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40 Things You Should Do for Yourself During Self-Quarantine

Instead of focusing on the (very long) list of what you can't do, here are some things you'll love doing.

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Woman sleeping in couch at homeLaylabird/Getty Images

Unexpected downtime

You hear the word “quarantine” and automatically hear the long list of things we’re not allowed to do these days. But perhaps you should think of all the opportunities this slower lifestyle offers. Instead of sitting around worrying about coronavirus or feeling lonely, use your downtime to learn new skills, pamper yourself, and reconnect with what makes you happy. Just remember: It’s called downtime for a reason. So, don’t see this list as pressure or guilt to be productive every single moment but simply some ideas of things to do to get you through this tough time with your sanity intact.

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Grandparent spending time with grandsonsupersizer/Getty Images

Connect with your quarantined ancestors

This is certainly not the first pandemic the world has had to deal with and chances are you have a great-great-grandparent who lived through the 1918 flu pandemic. Find out more about their story and how they survived it through pictures, journal entries, and historical records. You can also find out more about your personal ancestry, which dead celebrities you’re related to, which relative you look the most like, how closely you’re related to your spouse or friend, and much more.

Here’s how much you can spoil your grandchildren without ruining them!

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Close Up Of Peaceful Teenage Boy Meditating Sitting In Chair At HomeDaisy-Daisy/Getty Images

Actually meditate

Meditation is one of the best things you can do right now to relieve stress and improve your wellbeing. If you’re like the rest of us, you sit down, try to “quiet” your mind… and then say “Well, now what?” Download Aura, an app that walks you through meditation and mindfulness. It’s offering a free three-month subscription, which includes unlimited access to their expert-created mindfulness meditations, life coaching, inspiring stories, and music.

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Movie night in home theaterAleksandarNakic/Getty Images

Set up a home movie theatre

Movie theatres around the country are closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get your cinematic fix. At-home movie projectors have gotten a lot smaller and less expensive in recent years, allowing you to project a new release or family-friendly classic on any blank wall. Pop up some popcorn, set up the pillows, and enjoy the show!

Check out these hidden gems on Netflix Canada!

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Senior woman writing with pencil on open note book.Biserka Stojanovic/Getty Images

Write in a journal

Sitting at home binge watching Tiger King on Netflix may not feel like you’re doing much, but you’re actually living through a major historical event that people will learn and talk about for generations after this is all over. Writing a journal will help you not just preserve your memories but will also help you process your feelings about this time that manages to feel simultaneously terrifying and immensely boring. You could also consider making it a gratitude journal.

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Close up on woman's hands knittingLukaTDB/Getty Images

Knit a bad hair day beanie

Needle arts used to be a staple for passing the time while making something useful and pretty. You can learn to knit, cross-stitch, embroider, crochet, or tatt with a beginner kit!

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Multi-ethnic couple taking care of kitchen herbsPekic/Getty Images

Plant a container garden

Just because you have to stay indoors doesn’t mean you can’t get started on your spring gardening. Bring the outdoors in by sprouting seeds or planting a container garden. Bonus: You can use your fresh herbs in your amazing healthy dishes you’re learning to cook.

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Smiling university student studying at homedamircudic/Getty Images

Learn a new language

Want to know how to say, “quarantine stinks” in five other languages? Now is a great time to learn or practice a new language. Duolingo is an easy-to-use, totally free app that gives daily lessons in 35 different languages. You can pick a standard like English, Spanish, or Cantonese, or you can branch out with Navajo, Esperanto, and Klingon or High Valyrian (we’re not kidding).

Kick it off by learning these Spanish phrases everyone should know.

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Lifestyle Thai woman use eyelinerTuayai/Getty Images

Perfect your cat eye with liquid eyeliner

Drawing a smooth even cat eye with liquid eyeliner is some advanced makeup skills. Then, once you figure it out, you have to replicate it exactly on the other eye! Nobody has time for that on a busy morning rushing out the door for work—but now that you’re only commuting to your bedroom you have plenty of time to experiment.

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Side view of young woman having a bathYoungoldman/Getty Images

Take the best bath ever

Bath lovers rejoice: Self-quarantining is the perfect opportunity to take the long, luxurious bath of your dreams. You can even soak all day if you like! All you need is a good book, a favourite beverage, and some yummy-smelling bath products!

Pamper yourself more with these homemade facial masks.

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Woman preparing healthy food in the kitchenPoike/Getty Images

Fortify your immune system with green juice

Whipping up a produce-packed smoothie or a green juice may be too much work on a normal morning but what is normal anymore? These days it’s more important than ever to support your immune system and your waistline with plenty of fresh or frozen fruits and veggies.

Follow these other simple tips to improve your immune system.

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Do the little things that make each of you smilebernardbodo/Getty Images

Take a (virtual) world tour

Ever wanted to see the Alps up close? Hike Machu Picchu? Stroll through Barcelona? You can do all that without worrying about spreading disease through virtual tours—consider one of these virtual day trips you can now take online.

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water color palette for tie dye fabricyongyeezer/Getty Images

Upgrade an old shirt with tie-dyeing

Tie-dyeing isn’t just for kids or people who never outgrew the ’70s—it’s a versatile art form that is fun and easy to do. Upgrade a T-shirt, pair of leggings, baby onesie, hat or any other cotton item.

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Man practicing yoga indoors at living room doing Chair pose or UtkatasanaKoldunov/Getty Images

Stretch and strengthen with yoga

Do Yoga with Me is offering its high-definition yoga videos for free during the pandemic. They have classes ranging from stress-relieving breathing exercises to popular yoga poses to regular flows—no prior experience (or flexibility!) required. Your body will thank you for doing yoga!

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Artist enjoying painting with her british shorthair catZbynek Pospisil/Getty Images

Create some quarantine art

Channel your feelings by doing something creative. Painting is a great way to express yourself, learn a new skill, and help you see ordinary things (like everything in your house you’ve been staring at for weeks) in a whole new way.

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Woman speaks on the phone at home, she looking sadArtistGNDphotography/Getty Images

Talk to a therapist

Feeling stressed and anxious? Try teletherapy. You can arrange online sessions that allow you to video chat, call, or text with a therapist without ever leaving your house.

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Overhead Shot Looking Down On Woman At Home Lying On Sofa Painting Toe Nailsmonkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

Get your feet sandal-ready

Eventually, you’re going to be able to leave your house and when you do it will likely be warm enough for sandals. Keep your feet from looking like they were quarantined with a werewolf by doing a little prep work now. Use a foot soak to soften everything, push back your cuticles and trim your nails, paint your nails, pluck any rogue toe-hairs, and—this is the best part—buff the dead skin off your heels.

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Shower and menbee32/Getty Images

Do a hair mask (don’t cut bangs)

With salons being closed, people are being forced to learn to do their own manicures, hair trims, and even dye jobs. You might want to avoid the urge to cut new bangs, but one thing you can do risk-free is a hair mask.

Worried about thinning hair? Find out how to do scalp massage for hair growth.

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Young Woman Computer LearningRichLegg/Getty Images

Take a history class

So many interesting things to learn but so little time? No problem now. Edx offers free university courses—including from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and University of California, Berkley—in hundreds of subjects. Brush up on skills for your job or take a course in something purely for fun, like astronomy or history. You don’t get official credit for them but you get to keep all the knowledge you learn.

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cropped view of boyfriend and girlfriend with barefoot lying in bedLightFieldStudios/Getty Images

Try something new in the bedroom

Nothing relieves stress and adds some fun like some good sex and thanks to the quarantine you don’t have to resort to quickies to get your fix. Not to mention that sex can be great exercise! Use this time to try out new positions, role play, or toys. Although parents with children home may find this a little more challenging!

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Mature woman at homeEva-Katalin/Getty Images

Read a happy book

The antidote for all the doom and gloom news you’ve been reading lately? An ebook about happiness, success, self-help, or another positive subject. Sure, romance or sci-fi novels count too! Ebooks come in a wide variety of subjects, are instantly readable on a device, and are delivered 100 per cent germ-free making them the perfect activity for those staying in to avoid illness.

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Grandmother's hands close-up prepare homemade dough.Oksana Restenko/Getty Images

Learn to bake homemade bread

There is no smell better than fresh bread baking but it can feel daunting for beginner bakers who don’t know what “proofing yeast” even means, much less how to do it. Plus, who has the time to sit around rising, kneading, and then baking dough? You do, now! If you’re already a pro, take this opportunity to learn how to bake a new type of bread, like sourdough, and teach this skill to your child while you’re at it.

Don’t miss these grandma-approved cake-baking secrets!

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Woman writing in a journalUrbazon/Getty Images

Play some brain games

Keep your mind active and agile can be a challenge when you’re stuck in a quarantine. Thankfully there are plenty of fun and educational brain games to help you stay sharp. Lumosity is an app developed by neuroscientists with over 60 games designed specifically to boost cognition and memory. It’s available on Apple, Android or computer.

These brain games will help you get smarter during the quarantine.

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Young Asian man listening to music and relaxing in his officeAnchiy/Getty Images

Find a new favourite podcast

Podcasts—audio programs that you listen to through your phone—are one of the best ways to become smarter in your spare time. With subjects ranging from comedy to history to fictionalized drama, there’s something for everyone. You’ll be amazed at how fast time flies when you’re listening to a riveting story. Need a family-friendly option? Be sure to listen to these amazing history podcasts!

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Scandinavian Style Modern Home Office Interiorimaginima/Getty Images

Organize your home office

With so many people now suddenly working from home, it’s no surprise that home office arrangements for small spaces are in high demand. And you deserve better than your laptop on a sticky table with cords snaking around your feet! Start by setting apart a dedicated space to work (even if that’s on your couch), and then get productive with these working from home rules.

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Home cleaning conceptswattanaphob/Getty Images

Clean your windows

Because you’re constantly looking through them, not at them, you never realize how dirty your windows really are until you clean them. The world will suddenly start to look a lot less dreary and more hopeful if you scrub the dirt and grime off your glass.

Don’t miss these cleaning tips that actually work.

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Sweaty mature joggerRidofranz/Getty Images

Go for a walk or run

In most places, unless you are under a strict stay-indoors mandate, you are still allowed to go outside for exercise while still following self-quarantining rules. (Not in groups and while staying at least six feet away from others, of course.) This is something you should take advantage of daily as exercise and sunshine are two of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. Nature is one of the wonderful things that will never be cancelled!

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Young man using a laptopGeber86/Getty Images

Press the big red button

Exhausted all your options and can’t think of a single thing to do to pass the time? Go to Bored Button and, well, press the button. It will take you to one of thousands of decidedly not-boring sites, keeping you entertained for hours.

Read on for more ideas on what to do when your whole life gets cancelled.

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Child finishing jigsaw puzzle with parentsPhoto: Shutterstock

Finish a puzzle

Now is the perfect time to pull out an impossible-to-solve puzzle from that dusty spot in your closet. Or, try your quarantine team out on a new 1,000-piece challenge. If you can’t get your hands on a new puzzle–one Canadian retailer recently remarked that “puzzles are the new toilet paper”—there are plenty of free online puzzles to stump (and delight) you.

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Exterior of the Guggenheim Museum in New York CityPhoto: Felix Lipov/Shutterstock

Take a virtual museum tour

Explore Egyptian relics at the Louvre, the famous spiral staircase at the Guggenheim, and the masterpieces at the Van Gogh Museum—all from the comfort of your couch. Canada’s Aga Khan Museum is now offering immersive 3-D tours. And, thanks to Google’s Arts & Culture project, the ROM’s Blue Whale exhibit, as well as hundreds more around the world, can all be viewed crowd-free from your home.

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Woman watching a live show on her laptopPhoto: Shutterstock

Catch a free live show

Ottawa’s National Arts Centre launched Canada Performs as a way to showcase artists from across the country during self-isolation. Catch live shows day and night featuring musicians, authors, comedians, and more. You can also catch a laugh with free interactive improv performances from Second City. Or, The Play Thing offers live performances of Canadian plays. Encore!

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Four cards showing AcesPhoto: Shutterstock

Deal me in

Join your friends or family for a game of cards online. Choose from one of the many websites offering free group games, including euchre, hearts, bridge, and more. Bonus: with an algorithm shuffling the deck, it’s a whole lot harder for grandpa to cheat.

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Millennial male in his kitchen using his smartphonePhoto: Shutterstock

Make new friends

You don’t need to leave your house to make a new pal. A free app called Quarantine Chat is connecting thousands of strangers worldwide. Once you sign-up, you’ll get random calls throughout the day. Talk to your new friend about anything you like: your spring cleaning rituals, your new yeast starter, or your favourite binge-worthy show.

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Two female friends having a dance party in their homePhoto: Shutterstock

Dance the night away

Choose your favourite tunes and host an online dance party with your friends—or join one of the many group dances that have popped up. If you want to recreate a club atmosphere, check out Club Quarantine, a virtual club founded by a group of Canadians that’s since attracted thousands of virtual party-goers (including a few famous ones). But, be ready: just like a real dance club, this one’s best for adults only.

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Man sewing a button onto his collar shirtPhoto: Shutterstock

Learn how to fix your clothes

Now is the time to learn how to hem your own pants or try to darn a sock. Sure, you can watch a YouTube tutorial, but why not try following along to a Mend It tutorial from Canadian seamstress Emily Neill? Never lose a shirt button again.

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Rube Goldberg Machine in Google HeadquartersPhoto: KenSoftTH/Shutterstock

Invent something cool

You don’t have to be a genius to have fun making a Rube Goldberg Machine. The late American cartoonist was famous for devising amusingly complex devices to achieve an often simple task—like pouring a cup of coffee or washing your hair. Every year, his granddaughter challenges U.S. engineers to do the same. This time, the challenge has moved online and gone international. Your task: create a machine that drops a bar of soap into somebody’s hands.

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Humidifier in bedroomPhoto: Shutterstock

Fortify your home

Follow our home safety checklist to make your house the safest, healthiest and comfiest it can be. These 32 hacks will help you optimize your sleep, improve your house’s air quality, and keep it germ-free. Start in one room and make your way through.

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DIY barber tips - how to cut your own hairPhoto: Shutterstock

Cut your hair without making your stylist sad

A nice trim can help make you feel fresh. Go ahead and spruce-up your ’do yourself, but follow these easy tips to make sure you don’t ruin all your stylist’s hard work—or spend the rest of self-isolation wearing a hat.

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Assorted bandanas on wooden tablePhoto: Shutterstock

Make an easy no-sew face mask

If you plan on going outside, many public health officials are recommending wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth. This includes going to the grocery store or pharmacy, riding public transit or any other time you’re not able to maintain the recommended social distancing of at least two metres. If you don’t know how to sew, try our simple tutorial for a no-sew DIY face mask that can be made from common household materials.

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Homemade face mask - EggPhoto: Shutterstock

Make your own face mask—the other kind

Recreate the Zen-like experience of a proper spa pamper with an at-home face mask. Your newly glowing skin will thank-you. Try one of these easy facial mask recipes—that actually work!

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Chocolate browniesPhoto: Taste of Home

Make a simple cake

Make yourself and your quarantine buddies a delicious treat—plus get a feel-good boost from accomplishing something fun. If your cupboards are a little bare, try one of these simple recipes that can be made from ingredients you likely still have in your pantry.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest