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  • Writer's pictureMaureen Pfaff

22 Things to do at home

Updated: May 3, 2020

Two weeks in c̶a̶p̶t̶i̶v̶i̶t̶y̶ quarantine, and I am going slightly insane. Yes, this is a travel blog, but I thought it might be a good idea to create a list of things we can all do whilst NOT travelling / staying home during this global pandemic. Below you can find my list divided into two categories. Improve something you are doing, or start something new.

Improve


1. Spring cleaning

Give your apartment a proper spring clean! Move the furniture, get the mop out and get into every corner. It’ll make you feel a lot better, especially seeing as we are spending so much more time in our limited spaces. Make sure the space you are in looks its best!


2. Declutter

I read a book by Marie Kondo called “The life changing magic of tidying up” and I honestly loved following her steps of decluttering my entire apartment. She teaches how to declutter by category (rather than by room or area) and it’s been the most effective decluttering of my life. If reading the book is too tedious, there's also a Netflix series called “Tidying up with Marie Kondo”, which includes episodes of people in different chapters of life and how they coped with decluttering.


3. Create a daily routine

Having a daily routine during this time is important. Routine is something that can give us a purpose and stability. You want to read more? Decide on a time during the day you want to reserve for that. You want to work out? Make sure to integrate it and do it during the same time every day! It takes 21 days to build a habit, so having to stay home is the perfect time to do this. Your working hours might have changed as well during this time, so adapt to the new routine and embrace it. Due to time zones and working with teams all over the world, my working hours have shifted and I now have more time in the morning, which I use for my daily workout. I have created a list of things that I want to do on a daily basis, and I literally tick them off each day. This includes things like: workouts, podcasts, documentaries, working on my blog etc. Make your own list and stick to it!


4. Get fit

Yes yes, the gyms are closed and this is essentially the easiest time to come up with excuses. Wrong and wrong. I understand that some people prefer working out with weights and gym equipment and I am one of them. However, during my time in East Timor and in the Maldives over the past few months I used other ways to stay fit. If you need weights you can use books or full bottles of water. Yes, you might have to do more repetitions, but trust me, you’ll still feel it! Another option is resistance bands, or body weight. Skipping ropes are another useful thing to have/buy during this time, and believe it or not I just bought a hula hoop. Finally, going for a run doesn’t require any equipment.


5. Catch up with all of your long distance friends

Remember, all of your friends are also stuck at home. No more excuses why you can’t catch up. Yes, the time zone might be difficult, but nobody has any plans in the evening, any classes or commitments. I have caught up more with friends abroad in the past few weeks than I have in a long time actually. You can easily use skype or Google hangouts for free (btw for your business: If you have the basic business subscription, you can use the premium version of google hangouts for free now).


6. Improve your general knowledge

You’ve always felt like you wanted to learn more about… well everything? Now is the time. Watch those videos from Kurzgesagt & LEMMiNO, choose some cool Ted talks, read through random Wikipedia pages and learn more about geography with an app like World Map Quiz.


7. Organise your life

Your inbox shows 26573 unread emails? Your taxes are overdue and you are not sure what is actually covered by your insurance? This is the time to go through these things and set yourself up for success in the future. Throw out that mountain of documents that is stacked up in a corner or collecting dust in the middle of the living room. Use Marie Kondo’s method to digitise your documents. Take photos of the important ones, put them into a folder, and get rid of the rest.


8. Organise your photos

This is a big one, at least for me. Starting to organise my photos was a huge task. I decided to use Google photos for this (make sure that you decide on the resolution you want Google photos to save them as, before you upload them). I now have all of my photos since I owned a camera in my Google photos and love seeing throwbacks from 15 years ago (well, not always actually!) But, given the search functionality of Google photos, it’s been so incredibly easy to find old photos, which drives my sisters insane, as I keep coming up with some extremely embarrassing photos...


9. Cook more (...for me: start to cook)

One thing you need to know about me is that I don’t cook. Never have. It’s just not something I have ever been interested in. However, I’m sure most people are somewhat into it, and will therefore keep it in the ‘Improve’ section. We decided that we would spend a bit more time cooking during this time and invested into a slow cooker. According to a friend this is still the “lazy option”, but it’s been amazing. One day cooking for 3 days eating? Count me in!


10. Catch up on sleep

Sleep is important, we all know it. This book about sleep is actually very high on my list. There are no excuses, no going out, no late night whatever. Just go to bed earlier and get your 8h of sleep every night. Your skin will look better, you’ll have more energy, and you will feel so much more refreshed! Maybe even invest into a sleeping mask. I can highly recommend the one by Manta sleep. Literally changed my sleeping pattern.


11. Invest into your hair/beauty routine

I know that some people might still have zoom/skype/hangout meetings, and don’t want to look like complete slobs. However, this time is great to dial down your makeup or don’t apply it at all. Use this as a vacation for your skin! Get some face masks and moisturiser, but leave it at that. If you have curly hair, check out the curly girl method.

 

Start new


12. Read a new book

Always wanted to read a particular book? Start now! Get a good reads account and create an “I want to read” list. Rate books you have read and get recommendations. Get a kindle and add all the books you’ve always wanted to read, and include them in your daily routine. I recently got the new Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and really love it.


13. Learn a new skill

Use this time to learn something new. It’s not necessary to pay for this, as there are enough free e-learnings out there on Khan Academy, YouTube, Skillshare (lots of influencers offer free trials for a couple of months). Include a daily session of these in your routine and you'll be learning new skills every day.


14. Start a new project

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Start a website, a new routine, or maybe a baking project? Now is the time! Sit down, roll up your sleeves and get going. That’s how I started this website, and it’s been a lot of fun going through old photos and trips in the past few weeks. Use a trello board to organise your thoughts.


15. Start a new netflix series

No matter if you are on Netflix, HBO, Apple TV, Amazon Prime or any of the other ones, start a new series you’ve always wanted to watch. I can highly recommend Ozark and just finished Season 3. Maybe even choose one that is educational, such as “Greatest Events of WWII in colour”. I honestly learnt more in this series than in any of my history classes at school. Other more educational shows I love include "Rotten", "Explained" and "Our Planet".


16. Start a new podcast

Want some you-time during the day? Start a new podcast! I’m on Pocket Casts and can highly recommend “The World” (news summary of what is going on worldwide), “Making Sense” by Sam Harris, “Tim Ferris Show” by Tim Ferris or if you want more of a story like podcast “Serial”, which had me hooked for weeks.


17. Learn a new language

Yes, this is an ambitious one! However, even if you do only 10min or half an hour every day, this will add up in no time. Use the free Duolingo app or create some flashcards on Cram and get going. Alternatively one of my favourites: Improve some of the languages you speak by watching a series/movie in another language or read news articles of a foreign newspaper. For French I can recommend Le Monde, for Spanish El Pais, and for German Der Spiegel or Die Zeit.


18. Support local restaurants

You love your local Thai place? Get take away/delivery from them to help them through these difficult times. If you are based in Singapore, join the group “Singapore Restaurant Rescue”, where daily local restaurants post their offers. The group has over 65K members in only a couple of weeks and has really taken off. Don’t order through the big chains, but support your favourite local restaurants, so they don’t have to pay the high commissions.


19. Donate to a company you care about

There are a lot of companies, especially charities and conservation companies that rely on donations and volunteers. Given that nobody can volunteer in person at the moment, if you have something to spare, consider giving it. E.g. the two conservation companies I worked with in January and February had to close down completely: MWSRP and Blue Ventures. There's also an instagram challenge happening at the moment where you run 5km, donate 5 GBP and nominate 5 people (this exists for different countries). If you are not able to give anything, you can always consider donating blood (Singapore). Lastly, if you are a business based in the US check out this website and see what reliefs you might be eligible for yourself.


20. Plan a trip

Plan or even book a trip now for when this is all over. Flights are flexible at the moment, as airlines are struggling, so there is no harm in booking future flights. If you are not willing to risk it then just planning the trip might feel great. You can use my trip plans or my trip plan template (shameless plug in here) and will at least come out of this with a plan.

21. Play a board game

If you live with someone this is easy once you’ve found the right game. I highly recommend dobble. I’ve been in stitches over this game so many times in the past few weeks, when my boyfriend and I were playing it during short breaks, or whilst waiting for a meeting to start even. On top of that it’s an easy game to play with just two people. If you live with more people, I would recommend 'Settlers of Catan' or 'Risk'.

22. Play online games with friends

I have to say that I was quite skeptical about playing games online, but with the app Houseparty it actually went extremely smoothly. I can recommend the heads up and draw something game in the app. We laughed A LOT! Best thing is if you have a pen to draw on your phone, but otherwise fingers will do too.


Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”
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