By now, the coronavirus epidemic likely has you planted at home for the foreseeable future.
City leaders quickly squashed rumors of New York City being quarantined, but other places around the world have already taken action into stopping the spread of the infection.
In Italy, the country’s prime minister put 60 million people under strict regulations to combat COVID-19 by closing schools, instilling a curfew for bars and restaurants, and cancelling public gatherings.
Schools and businesses have started to shutter shop in the US, and with people opting to stay safe and avoid public events, you’re likely looking for something to keep you occupied until there’s a better grasp of the coronavirus outbreak.
Until then, it might the ideal time to tackle a new hobby (or continuing binging on Netflix) while you’re staying indoors.
Here are a few suggestions on how to keep yourself busy during the coronavirus epidemic:
Netflix and chill
With workers being shuffled out of the office and into their homes, it might be the best time to catch up on some TV shows you’ve missed in the past year.
Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are starting points for keeping yourself entertained while being holed up in your apartment or house for however long.
While your boss probably wouldn’t condone watching something during a remote working day, there are surprising benefits to watching TV while working. Working in complete silence isn’t the answer to being more productive, according to research, and one recent study found that having a person talking in the background of your TV can actually encourage creativity as opposed to talking to face-to-face with someone in person.
Otherwise, fit in some viewing time on your lunch break or during the hours when you’d normally be commuting to and from work.
By now, you’ve probably run to the supermarket or local bodega to see shelves cleared of toilet paper and other necessities. Some have said this is because of “retail therapy” as a way of coping and taking control in a situation when there’s no control.
With more time on your hands, it could be a good time to close the Seamless app and think about preparing something in your home.
Research has shown there are both financial and nutritional benefits to cooking at home. Cooking can also be therapeutic because it tests creativity, which can make people feeling more relaxed and happier, according to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.
“Cooking is a great destresser because it serves as a creative outlet,” Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress, told Light Workers.
“And while stress can numb your senses, cooking activates them. It’s a sensory experience with aroma, taste, touch, visual delight and even sizzling sound.”
However, being safe while you cook is important. Make sure you wash your hands and read more tips from Los Angeles Times cooking editor Genevieve Ko.
Make something, or read
Have you ever had the itch to pick up a new hobby? Turns out, taking up a hobby improves mental health and wellbeing.
Crocheting or knitting could be a good place to start. Both are independent activities that can be done inside your home or on-the-go — and there are surprising health benefits, too.
Both crocheting and knitting can reduce anxiety and make people feel less stressed and happy, according to research. The crafts also exercise physical and cognitive skills that can lower blood pressure and bring a similar zen-like experience that someone can get from yoga or jogging.
Other crafts like painting and pottery could also be options.
Reading a book is also an option. The benefits of reading speak for itself and finding a new book (or any book) can help you escape to another world beyond the four walls of your living room.
This article was written by Kyle Schnitzer and originally published by The Ladders.