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Paint by numbers activities can be a great, stress-relieving activity. Photo by Angelica Mansfield.

Fun activities to try while we’re stuck at home

We are all struggling at the moment. Whether it be from the stress of online classwork, a sick family member or even being bombarded with consistently grim reports on the spread of coronavirus, we are all trying our best to cope. Thus, we have compiled a comprehensive list of everything you can do (for free) that will give you a chance to step away from the world.

Keep in mind that social distancing, washing your hands and covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing are the most effective methods of not spreading or contracting COVID-19. If you have come in contact with someone who might be carrying the virus, make sure you quarantine yourself in order to avoid spreading the disease.

The voice of the future

The best thing about living in the technological age is that there are very few times when you are completely disconnected from the people you care about. Even though none of us are physically on campus (and won’t be for the rest of the semester), we can still see our friends through a computer or phone screen. It is a safe way to stay connected.

Many services offer free voice calls or video calls. You can add an extension on Chrome for Google Hangouts, make an account on Discord, or you can opt for the built-in features on your phone or social media apps.

Let’s Get Creative

I’m just going to say it: You don’t have to be amazing at art to make it. Literally anyone can make art, and it does not matter at all if you think it’s good or not. Who’s going to see it? Maybe your sister or your grandfather or possibly your cat. Nobody is going to judge you because we are all trapped inside worried about getting the virus, so why not just try out some kind of art? 

You have hundreds of options to try: Paint. Draw. Knit. Sing. Make Origami. Write. Participate in Bartleby’s online creative writing prompts. Submit an article to The Retriever about how isolation is affecting you. Learn to use Photoshop and create something crazy. Dance around your room. Play guitar. 

Exercising (Indoors AND Outdoors)

Did you know that exercising boosts your immune system? It also releases endorphins, gives you more energy and, plainly, gives you something to do. Although none of the gyms in Maryland are currently open, there are plenty of other opportunities for you to get moving. Walk, jog or run around your neighborhood; play a sport; go skateboarding; take your bike to a nearby trail. There are endless opportunities for outdoor activities.

 If you prefer an at-home gym, you have options too. With home workouts on websites like FitnessBlender or Planet Fitness’ Facebook page, you can build muscle, work on your daily cardio or practice yoga. 

Your body (and mind) will thank you for it!

Netflix. Hulu. Disney+.

Now here’s an idea we can all get behind. Just because we need things to do does not mean we have to be productive all of the time. In fact, we deserve some relaxation from all the stress that we’ve been put under the past few weeks. So curl up with some popcorn, a blanket and binge-watch all the movies that came out while you were studying all semester.

Horror movie fanatic? Check out The Invisible Man. For a lighter rom-com watch, To All The Boys: P.S. I Love You is perfect. Need some action in your life? Try watching Birds of Prey. And for those of you who want a throwback to your days of animated movies, take some time for the newest Disney sequel, Frozen 2.

Maybe you should clean your room

So maybe your mom was right. Your clothes have started piling up, at least 10 water bottles are clustered beside your bed and you’re pretty sure the trash hasn’t been taken out since you left at the beginning of the semester. Organizing your room can reduce stress in these hard times and keep your mind clear. 

You could even pull a Marie Kondo and deep clean your closet! Give away any clothes you haven’t used in a year or two. Shuffle through all those papers to see which you actually need. Get rid of those old posters that have been up since you were in middle school and decorate your room with new DIY projects. 

Finally some self-care

It’s time to start that self-care routine you always meant to. Do that 10-step skincare ritual. Light a candle. Put on a face mask. Take a bath and use that sparkly bath bomb you’ve been wanting to. Lather on your best smelling lotion. Just take care of yourself.

You should also strive to be aware of your emotions and stress levels. Self-care is more than just pampering yourself; processing emotions through practices like journaling, talking with a friend and practicing general hygiene are important things you can do to keep yourself healthy, even if you aren’t currently happy.

In these difficult times, it is more important than ever to build a routine that you can stick to every day in order to give yourself some structure, which we are all lacking from the absence of normal classes. Make sure it incorporates a variety of activities to avoid boredom. Take breaks between your online classes and study sessions to relax, have fun or practice self-care. Commit yourself to following your routine. You deserve some stability in your life right now.