Recently, a friend was bored while recovering from surgery and asked me for ideas of what she could do. I am revisiting this list now to have ideas for our household in the coming weeks, when we will be limiting activities outside the house.
Go outside. Sunshine and exercise maintain body and soul. Watch sunrises and sunsets, look at the constellations, observe wildlife, identify birds, notice when the first flowers and insects of the season appear, have a family campfire. Walk, hike, bike, skate.
Do something with your hands and let your thoughts run. You’ll probably come up with lots of things you’d like to do with available time. (Make bread or a finely chopped salad. Knit or crochet. Bead. Whittle. Etc.)
Make lists – things to do with family or for yourself; places you want to go, whether near or far; tasks to do inside and outside the home; ideas for meals; books to read…
Look at family photos together.
Learn a new skill or hobby – or resume one that has fallen by the wayside. If trying something new, just get supplies for one project.
Refresh a skill that has long gone unused, such as the calculus learned in college. Or expand on a skill, such as learning a new programming or world language.
Play an instrument, or start learning a new one.
Journal. Write letters to friends. Write letters to family. Email is fine – but try communicating in complete sentences outside of texting!
Plan a vacation for the future – just plan, no commitments here. Plan where and what you’ll do and where you’ll stay. Half the fun is in the planning and looking ahead. (Mari had to do this two years ago for an economics class and still talks about it!)
Think about life goals, what you want to accomplish, how to prioritize. Choose one goal and really plan it (look up SMART goals).
Write elected officials in the state or federal legislature about topics that are important to you.
Organize closets and drawers, garage, basement, etc. Declutter: if there’s something in the house that doesn’t get used during a time like this, it may never get used.
Find some new music that you enjoy. Listen to it while doing chores.
Seed the vegetable garden as soon as the ground thaws – brassicas, lettuce, and spinach don’t mind the cold soil.
Write the story of your childhood for your kids. They might not appreciate it now, but they will love it when they are older. Collect stories from the other adults in your family, too.
Make photo books for yourself, or for your kids or friends.
If you make gifts for your loved ones, get a jump start on upcoming gifting events.
Clean and sharpen garden tools. For that matter, sharpen the kitchen knives, too.
Read a book. Read poetry. Read.
Complete the online Census form.
Learn to do something on the computer that’s generally useful, such as image or video editing.
Play a game, maybe one of those board games that never comes off the shelf because it takes too long.
Finish the taxes.
Get from the library some kids’ nonfiction books on topics that interest you – they are quick reads and you can learn a lot. Get a big stack of books, in general.
Walk, and walk some more. Walk meditatively at whatever pace you like. Notice all that you sense: sounds, smells, sights. Enjoy the birds – they are miraculous, truly.
Your turn! What are some of the things that you never have time for?