Art Illustration by Joshua Cheng | THE CHIMES
Have you already binge watched your favorite show and reorganized your room countless times? For those looking to add some excitement to quarantine, look no further.
1. Bullet journaling
For students still in school via Canvas or online, bullet journaling is a fun, helpful way to stay organized under stress and in isolation.
What you’ll need: Micron pens, colored highlighters or metallic pens are good starting points for supplies. You can start with a notebook you already have, or you can try this Moleskin, or this Leuchtterm one.
Where to start: Bullet journaling is also a helpful way to log sleep, water intake, workout times and keep track of mood swings. Some hobbyists also use it to track a budget or recipes and grocery lists for upcoming weeks. Get creative with it!
2. Make a mug cake
What you’ll need: Anyone who has a mug and a microwave has what it takes to make a mug cake.
Where to start: Food Network has a great chocolate cake recipe, and “Tastes Better from Scratch” has a tasty vanilla cake recipe. Swirl in Nutella, sprinkles or chocolate chunks for some added flair. Or, simply top with some maple syrup or powdered sugar. Mug cakes are a fantastic addition to an evening binge-watching session or game night.
3. Do an online yoga class
What you’ll need: If you did not have the time or money to sink into a gym membership before, grab a mat and a laptop and challenge yourself to some online yoga classes.
Where to start: Though they lack the benefits of a physical teacher, good online instructors will often give pointers on form while they are leading watchers through a flow. Yoga with Tim instructs classes for all skill levels, and Popsugar has a fantastic 30-minute course for beginners that stretches and works every muscle for a good endorphin boost.
4. Find a new book to read
Every college student has heard the age-old excuse that with all the work and extracurriculars they are involved in, there is simply no time to read for pleasure. Now, there are no more excuses. Books can satisfy your longing for adventure while you are trapped inside the house, immersing you in a vast, imaginative world. Whether you crave excitement, knowledge or wisdom, the options are endless.
What you’ll need: Access to an online bookstore like Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Where to start: If you are having trouble deciding what to read, check out a site like What Should I Read Next, which allows users to enter in stories they love and offers suggestions based on their entries.
5. Watercolor painting
Put your right brain to good use and tap into those creative abilities with something simple like watercolor painting. Watercolor painting is an easy, relaxing activity that does not require you to be a professional artist. In addition, most people likely have the materials they need laying around the house somewhere. Having a creative outlet can be beneficial in times of stress.
What you’ll need: Watercolor paints, paintbrushes and material to paint on—either paper or a canvas.
Where to start: Have fun with colors and patterns, create something for yourself or personalize a gift for a friend. The possibilities are endless when it comes to art.
6. Write to a penpal
If you had a penpal to write to when you were little and have since lost touch, maybe it is time to reach out again. Even if you did not have a penpal when you were younger, this could be the perfect opportunity to reconnect with an old friend or a unique way to stay in touch with college friends. Another option is to get involved in a platform such as InterPals, which connects users with penpals from across the globe looking to learn new languages, get knowledge of other cultures or just have fun.
What you’ll need: Paper, pen, envelopes, laptop or computer.
Where to start: If you have a penpal you used to write to, connect with them through social media and ask them if they have the same address. You could either write letters to them, FaceTime or both.
7. Start a blog
During the semester, most students end up dedicating so much of their time strictly to work and school—buffing up resumés for internship application season or working on assignments from morning to evening—that they forget to enjoy hobbies. Starting a blog is a fun way to make sure you actively pursue your interests. For book lovers, consider reviewing your most recent reads and ranking them for readers. For photographers, consider making an online scrapbook of your favorite photos. Whether you are an artist or an athlete, blogging allows you to explore a creative outlet while enjoying a favorite pastime.
What you’ll need: A laptop or computer.
Where to start: Wix and Squarespace are easy-to-use resources to kickstart your blogging career.
8. Learn a new language
When exercising at the gym is not an option, exercise your brain instead. Learning a language includes many benefits—improved memory, better problem solving skills and an enhanced creative thinking capacity. In addition, learning a language leaves you with a hidden talent.
What you’ll need: A computer, laptop or smartphone.
Where to start: Duolingo makes language learning easy, offering more than 20 languages for users to learn through their website or smartphone app. If maintaining a routine is difficult for you, turn on notifications, and Duolingo will not let you miss a day.