10 Things to Do During the COVID-19 Quarantine

Dani Milton
March 24, 2020

The roaring twenties has started with a bang thanks to this year’s virulent coronavirus pandemic. It has made 2020 feel surreal, tense and unexpected. America’s normally bustling streets have given way to silent ghost town worlds that mimic frightening scenes from last year’s science-fiction cult hit, A Quiet Place.

Most state governors have ordered citizens to shelter in place to avoid spreading the contagion, COVID-19, to their neighbors and helping to “flatten the curve” of transmission so that hospitals won’t become overwhelmed with new patients.

Most of us are stuck inside our homes and apartments with a lot of free time on our hands. But what should we do with that extra time?

Here are ten things you can do during the COVID-19 Quarantine. These activities will not only distract you from the constant pandemic headlines, they can help you relax and unwind inside your home while you wait for the COVID-19 storm to wane.

1. Find Your Favorite New Series While Binge-Watching

It’s understandable if you just need to get a quick break from the scary COVID-19 headlines. You can calm down by watching some fantastic television series on streaming platforms. Binge-watching shows are an excellent way to relieve stress, tension and anxiety.

Scientific American also claims that binge-watching has a hidden benefit of bringing couples in long distance relationships closer together. If you’re separated from your sweetie at this time, you can select a show you both want to watch and start it at the same time, while you’re on the phone. You can speak to one another about scenes you love or hate and predict plot twists together.

There are a few popular streaming services on HBO Now, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Hulu and CBS All Access. Some companies offer a one-month trial that allows you to watch episodes for free. There’s also the OnDemand option, and YouTube and IMDB have a few shows and movies you can watch for free (if you can deal with advertisements).

Read Alan Sepinwall’s Quarantine Binge Guide if you need some ideas about which series to start watching while in quarantine.

2. Start an ‘UltraLearning’ Project to Master a New Skill

Have you ever wanted to acquire a new skill, but always said you didn’t have time to learn it? Well, you do now. Channel your worries into something that can help you feel better. Learning something new is a great way to pass your time.

According to author Scott H. Young, Ultralearning is deep self-education that allows people to learn hard things in less time. He explains that the most effective method of learning anything is intensive practice while trying to form deep intuitions about the principals involved. He says it’s not a learning shortcut, but a foundation that enables you to learn any skill. Young used this method to learn cognitive science, a self-directed computer science course from MIT, and multiple languages.

Do you prefer to follow a teacher, rather than self-learning? You can sign up for several online courses to learn from mentors. Udemy and Skillshare have several affordable courses you can explore to help build up your skill set. You can also take a Master Class from celebs like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Martin Scorsese, Gordon Ramsey, Anna Wintour, Neil Gaiman, or Joyce Carol Oates. There are also some fabulous TED Talks where you can listen to wisdom from influential people for free.

3. Enjoy Virtual Tours of the World’s Finest Museums

Digital technology makes the impossible possible. You can now explore exceptional art galleries without spending a dime on tickets or compromising your health. If you love art and culture, you can tour famous facilities in New York City, Paris and Milan from the comfort of your own home.

These fantastic online tours will never replace seeing these masterpieces in person, but they’re still fun to take. Virtual tours are also a great way to introduce kids to artwork from master painters. Renowned museums, like The Louvre in Paris, offer free digital tours for patrons who can't see these exhibits in person. Other digital tours you can take include:

You can also boost your knowledge by reading essays about different artists and movements featured in your virtual tour at The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Select a period you want to explore and click.

Instead of relying on a device with a tiny screen, load up your virtual tour on your high-definition, large screen, SMART television to explore these works of art. You’ll need to download and install Adobe’s free Flash app for most tours.

4. Discover New Songs and Listen to Your Old Favorites

Sir Elton John once described the magnetism of music during an interview. “Music has a healing power,” he explained. “It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.” If you’re looking for a way to ease your troubles and escape for a few minutes, listen to some great music. A University of Sussex study found that listening to music reduces stress levels by 61 percent.

You can listen to songs from your favorite artists or discover ones you haven’t heard of before. Explore the back catalog of your favorite artists on AllMusic.com to find fantastic songs you may have missed. This site covers thousands of artists and styles, from classical music and jazz to country, hip hop and neo-soul. The site has a compendium of discographies, biographies and album ratings. You can even search the “Related” tab on each artist’s page to find musicians who have a similar style.

Do you prefer discovering new artists through streaming services? You can subscribe to popular ones like Apple Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify, TIDAL, Deezer or other apps. Are you adventurous and willing to take a chance on artists that don’t have heavy radio play? You can find them on Bandcamp Weekly’s Show or KCRW’s outstanding online playlist of artists. Singer David Byrne, from the Talking Heads fame, also posts playlists of music he currently listens to on his website.

5. Explore Outstanding Cooking Tutorials, ASMR Videos and Mukbangs on YouTube

Have you wanted to make a new recipe but convinced yourself that you didn’t have time to try it? You have the time now. Instead of fretting about what tomorrow could bring, you can watch some great cooking channels on YouTube.

There are chefs from all over the world who teach you how to prepare authentic recipes from different cultures, such as New York Times bestselling author Maangchi, which means “the hammer” in English. Critics call this adorable chef, “The Julia Childs of Korean cuisine.” Other enjoyable cooking channels to check out are Lisa Bryan’s Downshiftology and British vegan chef Rachel Ama.

Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) cooking videos are those that produce low-grade feelings of euphoria, positive feelings and relaxation to help you sleep. You can learn a recipe while listening to the relaxing sounds of the chef chopping vegetables, cutting fruit or pouring liquid broth. These sounds can soothe and relax. Honeykki, based in South Korea, is a fabulous ASMR channel to watch if you want to watch to settle down and watch a few soothing cooking videos. You may even learn a delicious recipe or two.

A mukbang is an eating show where a host eats food while sharing funny stories or anecdotes. These entertaining shows first became popular in South Korea. They are ideal for people who miss dining out, sharing jokes and dishing gossip with their friends. There are thousands of mukbang videos on YouTube. All you need to do is search for your favorites.

6. Read a Book

Picking up a good novel may be the best way to soothe your nerves in this pandemic. A University of Sussex study found reading calmed people down more than traditional methods like walking, drinking tea or listening to music. Your mind has to immerse itself within the book’s world, so it’s the perfect escape. Researchers found that reading reduces heart rates and stress levels.

Most libraries may be closed during the outbreak, but if you have a Kindle or iPad, you can still check out books if your local branch has a digital lending service. Like the local library, you’ll still need to wait for books when they become available. You can even purchase a subscription through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. They provide a large library of books you can read on your Kindle device (or another digital device with the free Kindle Reading App).

If you prefer a good-old-fashioned paperback book, you can search bestselling lists online to find your next novel from sites like the New York Times, USA Today, and other popular bestsellers lists. Some bestsellers, like Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere and Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, end up becoming limited television series or movies.

7. Learn Meditation to Ease Stress

If you need some peace of mind during this pandemic, you may want to try some meditation methods to help you calm down and restore your inner peace. In the past, meditation was used as a way to deepen understanding of the sacred. Today, scientists and physicians consider it as a beneficial way to produce a deep state of tranquility.

According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation has several benefits for emotional and physical well-being including:

  • Gaining new perspectives on stressful situations
  • Boosting self-awareness
  • Focusing on the present moment
  • Eliminating negative emotions
  • Expanding creativity and imagination
  • Increased patience and tolerance
  • Managing anxiety, depression, tension headaches, and sleep disturbances

You don’t need expensive equipment or courses to meditate. All you need is a nice chair or mat to meditate. A good meditation technique is to practice breath-counting. This ancient practice builds concentration and helps you center yourself through abdominal breathing and deep breaths. You can learn more about this technique by visiting this page.

8. Declutter

Use your time off to get reorganized and eliminate clutter that no longer serves a purpose in your life. Keep only the things that bring you joy. Simplifying your space can also help you to keep it organized and easier to clean. You can stream Marie Condo’s show, “Tidying Up”, on Netflix to get some ideas about purging and cleaning up your space. There are also shows on HGTV which may give you a few creative pointers to help you reorganize.

If you need ideas about how to organize your space, there are sites you can visit for guidance, like Apartment Therapy, Uncluttered, and Things Organized Neatly.

9. Create a Vision Board of Your Goals

Vision boards have become trendy in recent years because they are a fun way to clarify your dreams. They are a reminder to take daily action to make your goals happen. Additionally, these pictures also provide a mental target for your subconscious mind.

You can use poster board or discarded cardboard to create one.

Use photos and text from old magazines that remind you of your goal. You can also print pictures from the internet.

Do you want a new home or car? You can glue these pictures to the board. Do you want to lose weight or create better relationships? Select positive pictures that remind you of your goals. You can also use inspiring affirmations to build your self-confidence and belief that you can achieve them. Your vision board doesn’t have to look pretty or artistic, as long as it works for you.

If you want to keep your vision board secret, you can create a flip book vision board, placing pictures of your goals into a binder. You can even create a digital one using Pinterest.

10. Review Your Insurance Coverage

Most Americans are anxious because they don't know how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect their future. Although no one can control what happens next, it still pays to plan in case unforeseen problems take place.

During this time, take a few hours to review your insurance coverage. The good news is that many states are allowing people to buy Obamacare outside of the open enrollment period. Having a great insurance policy can provide some stability to your family. This coverage pays expenses for unexpected illnesses, like COVID-19, injuries and chronic conditions.

Here are some things to keep in mind while comparing coverage. Will they adequately pay for most expenses for yourself and loved ones if you get sick? How much out-of-pocket expenses will you be responsible for after insurance pays?

Also, take a few minutes to review your life insurance policy. Make sure you have enough coverage to support your family if something bad happens.

You can compare policies using SmartFinancial. We provide a simple, convenient way to compare insurance policies in your state that comply with the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Here are some benefits of shopping with SmartFinancial:

  • You only have to complete a simple, three-minute questionnaire.
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