Amid precautions with Covid-19 like social distancing and self-quarantining, there is fear of feeling isolated and lonely, getting bored, going “stir crazy”, and simply just feeling like you’re running out of things to do. Luckily, we’ve complied a list of ideas you can do to keep yourself busy and cope with being separated from friends and family for these next few weeks! And even if you aren’t interested in doing anything that’s listed, hopefully it sparks some ideas of your own!

1. Try out a new recipe with the ingredients you have at home! There’s an awesome website and app called SuperCook that gives you recipe ideas with what you already have in your pantry or fridge. If you’re more confident in the kitchen, you can look through what you have and try to brainstorm. To go along with this, start a recipe book! Write down favorite recipes and homemade recipes.

2. Get ahead of the curve with spring cleaning! Doing a deep clean of your home can make it feel more relaxing, and it’ll keep you busy. We all have those messy closets or notorious junk drawers where we just throw everything in and this would be the time to organize it! Along with deep cleaning, you can reorganize rooms in your house like your living room or bedroom. When you’re stuck in the house for a while, shifting around furniture can make things feel a little more new.

3. Organize your bookshelf by author, genre, or by color.

4. Do some self-care. Take a bath, apply a face mask, or paint your nails. If you don’t have any self-care products, some are very easy to make. You can make a salt or sugar scrub at home by adding a healthy oil (like coconut or olive oil) to salt or sugar. You can put some tea bags in a bath and make a tea bath too.

5. Take this time to call some friends and family if you already haven’t. Even better, do some letter writing! Writing letters to people is an intimate experience and allows you to be in the moment about what you’re writing and who you’re writing it to.

6. Learn how to meditate. Create a little meditation corner and start a daily routine. There’s lots of free meditation videos, both guided and instrumental, on YouTube and even more meditation apps on phones like Calm and Aura which you can find in your app store.

7. Journal everyday and practice mindfulness. Write about how you feel that day, what you’re thinking, and what you did—anything honestly! Journaling is extremely therapeutic and is a good habit to start developing. Being able to look back on old journals is nice because you get to see how you’ve grown over time and reminisce on old memories.

8. If you have an instrument packed away somewhere, pick it up and start learning again.

9. Learn a language! Kirkwood Public Library provides access to Mango which gives lesson plans for whatever language you want to learn. Just visit our website and sign up with your library card information! The best way to learn a language and actually memorize and comprehend the material is to take lots of notes every day. And once you feel comfortable enough, changing the default language of your computer and phone forces you to interact with the words on a daily basis and strengthens those pathways in your brain.

10. If you’re at home with family or friends, bust out those dusty board games and start playing! Make it fun by preparing some snacks or having a playlist while playing. We all know games like Monopoly can be an all-night endeavor!

11. Marathon some TV shows or movies! You can even call a family member or friend who is far away and watch a movie or TV show with each other at the same time. Try exploring the Library’s collections on Kanopy and Hoopla and find something new! Just be aware that these have residency limits, so if you live outside of Kirkwood you’ll have to check with your home library.

12. If you have kids at home (or honestly, even if you’re an adult) build a blanket fort! Be creative, bust out some chairs and all those sheets and blankets. Being in a blanket fort with snacks will make those TV show or movie marathons all that more fun! Indulging in your inner kid and having some fun will help reduce the stress you may be feeling right now.

13. Play some video games, or learn how to play video games!

14. Be artsy and do some crafts like making a vision board, scrapbooking, or learning how to knit, crochet, embroider, or sew.

15. If you’re a fan of sci-fi and/or fantasy, you can learn how to play Dungeons & Dragons with your family or a group of friends—if you want to play with family or friends outside your home, you can play online by using a popular voice and text chat app called Discord. There is a plethora of how-to videos on YouTube, like Critical Role’s D&D Handbook Helper series, and plenty of material to read for free on the internet in general and at D&D Beyond. Playing Dungeons & Dragons is an immersive experience that allows you to bond with the people you’re playing with. It can seem complicated at first, but it’s well worth the time put into it!

It’s important to try and stay positive during this scary time and give yourself some healthy distractions. Be in contact with people, talk about what you’re feeling, and remember that we are all in this together. There’s many ways to connect with others through phones or the internet. Hopefully this list gives you some ideas on what to do while staying at home to help protect ourselves and other people. Feel free to leave a comment below of what you’re doing to stay busy. Remember to keep checking the library’s website and social media for interactive content and updates on when we can see you again!

Mariah Pugliese is a Reference Librarian at the Kirkwood Public Library. When not at the library, she enjoys reading and writing sci-fi/fantasy and taking care of her 25+ houseplants who are all named after fictional characters in literature.