AUS: 1300 630 488    NZ: 0800 1477 6287

7 ways to keep busy when you can’t go outside

Australians have now been self-isolating for over a month, and it’s fair to say many of us are starting to feel a little antsy.

Routines have been thrown out of whack, visits with family and friends are barred, and time spent outdoors is limited to walks and the odd trip to the shops for essentials.

Restlessness in the face of such restrictions is only natural, but there are loads of activities you can do to pass the time.

If you’re feeling high on boredom and low on inspiration, here are seven ideas for ways to pass the time and ensure these months spent in quarantine don’t drive you up the wall.

1. Pick up a book (or several)

Let’s start with one of the simplest pleasures of all: the pleasure of a good book. Some of us are regular readers, others enjoy the occasional novel, and others still may never find the time. Well, we certainly have the time now.

If you don’t have anything at home to read and are wary of heading out during this crisis, take advantage of online options. You can have books delivered – traditional bookstores like Dymocks or Angus & Robertson offer delivery services, as do online bookstores like Booktopia.

Amazon is also a good option, and if you have a Kindle Reader (or even an iPad or tablet with the Kindle app) you can use Amazon to purchase “eBooks” – digital versions of many books.

2. Start streaming

Ever feel like no matter how many channels you flick through, there’s just nothing on TV? Yep, us too. Luckily, there are far more options than traditional TV these days. If you haven’t already set up a streaming service like Netflix at home, now is the perfect time. These services let you choose from thousands of TV shows and movies direct from your Smart TV.

Netflix is the most famous – many modern Smart TVs even come with remote controls that feature a Netflix button, so it’s simply a case of signing up online, tapping the Netflix button on your remote, and entering your username and password to get started.

Other streaming services like Stan and Amazon Prime offer their own selections and feature many titles that Netflix doesn’t offer. If you don’t have a Smart TV, you can also access these services through your computer or iPad by downloading the app.

3. Solve some puzzles

If you’re looking for something to keep your brain active during self-isolation, you can’t go past a good puzzle. Head down to your local newsagent and grab a book of crosswords, find-a-words or sudokus; or, if you don’t want to leave the house, the online book services mentioned above (Dymocks, Amazon, etc.) all offer puzzle books delivered straight to your door.

Or perhaps jigsaw puzzles are more your style? For delivery options, try websites like Jigsaws Delivered or Puzzle Palace, though you should be aware that a high demand is making delivery times longer than normal at present.

4. Do some DIY

The sausage sandwiches might be on hold for now, but Bunnings and other hardware stores are still open, which means you can grab everything you need for a DIY home project.

Whether it’s general gardening, decluttering, painting, landscaping, or just odd jobs around the house that have slipped through the cracks thanks to our busy, non-coronavirus lifestyles – now is a handy time to, well, be handy.

5. Practise mindfulness

Mindfulness – a mental state focused on being fully present in the moment to decrease stress and sadness and increase focus and happiness – was already gaining popularity before coronavirus, and it’s arguably even more relevant now.

While mindfulness isn’t for everyone, it can certainly be life-changing for some, particularly those feeling stressed, depressed or anxious.

For a simple introduction to mindfulness, try downloading the Headspace app to your phone or tablet – it’s used by over 60 million people worldwide, and can take as little as a couple of minutes per day.

6. Get cooking

If self-isolation has shown us anything, it’s that our lives become more centred around certain essentials in times of crisis – and what’s more essential than eating? All over Australia, people have been using their time in quarantine to get creative in the kitchen as we find ourselves with more time to experiment with food.

A quick Google search (just type “recipes”!) will reveal almost endless options, but some of the more popular websites include Epicurious, and Jamie Oliver. Or if you prefer a hard copy of your recipe book, the bookstores mentioned above are, once again, able to deliver to your door.

7. Explore your artistic side

If you’re more the artistic type, now is the perfect time to create something you can be proud of. Paint or sketch a view you can see from your window, start a scrapbook, or focus on knitting or crocheting – there’s nothing like a finished piece of art to show the tangible results of downtime well spent.

And if you’re more interested in consuming art than creating art, did you know that museums and art galleries around the world have responded to lockdowns by placing many of their collections online? Head to Google Arts & Culture for a full list of collections from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to the Museum of Modern Art in New York – and thousands more.