New Ideas & Activities To Stay Busy At Home

By Barbara Evangelista, Publisher January 6, 2021

OK, we've been at this for 10 months, and it's even more necessary now to stay home, hunker down, and ride out the Covid resurgence until things get better.  But we're all out of ideas.  We pretty much finished all of Netflix, and it's time to really think outside the box and try some new ideas to stay engaged and get through this winter.  

I love to read and my main passion is historical fiction.  I find it fascinating to read about people living in another era -- World War II, Regency England, Colonial America --- and imagine what daily life was like.  Since there were few labor-saving devices, most people worked very hard but they really got creative during recreational time because there was no technology to distract them.  People put on plays at home, read, learned musical instruments for the pleasure of it, painted and drew, rode their bikes (and horses), and made all kinds of home crafts.  What kinds of things would you have done if you were living in those simpler times?

Here are some new ideas to try this winter:

Virtual reality travel.  We all miss traveling so much but it's possible to visit many far-off destinations through the magic of VR.  If your kids have a VR headset, borrow it and try out some of the travel experiences.  Basic VR headsets are pretty cheap if you don't have one already.

Learn a language.  Have you always wanted to learn Italian to speak with your grandmother?  Or Japanese, for a future trip?  Now's your chance to begin learning.  Fun World Language Academy, based in Westford, offers online classes for adults and kids in the most popular languages like Spanish, French and German.  There are also quite a few apps, videos, online services and even DVD sets from the library for other languages. Learning a second language has proven benefits for your brain!

Online mystery games or escape rooms.  I haven't tried these but I hear they're fun!  There are even monthly subscription boxes, like Hunt a Killer, to really dive deep into an interactive mystery.

Video games.  My kids love video games, and I'm getting a little jealous of all the fun they're having!  They seem pretty addicting though so proceed with caution.

Stuff that you've been ignoring.  

  • Go through your digital photos and delete the bad ones.  Get a digital frame and upload photos; the kids will love seeing photos from years ago.
  • Got piles of coins or other collectibles getting dusty?  Make a commitment to sort and catalog them or decide it's time to let this hobby go.
  • Estate planning.  Yep, making your will and setting up guardianships is not a fun topic but it's absolutely necessary.  If you've been putting it off, do it now.

Learn a new creative skill.  Try knitting, photography, drawing, art, weaving, calligraphy.  What else are you interested in that you can do at home?  It's amazing how fun it can be just allowing yourself the time to truly get creative.

Reading.  My favorite.  Branch out from your usual genres and explore some books you haven't tried before.  Maybe science fiction, non-fiction, or history?

Earn an online certificate.  So many colleges are offering online education in a huge variety of fields.  Now's the time to take some courses and earn a certificate or degree that will help you when things are a bit more normal.

Walking.  Walking can be such a stress reliever. No need to push yourself with regards to distance and time.  Just get out every day, breathe the fresh air, and move.

Learn to cook or bake.  If you're frustrated with your cooking skills, now is a great time to learn.  The library has so many cookbooks, including good, basic "Learn to Cook" manuals.  You can browse library catalogs online, request the books, and then pick them up within a day or two.  We've enjoyed watching the British Baking Show -- who knew there were so many varieties of sponge cake?

Learn an instrument.  Have you always wanted to learn the guitar?  Now's your chance!  There are so many online resources for learning music.  Indian Hill Music in Littleton even has a Free Lesson Day on January 30 where you can try a new instrument for a free 30-minute lesson with a faculty member.

Meditate.  I'm not a regular practitioner of meditation but I do use it to help me fall asleep at night.  It has been incredibly helpful; instead of hours of insomnia every night, I'm now getting a good night's sleep almost every day.  I've read that regular meditation -- 2 or 3 times a day, just for 10-15 minutes -- can be life-changing in terms of focusing, stress reduction, and achieving goals.

Write.  This is a big and scary one.  Have you always thought you couldn't write but love to read?  Why not give it a try?  Set aside 15 minutes every day to write in a journal or even try writing fiction.  

I hope these ideas will help make a difficult time pass quickly and more pleasantly.  Better times to come soon.