Remember those rainy Saturdays when you were trapped inside your home with your siblings?
Whether you do, or you simply chose to erase those days from your memory, the current Novel Coronavirus pandemic has got Americans across the country reminiscing on those “Boring Days.”
From fighting with your brother over the best Legos to coloring until your hands hurt, being stuck in the house for a day seemed like an eternity… and now countless Americans are being told to quarantine indefinitely!
Because of this, we decided to ask these business owners, bloggers, and everyday people what their thoughts were for activities to do during the Coronavirus quarantine, besides binge watching Netflix series!
13 Coronavirus Quarantining Activities You Need!
1. Host a Happy Hour on Zoom
Have you heard about Zoom meetings over the past few weeks? It seems like everyone is using Zoom to communicate. Zoom Video Communications is a remote conferencing service that combines video, audio, and chat.
The great news is you don't need to be a business to use it, which makes it an excellent quarantine buster to stay in touch with family and friends for free.
The basic free Zoom plan offers unlimited one on one meetings and a 40-minute meeting with up to 100 people. That's a lot of family and friends. Zoom is relatively easy to you too, and novice users can get up and running in minutes after downloading the application.
Brian, a blogger at Debt Discipline, uses Zoom for his business, but his wife, needed a way to stay in touch with family.
“My wife had never used Zoom before, but after a quick download on her iPad and a few minute learning curve, she's hosted a Zoom party to touch base with her mom, dad, and sister. She now hosts a daily check-in with her family.”
There are plenty of cool features like a virtual whiteboard, screen sharing, virtual backgrounds, and more. A Zoom party can be a fun way to stay in touch with loved ones while keeping your distance.
2. Get Creative with Your Workouts
The gyms are closed. Fitness studios are closed. Luckily you can workout from home.
Fred from The Money Mix put it this way,
“We are grieving the closing of our gym. My wife and I do two to three yoga classes each week. The yoga room in our gym is as good as it gets. Fortunately, we have options available at home.”
For now, we’ve been using our exercise bike.
Though not a Peleton, it’s a very solid, reliable spin bike. We can get our heart rates up and a good sweat going. We also have a small set of free weights for strength training.
The next step for us is to get back into yoga at home. Though we won’t have the temperature and humidity-controlled room at the gym, we do have access to the same kinds of yoga we do there. YouTube has hundreds of videos on yoga. Plus, some of our favorite instructors from the gym are doing online classes.
I love how people are adapting to the change forced upon us. It gets us out of the box that is our routine. It forces us to find new ways of doing things. I won’t lie. The change has been tough. But like everyone else, we’re trying to embrace the change and stay as healthy, mentally and physically, as we can.
Josh Hastings from Money Life Wax added this food for thought when it comes to working out:
“Get creative, get on Instagram and look for some at home workouts and make your own stuff up.I follow a few people like Marcus Filly and take their ideas and make them my own.”
Additionally, Les Mills, known for his Body Pump Classes is currently offering free access to their videos! Downward Dog, a yoga app is offering an extended free trial until July!
Try HITT training at home:
- Pick 4-5 bodyweight exercises
- Complete them for either time (20 seconds) or reps (10-15)
- Proceed to the next exercise until all are complete. That is one round.
- Take a 30-60 second break and repeat 3-5 rounds
3. Use This Time to Take a Good Look at Your Budget!
Is taking a look at your budget the most fun thing you can do when stuck at home?
Of course not!
Though, it is a productive thing to do, after you get tired of binge watching shows and ordering takeout, of course.
For me, all budgeting work starts with measuring net worth.
Net worth is like your financial pulse, and is a good metric to use to understand where you stand today. It will also inform how much you should save and invest in the future, which is a crucial part of looking at your budget.
After you know your net worth, looking at your budget involves three things:
- Finding your total income (after-taxes)
- Totaling your expenses (wants and needs)
- Understanding your savings rate
Step 1 should be easy enough, but steps 2 and 3 are where you will get the most value.
Totaling your expenses often illuminates areas where you could cut back. Sometimes it is a monthly subscription you don’t use often, other times it’s realizing how much you actually order out. Regardless, it’s good to understand how you are spending your hard-earned cash.
Understanding your savings rate will show if you are on track for retirement. If you are saving 10% or more, you’re likely in a good spot. If you want to save more, you either have to increase your income or decrease expenses!
If you want to learn more about budgeting, you can take a look at my budgeting guide here.
4. Listen to Podcasts
Podcasts have exploded in popularity over the past decade and for good reason. If you’re looking to be entertained, learn something new, or be inspired, all you need is a smartphone and some earbuds!
Nathan from Millionaire Dojo says:
“I listen to a wide variety of podcasts that cover all sorts of different subjects and it has made me a better person over the past few years. I’ve learned a ton about handling personal finance, and if it wasn’t for listening to a podcast, I wouldn’t know most of the things I’ve learned to build my eBay business. I no longer dread commuting or having idle time because I get to listen to more podcasts!
If I need a mood boost, I can listen to a comedy podcast and have had countless laughs listening to some of the funniest people on the planet. Podcasts can be as powerful as reading books. I find it awesome that I can listen to university professors discuss complex topics while cutting the grass! I’ve gained so much knowledge listening podcasts and to me, it’s like obtaining a superpower.”
5. Learn A New Recipe!
With all the hoarding and craziness going on during this pandemic, finding your favorite ingredients can be difficult. Most of us either eat the same things at home or have our favorite restaurants we visit on a regular basis. Needless to say, most of our routines have been turned upside down.
Since we are now required to live a bit differently, it’s the perfect time to look through our cupboards and create something delicious with all those food items we have been avoiding. You may be surprised to find out how many tasty meals you can make with the ingredients you already have!
The internet is full of recipes and cooking apps you can access for free that may be the perfect fit for your leftover ingredients. Using what you already have will not only help your monthly budget calculations, but it will help you start saving more money without having to do something crazy, like donate plasma.
I recently stumbled across an excellent website that will design recipes for you based on the ingredients you have at home. The website Super Cook allows you to put your ingredients into their database, and the program will tell you all the different things you can make with what you have on hand.
Use this time to see what meals you can make for the family without having to expose yourself to the coronavirus anymore than you have to.
6. Update Your Resume and Apply For Jobs
The unemployment rate is skyrocketing as businesses are temporarily and permanently shutting down in response to the coronavirus.
Whether you’ve been laid off, let go, are about to graduate, or are simply unimpressed with how your employer is handling things, now is the perfect time to update your resume and start applying for jobs.
Employment Service Specialist and personal finance blogger Amanda Kay of My Life, I Guess says:
“Although we are still in the midst of things, you shouldn’t wait until it’s over to start your job search. The competition is going to be incredibly steep. You need to start now and give yourself every advantage you possibly can.”
Many employment agencies and career centers are still open and are offering services online, including updating your resume, exploring your education and training options, and connecting you with companies that are currently hiring or are proactively planning for their future hiring needs. Yes, there are certain industries and types of jobs that are still hiring, such as:
- Health care
- Shipping and delivery
- Food, grocery, restaurants
- Communications and technology
- Online education
- Crisis management and mental health
- Cleaning and janitorial
- Anything that can be done remotely
There are numerous resources available online too that can help ensure your cover letter and resume are polished, clearly demonstrates how you meet the job qualifications and helps you stand out amongst the other applicants.
Now is also a great time to practice those interview skills, reconnect with people in your network, and learn new skills that will make you a stronger candidate.
The important thing is that you do something now that will benefit your future.
7. Get Down on Some Video Games
With social distancing in full swing, it would seem like social media would be the perfect solution to increase intention while we are all quarantined. However, it seems any more our social media feeds are dominated by politics, depressing news, and runaway rampant speculation.
Did you know 5g caused coronavirus??? Yeah, I didn't realize it either until I went on Twitter.
If you are looking for a fun way to unplug from traditional social media while meeting some cool new people, consider picking up a free massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). You don't need to be an avid gamer to enjoy these games.
Many MMORPGs are simple to pick and start playing. You don't even need a gaming PC or the latest video game console. If you have a smartphone, Android device, or Ipad, you can jump into the exciting world of MMOs.
Just be careful not to take it to seriously and avoid the urge to spend real-life money on these games. Most free to play games offer in-app purchases. However, if you really have your heart set on spending some money to level up your character, if you use an Android device, you can earn free Google Play, and there are several ways to pick up free Steam codes.
If you are looking so some human interaction and can't stand the politics and drama of traditional social media, blowing vehicles up in a massive online apocalyptic deathmatch might prove to be cathartic. (and a lot of fun)
8. Watch Tiger King on Netflix
Seriously, it’s bizarre, but Tiger King is truly riveting.
While we may have recommended NOT binge-watching Netflix as a preferred activity during the quarantine, Tiger King is worth the binge.
Exotic Joe and his rag-tag group of co-characters make for laughs, eyebrow raises and quite a bit of suspense. But the big cat zoo keeping culture is quite unique, and wildly entertaining.
It’s true Netflix can be a complete time waster at times, but it’s certainly OK to watch a few hours here and there.
The only thing you will find yourself questioning is not your time watching Tiger King, but the parents who let their kids go that close to… not tigers, but those zoo keepers!
9. (Finally) Read a Few Books
If you’re looking for a low key thing to do at home consider picking up a book and reading. Reading is a great way to destress, learn something new and connect with others.
Here are a few ways on how to read daily and make it fun for you and your family:
1- Reading allows you to use your imagination and escape reality, so to speak, for a short period of time. It can really help you relieve stress and unwind, especially if you do this before bed.
2 – If you pick nonfiction or autobiographies, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about a new topic or gain insight into someone else’s life and story, which can be very motivating and inspiring.
3 – Reading can be done alone or with your kids. If you’re able to involve your family, you can spark their interest with story time, or even encourage your kids to write short stories of their own and read them aloud to the family!
If you’re reading on your own you can join forces with your friends and family by forming a virtual book club. Make a pact to touch base once a week to discuss what you’ve read so far. It’s a great way to learn and will motivate you to stick with it.
4 – There are tons of books out there that have been made into movies, you can challenge yourself to read the book first and then watch the movie and compare!
5 – Find a book series that you’ve heard about or have wanted to read and get started! See how long it takes you to get through it. You can do this with a friend or family member as well and see who finishes first!
10. Start Good Habits
If you now find yourself working from home amidst the pandemic, it can be difficult to make adjustments. Whether you’re quarantined with your spouse or homeschooling your kids, it’s a lot to handle.
You may be struggling to find your new “normal” and come up with a daily routine. However, it’s essential (now more than ever) to establish good habits to keep your mind and body healthy.
Sam, personal finance expert and co-owner of How To FIRE, says that “It’s essential to start good habits now and carry them through when the pandemic is over. Make the most of this time and use it to reach for your goals.”
Here are a few good habits that you can work into you and/or your family’s lifestyle.
- Meditation: When life gets stressful, it’s important to take care of your mental health. Instead of scrolling through all the news about the pandemic constantly, take some time out of your day to meditate. Apps like Headspace and Calm are a good place to start with decreasing stress.
- Exercise: Physical health is important, too. We’re all quarantining right now and not being as active as we should. Make a point of exercising, whether that involves a quick workout on YouTube or practicing social distancing while outside for a walk.
- Have Fun: If you’re sick of Netflix, pull out a board game to play or start a new hobby that can become part of your weekly routine. It’s a healthy habit to get away from all the tv and computer screens.
- Make a Habit of Learning: Try listening to a podcast or reading a few blog articles online. Learning about the FIRE Movement is a way to jumpstart your financial future. You’re bound to learn something new, and that’s a great habit to implement to keep your brain moving!
- Lower Your Expenses: Keeping your expenses low is a great habit to start. It might even be easier right now since we’re all practicing social distancing and quarantining! Learn how to budget your expenses and stick to it. Cutting from your grocery, entertainment and subscription expenses is a great way to start.
- Increase Your Income: If you’ve been dreaming of starting a side hustle or new business, now’s the time to incorporate it into your schedule. Make it a habit to spend a targeted amount of hours each week on increasing your income. So many companies are hiring right now, or you could take advantage of making money online. Either way, the extra income will help you moving forward.
11. Start a Blog
Everyone has something to say about the Coronavirus pandemic.
Now might be the time to finally start that blog you have always wanted to start. You can take the route of hobby-level blogging and slowly grow it to a viable business option (see #12 below).
While the topics are endless to blog about, it’s important to keep in mind a few tips if you decide to fill your quarantining time with blogging:
- Blogging takes time to learn
- Blogging can be fun and stressful at the same time
- You can finally talk about all the things you wanted to
- You can start a viable business
- People will read your blog, just nail down a niche!
12. Finally Start That Business
If you’ve been dreaming of starting your own business or side hustle, now might be the perfect time to try it!
It may seem counterintuitive to get a new business off the ground while so many small businesses are struggling, but by getting prepared now with minimal cost, you are setting yourself up for success when the country gets back to work.
If you’ve struggled in the past to turn your idea into a reality because of a lack of time, use this newfound opportunity to take action. Whether you’ve wanted to start an online freelancing side hustle, such as learning how to become a bookkeeper from home, or create a full-time local business, set up a plan now so you are ready for the economic recovery.
One way to take action and avoid analysis paralysis is to set small, achievable goals instead of focusing on the huge end goal. Some examples include:
- Read a book or take a course to educate yourself on your idea
- Set up a website for your business
- Make a goal to reach out to 5 potential clients per day
And if you’ve always wanted to start a business but are short on ideas, there are many opportunities available to start right now with huge demand such as:
- Grocery delivery with services such as Instacart
- Freelance writing (demand for up-to-date news is at record levels!)
- Driving for Uber or Lyft
- Lawn mowing, house cleaning, and other local services for those who are homebound or otherwise need help
Don’t waste your extra free time while you’re stuck at home. This may be your best opportunity yet to finally implement your unique business idea!
13. Increase Your Financial Literacy
A common excuse when trying to teach yourself about personal finance is, “I just don’t have the time!” While there may be some truth in there, I think people generally underestimate themselves, plus you have to want to make time.
But now that social distancing and “shelter in place” is being enforced in more areas, everyone has plenty of time to become financially literate!
This is the perfect opportunity to start learning, figure out how to relieve financial stress, and manage your money more effectively.
While you still may have work or a family to manage, now is the time to tackle some financial activities that will benefit you know (and later).
Here’s some steps you can take:
- Review your expenses and income.
- Start reading personal finance books to understand everything from basics of investing, retirement, debt management, and more.
- Binge listen to some money podcasts to learn and hear other viewpoints.
- Start setting various financial goals for yourself.
- Test out various money saving apps and software that can help your finances.
Even if you still only can squeeze in an hour or so a day, you’ll be impressed with how much knowledge you’ll gain and how your mindset shifts.
Just a week ago we published an article helping readers learn about effective ways to make money during a pandemic.
As time has unfolded, there are certainly lots of unknowns as it pertains to not just our economy, but the health of Americans as we all deal with this pandemic.
That is why in addition to the activities we recommend above, it’s best to also keep the following in consideration:
- We are all in this together, so let’s all do our part to conserve and practice social distancing
- Support medical staff and personnel
- Keep in mind that everyone has an older loved one, so see how you can help
- Use this time to share how much you care about your family and friends
And last but not least, as hard as it may be, remember to stay positive during these times!
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $300,000 in student loans with his wife in less than five years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, being outside, traveling, and helping others with their finances! I got serious with money when I used Personal Capital to track my finances.