How to Keep from Going Stir Crazy During Shelter in Place

Jon Fesmire |

This is a tough time for everyone, and it’s not going to get easier any time soon. With the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, sweeping across the world, social distancing and sheltering in place are the new normal. We’ve noticed various reactions. Many introverts are adapting well, while extroverts are feeling cooped up. Honestly, though, this is hard for all of us. Even introverts like to be around other people sometimes, we just recharge better alone.

Here are some suggestions for enjoyable things to do while sheltering in place and staying safe. For specifics on how to protect yourself and others from the virus, visit the US Coronavirus website.

Pardon us if any of our suggestions seem obvious! If you read this list and discover one thing you hadn’t thought of that will help past the time, then we’ve done our job.

Learn a Language

Wow, we’re starting with a monumental task here! Yes, learning a language to fluency can take years. It’s a worthwhile endeavor for anyone, but we’re not suggesting you make that kind of commitment unless you want to. However, it looks like shelter-in-place is going to go for at least another month, more likely even longer. And in a month or two, you can learn enough of a foreign language to get by.

We suggest using DuoLingo, which is available online, for Android, and for Apple devices. This app is free and an excellent way to learn a foreign language. Imagine if thousands of people across the United States picked up conversational Spanish in the next few months, or if more Spanish speakers in the country took the time to improve their English. Oh yes, if you already speak a foreign language, you can use DuoLingo to refresh your skills.

Start an Exercise Routine

One thing about shelter in place is that it’s not quite a quarantine. You can still go out for certain things, but you need to be careful. Yes, we are allowed to get out and exercise. Just make absolutely sure you stay at least six feet away from anyone not in your own household. There are also lots of exercises you can do at home. Do a YouTube search for routines and tips.

Check Out Virtual Rides

It’s a weird feeling knowing that theme parks, like Disneyland and Universal Studios, are closed for the duration of this crisis. However, you can watch ride throughs of all sorts of rides on YouTube. You can even enjoy Rise of the Resistance, the new Disney Star Wars ride that few people got to enjoy before this pandemic hit. In time we’ll get to actually go on rides again, but for now, sit back with your phone or laptop and enjoy.

Do a Fun Activity with Your Kids or Housemates

If you live with others, this is when you can introduce family time, something that feels lost in American culture. Try an art night. Bake something yummy, bring out paper, watercolors, crayons, and colored pencils, and create something beautiful. Even if you don’t think your art is very good, that’s fine! Be expressive. Or, have a game night. Bring out those board games you have sitting on your shelves. If you like Dungeons and Dragons or other role-playing games, you can play those instead. Just have fun with those you live with.

Cook

It’s time to start eating more at home. Consider this a silver lining of sheltering in place. So many of us spend too much money eating out. During this pandemic, we still need to eat, so practice social distancing and the rest when you go grocery shopping, and enough food to last a week and a half or two weeks. Check online for recipes you’d like to try. Cooking is a fun experience for many, a great way to pass the time, and you get to enjoy the results soon after.

Dr. Jeffery VanWingen posted a video on YouTube titled PSA Safe Grocery Shopping in COVID-19 PANDEMIC. We highly recommend you watch this and follow his instructions for making sure your food, whether from the grocery store or a restaurant, is safe once you’ve brought it home.

Take a Class

You’d be surprised how many websites online let you take free, or paid classes. Sites like Coursera, edX, Kadenze, DataCamp, Khan Academy, and Masterclass will let you learn about just about any topic right at your computer. Now’s a great time to dive into a subject that’s always interested you.

Read Books

This one should be really obvious, but it is a great time to read. We’re willing to bet that many of you have a stack of books on a nightstand, or a backlog of books on your Kindle, that you’ve been wanting to read but haven’t gotten to. Well, now’s your chance to get through some of those!

If you noticed a lack of social activities outside those you live with, don’t worry. We’re writing a second article about how to spend time with others virtually during this period. Meanwhile, take good care of yourselves!