Being stuck at home, especially since it’s not really by choice, can start feeling like being trapped very quickly. Even if you’re still working from home it’s very important to break up the day and stay engaged. I know crawling into bed and getting caught in an endless loop of streaming sounds like a great way to ignore everything going on. But we do need to find ways to keep moving, physically and mentally, so we can all come out of the other side ready to take on whatever comes next.
Personally, finding ways to keep my brain active has been an important part of my life for a while. With Alzheimer’s running in my family exercise of the brain and body is something we always think about. This list comes from my direct experience!
These are also activities that can help you feel productive during down time. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a good mindless binge, but in a time of such weird uncertainty it can really help feeling like your doing something that will have an impact once ~normal~ life returns.
1. Take Free Online Classes
I have always found learning infinitely more exciting when not in a school setting. That’s why I love taking classes through different ‘Massive Open Online Course’ websites likes Coursera and edX. Getting to pick a class and topic I’m genuinely interested in is a great reminder of how fun knowledge can be! These programs offer classes from major universities around the world, but as a way to watch lectures and get notes for free.
Some examples of classes I have my eye on: ‘Understanding Memory: Explaining the Psychology of Memory through Movies’, ‘Marketing in a Digital World’, ‘Theories of Media and Technology’.
Books are one of those things that I can never have enough of. From the time I was itty bitty I was happily buried in every book I could find. Right now I have over 100 unread books on my Kindle😅 I kept cracking jokes about running off to the mountains for a week with no internet to see how much reading I could get done. I suppose a pandemic that has all needing to stay home indefinitely will work too lol. Or maybe you’ve never been much of a reader and this is the nudge you need to pick up a book and give it a go. The thing with reading is there are SO MANY OPTIONS. You just need to find what works for you personally.
My current recommendations are checking out all these books being turned into movies/tv this year, or this hodge podge of what I’ve recently read.
3. Learn A Creative Skill
What’s that creative hobby you’ve always put off because there’s no time to figure it out? Photography, web design, writing, film editing?? Skillshare is an incredible resource with a ton of videos and how-to’s for every creative activity you could ever imagine. I use it all the time when I’m trying to figure it out for this website & my business. The free version is all I’ve ever used and I’ve never felt like I wasn’t getting the help I needed!
4. Do Crosswords/Sudoku
I do these types of word/number puzzles ALL THE TIME. I’ve got 3 different books currently going with another 6 in a variety of themes as backups. This is such a fun way to quickly give your brain a workout. You can even make it a little more social by doing public puzzles like the daily NY Times crossword, I see people talking about it on social media all the time!
Free online: Crosswords, Sudoku, Word Search, Word Jumble
My favorite books:
5. Watch A Documentary
If you want to keep the tv on, why not add something a little educational to your playlist. They don’t have to be dry or boring, just needs to make you focus and maybe learn something. If you’ve got Disney+ I really love some their nature documentaries. For those feeling trapped inside, watch an hour of what goes on in nature at Yellowstone! If you’re missing sports, check out the Ken Burns documentary ‘Baseball’(It’s streaming on Amazon Prime).
6. Find And Finish The Puzzle Stashed Away In A Closet
Need an activity for the whole family? Get out that massive puzzle you swore you would do before losing it in the back of your closet. It’s best if you can find a table that doesn’t get used all the time so that way you can walk away when you get stuck, and then come back to it later. We’re in this for a while so you don’t need to lose your mind trying to figure it out in one day. Or lead into family-wide fights lol.
If you don’t have one, this might be something worth ordering if you know it will fill a good chunk of time. (Being non-essential it may take a little longer to be delivered!)
7. Learn A New Language
Obviously you’re not going to completely learn a new language in this time, hopefully👀, but that doesn’t mean you take a meaningful step into starting. Who hasn’t at least thought of the second, or next, language they want to learn?? Especially if you’re feeling trapped in this time. Use this as a way to help you think about that trip you’re going to take in a while when all of this is over and we’ve all learned to stop putting things off! There’s so many ways these days learn a new language. You could try taking a class from one of the websites I mentioned earlier, ordering something like Rosetta Stone, or downloading Duolingo. There’s no reason NOT to try right now.