72 Things You Can Do While Self-Quarantining (That Aren’t Shopping Online to Try to Stave Off Existential Dread)

Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash - 72 Things You Can Do While Self-Quarantining - Butch on a Budget

So, you could say a lot has changed in the past week.

With the constant news, empty shelves, plummeting stock market, and disruption to normalcy in almost every way imaginable it makes sense to feel a little bit out of control. It makes sense to feel a little scared. Or overwhelmed. Or uncertain. Or anxious.

You may be worried about your health. Or your family’s health. Your job and your finances. You might even be feeling some deep existential dread. You might feel angry. Or maybe you just feel restless and bored and stuck in your house.

Anything you’re feeling right now makes sense.

When many of us feel any of those aforementioned feelings, our automatic reaction is often to buy things. To spend money. We spend money to try and soothe the negative feelings with the promise of whatever positive feeling we think the thing we’re buying will give us. We spend money because we’re trying to feel more in control. It’s something we can do, and we can do it now, goddammit.

We tell ourselves the thing we’re buying will help.

But will it?

Odds are, that thing you order online isn’t going to help alleviate those negative feelings (at least long-term) and it won’t actually give you more control of your situation. In fact, it may take away some of your future control as many of us enter an uncertain financial future.

As you make spending decisions over the next few weeks, refer back to the 4 questions I ask myself before I buy things, and when you do decide to buy things, I hope it’s local.

Some things that might actually help you feel more in control (and that also serve you) include creating and sticking to a morning routine, keeping your living space clean and organized, taking some deep breaths and practicing gratitude.

So, here is a list of 72 things you can do over the next couple of weeks while you self-quarantine that aren’t shopping online for that thing you definitely (probably) don’t need.

They range from the mundane and obvious to the ridiculous. Enjoy!

72 Things to Do While You’re in Your COVID-19 Quarantine Pod

  1. Read or listen to a book
    While libraries across the country are closing many have online collections of ebooks and audiobooks.
  2. Watch a long movie you usually wouldn’t have the time (or patience) to watch
  3. Marathon-watch a TV series you keep hearing about, but haven’t had the chance to watch yet.
  4. Listen to a podcast.
  5. Clean your house. Who knew your ceiling fans had that much dust on them?
  6. Do your laundry.
    One perk of working from home is that you can throw on a load or two during the day when you need a short break. We have finally (almost) conquered laundry mountain this week. Almost.
  7. Cook delicious food.
  8. Bake something.
    Go ahead, pretend Paul Hollywood is taste-testing. We won’t judge.
  9. Practice an instrument or have a (virtual) jam session
  10. Practice a language.
    Anyone else getting Duolingo notifications? The Duolingo Owl is going to get very upset if you don’t open that app like, right now.
  11. Play that board game no one ever wants to play because it takes too long.
  12. Do an online exercise or yoga class.
  13. Color-code your closet.
  14. Alphabetize your book shelf, or organize it by genre.
  15. Start that hobby you bought all the stuff for but never actually started doing
    *shifts eyes towards that box full of fabric squares and embroidery string*
  16. Research something you’ve always wondered about.
    Time to research what happened to the missing Slowsky commercial for the 17th time. Ask me about it sometime. Or on second thought, don’t.
  17. Call or Facetime friends and family.
  18. Write letters or postcards.
    Your penmanship is about to be fabulous.
  19. Scavenger hunt in your own house.
    Make one for your kids or challenge a partner to see who can find something for each letter of the alphabet first.
  20. Make a quarantine playlist, or one for each of your friends and for a variety of situations.
  21. Organize photos (printed or digital)
  22. Organize your garage or pantry (or both).
  23. Have a cooking competition with whatever is in your pantry.
  24. Learn a new skill
    This is a great time to start juggling or take an online web development course. It doesn’t need to be a permanent commitment, just a way to pass the time and maybe learn a new thing.
  25. Make a bucket list
    Or a 30-before-30 or 50-before-50 list.
  26. Sit in your yard and enjoy a cup of coffee.
  27. Record an oral history interview with a family member.
    Seriously though, this is a great thing to do.
  28. Play Would You Rather?
  29. Write anything (journal, short story, article, thinkpiece, poem, etc)
  30. Organize your computer files.
    Why are Macs so hard to organize? Why?
  31. Do a crossword puzzle.
  32. Do a Sudoku puzzle.
  33. Have a spa day.
  34. Teach your dog some new tricks.
  35. Get creative! Draw, paint, craft, etc.
  36. Take turns asking your partners or quarantine buddies questions.
  37. Make minor repairs around the house
  38. Have a talent show with anyone else you’re quarantined with or over video call.
  39. Wash/clean out your car.
    Where did all of these french fries come from?
  40. Update your budget!
  41. Do your taxes.
  42. Meditate.
    Calm and other apps have put together some meditation starter guides to help alleviate COVID-19 stress.
  43. Scream-sing your favorite throwback songs.
    Haven’t you people ever heard of closing the goddamn door? No!
  44. Write a haiku about being quarantined.
  45. Take a long bath.
  46. Virtually check out the orchestra.
  47. Read articles about what to do when self-quarantining.
    Yes, you’re doing this right now. Great job!
  48. Call your grandparents.
  49. Explore a museum virtually
  50. Take a class.
  51. Take a walk around your neighborhood (just stay 6 feet away from others).
  52. Do a puzzle.
    Charles Wysocki 1000-piece puzzles are my personal fave.
  53. Tidy up with Marie Kondo.
    Does it bring you joy? No? Buh-bye. (And thanks).
  54. Watch every Tom Hanks movie ever made.
  55. Build a living room fort for the aforementioned movie marathon.
  56. Practice something you always wished you were better at.
    Perhaps folding a fitted sheet, shuffling cards, or typing really fast.
  57. Take a nap or go to bed early.
  58. Make a list of the things you’re grateful for.
  59. Play poker.
    Maybe you’ll finally master your poker face.
  60. Dance!
  61. Make a pet rock for company
    You can name them and talk to them when you start to feel a little stir-crazy.
  62. Have a photoshoot with your pet (rock, or otherwise).
  63. Unfollow all of the social media accounts that aren’t bringing you joy.
  64. Try on all of the clothes you have and put together a few new outfits.
  65. Research a sport that you’ve never fully understood.
  66. Learn how to up-cycle some of your old stuff.
  67. Look-up organizations you may want to donate to.
  68. Do a taste test of the coffees and teas you have in your house.
  69. Send some wholesome content to 5 people who may need it.
  70. Make a PowerPoint to teach someone about something you are super interested in.
  71. Floss after every meal.
  72. Remember that everything will be okay.

Now, take a deep breath and leave a comment letting me know how you’re passing the time and staying connected.

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