Sooner or later, we’ll all be forced to remain indoors for several days or even weeks. Whether it’s a global pandemic, a natural disaster, or a regular sickness, we ought to use our indoor time productively. To help you excel as an involuntary stay-at-home, here are some of the best ways to spend time indoors.
At the time of writing, most of Europe is under Covid-19 lockdown. As for myself, I don’t live in a hard-hit area but my country has nonetheless taken drastic measures.
Except for supermarkets and pharmacies, all shops, schools, gyms, cinemas, bars, restaurants, and other recreational areas are closed. We are strongly advised to stay at home if we don’t have to go somewhere. Story of most countries.
Everyone has been affected in one way or another. Starting mid-March 2020, I was supposed to go on a long Asia trip. Travel bans, health advisories, and airport shutdowns forced me to cancel the entire trip.
For now, I have to stay put and face the chilling fear of uncertainty – not knowing if the trip will go ahead anytime soon.
So, what do we do in a situation like this?
Freak out and watch the news all day? Bury our heads in the sand? None of these responses will do us any good. Aside from following government advice, we should try to make the most out of the pickle we’re in.
The most productive ways to spend time indoors
If you are forced to stay inside, here are some of the best ways to use that time in a constructive manner.
Read, read, and read some more
During a lockdown, books are our best friends. Use your time to dive into literary treasures, fictional masterpieces, or self-improvement guides.
Organize your documents and folders
Most of us have stacks of unpaid bills, contracts, and other encumbering documents lying around. If you are grounded indoors, chances are you’ll be stuck right next to some of them.
Consequently, organizing, tossing, and digitalizing your documents is one of the best ways to spend indoor time if you can’t leave the house.
Check on family and friends
One of the toughest parts of the current pandemic is the sheer unprecedented reduction of social events. We are advised to minimize social contacts, avoid any sort of gathering, and under no circumstances visit our grandparents.
In times like these, staying in touch is crucial for everyone’s mental sanity. Especially older relatives should not be cut off. Even if you can’t visit them physically, be sure to call them as often as necessary.
Check on vulnerable family members regularly and update them on important events. The same goes for friends, partners, and other people around you.
Improve your cooking skills
If you are stuck at home, chances are you’ll have hoarded a lot of food before entering your cave. This presents you with a golden opportunity to sharpen your cooking skills.
Trying out new recipes, combinations, and flavors is certainly among the most useful ways to spend indoor time as it will leave you with valuable skills at the end of your lockdown period.
Complete overdue household chores
I’m pretty sure you can find a household chore that you’ve been putting off for a while. Still haven’t cleaned your microwave? Now is the time. 15 unironed shirts lying around? Now is a good moment to declutter.
These chores are annoying and uninspiring but also necessary. Because a curfew eliminates any potential excuse, taking care of these tasks once and for all is one of the best ways to spend time indoors.
Develop that personal project you were thinking about
“Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” – Pablo Picasso
Most of us have ideas for personal projects looming in our heads. You’ve always wanted to start a blog? Now is the time. Got plans for an e-commerce site? A lockdown might be a good moment to amass ideas.
You might have been procrastinating on certain ventures for one reason or another. Now that you are stuck at home, external distractions have been stamped out. Use your forced indoor time wisely and start devising your grand plan.
History has shown us that self-isolation during times of crisis can lead to spearheading brilliance.
During the Great Plague of 1665, Cambridge University sent students home as a precautionary measure. It was an early example of “remote work”. One of these students was Isaac Newton.
He spent the entire year of 1666 at his estate, perfectionating various theories and calculations. The time away from Cambridge spawned groundbreaking discoveries.
Working in his home office all day, Newton observed his garden for hours. An innocuous apple tree would serve as inspiration for the theory of gravity. Newton’s 12 months of self-isolation would later be called the “wonder year”.
Get your taxes and accounts in order
The best ways to spend time indoors undoubtedly also include taking care of administrative duties. Whether it’s taxes, bills, or other filings, be sure to advance administrative chores.
Yes, we all hate managing our taxes and most of us do not look fondly upon administrative work. However, if we are forced to stay at home, chances are that many administrations will be closed as well.
This means that once the lockdown is over, we might face a tsunami of requests and reminders. We should, therefore, get a head start and ready as many documents and filings as possible during our time at home.
Spruce up your home
Forced indoor time can cue our creativity. By constantly looking at our living spaces, we might come up with new design ideas.
Is that chair in the right place? Are there better ways to organize your bookshelves?
There are probably hundreds of ways to improve your living spaces and now is a good time to put ideas into reality. Checking out some coffee table books about design could further harness your imagination.
Find ways to stay in shape
For me, one of the hardest aspects of being forced to stay at home is the inability to visit my sacred temple of iron and sweat, the gym. At the time of writing, all gyms are closed along with outdoor facilities, swimming pools, and sports arenas.
Left with no choice, I had to change strategy. This helped me become adept in training at home, mostly with the weight of my body.
Maintaining a workout routine at home is essential for your physical and mental wellbeing. If you can, go running in the forest. You’ll certainly find a big branch or fallen tree that can double as a bar. If not, use a suitcase filled with books as a way to train your arms and shoulders.
Whenever we face obstacles, we have to get creative. This also counts during a lockdown. The closure of gyms is not an excuse to stop training. It is an incentive to find other ways.
Journal more than usual
Journaling is an essential pathway to personal growth and even more so during times of hardship.
Writing down your thoughts will help you identify fears, hopes, and ideas during a lockdown. From the ancient Stoics to modern business gurus, journaling has been an integral part of personal development for centuries.
Especially in periods of uncertainty, guarding your sanity is of paramount importance. You’ll remain focused and upbeat by collecting your thoughts and reflections.
Seneca, one of the greatest Stoic authors, used to journal every night when his wife had gone to bed.
His ritual consisted of the following: “I examine my entire day and go back over what I’ve done and said, hiding nothing from myself, passing nothing by.” This ensured a “particularly sweet” sleep.
Relax and benefit from some me-time
“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
In times of unease, hysteria is the worst possible response. To offset the fears that will inevitably penetrate your mind, take some well-deserved me-time. This might involve a bath, a long afternoon nap, meditation spells, or even Netflix binges – whichever activity will calm your mind.
Me-time should help you ignore the world around you and make your isolation more bearable. As such, soothing relaxation goes hand in hand with slowing down and enhancing mindfulness.
If you are stuck indoors, you’re probably much better off than the people worst affected by the relevant crisis. Be grateful for what you have and cautiously envision the future.
Just remember that humanity has survived the Ice Age, the Black Death, the two World Wars, the Cold War, and many other catastrophes without collapsing.
Downtime also means cutting out social media. Don’t check your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all the time. It will only make you anxious and prevent you from managing your mind.
Try to remain calm and scrap unnecessary news sources. Limit your news consumption to the essential and focus on enjoyable media instead.
Useful links on the best ways to spend time indoors
- more in the section “Life”
- read 6 ways to empty your mind if you are stressed out
- check out 10 books that changed my life
- read how to react to external negativity