30+ Things to do when stuck at home with a Pandemic Shelter-in-place


When any type of disaster strikes, it can be an opportunity for us as humans to grow individually and collectively. Usually time flies, but with the lock-down due to the pandemic, loss in personal-space and being around family time may go very slowly also. If you had a routine before, it is good to follow what you can off it. We still need a sense of being productive. Pick any task that you have not been able to get to, now is and ideal opportunity to address the “I don’t have time for it.” Besides doing routine work, we all need exercise and a creative outlet. There are several ideas below from gardening to cooking. We want to change the narrative  from “I am in prison” to “I am excited about this opportunity to grow and reflect”. By making small changes to our environment, anything from moving furniture around, to painting the inside walls a different color, to placing some potted plants, or changing the light bulb (to a different color) or turning it off, lighting a candle or incense can all make a small difference in the mood.

Photo by Phil Roeder available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license
Photo by Phil Roeder available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

There is so many Do’s and Don’ts we won’t repeat them here. Have sufficient supplies just as you would for a disaster like an earthquake, so you don’t need to visit stores frequently. Perishables have to be stocked every  one to two weeks. Others month to two months, but please don’t hoard.

It is a time for discipline, planning, as well as hope, inspiration, and reflection. It is a time we can practice being thoughtful, supportive, showing empathy and kindness to those around us. It is an opportunity to exercise patience, forgiveness, to seek inner-calm, to be creative. It is a time to reconnect with relatives, friends, and people who are in our contact lists and we rarely seem to have the time to meet or call them.

We live in a world where success is viewed through the unending growth of wealth and the markets. But behind that facade, there are the everyday heroes who work paycheck to paycheck, with no health insurance and other benefits that the rest of us take for granted. There are people in different hotspots of the world who have been locked down in their homes for months and years and the world has chosen to ignore them.

Whatever your belief, there is a higher power up there, and this is a watershed moment for for us all to lead simpler lives and protect the people and environment with whom we share this beautiful planet. So go ahead and take care of yourself, your loved ones, your community, and say a prayer for our brothers and sisters in humanity who are facing greater hardships than we are.

Below are ideas to engage ourselves in somewhat meaningful ways.

  1. Read or Write actual letters, journal, blog, poetry, short-story, novella, novel or create a scrapbook, digital photo book.
  2. Go through your contact list and call, text, folks you haven’t connected with in a while.
  3. Have a bake-off in the family and create new recipes. One rule is only to use ingredients already in the house.
  4. Have a gratitude round-robin, where every family member writes then reads things they are grateful for.
  5. Set up a periodic conference call with friends and catch-up. An easy way to do this is to use gotomeeting.com, Skype, Google or other software.
  6. Take turns picking themes and have movie marathons. They can be movies in your DVD Collection, on Netflix, or  YouTube. Pick ones eg that were nominated for the Oscars, or other Independent awards.
  7. Watch foreign language films or dramas to learn about other cultures.
  8. Turn on a movie or a soap-opera’s favorite scene, turn off the sound, and lip-sync your own funny dialogue.
  9. Read books you have been meaning to from your bookshelf or order them. Share your reflections, reviews, online and offline.
  10. Look at photo albums with family as well as those pics. you have stored online and never go back to review them.
  11. Meditate. This can be in any way that works for you, eyes closed or open, standing or sitting or lying down. Focus on your breath, body or senses, say a mantra.
  12. If you subscribe to magazines and have a collection of them, revisit, reread with a fresh eye.
  13. Pick a skill you have always wanted to develop eg painting, photography, cooking, (go to YouTube or other site, book) and work on it to take you to the next level, beginner, intermediate, advanced.
  14. Find board games you have put away and engage the family.
  15. Most of us have a closet full of clothes, but we probably only wear 20 percent of them. Do a fashion show with your spouse or family and have fun with music and doing the catwalk in the privacy of your home.
  16. Create a Podcast or just an audio recording of elders in your family whose history you want to record/preserve.
  17. Take an additional opportunity to donate to food banks to help families struggling to get meals or facing hardships due to the Corona virus
  18. Exercise. This can be doing Yoga at home, with an App you download, or just doing stretches, get a Ping-pong table and put it in the garage, or if the parks are not crowded going and playing tennis, basketball (not as a team but 1on1) or just taking a stroll.
  19. Watch documentaries and or short films on YouTube or Streaming service of choice. Further your knowledge about the world.
  20. Do some future planning. It could be a vacation, or something local, like museums, art galleries you want to visit when they open. Remember the joy of planning can sometimes be greater than the actual event.
  21. Browse through Pinterest, and create your own boards on a theme that you have an interest in.
  22. Goal setting. Reflect back on the past year(s) and write down your accomplishments, and what you want to do going forward.
  23. Do gardening. It’s spring time and an opportunity to seed new plants, trees. If you already have a garden tend to it. Give the trees your love, talk to them, it’s therapy.
  24. Pick a room and rearrange the furniture, just to give it a new feel. Order some Ikea furniture or spend hours on a frustrating DIY project you have been putting off.
  25. Get the family involved and do an indoor scavenger hunt.
  26. Make a home movie or write a book, where each family member picks a character and they each write a chapter, or do a monologue or act out a skit. Then read it aloud or watch it together. It’s fairly easy to edit on a Mac with iMove or on a PC with Moviemaker.
  27. Check in with neighbors and elderly in your community and make sure you are able to offer any help they need without being a health hazard to them.
  28. Sign up a free online class on Coursera or other site. It can be to learn anything you are curious or passionate about.
  29. It’s going to be a roller coaster rider with families emotions. There are times you will feel up and other times down. Unplug from 7 by 24 media and social media coverage of Coronavirus.  Do what you can and then leave it to God.
  30. Pray, make supplications, individually and as a family for you, your family, community, and humanity at large.

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