rearrange your wardrobe
Create three piles: one to keep, one to sell and one to give away. While you’re at it, go through your underwear and sock drawers. These go into only two piles: keepers and rejects.
Join an online book club
These apparently have become all the rage, with some offering private forums and video chats with the authors. Online reading hub Goodreads.com plays host to many online book clubs, including the Bustle Book Club.
Redesign a room
Switch up the arrangement of the furniture in your room. Move the bed, put the carpet somewhere else, go crazy. Create a new look! And if you don’t like it, you’ve got the time to move everything back!
These are stressful times, exacerbated by plunging stock market prices, ever-shrinking social gatherings and intermittent supermarket shortages, so it’s important to take moments out of your day to strengthen your physical and mental health. Take the edge off by practicing some healthy physical and mental exercises, maybe some yogic pranayama (breathing exercises to increase focus and blood oxidization), which appears to be the current rage. There are lots of online videos to help you find your inner calmer self.
Start an online business
As more people self-isolate and practice social distancing, their dependence on ordering more stuff online will continue to grow. Amazon and eBay, of course, are great for selling products and supplies, but take a look at Patreon.com, if you are an artist/creator who wants to get paid for your original content. The subscription platform allows creators and artists to earn a monthly income by providing exclusive rewards and perks to their subscribers, or “patrons.”
Provide product feedback (and get paid)
Product feedback plays a very important role in the buying process and also helps manufacturers make improvements to their product lineups. Now, you can get paid to write reviews by sharing your opinion on the Internet. Swagbucks.com and InboxDollars.com offer money-making opportunities to test products and taking surveys.
Attend virtual religious services
Many faith-based organizations have canceled their in-person services in favor of virtual worship services. Imagine the possibilities. You will no longer have to worry about putting on your Saturday or Sunday best or if you’ll find a good seat. Unfortunately, virtual donuts and pastries do not yet exist for consumption after services.
Monetize your tech abilities
Form your own personal Geek Squad by teaching others, not as tech-savvy as you, how to join Zoom conferences, send and receive text messages, and make FaceTime calls. You should be able to do most of this online or over the phone, allowing you to maintain proper social-distancing.
There you have it: 25 things to do and maybe even help you grow and prosper as we all work and create together to get through the coronavirus crisis.