Being stuck at home during can cause a mean case of cabin fever. Here are activities that can alleviate the boredom, upgrade a skill and possibly even ignite an interest in a totally unexpected topic.
Activities to Keep You Entertained When You’re Stuck at Home
Catch up on all the movies you’ve always wanted to see.
Discover a new category of movies.
Try the oldies but goodies like Casablanca. These are classics for a reason. TCM is a great place to start.
Sing virtual karaoke.
You can sing at home on either a Mac or a PC. It’s the next best thing to singing your heart out at the local bar. Here is one virtual karaoke program, of many that you can try. Stand in front of the mirror and sing like you’re on a game show competing for an all expenses paid vacation. Cajole your spouse into joining you.
Go on virtual tours.
The world of virtual tours has exploded recently. Today you can choose from virtual museums, city tours, castles and palaces, zoos, famous landmarks and more. Explore, engage and experience the world, even if you’re stuck at home.
Visit New York City…virtually.
New York City’s Big Onion Walking Tours is now offering Virtual Adventures. Visit NYC’s fascinating neighborhoods and learn about the area’s history.
Plan future trips.
The current self-isolation because of the corona virus won’t last forever. Start planning your future trips now so you’ll have options and choices where you’re free to travel again. Start by learning how to find cheap flight deals every time.
Create a date night.
Combine a special dinner with one of the movies you find on the streaming services, add candles and voila! you have the ideal date night.
Who ever thought you could attend a wine tasting from home? Well, now you can! The presentation lasts about 40 minutes and you access it through Zoom video conferencing. During that time you will see and visit various chateaux to learn about their history, vineyards and wine making process. Wine experts will chat about the various wines and participants are encouraged to ask questions online.
The various wine experts will teach you about wine parings, proper decanting, ideal temperatures, serving advice and lots more. Each week you can visit a different chateau and learn about various wines while you’re stuck at home.
Wines to be discussed in future presentaions can be sent to participants in advance so you can sample the wine the experts are showcasing in real time. Or, you can order the showcased wines directly from the producers or your local wine shop.
There is a small fee for each wine tasting presentation.
Get yourself some fine cheese and wine – your local liquor store will probably deliver – and create your own wine and cheese night!
Start an herb garden.
How many times have you prepared a recipe that required a bunch of cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, rosemary or other. If you buy a bunch of any of these herbs, the recipes only requires use a little and you are stuck with the rest which you really don’t want to throw out because, face it, you don’t want to waste food. So you either frantically find other recipes you can use these herbs with or you ultimately have to throw the herbs away.
The alternative is to just grow your own herbs. It’s easy, you don’t need a lot of herbs for your recipes and its fun. Using herb garden kits you can grow your own easily and quickly and just pick whatever herbs you want for your dishes like pastas (basil) potatoes (rosemary) cilantro (soups) or parsley (pretty much everything) without wasting any herbs.
Play board games, cards, chess, checkers, etc.
These are fun, guys! This is a great way to incorporate the family and recapture the fun of game night activities. Here are a couple of options.
Research old friends and acquaintances.
Find long lost people through the internet and contact them asking how they’re doing. Some can become current friends again.
Color in an adult coloring book.
In the case “adult” means “not cartoons fit for children,” rather than anything X-rated. Regress even further into your childhood and have fun with these adult coloring books that have been growing in popularity.
Buy it here.
Do a jigsaw puzzle.
Remember those from when you were a kid? They can be as small as a couple of pieces or as large and challenging as the 1000 piece puzzle depicting the Age of Exploration. Choose from among multiple designs to find one that is just right for you.
Buy it here.
Join virtual meetups on line.
Zoom has emerged as the ideal virtual conferencing service provider. Join a meeting or host your own while you’re stuck at home. It’s easy, they have a tutorial and the first 40 minutes are free! Check them out here.
Travel through food
Try cuisines from different parts of the world.
Did you know Japan has 7 different regional cuisines including those from Hokkaido, Chubu and Okinawa? Explore a different region every day through the region’s specialty dish.
China has one of the world’s oldest and most sophisticated cuisines. Who hasn’t heard of spicy Szechuan dishes, the subtle and delicate flavors of Cantonese seafood or one of China’s great contributions to the world, Peking duck? Grab yourself a wok set and a couple of chopsticks and explore the delicious world of Chinese cooking.
What’s the first thing you think of when you say Italy? If you’re like me it probably Italian food. Try pizza Napolitana , Sicilian arancini (deep fried stuffed rice balls)or Roman caccio e pepe (pepper and cheese pasta). From amazing street food to the most sophisticated dining, Italy’s got this!
Break free from the taco rut (although tacos are super delicious) and learn about Mexico and its many different regional dishes; papadzules (egg filled tortillas with sauce) from the Yucatan, pozole ( a flavorful chickpea stew) from the north Pacific coast, hand-ground chocolate from the south Pacific coast, a delicacy that has been around for centuries.
Every region of Spain has dozens of regional specialties. From the tasty paella of Valencia to the roast game of Segovia to the codfish dishes of the northern coasts. But there is one amazing Spanish treat that is found all over the country…tapas! tasty little dishes typically served with drinks at a bar. What a wonderful way to sample many dishes at the same sitting. Nobody does it like Spain.
For a little country, Cuba punches way above its weight when it comes to cuisine. Classic Cuban cuisine is underrated and underappreciated. Cuba’s traditional dishes like ropa viaja (shredded beef) and lechon asado (roast pork) rank up there with the best of them in terms of flavor and originality. Cuban cuisine has had a major resurgence lately. More and more people are discovering this amazing food with its subtle flavors and innovative creations. Here is your chance to discover it for yourself.
Indulge in a little self-love while you’re stuck at home
Take a yoga class online.
Or a Zumba class. Or a Pilates class. Or any exercise class you can think of. Combine the classes and create your own exercise routine. They’re all online and many are free!
If you’re stuck in the house and unable to go to the gym or for long walks for several weeks, you will find yourself out of shape and unhealthy when this is over. Fight back and stay fit while in isolation.
Indulge in a bubble bath.
But I mean REALLY indulge. Go all out with bath salts and oils. Light candles around the tub and put on some soothing music. You’ll be amazed at how good you’ll feel.
Give yourself a facial.
Save yourself the $100 and give yourself a professional facial at home. Start with a facial cleanser for either dry or oily skin, follow up with a facial steamer, proceed with a deep-cleaning scrub and top it all off with a soothing relaying moisturizer. See if you don’t feel like a million bucks!
Give yourself a mani-pedi.
Take your time and luxuriate in a hand and foot soak.
Try a new hair color.
See if you drugstore delivers so you don’t have to go out and get a hair coloring kit. This is your chance to experiment with that color you’ve been curious about. Since you’re stuck at home, no one will see the new color if you don’t like it. And if you do like it…you’ve got a new fresh look!
Learn a new language.
You can’t expect to become fluent in a new language while you’re stuck at home, but you can certainly pick pick up enough to be conversational during your next trip. Always wanted to go to Italy? Learn enough to get around and order in restaurants. Was France your next port of call before you ended up stuck at home? Take the time now to learn conversational French.
There are many language apps and courses to help you learn a new language. Many language learning services are offering free classes for a limited time so there is no excuse for not following your language dreams. There are also online interactive tutors to practice conversation with. Check out Babel, Rosetta Stone and Duolingo to get you started.
Improve your cooking skills.
Take a virtual cooking class and learn from some of the best cooking schools and chefs around. Experiment with classes that teach you all aspects of cooking from how to prepare a feast to simple meals to baking a cake. All from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Discover new books.
And here is a good selection to chose from: Travel Books to Read When You Can’t Travel
Try audible books.
Can you read even when it’s difficult to do so like when you’re driving, exercising, cooking or drifting off to sleep in the dark? Now you can with an audio book. Audible.com is offering a limited-time promotion. Get two free audiobooks with a 30 trial membership. Use this Audible.com link to ensure you get the promotion. Choose from hundreds of books, best sellers, first releases in all topics. There is something for every passion.
Start a blog.
Lots of people have started their own blog. Many start one just for fun to record and share their travels, fashion tips, cooking recipes, parenting advice. Really, any topic you can think of has lots people that are interested in it; pets, finance, fitness, books, model building, your home state/city. The list is endless.
Others start blogs to monetize a particular hobby or skill they are passionate about. Having a blog can be fun as well as lucrative.
It’s not expensive or difficult to start a blog, nor do you have to be very tech savvy. All you need is a passion and the ability to write about it.
The best place to start is with a course that teaches you how to create your own blog with easy step-by-step instructions. Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging Course is the best course you can get to learn how to start your own blog.
Take online learning classes.
Class Central offers almost 4,000 different online courses. You are sure to find one just for you.
Learn new ways to stay connected.
Explore the Great Courses.
Get online access to over 11,000 courses and lectures with free trial. Explore fascinating subjects like World History, Science, Personal Development and much more. And for a limited time, get one month free .
Tackle those DIY projects.
What’s your pleasure? What have you been wanting to start for some time? Write that book. Start that book club. Get that license. Learn that skill. Update that resume. Get it started and see where it goes from there.
Declutter your life
Go through your make-up.
Get rid of the old makeup and accessories you haven’t worn in years; dried powder cake, crumbling green eye powder, that eyeliner pencil with the missing top. You will feel refreshed just throwing it out. When you’re ready to go out again treat yourself to some new makeup basics.
Organize your closet.
You probably have more clothes than you think they’re just at the bottom of the pile or too hard to get to because they are all the way in the back of the closet. Take a section at a time, categorize by clothing type and install a couple of organizers to keep things nice and orderly.
If you want to go all out on organizing your entire home, check out organization guru, Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
Organize your photos.
There are dozens of digital photo organizing services on line. These are simple ways to digitally preserve your precious photos and gain extra space on you computer drive. Here are couple of services: Lifestorage, Gizmodo, BHG
Update your wardrobe.
As the old saying goes, if you haven’t worn it in a year you probably never will. Select cloths you no longer wear and set them aside as a donation which is tax deductible. You’ll be amazed at how much extra room you suddenly have.
Update your spice shelf.
Did you know spices have shelf lives? They don’t last forever. Herbs and spices should be kept in a cool, dark place. They should not be kept over the stove, over the sink or in sunlight as heat, humidity and light will reduce their potency. If stored properly, spice shelf life is:
- Whole spices and dried herbs, leaves and flowers will keep 1 – 2 years.
- Seeds will keep 2 – 3 years and whole roots (i.e. ginger root or galangal root) will keep 3 years.
- Ground spices and herb leaves keep 1 year.
- Ground roots will keep for 2 years.
Even if beyond these dates, check the spice before throwing it out. Shake the bottle with the top on, open and smell. If the aroma is still potent, keep it. If not, throw it out as it will not add anything to your dishes. It’s best to buy small quantities of little used species and buy more as you need it.
I know it’s hard to resist buying a spice for a recipe you’re determined to try and the only size is way more than you need. That’s how I ended up with a ton of Korean Gochugaru. It’s not as if I eat this every day but I couldn’t resist buying it just to try the recipe. Oh, well.
Declutter all cabinets.
Not just the kitchen cabinets. Tackle the cabinet under the sink where you keep your cleaning supplies. And how about the bathroom cabinets? Ditch the potions and lotions you haven’t used in years, get yourself a couple of organizers and set things up nicely and within reach while you’re stuck at home.
BTW, if you are getting ready for your trip, make sure to take advantage of these useful, money-saving links to book your trip, and check out our travel shop:
- Check out our Amazon travel shop featuring travel accessories and travel books to fuel your wanderlust.
- Research and book your flight with Skyscanner. I have found them to be the best because they list all airlines including the budget ones. You are always sure of having researched all options. You can also book your car rental through Skycanner.
- For car rental in Europe that has flexible pickup and drop-off options, I recommend Auto Europe.
- Book your accommodation with Booking.com. I find they have the widest selection and a nice, user-friendly, transparent website.
- If an Airbnb experience is more your style, book Airbnb here and get a $40 credit towards your first stay.
- Protect your trip and, more importantly, protect yourself with travel insurance. I use World Nomads and have been very happy with them.
- Looking for a small group tour to unforgettable destinations with top professionals? Intrepid Travel is your choice.
- For more general tours to any destination or attraction, book with Viator. Check them out.
- Need a visa? Get your visa for all countries with iVisa.
I personally use, and can recommend, all the companies listed here and elsewhere on my blog. By booking through these sites, the small commission we earn – at no cost to you – helps us maintain this site so we can continue to offer our readers valuable travel tips and advice.