As you may have noticed, we are once again in lockdown here in Melbourne – now for the third time and with more restrictions. There are still another four weeks ahead of us before we (hopefully) can move forward again.
In order to make good use of the time at home and not only to binge-watch Netflix, I have 15 ideas for you that are preventing you from getting bored. Regardless of whether you are currently still in lockdown or not, I hope that I can inspire you with my tips.
1) Learn a new language
Have you always wanted to learn a new language? For example French, Spanish or Italian? Or maybe even a more exotic language? Then now it’s definitely the perfect time to start. When else would you have so much free time and the peace and quietness to focus fully on learning?
There are numerous offers online to learn a language. For example, you can already find a large selection of different languages on YouTube, or you can log into a language app, such as Tandem. There you can network with another person for free and you teach each other your mother tongues.
Another option is the 50 Languages app, with which you have access to a comprehensive vocabulary, you learn the alphabet, numbers, hear the pronunciation and can test your progress in various tests or games. The app has so many great features, but it’s still for free. I’m currently learning Persian with the app (exotic, I know. My partner is Persian by birth) and I am very happy with it.
Sprachlernen24 is also a great website. Here, you’ll find countless languages, helpful tips for effective learning, audio trainer, flash card deck method, etc. . The course is very clear and you do not have to invest many hours a day to make noticeable progress. There is a free demo version that you can test for 48 hours and then you can buy a language package (it’s not a subscription!), which is affordable and your access remains active for 10 years. There is even a 30-day return policy if you don’t like the course at all.
If you don’t like the previous options, there is of course still the option of taking language lessons directly from a teacher. The lessons then simply take place via video call. This option would certainly be the most costly one, but also probably the most effective one with the biggest progress.
2) Read books
I loved reading at a very young age and at some point in adulthood it gradually faded away. Life somehow got in the way, who doesn’t know it.
This year, I got a long-awaited kindle for my birthday and since then I’ve been devouring my books again. I just love it, and it makes so much more sense than spending hours watching Netflix shows (which still happens every now and then to be honest …).
I read English books, but I also like to read German books from time to time. With eBooks, it became so easy to get those. Otherwise, it’s more difficult to find German books in Australia.
Grab your book which might have disappeared deep in your cupboard, put on a nice candle, make you a tea and then get cozy on your couch. This is the best way to spend a (rainy) Sunday arvo :-).
3) Declutter your closet
Make yourself a delicious drink, put on some nice music and then get on with the project of organising your closet! Now there are no more excuses to postpone it and you will feel so much better afterwards.
Depending on the status of your wardrobe, you should also declutter directly. This time, however, it’s best not to use the 6-month rule (which means tossing out everything you haven’t worn in the last six months, except clothing for special occasions). When life will return to normal after the lockdown, so you will need more than just lounge clothes, sweatpants and cozy socks ;-).
I haven’t had a proper overview of my wardrobe for a long time and then a few weeks ago, I was so motivated that I just tackled it. I bought boxes for organisation and knocked it into shape in a couple of hours. Now everything is easily accessible, sorted by color and it’s fun to open the closet in the morning again.
4) Sell old clothes
After you’ve cleaned out your closet, you probably have some clothes left that you want to get rid of. The first thing you could do is take nice photos of the clothes that are in wearable condition and then sell them online. Various platforms are available for this, which differ according to your location. In Germany e.g., there are ebay Kleinanzeigen or Kleiderkreisel. For Australia, Gumtree would be an option. What doesn’t find a new owner online can be neatly put aside and kept ready for a flea market or second-hand shop (Australian op shop) later.
Maybe the last time you did a puzzle you were a kid? Then it’s time again! Organise a nice motive and then use the lockdown. Puzzling is relaxing, you are present and it has a meditative effect. And to all perfectionists and people with a compulsive orderliness: It can be a good exercise to practice becoming more easy-going ;-).
6) Paint, draw, craft, sew, knit …
If handcraft is your thing and you enjoy creating, then start getting creative. Maybe you have done something in this field before, or you want to learn something new. Diy (do it yourself) has become more and more popular recently and knitting is back again anyways. On Youtube, there are instructions for almost everything and on Pinterest you can also find the right inspiration for almost everything. Some people took the opportunity and are now sewing face masks that are needed worldwide. Sometimes creativity can also pay off in the truest sense of the word ;-).
7) Organise your photos
I think most people feel addressed when it comes to overfilled photo albums on cell phones and chaotic folders on laptops, not to mention the analog pictures flying around. And I’m sure many of you will also say: at some point I’ll sit down and sort my photos. Now you have the time, the peace and quietness and hopefully the leisure to sort your pictures.
Delete unusable pictures, save your cell phone pictures (making a backup is always a good idea) on your laptop, sort them according to occasion and years/months, digitise analog pictures and finally stick them in an album. It’s so much more fun to look at organised pictures and albums and it motivates to do this more often. That’s the main purpose they exist ;-).
8) Clean up your e-mail inbox
Similar to point 7, some of you might feel addressed here, too. You sign up for a newsletter here and there, you end up being spammed with advertising emails, or you haven’t created a useful folder structure. Approach this topic once properly, organise your inbox and unsubscribe from newsletters that you no longer need. Then it should be it for the time being and you’ll no longer feel uncomfortable whenever you check your emails.
9) Try new recipes
If you ever wanted to improve your cooking skills or even expand your recipe repertoire, now is the ideal time to do so. Browse online, on Instagram, on various blogs or even on Pinterest and put together a collection for your test runs. Perhaps you’ve even set up a recipes board on Pinterest already, but you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to try them out.
With this idea you not only make yourself happy and at the end of the day, in the best case, you have a delicious meal on the table, but you also make your roommates / your family / your partner happy.
10) Listen to podcasts
Podcasts are a nice way to pass the time and, ideally, they can enrich your life or expand your knowledge. There are podcasts on so many topics, from news and science to personal development and business to crime fiction and reality talk.
Personally, I love listening to my podcast during my morning walk. That relaxes and motivates me and is a perfect start into the day.
11) Plan your next holiday destinations
It might sound like a contradictory in terms to think of great holidays and beautiful sandy beaches while you are stuck in lockdown at home. But it can also cheer you up and give you positive thoughts :-).
Make a list of your next holiday destinations. If necessary, plan a route, if the holiday allows it, and research for accommodations that meet your needs and budget.
When travelling will be possible again, you are perfectly prepared and only have to book according to your list.
One person likes it and has an open mind about it, the other person thinks it’s hocus-pocus. Meditation is anything but hocus-pocus and you are not floating above the earth (at least not physically ;-)). Many people meditate nowadays, even the most rational and unspiritual people.
Meditation helps you to ‘clear’ your mind, to organise your thoughts, to be in balance and to be present. Too often we are mentally either in the future or in the past, but too rarely in the here and now. And to be honest: actually only the present is important. Because nobody can change the past and you can worry about the future when it’s nearer the time. In addition, many find it difficult to just do nothing and deal with themselves.
The world is hectic enough, so it can’t hurt to take short breaks every now and then and to slow down. You are doing something good for yourself when you meditate and over a longer period of time, you will clearly feel the positive effects.
I could talk about meditation and its benefits so much more. It is so good that I would recommend everyone to try it out. There are many different meditation techniques, everyone has to find out for themselves which form is suitable. I am currently still using the Anapana technique (part of the Vipassana meditation) and would then like to move on to Vipassana.
You can simply try out the different types. You will also find numerous videos and guided meditations on YouTube, there are apps such as 7Mind or there are podcasts about that topic.
13) Do yoga
Similar to meditation, yoga is also good for body and soul and the two have a lot in common. Yoga also helps you to become more balanced, that your body and mind connect and that you slow down. You also improve your flexibility, you prevent back problems, you improve your sense of balance and you can even increase your muscle strength. To name just a few advantages.
There are also a lot of different forms of yoga, so that you can find the right technique for you. From slow and relaxing to demanding and exhausting and much more. Yoga is just a perfect sport to do at home.
In theory, you don’t have to spend any money on this either. There are so many great videos on Youtube. For example, I really enjoy using Mady Morrison’s videos.
14) Find gift ideas for your loved ones
It’s mostly like this: you know that a birthday or Christmas is coming up soon and you should slowly start thinking about a present and whoosh, the day is almost here and you are short in time and the ideas are missing.
To avoid this situation the next time, you can sit down now and collect a few gift ideas for everyone who regularly receives a gift from you and perhaps even get the present already or create it yourself. This will save you unnecessary stress and headaches later on and you can score with personal and loving gifts ;-).
15) Do something you always wanted to do
If you, like me, make lists of things that you would like to do at some point when you have more time, then, as I said, now would be the right time – provided you can do it from home and during a lockdown. I would say that all the free time we now have and spend at home will not necessarily come back ever again (apart from later retirement).
So make the best of it and do things that are good for you and that are fun. And if it feels right for you to just do nothing, that’s okay, too. Because this is also one of the most important lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic: Reflect on the simple things in life, appreciate them, slow down, relax and take things as they come. Having said this – stay healthy :-).
I hope that with my 15 ideas I have helped you to use the lockdown or your time, in general, more effective and that the boredom has stayed away. If you have any further suggestions for activities from home, please share them with me and other readers in the comments.
Have you read my last article? Here, I present my 17 personal facts about the metropolis Melbourne. Have a look if you like!