Words can’t express how grateful I am to all the workers across the country who are on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. From healthcare professionals to grocery store employees: THANK YOU (times a million) for literally keeping this country running.
For the rest of us, the absolute best thing we can possibly do right now is STAY HOME and practice social distancing. And honestly being in quarantine is a privilege. Of course it sucks, but the alternative is prolonging the pandemic and putting more lives at risk. So between the two options, I am totally on board with hunkering down at home! Plus there’s so many ways we can make the most of it. Staying at home does not have to mean replacing our passions, hobbies, goals,etc. with hours of Netflix!
(And yes, I acknowledge that I’m also fortunate right now not to have kids that I have to watch or homeschool all day. Because I know that’s an entire job in and of itself!)
But for those like me who are looking for ways to stay active and engaged in life while stuck at home, I’m sharing 13 ideas to help you make the most of it.
PS. I get absolutely nothing in exchange for sharing the links below 🙂
1. Go crazy with home organization and spring cleaning
Tackle those home organizational projects you’ve been meaning to get to (or even the ones you haven’t been meaning to get to!) There are so many resources and sources of inspiration out there to get you started and guide you through the process! Can you really think of a better time to get organized? I literally can’t. Here’s some inspiration for ya:
- Get your konmari on by learning from the wizard of tidying up, Marie Kondo. Read her books and/or watch her series on Netflix!
- Check out some home organization blogs (or deep dive into Pinterest) to get practical tips and LOTS of visual inspiration. Here’s a few: Polished Habitat, A Personal Organizer, Simply Organized
- Watch some home organization channels on YouTube like: Abby Organizes or Home Organizing by Alejandra.tv or AtHomeWithNikki
- Deep clean your or home! (Okay, this is just my suggestion to you.) When was the last time you looked in the bottom of your freezer or silverware drawer? Let me tell you – it’s probably disgusting. Just tackle small areas at a time to make it manageable. You won’t regret it.
2. Spice up your morning routine by signing up for a coffee subscription
We ALL need something to look forward to right now. And if you’re like me, you might rely on coffee to get you through the day sometimes. So getting a fresh bag of beans delivered might kill two birds with one stone. PLUS it’s a great way to support local coffee roasters from around the country. Here’s a a few options for coffee deliveries:
3. Start or join a virtual book club
I’m excited about FINALLY starting a book club. It’s funny how much harder this actually was before the pandemic. It seemed impossible to find a time to get people together once a month and there was a chance most attendees would be too busy to read the book anyway. Now, it’s suddenly become bit easier to find the time! Maybe it’s not quite as fun as getting together in person to drink wine and discuss a book, but it’s the best we can do! (And yes, wine can still be involved.)
4. Find ways to give back
This is a big one for me in helping me feel like an actually useful human again. Although being cooped up sucks (for lack of a better word) I know how lucky I truly am right now. So I wanted to find and share a few ways that we can give back.
- Support local business by purchasing gift cards to use at a later date, or donate to Go Fund Me campaigns. I also plan to keep on ordering takeout from my favorite spots for as long as I can. (Plus, a lot of food delivery sites are waiving their delivery fees right now so you don’t have to leave your house!)
- If monetary support isn’t an option, see if there’s other ways you can support your favorite business. Maybe it’s going onto Google and leaving a really amazing review.
- Check in with family members, friends, neighbors, etc. who are high-risk and see if there’s anything that you can (safely) help them with right now.
- Donate to organizations in your area who are responding to and supporting community members. Or if you’re a healthy, low-risk individual, check out opportunities to volunteer.
- Help medical workers get the protective equipment they need. A couple places you can donate to are: DonatePPE.org and DirectRelief.
- Donate blood if you can! There’s a severe shortage right now due to the pandemic. Find an upcoming drive near you through the Red Cross.
5. Create an at-home workout routine (or do online classes with friends)
Just because you can’t physically go to a gym or fitness studio doesn’t mean you have to give up on your workout goals and routine. There’s a TON of options for online workout classes, and to stay motivated or make it more fun get a friend or two to do a workout with you! Here are some places to start
- Peloton app: You can download and sign-up for the Peloton app even if you don’t have any of the Peloton equipment (which I don’t!) It normally costs $12.99 a month but Peloton is currently offering a 90 day free trial, which is what I signed up for. I really like the variety of workouts offered (from strength training to yoga to outdoor running) and the quality of the videos. I also like that you can either join a live class, or watch it on demand later (and you can see who else is doing the class at the same time.) Find some friends to take one of the live classes together!
- FitOn app: This app is FREE (which is why I downloaded it originally,) but you can also pay for their “Pro” version to get added features. This app also has a variety of workouts with the ability to join live workout classes (or do them later on-demand.)
- DownDog Yoga is currently making their app free until May 1st. This app is, unsurprisingly, just yoga workouts. But, it allows you to build and completely customize your yoga workout (length, difficulty, music, etc,) which I really like.
- Two other sites I love for their free workout videos are Fitness Blender and Blogilates, or check-out this comprehensive list here.
6. Host a virtual happy hour or brunch with your friends
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. But I think in order not to go completely bonkers, it’s super important to interact with humans outside of our households. So even if friends can’t physically get together, why not hang out virtually? The video conferencing tools out there make it easier than ever. (And when you get together, don’t even say the word COVID, quarantine, pandemic, etc.!)
7. Find ways to thank the essential worker in your life
Like I said before, I am soooo incredibly grateful to the men and women on the front lines of fighting this pandemic. And I’m sure we all have family members, friends, neighbors, etc. who are part of this category. There’s so many ways we can show our appreciation!
- Send them a cute e-card showing your appreciation! Here’s a list of some sites that let you send them for free. You could also send them a hand-made card (using the ancient art of writing with a pen and paper.)
- Treat them to dinner by buying them take-out! (You can even have it delivered straight to their house using one of the many food delivery apps out there. Nobody has to make an extra trip.)
- Or just send them a gift card for a food delivery service. That way they can pick the restaurant AND a time that works best for them.
- Buy them a “coffee” by sending a digital Starbucks gift card that they can use at a drive through location. (I’ve seen that locations at hospitals are also staying open to support medical workers.)
8. Organize your recipe collection, or start a new one (your future self will thank you)
To keep my collection of recipes somewhat organized, I use a combination of Pinterest and a physical recipe binder, where I save my tried and true favorites. I will definitely be using some of my time at home to hardcore organize my recipes (yes, organizing can be hardcore) and find new ones to try. Having recipes easily accessible makes the meal planning process so much easier, which honestly just makes my whole life easier. (I always need more of that.)
9. Learn to meditate
Meditation is one of those things that is scientifically proven to improve your mental wellbeing and stress levels. Yet I NEVER do it. And now more than ever I wish it was a tool I had in my repertoire. I know we could all use some stress-relieving techniques during these times. So join me in my quest to finally learn how to meditate! Here’s some starting places:
- The Ten Percent Happier app was designed to literally teach you how to meditate. This is where I’ll be starting!
- There’s TONS of YouTube videos out there. Just search “meditation for beginners” and see what tickles your fancy.
- If you’re taking advantage of the 90 day free trial of the Peloton app, take advantage of the guided meditations they offer
- The Calm and Headspace apps are two other options, but I know to access most of the content, you have to pay for a subscription.
10. Give yourself all the personal care
My personal care routine is definitely taking some hits without having access to professional haircuts, manicures, waxings, etc. (I’m going to come out of this crisis MUCH hairier than when I started.) Salon treatments are all luxuries that I know I can do without for the foreseeable future, but I haven’t sacrificed my personal care altogether. I’ve decided to take a DIY approach and even try out some new techniques!
- Learn how to perfect your make-up routine via the millions of online tutorials out there – some of the YouTube channels on my list are Lisa Eldridge, Stephanie Bailey, Roxette Arisa, and Marlena Stell
- Give yourself a manicure that will last longer than ONE day. I’m thinking of trying out either Static Nails, or ordering a Gel/UV light kit (there were a bunch of options on Amazon.)
- Clarify AND deep condition your hair. (Plenty of recipes out there for making your own if you don’t have any!)
- Use up those face masks, bubble bath, and other random sundry stashed away in your bathroom drawers.
11. Tackle your personal finances
This isn’t the most glamorous, but it’s an important one. Especially if personal finance is an area you’ve been a bit nonchalant about in the past (I’ve definitely been there.) I feel there’s so much power in having a clear picture of my finances and my financial goals, even (and especially) if I’m not bringing in the big bucks right now. I recently switched to being a part-time employee while working to build my business on the side, and I’m still adjusting to the financial, erm, “side-effects.” I’m definitely going to use some of my down time to keep working on getting my financial life together.
- If you’re not sure where to start or want to learn something new, I was excited to see that Clever Girl Finance has made all of their online courses and resources FREE. I’ll definitely be using some of these free resources
- Now is an amazing time to finally make that budget! There’s so many apps and systems out there, I firmly believe there’s something for everyone. It took me a LOT of experimenting to finally figure out a system that works for me. But I think now is the perfect chance to spend the time testing out the options.
12. Get your playlists in order
This is a project I’ve had on my to-do list for about eight years but never seem to have the time for. I guess I have the time now! I’m excited to finally clean and freshen up my existing playlists and create the new ones I’ve been meaning to get around to. This is another project your future self will be THRILLED about.
13. Read all the books!
Last but not least, take this time to actually read a dang book or two! I personally have a mile-long reading list I’m hoping to make a dent in, buuut also want to stick to my budget. I’ll let you in on a few of my favorite ways to save money on books:
- You can check out digital books and audiobooks from your library for free using the Overdrive or Libby apps! This has literally changed my life. I almost exclusively check out through the Libby app now, which I can then upload to my Kindle (or read straight from the app.)
- For those located in the Seattle area, like me, both King County and Seattle libraries are offering digital library cards right now!
- Sign up for BookBub. It will send you an email everyday with your daily “bargains,” which are basically e-books you might be interested in that cost between $0 to $2.99 (purchased through Amazon.) While I generally try to avoid buying books on Amazon in favor of using a library or going to a local bookstore, I fully understand the allure of a bargain book.
- Amazon Prime Members can save money on Kindle books through the Prime Reading feature. (Yea, yea. Amazon again, I know.)
- Lastly, just see if your local bookstore is selling books for delivery. It’s probably not going to save you money, but these shops NEED our business right now!