How to Make Social Distancing More Fun

illustration 30+ things to do while your stuck at home during coronavirus

With whole states and some cities issuing shelter-in-place directives, most of the nation is taking the health threat of the novel coronavirus seriously. It’s an overwhelming time, and the bad news just keeps coming. People are out of work, students of all ages have been sent home to finish the school year, and grocery stores are struggling to keep up with the demand for pretty much everything.

To slow the spread of the disease, keep hospitals from being overrun, and give scientists time to develop a treatment and a vaccine, it’s important that you stay home, away from other people. It’s also important that you not allow dread and panic to consume your mind and instead think of this time as a reset and an opportunity to do a few things you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t have the time. And, of course, take care of yourself and the ones you love.

Here are a few #stayathome ideas from the FemmePharma team. Check back for more later, and let us know how you’re spending your time.

1. First things first: You need to smile. And wise new internet sensation Pluto will definitely help you do that. The talking Schnauzer is the sweet friend we all need right now. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube.

2. You’ll read a lot on this list about things that will keep you in your chair (or sofa), but make it a priority to move every day. Exercise is good for the body and the brain. Check out these free online resources:

  • Famed dancer Jen Mabus is hosting modern dance classes live on IG.
  • FitON, Down Dog, and CorePower have free workouts and yoga classes for all levels.
  • Join Planet Fitness for free Facebook Live workouts.
  • Kick it old school with the YMCA, which offers 60 classes from boot camp to yoga.
  • Peloton now has a 90-day free trial. The workouts don’t require a bike.
  • BeachBody is offering a 14-day trial that will kick your butt.

3. Connection staves off depression and anxiety, so make those phone calls to friends and family far away. Better yet: Organize a Zoom brunch or Zoom happy hour with your friends from high school/college/that cool job you once had. You’ll be surprised at how good it feels.

4. Do you have a sewing machine and fabrics left over from past projects? Sew masks for healthcare workers at your closest hospital. Once you’ve made a bunch, call the hospital and let them know you’re coming with your donation so someone can be ready to receive them.

5. Broadway is closed for now, of course, but the show goes on online. BroadwayHD has a free seven-day trial, so you can stream hundreds of choices from the Great White Way and beyond. See Orlando Bloom in Romeo and Juliet, Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd, Cathy Rigby in Peter Pan, and many more.

6. Keep your mind sharp by hitting the virtual books. Coursera and edX allow you to audit courses from Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and others. That’s right, now’s your time to get that Princeton education you’ve always dreamed of. Study science and cooking, international women’s health and human rights, or the neurobiology of everyday life at top universities. Business Insider helps narrow the field.

7. Complete the U.S. Census. You were going to have to do this anyway (it’s the law) in order to help the federal government allocate more than $400 billion in funds to state and local governments. It takes only a few minutes — and then you can get back to Broadway.

8. Yes, Love in the Time of Cholera seems like a relevant read, but for something lighter, we polled our friends for the funniest or most uplifting books they’ve ever read. Here’s what they said:

9. It’s strawberry season. Make Food & Wine’s berry Dutch baby.

10. Animals are entertaining and watching fish in an aquarium calms us down. Take 20 minutes out of your day to log on to an animal cam.

11. Under the heading Not Fun but Necessary: your taxes. Though the deadline to file has been extended to July 15, there’s no time like the present.

lettuce grow greens

12. Stuck inside can also mean stuck in your yard, patio, or balcony. Plant a garden and watch it grow. If you’re an apartment dweller, don’t despair. Lettuce Grow’s Farmstand makes it easy to cultivate your own greens, from spinach to arugula to bok choy and more.

13. Haircuts are off for now (please don’t DIY — and if you do DIY, please don’t give yourself bangs), but a homemade hair mask seems like a fine idea. Women’s Health has eight recipes for a variety of hair woes, all made from pantry ingredients.

14. It’s OK to watch a lot of Netflix right now. It’s even better to watch a lot of Netflix with friends. Set a time to log onto your watch party, pause and rewind as you please, live chat, and enjoy a good movie together apart. A few fun suggestions:

15. Be among the first to subscribe to the incredible Brené Brown’s new podcast, “Unlocking Us.” If you’ve never watched her TED Talk on vulnerability, try that first.

16. Go to space. No, seriously. You can explore the surface of Mars via Google or head over to NASA for a whole lot more from the Curiosity rover. Looking at images from the Hubble space telescope is like falling into a black hole in a good way.

17. While you’re already in the mood for stargazing, pop over to explore.org, where you can live stream the Northern Lights. If the timing’s not right for that, you can watch dozens of webcams — from a kitten cam in Los Angeles to an elephant cam in South Africa to an eagle cam in Iowa.

18. When you’ve worked up an appetite with all that internet, you’ll want to eat. And you really do need to use up all that produce you bought in a panic 10 days ago. Fridgetotable.com can help. Just type in the items you need to use and the site delivers lots of recipes.

19. Travel is off for now. Or is it? Google Earth has tours of 30 UNESCO World Heritage sites, from Stonehenge to the Taj Mahal to pyramids, castles, and temples.

vintage modern flowers puzzle

20. For low-tech entertainment, while away the hours with a puzzle. Zazzle has some designs that are pretty enough to frame and hang. We like these vintage modern flowers, William Morris’ “Strawberry Thief,” and Degas’ “Blue Dancers.” But you could also go with Taco Cats, and we’d understand.

21. National treasure Dolly Parton is reading us to sleep on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Put on your pajamas, brush your teeth, and climb into bed and listen to the singer for a 10-story series called Goodnight With Dolly. Need more of this charmer? Her podcast, Dolly Parton’s America, is worth your time.

22. Vatican City is on lockdown, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see the sights. The 360-degree views from a half-dozen locations, including the Sistine Chapel and Raphael’s Rooms, aren’t just like just like being there — but they are very, very cool.

23. In another part of the world stands the Great Wall of China. A virtual tour of the world-famous landmark is dizzying.

curbly pompom wreath diy

24. That very cool but time-consuming DIY craft project you were going to get to someday? Someday is here. We’re looking at this scrumptious pompom wreath by blogger Rachel Jacks.

25. Morning buns take two days to make, but you’ve got time on your hands.  And Bon Appétit has a mouth-watering, crowd-pleasing recipe that’s great even if you’re cooking for one.

26. More time at home means more time with your stuff. If yours is starting to feel like too much, now is a great time to discover the life-changing magic of decluttering. If the KonMari method seems too extreme, try Apartment Therapy’s slow and lazy way.

27. While you’re reorganizing your closets and drawers, listen to literary classics like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Jane Austen’s Persuasion on Audible for free.

28. If that feels too serious, there’s always Sir Anthony Hopkins playing piano for his cat. (Beautiful, by the way.)

29. And then spend three minutes watching cats and dominos. Seriously. It’s artful and amazing.

30. And finally — this one could last you all month — for a meditative activity that taps into your inner child, try an adult coloring book.

Photos: Courtesy of the companies mentioned

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