12 Realistic Ways To Change Things Up If You’re Stuck At Home

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Is it just me, or has the past month felt like a long year? If you’re practicing social distancing and working from home, it’s easy to get stuck in a routine that can quickly become boring. Here are a handful of small and doable yet exciting ways to change things up a bit.


Try out a new hobby.

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Now is the perfect time to try getting into a new hobby you’ve been thinking about. Whether it’s writing poetry, watercoloring, running, puzzling, baking, or even knitting, pick an activity you’ve been thinking about and dive right in! Not sure where to start? Pull up a YouTube tutorial, which are available on just about every subject imagine-able.


Hone your bartending skills and experiment with new cocktails.

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One thing that’s been keeping me entertained during social distancing is cocktail-making. Each night I find a new cocktail recipe online using ingredients I have in my home bar, and I take a stab at making it. Start with something simple like a Negroni or spicy Margarita and work your way up to some more intensive recipes. You’ll be surprised how many delicious drinks you can make with just some basic ingredients and a cocktail shaker.


Make a dinner that’s totally out of your comfort zone.

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With most restaurants closed, now is a great time to experiment with new recipes that perhaps you never thought of making before. After all, cooking is a great way to keep yourself entertained. I’ve been choosing a new cuisine every night and cooking adventurous recipes like pasta from scratch, homemade chicken tikka masala and dan dan noodles that were once out of my comfort zone. These home-cooked meals have helped me strengthen my culinary skills, and they’ve also made eating at home much more fun and exciting.


Put on makeup or get dressed up.

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When you’re working from home, it’s easy to get stuck in a routine of wearing loungewear, throwing your hair into a messy bun, and avoiding makeup every day. And while that’s all well and good, you might be surprised to see how much better you feel mentally if you make a point to get dressed up or put on some makeup every once in a while. After about a month of no-makeup and wearing leggings and sports bras every day, I decided to put on some basic makeup one morning, and I instantly felt different. I found myself feeling more awake, focused, and productive for the rest of the day. I still won’t bother to put on makeup every day, but once in a while, it feels like a welcome change from my WFH routine.


Try a new online workout.

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While gyms and fitness classes might be closed, there’s been a huge surge in online workout classes. Even if you have no equipment whatsoever, you can find fun online classes that require nothing but your own bodyweight. Obe fitness offers a huge variety of home workouts, many of which can be completed in as little as ten minutes; There’s Melissa Wood Health, who will guide you through pilates, yoga, and full body workouts; the Peleton digital app offers core workouts, guided running, and so much more, and Solidcore has free Instagram workouts you can do literally wherever you are, regardless of how much space you have. Even if you have just 15 minutes to spare, trying a new workout is a great way to change up your daily routine, get your blood flowing, and benefit your physical and mental health.


Give yourself a spa-like facial, a manicure, or some sort of self-care you’ve been lacking.

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With salons and spas closed, it’s possible your self-care regimen looks very different right now than it usually does. But there are plenty of ways to practice self-care at home. I usually treat myself to a manicure once every few weeks, but with nail salons closed, I’ve resorted to doing my own manicures at home and now I set aside half an hour every week to cut, file, and paint my nails. Maybe your self-care routine involves restoring your skin with a facial or hydrating sheet mask, taking a long bubble bath, or applying a restorative hair mask every once in a while. Whatever makes you feel good, prioritize yourself and set aside the time to practice self-care, even if it’s just for10 minutes.


Take an online art tour of a museum anywhere in the world.

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OK, so you can’t quite travel to Paris right now, but you can take a virtual tour of an exhibit at the Musée d’Orsay or the Louvre. And while Amsterdam or London might be off the table for the time being, you can travel to the Rijksmuseum or the Tate by way of Google Arts and Culture. Take advantage of these virtual (and totally free!) museum tours while they’re available.


Test your green thumb and try gardening.

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Gardening is one activity you can get into no matter where you live, whether or not you have access to outdoor space. Even if you have just a few feet of kitchen space, try growing fresh herbs like basil, thyme, and mint in an aerogarden ($99.99). If you have more space — even if it’s just a balcony or a rooftop — try growing some low-maintenance potted plants like tomatoes, peppers, or pole beans. You never know if you may develop a new hobby, and best of all you’ll have fresh, home-grown herbs and produce to use in your cooking.


Take an online class in something you’ve been wanting to learn.

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Maybe you’ve been toying around with the idea of picking up a new language, learning about wine, honing your cooking skills, or dabbling in creative writing. Chances are, there’s a class for that! Coursera and Edx offer free classes from top universities around the country in subjects as diverse as computer science to writing to the science of happiness. There’s Duolingo and Babbel for learning a new language, Masterclass for anyone hoping to learn some new culinary skills, and Napa Valley Wine Academy for anyone hoping to learn a thing or two about the wines of the world. And those are just some starter ideas. Think about something you’ve been wanting to learn, and chances are you’ll be able to find an online course to achieve it.


Travel from the comfort of your couch with a virtual national parks tour.

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National Parks may be closed at the moment, but why not spend a few minutes traveling and seeing some of the country’s beautiful places from the comfort of your couch through the the National Parks Foundation’s virtual tours. You can explore the cerulean blue lakes of Glacier National Park, traverse the rocky terrain and flourishing marine life of Channel Islands National Park, or take a webcam tour of Yellowstone National Park’s active geysers.


Foster a dog!

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Maybe you’ve been contemplating getting a dog or perhaps you just want a little bit of company while you practice social distancing. Now is a perfect time to foster a pup. Fostering is a temporary commitment, so it’s a great way to test the waters and see if adopting a dog is a good choice for you, but it’s also a great way to help shelters and organizations that need volunteers to care for the animals. So, where do you start? Begin by looking on a database like the ASPCA or reach out to a local shelter or rescue organization to see if there are any fostering opportunities.


Treat yourself to a little something special.

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Just because you’re staying home and avoiding social situations doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yourself from time to time. It’s OK to self-indulge from time to time, and treating yourself to something special is a great way to boost your emotional wellbeing. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but give yourself a gift every once in a while, whether it’s a new delicious-smelling candle, a bottle of wine, a batch of cookies from your favorite delivery spot, or a new pair of leggings you’ve been eyeing, or a takeout meal from your go-to local restaurant. You deserve it!

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