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Things To Do When You’re Stuck At Home

So you’ve already watched all of the seasons of your favorite re-runs and you’re starting to get bored… (yes, I’ve already watched all of the seasons of “Friends”, “Frasier” and “How I Met Your Mother”… so what? 😉). I’ve been putting together some ideas on how we can pass the time! Right now everyone is all cooped up in their homes trying to #FlattenTheCurve and avoid the spread of COVID-19 and I think that most people are probably already starting to go stir-crazy in their homes, especially if they live alone. My friend Jess keeps referring to this time as living in The Upside Down (a “Stranger Things” reference) and I couldn’t agree more.

My husband and I are both fortunate enough to be able to work from home and admittedly, I love to be at home. My husband? Not so much… I think this quarantine thing is slowly killing him.

I could suggest that you take this time to deep clean and organize your space, and while that would be an excellent use of your time no one really wants to do any of that (unless you’re a Monica Gellar type). I am rarely motivated to clean the house, but once I get going sometimes it’s difficult to stop because I start finding all kinds of things that need attention (“let’s vacuum behind the fridge!”). I doubt any of you have resorted to cleaning your places, so let’s start with stuff that would be more fun to do!

*Disclaimer: If you decide to purchase an item from one of my links, I may receive a small commission to help fund my cold brew coffee addiction*

Call your friends and family: I feel like this one goes without saying, but maybe this will just serve as a reminder. My husband and I try to FaceTime with our family members every weekend and we don’t always catch everyone, but at least we tried. Right now, more than ever, we need to be consistent in reaching out to our loved ones however we can to stay connected while we’re all confined to our homes. Group Zoom and FaceTime calls are great — schedule them and make it a Happy Hour situation! We did this on Saturday night with two of my closest girlfriends and our husbands / boyfriends and we ended up chatting and laughing for 3.5 hours! It was just what the doctor ordered. If a video call isn’t really your thing, I still encourage you to text those you know who are living alone and check in on them; if you’re in this situation, you know how lonely it can be! It’s important that we keep these human interactions however we can. 💗

Break in new shoes: Okay, so obviously with social distancing, there isn’t a ton of leaving your home BUT you can start to work on breaking in any new shoes that you have! I have one pair that I have been meaning to do this with and I just haven’t made the time… but now I have no excuse! 😂 Essentially, I’m going to put the shoes on my feet with the thickest socks that I can squeeze on with the shoes and blast them with a hairdryer. In between heat blasts, I will be walking around my house, doing squats / lunges / etc. to help flex the leather to stretch them out, making them less stiff, conform to my feet and ultimately more comfortable to walk in.

Learn a language: this is one thing I have been meaning to do for a while… After visiting Paris in 2018, I realized that I really wanted to learn to speak French. Even if my accent isn’t perfect or I don’t conjugate my verbs exactly right, I’d really like to be able to read a menu, order a meal or drink, and hold a basic conversation in French. I just started a free(!) account on DuoLingo and I’m really enjoying it so far… I’m going to try to keep this “habit” going even after life returns to normal.

Catch up on podcast(s): I am SO behind on podcasts. I love them, but I don’t have a driving commute in the morning (or bus / train ride, etc) to take advantage of. A few that I really enjoy are: How I Built This, Here’s the Thing, Bad on Paper, and The Skinny Confidential. Which are your favorites?

Binge that show you’ve been wanting to watch: There are often tv shows that I want to watch, but hate waiting for each weekly episode (it’s like torture, right?!) so I wait for the season(s) to be complete before I watch them all. Maybe I’m alone in this, but I really hate waiting and it’s not like back in the 90’s when you had to watch in real time or else you were totally out of the loop until the network played reruns. You have nothing but time now!!! Some shows I would like to watch are: “Love Is Blind”, “The Crown”, and maybe rewatch “Downton Abbey”, but would love more recommendations! Leave some in the comments?

Have a movie night: I am OBSESSED with movies and I always have been. Other than just watching new movies, I encourage you to rewatch your favorites or the ones that you haven’t seen in years! I forgot how funny “Old School” was… so many awesome one-liners! I’ve been watching chick flicks or Harry Potter movies by myself in the evenings if my husband has to work, but we’ve been slowly working through all of the Marvel movies on Disney+ together. I’d say we’ve seen about half of the movies from the Marvel universe, but there are definitely gaps. We decided to watch them all, but in chronological order (not the year in which they came out, but the order in which they fall in the storyline — I found the list here). It’s been a pretty fun activity for us! This is also something you could do from a distance with friends — start a movie while on a Zoom call or FaceTime to provide commentary; drinks and snacks welcome!

Rearrange furniture / decor: Take this time to do a little feng shui around your space – rearrange your furniture to create a new flow! If you already really love the way that everything is laid out in your place, maybe it’s time to switch out your seasonal decor! The first day of spring was last week (March 19th), so bring out all of your cheerful pastels and colorful decor for spring! I already swapped out the wreath on my front door and brought out all of my pink faux floral arrangements strategically placed throughout the house (real flowers would be preferred, but this is what I can manage right now). I also recently ordered a print that I want to hang in our house so now I need to find the right frame and mount it once both arrive! I love discovering new art pieces; they make me so happy.

Try new recipes: I mean, what better time to try out new recipes? I always complain that I never have time for the more involved recipes because after work I’m exhausted and all I want to do is put yoga pants on to crawl into bed. 🤣I also just received my copy of Tieghan Gerard’s recipe book called “Half-Baked Harvest: Super Simple” and can’t wait to make these yummy dishes! I am also a fan of ALL Ina Garten (aka the “Barefoot Contessa“) recipes; you can also find a lot of her recipes from her popular tv show on FoodNetwork.com. If you’re looking for a recipe for a specific dish, honestly, I’d search Pinterest! There are sooo many talented food bloggers out there that will provide plenty of recipes and inspo for you!

Use those beauty products: I tend to unintentionally hoard beauty products. Sephora gives you the option of free samples with each order, Kiehl’s often gives us small products to test when we make purchases, I often find a cute sample size of something at Target… you know how it goes. Before you know it, your bathroom is bursting at the seams with random products that you never really have time to try! Deep conditioning hair treatments, masques, makeup samples — get your glam on!! Other ideas are to take bubble bath or a nice hot soak; give yourself a manicure / pedicure and paint your nails (without being able to visit the salon, my nails are looking janky AF right now… they could definitely use some love!); prep your skin and then apply faux tanner if you’re into that (I shared my faux tanning prep tips here).
[Products above: Olaplex pre-wash hair treatment | deep conditioning hair treatment | summer fridays mask | hand and body scrub | lip scrub and balm set | coconut facial scrub]

Play a game: If you live with a significant other or roommates, playing a board or card game is always a super fun way to pass the time (my husband and I like to play cribbage together!), but including more friends and family by playing virtual games is even better! We have been playing online trivia with our family while FaceTiming with them so that we can laugh with (and talk trash to) each other while we play. It really is a blast! It was created by a local bar trivia host in Maine (our family members frequently play in person!) and he wanted to make it available for everyone online during quarantine! It’s free to play, but he accepts donations if you feel so inclined.

We’ve also downloaded some free game apps to play with our family and friends on the nights that trivia isn’t offered. Our favorites are: Evil Apples vs. Humanity, Sporcle Party and Psych! All of these games have been so fun to play with our family… we always look forward to playing throughout the week!

Read a book: I love to read, but aside from skimming news articles and blog posts I don’t really get around to reading much these days so I’m excited to have the opportunity to read more! This is a great way to mentally escape to another place while you are physically stuck at home. I have also been very interested in checking out Audible for audio books to listen to while I’m cleaning or folding laundry. I think that one of the best parts about audio books is that lot of times the books are narrated by their authors (such as “Whiskey in a Teacup” by Reese Witherspoon) or the actors that portray them in the film versions (such as “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” narrated by Eddie Redmayne). Whether you’re reading a page / screen or listening to a story, it accomplishes the same goal; enjoy!

Do some arts & crafts: I’ve seen some internet friends trying their hands at painting with watercolors, painting-by-number, and needlepointing which has inspired me to bust out my Paris coloring book and twist-up colored pencils. I’ve found coloring to be so soothing and a great way to spend some time (I colored a page while I was waiting for laundry to finish the other day). There are a million other art and craft ideas on Pinterest which I’m sure I’ll resort to once I run out of pages to color or my colored pencils run out – lol! If you’re not super artsy or into crafts, you could assemble something like a puzzle (and frame it when you’re done!), mini metal 3d models, or a Lego kit instead.

Work out: Exercise is probably one of my least favorite activities, but since we’re stuck in the house and I’m not getting my daily steps in from my commute I think it’s a good idea to keep a bit of exercise in my routine; I imagine you probably feel the same way. If you don’t already have an at-home workout routine that you follow, I know that a lot of my friends have been really into riding their Peloton bikes and following those classes (I’d be interested in that except there is literally nowhere to put a stationary bike in our house — lol). Another workout you can do anywhere that I’ve heard is great (but killer) is BBG by Kayla Itsines. The local Seattle Pure Barre studio has been streaming live classes lately and I believe that there is also a promo for the Pure Barre On Demand App where if you use code “extendedtrial” at the time of sign up for the trial period, you will get free access for 60 days instead of just 7. I also absolutely ADORE Dance Church — I’ve explained it at length in this post and right now while they can’t currently hold in-person classes, they are offering live stream classes twice a week (Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings)! If you’ve been considering trying the classes, this is a great way to check them out. The classes are all free, but they encourage donations if you can afford it (class cost is typically only $15 anyway). I tuned in for class on Sunday morning and it was so cathartic — my endorphin levels were basically off the charts when we were done… I can’t recommend this class enough!

Take a Masterclass / Skillshare / CourseEra virtual learning course: None of us know how long this quarantine way of life is going to last… I hope that it’s over soon (for the good of our economies!), but until things normalize we have so much time on our hands! Why not learn a new skill or hobby? I’m dying to take Bobbi Brown’s makeup Masterclass — I don’t plan to become a makeup artist or anything… I just love her approach to makeup and really want to learn her secrets. 😉 There are a million more valuable skills to learn than just how to apply makeup, so I encourage you to explore the options available to you! You may even find some free YouTube videos on whatever you’re interested in learning.

Get cultured / explore from your couch: So many amazing cultural groups around the world are sharing things for free on the internet! The ones that I am aware of are: live streaming performances by the Seattle Symphony, tours of famous international museums, so many zoos have live webcams to follow, as well as the Monterey Bay Aquarium! Our favorite musical artist Ben Gibbard (of the band Death Cab for Cutie) has been playing free live daily concerts on Youtube from his home studio and they’ve been so fun for us to tune into. Lastly, one of my favorite bloggers (Rebecca of Everyday Parisian) has created a post that shares a virtual walk around the Palais Royal or the Marais through her stunning photos. It’s amazing how all of these artists and businesses have pivoted to making themselves available to the world through technology. Of course it isn’t the same as experiencing these things in person, but it sure makes quarantine a hell of a lot more interesting!

Okay, I’m just going to say it: now is a great time to deep clean and purge things from your home – go through your closet(s) Marie Kondo style! Upgrade your hangers and swap them all out (I’ve already placed an order of these), go through all of your drawers (clothing and otherwise) and make sure that everything has a purpose and/or sparks joy! This is also a great time to organize while you’re at it! Your spice cabinet, the random “everything” drawer (we all have one), a craft space, your beauty product storage, workout clothes, the t-shirt drawer (do you really still wear that Little League shirt from middle school?)… the list goes on! It’s no fun to do, but the end result will make you feel so much lighter and happier, I promise.

Routine maintenance: Speaking of deep cleaning, you should take this opportunity to wash your makeup brushes and jewelry. I try my best to clean both of these items every week or two, but sometimes time gets away from me. If you have acne-prone skin like I do, it’s probably better to let your skin breathe (no makeup!) while we’re all at home so it’s a great time to clean your makeup brushes! I know that other bloggers that regularly work from home have recommended sticking to your normal routine as best you can, and that putting makeup on every day can help you feel put together / keep a level of normalcy… but I am officially voting against putting any makeup on our skin (obviously mascara and lipstick / lip balm are permitted) until we all return to our offices!

Empty out your purse / wallet: This is something that we should all probably be doing more regularly, but I like to dump everything from my purse out onto my bed; shake the bag out upside down (shake out any strands of hair, dust, etc.); toss any empty gum wrappers, old receipts or general garbage; remove any extra items such as pens or hair ties; make sure everything is tucked away in it’s proper pouch then place everything back in, starting with the larger items.

*UPDATE: A few ways to spend your time at home during the summer.

If I discover some other activities that I think may be helpful or interesting, I’ll update this post. Please feel free to share ideas in the comments below for all to benefit from — activities, show / movie / podcast recommendations, etc.!

Hope you all are staying healthy and safe!

xx, Natalie


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