With life having transitioned mostly online, it can be easy to feel isolated and possibly a little stir crazy and bored. What’s there to do while stuck indoors? I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite things to do when I’m stuck at home!
Start a blog
I have been blogging on various blogs (most of which no longer exist) for the past 7-8 years and I absolutely love it. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am extremely supportive of anyone who wants to start a new blog or YouTube channel. I love the idea of being able to share unique knowledge with others or document your passion, whether it is travelling, knitting or calligraphy! If you’ve ever considered starting a blog, now is the time to start! Instead of waiting around for the ‘perfect time’ to start, take action now and start creating content. There are hundreds of free resources to help you out!
Learn a new skill
If there’s anything you want to learn, you can. There are thousands of free resources to help you learn about art, design, painting, photography, language learning, building a brand, animation and so much more. My favourite place to learn new skills is on Skillshare – I’ve been using it to learn for over a year now (I’m a paying subscriber) and I couldn’t recommend it more! If you use my code to sign up for a free trial, you get 2 months for FREE, which gives you plenty of time to explore the classes on offer and decide what you want to learn and it also helps me out a LOT!
Watch a documentary series on Netflix or YouTube
Watching documentaries is one of my favourite ways to learn about many topics, especially those which can be quite dry to read about! Documentaries are a great way to showing true stories in a way that no other method can and you always walk away with new knowledge! Netflix is constantly adding new documentaries to their collection, ranging from sports to political documentaries. Some of the best ones I watched recently include Becoming, American Factory and Abstract: The Art of Design. For those of you that don’t have a Netflix subscription (or your free trial has expired), not to worry – there are hundreds of documentaries on YouTube too! I even discussed some of the documentaries on YouTube in my medical school interviews.
Declutter your room
Decluttering your items and removing anything that you no longer use can help you to take control of your time and space. I’ve found that decluttering gives more physical space, but also more space to think and I’m much less distracted. Being selective about which objects you keep means that those that stay are much more meaningful – there’s no point keeping a book you’re not interested in or a movie you don’t like anymore. It’s also a great way to save money and maybe even make you money too! Also, one of the biggest benefits for me is that it makes cleaning much easier!
Read a book
When was the last time you actually read a book? Since starting medical school, the only time I have a chance to read is during my summer holidays, even though I used to read ALL the time when I was younger because I absolutely love reading! Although controversial, I’ve found that getting a Kindle has been the biggest boost for me in terms of how much I read – not only is it extremely convenient to carry around with you everywhere, I also prefer the experience of reading on a Kindle over a physical book!
Learn a new language
Download Duolingo, or a similar app, and teach yourself a foreign language. Of course, this is a HUGE undertaking and can seem extremely daunting. Your goal doesn’t have to be to become fluent in your target language, but just the act of learning new vocabulary and listening to people speaking in another language be extremely beneficial. I am fortunate enough to have been brought up bilingual and moved around quite a bit, which has allowed me to pick up bits of other languages. I’ve managed to learn German to a fairly good level and now want to learn French (which I did up to IGCSE)! It’s a great challenge for anyone up to it, especially given how many free resources are available online nowadays!
The benefits of meditating are well known and the practice is regularly mentioned as a habit of many highly successful people. It’s recommended for coping with stress and anxiety, for better sleep and even to reduce pain. When I first heard of meditation, I found the idea of sitting still in complete silence and breathing with my eyes closed difficult to imaging. However, although I’ve never been consistent with meditation, it’s definitely something I have found useful and recommend!
If you’re following accounts on Instagram that are part of ‘studygram’ or the equivalent on Tumblr, you have probably come across brush lettering! The incredibly beautiful titles at the top of a page of notes may seem impossible to replicate, but it’s a skill you can learn like any other. I’ve started a few classes on Skillshare to learn the different techniques of brush lettering. YouTube can also help a lot!
Start a journal
I have been journalling in one way or another for as long as I can remember. I have journals filled with doodles about my day and short notes from when I was just three years old (yes, I was a strange child) and since then, I have filled countless notebooks. A few years ago, I bought a One Line A Day journal which gives you a space to write a few sentences each day about anything you like! It’s a great way to write down your experiences and thoughts without the need to write pages and pages. Journalling is a great way to identify your future goals and aims, as well as reflect back on the past. I have now switched to digital forms of journalling because it’s much more convenient for me since I travel quite a bit and I always want to have my journal with me!
This is one of my favourite ways to spend my free time when I’m home (I even have an art instagram account). Although this might not be strictly considered ‘productive’, taking time to work on your artistic side can be a calming and lead to more focused work later on. I absolutely love painting, drawing, sketching and I’ve recently picked up Illustration on Procreate (which I document on my art instagram @sketch.book). If you also have this creative itch inside of you, listen to it even if you’ve never considered yourself an artist!
Catch up on your sleep
Whenever I have a day without any concrete plans in the morning, I always give myself the time to catch up on my sleep. I don’t enjoy sleeping in per-se, but I don’t set an alarm and allow myself to sleep for as long as I need to. During term time at university, I am often extremely exhausted by the end of it and need a week or so of holidays to fully catch up on my sleep and feel less like a zombie. Sleep is so so important!
Set short-term and long-term goals
The act of sitting down and writing out your short- and long-term goals is the first step to achieving them. Thinking about where you see yourself in a month, a year, 10 years can help you to figure out what you should be doing day to day to work towards that goal! It’s also really important to review your goals regularly and change your approach if necessary. Many people wait for the new year to set goals, but I prefer to set new goals whenever I have accomplished those I set before or I no longer want to achieve that goal.
Teach yourself how to cook
I’ve never been a huge fan of cooking or baking, but it’s always been something I’ve wanted to get better at! Ever since going off to university, I’ve become more and more interested in finding new, simple recipes to try. You can order a new cookbook off Amazon or you can follow recipes online to boost your skills – there are even Skillshare classes teaching you how to develop your technical skills in the kitchen!
Send letters and cards to family
I love receiving handwritten letters and cards. Of course, writing a letter by hand and getting a stamp to mail the letter is a lot more effort than sending a quick email or text. However, given that we send letters so rarely, it makes it extra special to receive one. I’ve also found that letters are much nicer (and easier) to look back on than emails, which is great for people like me who love looking back on things years later!