Even if your area has eased quarantine guidelines, the importance of staying at home and limiting contact with others is still paramount. Yes, not going outside can be very boring and sometimes even stressful, but it’s a necessary sacrifice to protect your health and those around you.
However, there is one pressing challenge to staying safe at home: finding ways to entertain yourself without staring at a screen all day. Everyone’s screen time has dramatically increased during the quarantine, mainly due to the shift to work-from-home set-ups and online school. Although much of this increase is necessary (because you still have to work and attend virtual classes in a pandemic), a significant part can be attributed to entertainment.
We’re all understandably bored, and an easy way to curb that boredom is to watch your favorite shows on Netflix or scroll endlessly through social media. But if you’re already spending five to eight hours in front of a screen for work or school, that additional screen time can take a toll on your health.
That said, here are some screen-free activities that you can do instead:
1. Finish a jigsaw puzzle
Putting a 500 or 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle together is a great way to keep your hands and mind occupied for at least an hour or two every day. The best part? There is an abundance of designs that you can choose from nowadays, from fine art jigsaw puzzles to custom-made portrait puzzles.
2. Color an adult coloring book
As adults, we may have grown up, but we’ve never outgrown our desire to color in between the lines. An adult coloring book can keep you occupied for hours at a time. But aside from staving off boredom, coloring is one of the best ways to unleash pent-up creativity and relieve stress and anxiety in the process.
3. Try a weird recipe
At this point in the pandemic, you’ve probably already tried every trendy recipe that shows up on your timeline. This time, why not try weird recipes like 70s jello salads or that dish from your old cookbook that doesn’t look like it’s going to be any good (but hey, it’s worth trying, right?). Granted, they probably won’t taste good, but it’s the cooking itself that’s fun about the experience.
4. Read that book that you’ve always put off reading
Don’t procrastinate any longer. Now that you have all the time in the world to read, pick up that book that you promised yourself to finish… three months ago.
5. De-clutter your house
You probably won’t have much time to de-clutter your home after things go back to normal, so take advantage of the opportunity now to get rid of as much clutter as you possibly can. Not only will this give you something to do, but it will also allow you to free up space in your house to make it feel bigger (which can help make you feel less cramped while in quarantine.)
6. Repaint a room
Repainting a room is one of the cheapest home improvement projects that you can do, and you probably already have the tools waiting in your storage. However, keep in mind that paint needs sufficient time to dry, so only paint a room if you can afford to leave it unused for a few days.
7. Unleash your inner barista (or bartender)
Now that you aren’t getting your daily latte from a large-chain coffee shop, why not try making your favorite drinks at home? Start with the basics like Americanos, lattes, and mochas (which require minimal equipment and ingredients), then move to more complicated recipes once you get the hang of it. At night, you can also try your hand at bartending, which also means that you get an excuse to raid your liquor cabinet! Once the pandemic is over, these newfound skills will surely become useful for yourself and your guests.
8. Grow a small garden
With a few pots, some soil, and a handful of seeds, you can create your own garden in the backyard. Even if you aren’t much of a green thumb, planting low-maintenance herbs and vegetables is pretty easy as long as you’re okay with getting your hands dirty.
9. Play indoor games
Charades, cards, board games, dominoes–these were the types of games we played with as kids way before smartphones were permanent attachments to our hands. During this quarantine, unleash your inner child and play some indoor games with your family or friends instead of gathering around the TV.
Keeping yourself entertained is probably one of the biggest challenges in quarantine, especially when you want to do it without a screen. But as you can see from the list above, there are endless ways to keep yourself occupied without using electronics—you have to get a bit creative.