With the world in lock down and people being advised to stay indoors the big question is what to do when you’re stuck at home. I’m the first to admit that I’m pretty useless at entertaining myself. I get bored really quickly when I don’t have something to focus on, and being stuck at home is one of my worst nightmares.
When I moved onto a sailboat I quickly realised that being stuck at home would be a common occurrence. There are high winds that make it impossible to get to shore, the dinghy has a tendency to break when it’s least convenient and sometimes you’re miles out at sea with no means of escape. I’ve had to get used to finding things to do that keep me from going insane when I’m stuck on the boat, and I actually think I’ve become pretty good at it!
What To Do When You’re Stuck At Home
Until all the madness passes, and it’s safe to go back to ‘normal life’, here are a few ideas of things to do when you’re stuck at home. I’ve included some useful links with ideas to take my suggestions further. Use the time to treat yourself, improve yourself or just to have some fun. Whatever you fancy doing, the important thing is not to let yourself get too bored and fed up. Treat it as bonus time, and try to enjoy it!
#1 Become The Next Masterchef
When I’m bored on the boat I love to bake. I really enjoy trying out new recipes (and eating them after!) What I’m not so good at is actual cooking. I’m a throw everything in a pot and see what happens kind of person. Sometimes it tastes great, other times it’s pretty shocking. I’ve decided to use my time stuck at home a little wisely, and learn a few show stopping recipes for the next time we have important guests on board.
I absolutely love The Boat Cookbook, and obviously the recipes are just as delicious if you live on land, especially the ones involving fish. Another of my go to recipe books is the Deliciously Ella cookbook. I don’t eat a plant based diet but her recipes are just delicious and I love learning how to use food in different way!
#2 Find Your Inner Peace
Being forced to stop isn’t always a bad thing. We’re so busy in our day to day lives that we really don’t make time for our mental health. If you have found yourself looking for things to do when you’re stuck at home then why not start a bit of a self love schedule. Try out meditation, or yoga. Give mindfulness colouring a go, or start a diary. Getting comfortable in my own company has been a revelation, and one of the best things about moving on board a sailboat. My mental health is in a much better place because of it.
#3 Plan Your Next Getaway
Fine, so you can’t travel right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make active steps towards your next adventure! Get on pinterest and start pinning magical looking destinations, or look up travel blogs to read about places you’ve always wanted to visit. Plan a safari in Tanzania, or a cultural break to Sicily. Look for romance in Budapest or adventure in Nepal. The great thing about the internet is that you don’t have to be there to see it all!
#4 Have A Clear Out
One of the most theraputic things to do when you’re stuck at home is to to have a massive clear out. If you’re anything like me then keeping on top of all the ‘things’ in your house is near impossible in day to day life, especially if you love to travel. Being quarantined gives you the perfect opportunity to get rid of all the things you really don’t need anymore.
You’ll be surprised how much you can declutter out of your life if you’re determined enough. Old pots and pans in the kitchen, tupperware with lids missing, clothes you’ve never worn and hand creams you’ll never touch.
Some of it will make you money too, if you have a little extra time on your hands. Try selling the things you don’t want on Ebay or Facebook marketplace and make a bit of cash during a crisis (save it up for when you’re free to travel again!) It’s surprising how a little cash here and there can go a long way!
#5 Pick Up An Old Hobby (Or Start A New One)
Remember all those times you’ve wished you had some spare time to learn a new language, or practice the oboe? Well now is your chance. Before I moved onto a sailboat I had big plans for all my spare time. I vowed to re-learn the guitar, I was going to become fluent in Spanish and would churn out some award winning photography too.
In reality, I haven’t done any of those things. Because actually, time was never the issue. Motivation was the issue. Use this time stuck at home to work on your self discipline skills, and take up that hobby that you’ve always vowed to do. It won’t be easy, and it won’t always seem like fun, but it will be worth it in the end! What better things have you got to do while you’re stuck in the house!?
#6 Binge On YouTube
There are so many great videos on YouTube these days. One of my favourite things to do when I’m stuck inside is to watch vlog after vlog of the same channel. It’s like having an endless tap of your favourite soap to watch without having to wait a week for the next episode. Personally, I love watching other peoples sailing adventures. If you haven’t found the wealth of sailing vlogs on YouTube yet then now is the time to discover them. You can watch ours from the start here!
#7 Pamper Yourself
In uncertain and sometimes downright scary times, the best thing you can do is look after yourself. Dedicate a day to some serious self pampering and care. Make yourself some delicious salads and dose up on vitamin tablets. Make sure you get some exercise. Make yourself a diy face mask and spend way longer than usual in the bath. Then make sure you get a super early night to catch up on all the sleep you’ve missed out on from partying too hard!
#8 Immerse Yourself In A Game
You’ve finally got a good excuse to just do something completely pointless but really fun. Use your free time wisely, and get lost in a good old game. You can go for an old-fashioned game, like monopoly or scrabble (or solitaire if you’re alone). Or get online and find a computer game that steals your attention for hours at a time. I downloaded Sim City to my phone, and it honestly keeps me occupied for hours.
#9 Start The DIY Project You’ve Been Putting Off
There is ALWAYS something to fix on a boat. Just when you’ve finished one major DIY job, another springs up out of nowhere. But living in a house is much the same. Things break, things get damaged and there are always improvements to make. Use this time stuck inside to get your house looking its very best. Give your walls a lick of paint, hang up some photos, sew up that cushion that has a rip in it. The best thing about getting all your DIY jobs out of the way now, is that when people show up to visit they’ll be amazed by the transformations!
If you live in rented accommodation then it’s probably best not to go painting the walls, but why not have a big re-arrange? It’s amazing what a difference moving the sofa to the other side of the room can make. Sometimes it gives the feeling of creating space, sometimes it’s nice just to have another perspective, but either way you’ll feel like you have a new room to play with!
#10 Read A Book
This sounds like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how often I forget that this is an option when I’m stuck at home. When I’m off on holiday I get through two books a week, and remember how much I love to read, but for some reason I never make time to do it at home. If you’re looking for things to do while you’re stuck stuck at home then reading is perfect. It’s relaxing, good for you and it’s easy to get lost in another world for hours on end. You can go for something educational if you’d prefer to feel like you’re learning, or a good fiction book to get yourself immersed in.
Before I moved onto the boat I was given a waterproof Kindle. I am a big fan of actual books, and wasn’t sure how I’d get on. But I have to say that I am now a convert. Kindles mean you can carry around tonnes of books but take up no space at all. They slip easily into handbags or backpacks, they don’t take up space on the boat and they’re really easy to use. If you love books then I’d thoroughly recommend you get one now.
If reading isn’t really your thing then give audio books a go (follow the link for a free trial). There’s a reason kids love having stories read to them, and audio books are just that! Only you can choose adult books if you’d prefer. I listen to audio books all the time on the boat, especially when I’m doing boring jobs like the laundry or washing up.
#11 Get Crafty
Start a craft project to pass the time while you’re stuck in isolation. There are such a huge range of arty things you can attempt, some of them relaxing, some productive, some might even make or save you money! Here are a few ideas.
Make your own birthday cards for people – a great way to save money and the environment! Use cut up old cards, or newspapers and magazines. Or just good old crayons and pencils!
Re-purpose old candles – Use an old pan to melt candle wax from old candles, and use a cheap stick candle for the wick. Pour the melted wax into a glass jar (or old candle container) around the stick candle, with the wick sticking out. And there you have it, a brand new candle!
Knit a scarf – There are plenty of tutorials online if you aren’t sure how to knit, and knitting a scarf is a super simple way to get started, and you’ll have something to show for it at the end!
#12 Get Green With Some Gardening
Just because you’re house bound doesn’t mean you can’t get outside and get a little fresh air. Head into the garden to do some pottering. Take the time to plant some seeds for your vegetable patch, dig out weeds or mow the lawn. You’d be surprised how physical gardening can be, and it won’t be long before you’re working up a sweat. If you don’t have a garden then not to worry, a lot of plants love being inside in pots. Plant some herbs for the kitchen window sill, or tend to that orchid that’s starting to flower.
#13 Go To Bed
I’ll leave this one to the imagination. But I will add that daytime naps are the best.
#14 Online Learning
Get yourself signed up to an online learning platform like skill share. You can make use of their free trial while you’re stuck in the house and start learning something you’ve always been interested in. Give film making a go, or try recording and mixing your own music. You can even find tutorials on flower arranging or beer brewing – there really is something for everyone!
#15 Mend And Make Do
We’re all about saving the environment these days, and mending old clothes is a great way to help do this. Rather than just throwing out items of clothing with rips or holes in, why not try sewing them up and getting the most out of them. Many years ago this is exactly what people were doing, and it was wasteful not to. Living on a boat, where we’re constantly trying to save money and make the most of what we have, we do this all the time.
I love not throwing clothes away – even when they’re completely unusable to wear I still cut up the material to use as wipes and other things around the boat. See what you can do with some of your old clothes while you’re bored in the house!
#16 Catch Up With Friends And Family
Technology really can be a blessing sometimes. It’s totally possible to use your time stuck indoors to catch up with family and friends from all over. Skype call, whatsapp call or just a phone call to someone you love will make all the difference to your day (and theirs too!) This is an especially good idea if you’re stuck inside alone, as it will give you a little company.
You could even use the time to write them a letter – everyone loves receiving post!
#17 Turn Your House Into A Vineyard
I’m not sure why this isn’t number one, and number two, three, four and five. Find those bottles of wine you haven’t cracked open yet and set up a wine tasting afternoon in your own house. Make sure you do it properly though – no finishing that bottle until you’ve done a whole lot of smelling and swirly (I’ll let you off on the spitting out part). Get out a selection of cheese to make it a real occasion!
#18 Enter Competitions
Did you know that people actually make a living out of doing this!? I’ve never been lucky enough to win something, but when I have some spare time on my hands I see entering a few online competitions as a pretty good use of my time. You never know when your lucky day might arrive, or what you might win when it does! You might want to set up an alternative email address for when all those newsletters start flooding in, but other than that it’s pretty harmless! Just search for online competitions and choose the ones you like the sound of. Let me know if you end up winning!
#19 Organise Your Digital Life
Maybe it’s just me, but my laptop is constantly crying with all the rubbish I load onto it and forget is there. I forget to back up my photos and my writing, I don’t know where any of my music is stored and I have email accounts I haven’t checked in months. Use your time at home to sort out all things digital.
Make an ultimate music playlist, or download some old songs you haven’t listened to in years. Back up all your old photos, or edit your favourite ones. Reply to important emails and delete old ones. Make sure you’re completely organised in your digital life!
#20 Get Really Clever
Pick a random subject and spend an hour or two doing some serious research into it. It doesn’t have to be something you’re interested in – in fact, it’s better if it’s not. Make sure that at the end of the hour you’ve read as much as you possibly can on the subject. Get really in depth. You might pick something that’s been happening in the news, or something completely random like the migration patterns of birds.
Once you’ve started to delve into all the nitty gritty of the subject I bet you start to enjoy learning about it more. The best thing is, you’re bound to know more about it than anyone else around you, so when the topic comes up feel free to be smug about just how clever you are!