Overcoming “Stay Home” Boredom

As Covid-19 continues to be a clear and present danger across the globe, people have been asked to stay home unless absolutely necessary. Some state governments have even issued official “stay-at-home” orders over the last few weeks. During this time, it is very important that we continue to follow the advice of health care professionals and practice social distancing. On behalf of myself and my family, thank you for doing your part to help slow the spread of the virus by staying at home.

If you’ve been spending any time online during the past couple of weeks, you’ve probably seen some of the videos and tweets that people have been posting. Some have been creative and entertaining, others have been heartwarming, and an equal number have been heartbreaking. (I’ve been retweeting many of the videos that I’ve found uplifting, important, or just plain cute. If you’re interested, you can follow me on Twitter @UnapologBkworm.)

My IKEA shark, Brock Chumlow, doesn’t seem to be adapting well to isolation.

One of the most common complaints that I’ve been seeing online is that people are bored, and looking for enjoyable ways to pass the time indoors. Here are some of my ideas for how to overcome your “Stay Home” boredom, without breaking your budget.

1. Read

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a decent number of books in your home that have been part of your TBR list/pile/shelf/bookcases forever. This is the ideal time to read some of those books you’ve been telling yourself you’d eventually get to.

In the event that you don’t have a bunch of unread books lying around your house, you still have plenty of options that don’t require an expensive (and most-likely delayed) online order. Though local libraries are closed, it’s definitely worthwhile to check out your library’s website for instructions on how to borrow e-books. While I prefer to read a physical copy of books rather than a digital copy, I’ve used OverDrive (the app my library utilizes for e-books loans) several times while traveling, and I was impressed with my overall experience.

Some retail websites, such as Amazon, also offer a small number of free e-books, which can be downloaded and read on the Kindle app. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you also have the ability to download one free e-book per month (from a list of selected titles) as part of Amazon’s First Reads program.

Fanfiction websites are something you might also choose to check out during this time. If you’re not familiar with the concept of fanfiction, I would describe it as fiction created in response to previously published work (i.e. books, movies, television, anime, etc.) that expands on the story/world/characters created by the original author. I think it’s fairly well-known by now that I’m a total geek, so it won’t surprise you to learn that I frequently peruse fanfiction websites for new reading material, and I have read a wide variety of stories by some truly wonderful writers. If you do decide to check out any fanfiction websites, you should know that fanfiction is generally rated similarly to movies and video games, based on its content.

2. Learn Something New

I love learning new things! While you have the time to do so, you might consider learning something new, such as:

  • a new language
  • household skills
  • cooking or baking
  • sewing, knitting, or crocheting
  • drawing or painting
  • new music, if you play an instrument

If you’re finding yourself spending a lot of time in front of the television, especially if you use a streaming service (like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video), you might consider checking out some of the documentaries that are available. Many of them are very interesting, and I find that they actually hold my attention better than most “entertainment” programs, simply because I’m learning something. I enjoy nature and history programs the most. Some of my favorites include: Secrets of Great British Castles, Murder Maps, Mysteries at the Museum, and pretty much any nature program created by the BBC.

3. Play Games

Playing games is a great way to pass the time. Unfortunately, while there are some single-player board games available, many recent board and card games require more than one player. This isn’t a problem if you are isolating at home with your family (assuming none of you are ill), but it’s a little more difficult if you’re by yourself. Of course, there are ways around that problem that still allow you to stay socially distant. For example, you could play a game with a friend while Skyping.

There are also a significant number of phone-based games available for download on the App Store, many of which are free. Personally, I could play Mahjong for hours.

Dr. Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory, “The Codpiece Topology” (2008)

As far as video games are concerned, you don’t need to have a Nintendo Switch (or Switch Lite) and the newest edition of Animal Crossing to have fun gaming while you’re at home. If you currently own an older video game system, this is a great opportunity to take a trip down memory lane. Some of my personal favorites were Donkey Kong Country (one and two; Super NES), Waverace: Bluestorm and Super Smash Bros. Melee (Gamecube), and most of the Final Fantasy series (various Playstation consoles). And, for the record, Dance Dance Revolution and Just Dance definitely count as both entertainment and exercise.

4. Take A Virtual Field Trip

Even though we’re not leaving our homes, it is possible to take some virtual trips, thanks to the Internet. If you’re missing out on the opportunity to go to the zoo, the Cincinnati Zoo has been doing a Home Safari, which features a different animal each afternoon. Even if you’re not on Facebook at the time of the safari, you can still view the videos on the Cincinnati Zoo’s website.

If you’re usually more interested in visiting locations like theme parks and museums, YouTube is a great resource. Just type in “first person” along with the name of the theme park you wish you were visiting, such as Disney World or Universal Studios, and you will find videos of various theme park attractions. While it’s definitely not the same as actually being there, you can at least watch videos of many of your favorite rides while the parks are closed, and even experience some rides that are no longer in operation. Some museums, like the Sherlock Holmes museum in London, also have videos that allow you to visit their exhibits.

5. Tackle Your “To Do” List

If you’re anything like me, chances are you have a “to do” list that seems never-ending. While you stay at home, why not take the opportunity to cross a few things off your list?

If you’ve got a closet you need to clean out, now’s your chance. While you’re probably not going to be able to make any donations to services like Goodwill for a while, you can still get those clothing donations packed up and ready to go. If you happen to have empty plastic tubs, you can always store your donations out in the garage until they can be dropped off. (I don’t recommend storing things in the garage if they’re in cardboard boxes, however, as they can attract bugs.)

Your “to do” list might consist of things like cooking and cleaning, but it could also include some of the hobbies that you never seem to get around to during the work week. My own “to do” list is mostly made up of things like cleaning and writing, but I am also trying to make the effort to get in some physical activity when I feel like I’ve been sitting for too long.

Ultimately, whatever project(s) you decide to tackle, you’ll need to make sure that you have all of the necessary supplies beforehand. You don’t want to get partway through a project and suddenly find yourself without one of the items you need to complete it, especially since you don’t want to be going out right now.

I hope that these ideas will help to alleviate some of the boredom that you may be experiencing while you’re staying home. If you’re looking for book or movie recommendations during this time, be sure to check back during the week for reviews of a classic movie and a hilarious cozy mystery series.

Stay healthy!

3 thoughts on “Overcoming “Stay Home” Boredom

  1. For Amazon Prime members, in addition to the “First Reads” program, there is Prime Reading, which is essentially a library where you can borrow up to 10 e-books at a time. They don’t have a huge number of books, but there are lots of classics, and a fair number of fairly current releases, both fiction and nonfiction.

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