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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we‘ve been strongly encouraged to stay home wherever possible and self-isolate. Many of us will not have been used to spending this much time indoors. It may have been nice at first, having so much extra free time. More Netflix to binge, right? But there is a point where the Netflix logo sound becomes as triggering as your alarm clock. So if you feel you’re close to losing your sanity, here’s a list of fun things to do in isolation. 

1- Make a playlist (or several) 

Spotify has some great playlists, but we still tend to find our thumbs hovering over the skip button. Make your own ultimate playlist and never skip a song again! Take it further by making playlists according to mood, occasion, decade, genre or theme. Already got your playlists sorted? Make one for that special someone. Choose songs that remind you of them and the two of you together. You can also make playlists in collaboration with friends. Try the 30 Day Song Challenge together, where each day everyone adds a song to the playlist in response to that day’s prompt. 

Image by Loryn Brantz at BuzzFeed

2- Pick up some books 

Reading is something a lot of us tend to not find time for, but we all know the magic of getting stuck in a good book. I may be biased, but I always find I can get a lot more invested in books than movies or TV series. Plus, they usually take up more time. Not sure what to read? Have a Google of must-read books or books similar to those you’ve read before and loved. If reading’s not your thing, give audio books a go. See what books the Grok team recommends.  

3- Listen to podcasts 

Podcasts can truly transport you to another world with their storytelling, capturing your attention to the point where you can’t focus on anything else. Or they can feed your interests and you can relate to the people on them. With everything from true crime to conversations about pop culture, there’s a podcast out there for everyone. You can find them on podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts and Overcast. 

4- Cook up a storm 

Get creative with your meals, not just dinner but breakfast and lunch too. Try new recipes and ingredients. It doesn’t have to be complicated; there are plenty of easy recipes out there that use common ingredients but still deliver tasty dishes. Baking is especially good at lifting your mood and something you can really get creative with, substituting ingredients of your choice and putting your own personal twist on the decorating. For recipes, I recommend the Tasty app and taste.com.au. 

Image by ogenc at memedroid

5- Hang out virtually with friends 

Self-isolation doesn’t mean completely cutting yourself off from the outside world. Instead of getting a cup of coffee together at a cafe, you and your friends can make your own hot drinks at home and chat over a video call. If you want to add something to your video chats, get an app like House Party where you can play games together on your devices during the call. For movie nights, download the Netflix Party extension so you’re completely in sync and can chat while watching movies and TV series. You can also download games that allow you to play with friends from afar, like Psych!Mario Kart TourUNO, Scrabble Go and Sky: Children of the Light.  

6- Create a scrapbook 

Scrapbooking is a nice creative outlet when you’ve got plenty of time on your hands. You can focus on creating one scrapbook or make multiple for different occasions in your life. Scrapbooks make beautiful personalised gifts too, so you could consider creating one for a close friend’s birthday, your partner on your anniversary or an elder relative with memories of your extended family. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the idea, there are heaps of great online resources on how to scrapbook. 

Image from ParadiseFibers

7- Knit or crochet a blanket 

As we’re nearing winter, a good skill to pick up is knitting or crocheting. Again, thanks to the beauty of the internet, there are plenty of resources online on how to begin knitting or crocheting. You’ll want to start simple and your first piece may not be perfect, but if you stick with it, I’m sure you’ll come to create some pretty impressive useable or wearable items! From scarves and beanies to blankets and even toys, there are so many things out there to craft. You might like to create something for a friend too.  

8- Flex your brain 

While the brain isn’t technically a muscle, there are numerous fun ways you can strengthen it. Try and solve some puzzles, whether that be brain teasers or jigsaw puzzles. There are also puzzle video games, from classics like Tetris to more involved games like the Portal series. Don’t forget riddles! Some other popular puzzles include the classic logic puzzle Sudoku and crosswords, which are word puzzles. 

Image from Imageflip

9- Host a quiz night 

You and your friends may be used to movie and game nights at home together, but have you ever hosted your own quiz nights? Make it a regular thing over video call and take turns being the quiz master. The quiz master gets to come up with categories like finish the song lyric, emoji movies and Disney movie title synonyms. If you want to go with a pub quiz vibe, make your own drinks to have while you‘re answering questions. 

10- Create a vision board 

While the coronavirus is keeping us from doing some things for now, it won’t keep us from doing things forever. What we can do with extra time inside is think of what we want to achieve once the pandemic is over. You may even find being restricted in what you can do offers greater clarity of your values and goals. With this insight, it’s a great time to create a vision board. Display your values and goals in a way that motivates you to achieve them, and have fun with it! Head to Pinterest for inspiration.