Lots of TC writers are sharing stories these days that lead our counselors to make suggestions for “not being so bored” and staying occupied. Depending on your situation you may be feeling irritated, isolated, lonely and/or anxious. Distracting yourself with hobbies and activities can help when you feel anxious. Finding different and interesting things to do with your day can really make a difference when you are dealing with challenging emotions.
When it comes right down to it, I know some of you are sleeping most of the day. Some of you are not eating at all and others are chowing down on the cereal for at least two out of three meals. While some of you deal with sadness that just won’t go away, others are ready to blow the roof off of the apartment building if people don’t leave you alone!
We all go a little stir crazy some days. Whether it has to do with “social distancing” or “winter blues” here are some ideas to keep your mind (and body) entertained and the anxiety away:
1. Make a schedule for yourself (and post it)
Classrooms may be closed but one way to keep up with the assignments online is to stick with a schedule. This includes taking breaks and getting “off-screen” as well. Posting a schedule helps keep you accountable for your daily activities.
2. Take up Baking
Try new recipes, cookies, cakes, brownies or even a pain au chocolat. These can be great lessons in measuring, ingredients, and of course… who doesn’t love chocolate?
3. Film some TikTok Videos
Lip-sync, dance, be a film maker all in one app. This is the perfect time to choreograph and film. Also, you can get your family involved; make your parents act silly. All the celebs are doing it. Dance party in the living room!
4. Write a letter
Break out the good old pen and paper! And yes, there are still things called stamps, and they are only 55 cents! I’m not talking about an email, this is good old fashioned “snail mail”. You will most definitely brighten someone’s day; a family member, best friend, or someone who lives far away. We call it “Happy Mail”.
5. E-visit the Louvre
I know, I know, don’t roll your eyes… it could be fun. Imagine being transported to the most romantic city of Paris, France. You can take a digital tour of one of the most famous museums in the world. Visit www.louvre.fr for a virtual tour. Plus you can tell all your friends you’ve seen the Mona Lisa.
6. Re-Arrange your bedroom
You need a change of scenery. Move things around so you can more easily see (the floor) – no really – out the window, if you have one. Make sure you’re getting some light into the room. If you live in a basement get some color into the room.
7. Grab a deck of cards
Spades, Spoons, Speed… or just the good old fashioned Rummy, War, Go Fish or Uno. Don’t be afraid to grab some jelly beans or M&Ms and play some Texas Hold’em for keeps. You can always work on your poker face.
8.Go through your closet
Do you really need all of that stuff? Do you even know what’s in there? Brave the beast. You’ll be so happy you did.
9. Listen to podcasts
You can put them on while you’re taking a walk or doing chores around the house. They are so easy and informative. If you want to up your podcast game, try some TedTalks on topics you are interested in. They are just long enough to keep your attention. And let’s be honest, you were never going to read the whole article anyway.
10. FaceTime your loved ones
Whether its facetime or zoom, it’s a way to stay connected with family and friends. And perfect for “social distancing”. Just chatting with family members and besties can give you the socialization you have been craving during these times. No one cares if your hair isn’t done.
11. Help someone in the house
Someone in the house needs help. Probably right now. Go find out who, and see what they need. If you’re alone and everyone else is out working, try texting them and see if there’s anything you can do to help before they get home.
12. Put a puzzle together
If you don’t have an actual puzzle laying around, guess what? There’s an app for that. Of course everyone loves a good old fashioned puzzle party, but there are tons of free apps where you can pick your picture and your difficulty. Not everyone is ready for grandma’s 1000 piece puzzle.
13. Paint an old piece of furniture with insanely bright colors
I know you have paints lying around somewhere. And just for fun – add some glitter.
14. Learn another language
Pouvez-vous imaginer? Can you imagine chatting with your friends in a different language? Listen to some audio recordings of other languages and repeat. You’ll pick it up in no time.
15. Go for a walk
Guess what? It costs nothing! Gotta get your steps in.
16. Photo a Day
Take a selfie everyday (or you doing something). This can be like a COVID-19 photo diary. You can look back on these to show everyone how you made it through social distancing.
Speaking of diaries… writing down your thoughts is the old school way to pass the time. Plus- who knew if helps keep you focused and relaxed. You can write about anything; goals you want to accomplish, the crush you had in 6th grade, your sister’s lame boyfriend, how you are feeling, etc. Writing your thoughts on paper helps relieve any of those anxious feelings you may be having.
18. Build your own pizzas
Who wants pineapple on their pizza? Said no one ever… Check out the fridge, whatever you have laying around in the vegetable drawer, put on your pizza! It can be “make your own pizza” night at your house. Way better than delivery.
19. Watch the beluga whales at the Georgia Aquarium
Pick a whale, name them, and then check out what they are up to everyday. There’s a beluga whale webcam set up at the Georgia Aquarium. You can witness these awesome creatures swimming around anytime day or night. The Cincinnati Zoo also does a live stream of the animals every day at 3pm on FaceBook live. Check it out.
20. Write an “opinion piece”
So, this may seem like school work, but it doesn’t have to be. Watch a movie, or a really good show, and then write an opinion about it. What did you think? Did the main character fulfill all of your expectations? In your opinion, what could have been better? Do you recommend this movie/show/series to your friends? It’s like an assignment, but you get to critique the Hollywood stars.
21. Write some letters to the elderly
This will be one of the most impactful thing you can do for the community while you are at home. This population may feel very isolated, in nursing homes, unable to see their families or loved ones due to the virus. Find out where you can send them and change someone’s life for the better. Same thing goes for soldiers in the military.
22. Chalk Art
It’s been all the rage recently… and fancy too. Some of the artwork mimics those in museums. Plus, it’s refreshing to be outside in the sun. When you chalk on sidewalk or driveways it’s also an inspiration to others who see it. Make it a happy thought.
23. Go Live
Have some fun interacting with the outside world by posting live on Facebook or Instagram. Show em what your quarantined life looks like. Bored? Post it. Happy? Post it. Silly? Post it. Just keep it kosher.
24. Game Night
Break out any of the board games you can find in the basement closet. Monopoly, Dominos, Candyland, Twister… (just make sure you stretch first). It will definitely pass the time and who doesn’t like kicking their parents butt in Parcheesi?
25. Practice Mindfulness
Try to calm your mind and body. If you have never practiced meditation before, try using an app, sitting quietly, or use one of the tools found on TeenCentral. Letting your mind and body reconnect will help calm any anxiety to world is causing. Make it part of your daily routine.
26. Make a vision board
You know what they say… if you can dream it, you can build it. Get some pics from Pinterest or Google paste them on a poster board. Add whatever imagines you want in your life this year. Hang it up somewhere to keep you motivated.
27. Spa Day
Grab some beauty essentials from around the house (ask first) and have a glorified spa day. It’s not just a “girl thing”. We all need hydrated skin and good cuticles.
28. Try Origami
Don’t get frustrated. Start small. Might as well hone in on some of your paper folding skills. There are dozens of things you can learn how to make, swans, frogs, dinosaurs and more.
29. Have an indoor picnic
Convince your family to throw a sheet on the floor and enjoy a little living room picnic (dirt not included). Change up the dinner time routine.
30. Do Yoga
Yes, there are tons of health benefits from yoga. It’s great for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease blah blah blah. But yoga is also helpful in being present with your mind and body, focusing on the here and now. It is a way to escape the restrictions of the mind and the limitations we put on ourselves. NAMESTE
31. Check out Mars
How cool is that? You can explore the surface of Mars with a digital 360° camera. All you have to do is click on https://accessmars.withgoogle.com. Who needs science class when you can be on Mars with a click of a button?
32. High Tea
No it’s not snooty at all. Make yourself a cup of tea. Relax and let your mind settle. Enjoy the benefits of chamomile tea before bed if you are having trouble sleeping or if your anxiety is high.
You can’t tell me that at least ONE of these isn’t something that you’ve never done – or something that maybe (just maybe) interests you. Give it a try!