If you're staring at your screen all day while working from home, here are some activities that don't need screen time to take up time

By Andrea Wurzburger
March 16, 2020 03:14 PM
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Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are being asked to work from home, schools have been canceled, restaurants closed except for delivery and major events canceled. With the CDC calling for Americans to practice social-distancing and limiting our interactions with others, the urge to hang out in your house and binge-watch every show you’ve missed in the last decade is high.

While there’s nothing wrong with spending some quality time with your television (we’ve even put together a list of what you should be watching), here are 10 other activities that you could do that don’t involve sitting on your couch all day.

First of All, Practice Some Self-Care

The world is a little crazy right now. If you’re feeling pressure to fill all of your free time, don’t! Instead, take a breath, relax and work on making your self-care game strong. That doesn’t mean just putting on a face mask and taking a bath — although, please do that if it is what makes you feel good — it means taking a break from the Internet, meditating, baking or even scheduling an online therapy appointment.

Create Your Own Board Game

Sure, you could play Monopoly or Scrabble, but creating a whole new game for you and whoever is in your household is not just fun, it also gives you a chance to bond with each other over a set of rules that only you guys know and understand. Think “True American” from New Girl or “Cones of Dunshire” from Parks and Recreation.

Or, if you want to keep it nice and simple, a deck of cards can provide hours of entertainment for the whole family. Kids will love one with a fun design, like fine art photographer Gray Malin’s animal-themed playing card set.

Courtesy Gray Malin

“We have been spending a lot of time with the kids, which is a luxury we are not taking for granted. As we are staying at home, there has been a lot of pool time, reading lots of books, doing arts and crafts, and when the kids go to sleep my husband and I play cards or do a puzzle,” says Malin. The photographer has a new children’s book, A World of Opposites, coming out and is offering free shipping and framing on all prints — along with a complimentary beach puzzle with purchase — this month: “It’s now more important than ever to support small business.”

Order a Bunch of Puzzles or Do Some Crosswords

Looking for a solitary activity? If puzzles are your jam, get started on one that you can come back to while taking breaks while working from home. Doing a physical puzzle has the added benefits of giving you a sense of accomplishment and keeping you off of your phone all day.

Wanna go digital? The New York Times Crossword Puzzle app has archives to pick from that will not only pass the time, but keep your brain sharp.

Put Together an Indoor Scavenger Hunt

Have roommates, kids, a significant other or are staying with family? Don’t want to rip each other apart playing Monopoly? Come up with a fun scavenger hunt, break up into teams and have some fun. Want to make it even harder? The floor is lava!

Take Up a New Hobby

Now’s the time to learn a skill you’ve never had time for before. Don’t feel pressured to write the next great American novel, just do things that will make you happy and take up some time. Pick up the ukulele you bought in college and actually learn a few chords! Take up knitting so that, if you do decide to do some binge-watching, your hands are busy. Bob Ross videos are super soothing and actually can help you become a master at painting ‘happy little clouds.’

Try an At-Home Workout

Social distancing means that many of us are going to have to say “so long” to group fitness classes or visits to the gym. Your physical and mental health go hand-in-hand, so make sure that you’re getting a bit of activity in. Online yoga classes are an awesome way to move your body and get your mind right!

YouTube has plenty of quick, effective workouts that you can try, or you could try programs like FitOn (the app is donating up to $1 million to Baby2Baby amid the coronavirus pandemic), Peak Physique, Tone It Up or Openfit.

“You don’t need an entire gym to get a good workout at home. Choose a workout or program that requires minimal to no equipment as well as little space,” says Peak Physique creator Dempsey Marks, who is offering 20 percent off her 12-week program (that’s only $39 total!). “Pump yourself up with some of your favorite music and get your sweat on! Always remember to warm up and cool down to reduce your risk of injury.”

Become the Next Marie Kondo

Again, Netflix can play in the background for this one, but spend some time cleaning out your closet, cabinets, fridge or “the drawer.” You know that drawer that has old take-out menus, pens that don’t work and 15 half-used lip balms? Take the time to declutter your space and you’ll feel less anxiety about it later.

Start a Virtual Book Club

Organize a book club with your friends from afar! Read a book in your free time and set up video calls with the group to discuss. Don’t forget to have wine nearby — and don’t forget the gossip!

Learn a New Language

Travel to foreign countries may be restricted for some time, so learning about different cultures may help with that wanderlust. It doesn’t take hours a day to learn a new language! You can make it happen with an app like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone.

Make Some TikToks

If you weren’t on board with TikTok, it’s time to learn to be on board. Making videos on the app gives you a chance to get creative, work on some jokes and get in some physical activity by learning the endless number of TikTok dances. Even Courteney Cox is doing it!

Stay safe (and sane) everybody!