With many of us staying home because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), it can be challenging to keep ourselves productive and even creative. We may feel fear and anxiety from the uncertainty and risk around the virus. This makes it difficult to stay calm. To manage this, we can add creative and productive activities to get our minds off these troubling times.
Whether you have a bit of time during the day or a lot of time, these ideas to stay creative and productive below can make you feel more relaxed and even happier. And who knows the activity can lead to a bigger initiative in the future.
Expand Your Knowledge
1. Take a Udemy course – Udemy is an online educational platform that has thousands of expert-led courses on photography, life coaching, Facebook advertising, novel writing, Reiki, investing in stocks, nutrition, illustration, and so much more. They even provide a certificate of completion for many of the courses.
2. Learn skills taught by the masters – Did you know that Stephen King can teach you to write? Or that you can learn filmmaking from Martin Scorsese? Masterclass has courses taught by the “best in the world” on topics including culinary arts, writing, business, politics and society, science, and sports and games.
3. Watch a TED talk – TED talks are influential, inspiring and educational videos by expert speakers on education, business, science, technology and creativity. Create a TED account, select what topics interest you, and you’ll receive alerts in your inbox.
4. Listen to audiobooks – While going about your day, books online can help you escape. One popular resource is Audible, where you receive two free audiobooks with a 30-day free trial registration. Open Culture is a free resource where you can download classic books with iTunes or MP3. They have children’s books such as The Wizard of Oz and adult stories by Virginia Woolf, Jane Austin and James Baldwin.
5. Visit a virtual museum – Google’s Arts and Culture page lists a number of museums that you can travel to online such as Musee d’Orsay, Paris and The Met in New York. Also, read Travel and Leisure’s summary of 12 famous museums you can visit virtually from your couch. You can also view this great list of 50 Best Virtual Museum Tours Around the World.
6. Start a blog – Have you ever wanted to start a blog? Would you like to share your knowledge with others? Create a blog with free online software such as WordPress.org or WordPress.com. If you are a non-technical person, access WordPress tutorials to take you through the steps of setting up a blog. Be sure you feel strongly about your blog topic because you’ll need to sustain the motivation to create consistent content for your audience.
7. Read the classics – Many of us never have enough time to read, and we still may not, but perhaps you can set aside at least a half-hour a day to do so. You may have books lined up to read. Or, if you need ideas, start with the classics like Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird or Man’s Search for Meaning.
8. Draw or paint – Artists are offering free classes online. Skill Share is a wonderful source for learning how to draw or paint by experts. Learn how to design a female character or create storyboards for animation. You can even learn how to rap! They offer a two-month free trial.
9. Learn a new language or musical instrument – Nowadays you can learn any language or musical instrument online. Simply go to YouTube.com, type in the search box, “How to play piano”, or “How to speak Italian” to find a range of educational videos on that skill.
Get to Know Yourself
10. Discover your strengths – Uncovering our character strengths, the positive parts of our personalities, allows us to see the motivation behind how we think and behave in the world. The VIA Survey of character strengths is a scientifically validated survey that reveals your unique profile of strengths. By knowing your most positive traits, you can use them to your benefit.
11. Create a vision board – Vision boards help make dreams and goals indelible on the mind. On a poster board of any size or heavy paper, paste pictures, symbols, and words from magazines onto the board. Think about all that you desire from an African safari to completing that creative project. Keep this board in a place where you can see it daily. To help you get started, download Christine Kane’s free guide on creating vision boards.
12. Set SMART goals – Setting goals for the next 30 days, 3 months or the year can help you prioritize your time and accomplish what you want in life. Brainstorm a list of 10 goals. Choose the top three to five that will have the most impact on your life. Then create these goals as S.M.A.R.T., an acronym that typically means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. You can learn more about successful goal setting here.
13. Read personal development books – Personal development books can stimulate the mind and prompt positive change. Choose a book on an area of your life where you’d like to improve. Many books have helpful practices to apply the knowledge in your life.
14. Turn to your pet – Animals bring such joy to life with their unconditional love. Studies have shown that owning a pet has health and emotional benefits, including leading a longer life. If you have a dog or cat, pet them often. This helps to reduce stress and lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Also, what a perfect way to get some fresh air by taking daily walks with your dog.
15. Join a Facebook group or start one – Interacting with a Facebook group on a topic of shared interest and expressing your opinion is a great way to feel connected to others. You may even build unexpected relationships. You can start your own group about something you are deeply interested in sharing with others.
16. Volunteer (from home) – Do you feel like you want to help others in this time of crisis? Points of Light has the answer to this. They have a database for virtual volunteer opportunities. You can do DIY projects at home, write a disease profile that you’d get credit for on a website, or participate in a kindness chain where you create visual reminders to be kind and share with others.
17. Skype or Zoom with your loved ones – An excellent way to stay in touch with family and friends is through Skype or Zoom, video conferencing tools. These free (basic version) media platforms require a camera on your phone or computer. You can set-up a game night, happy hour or simply check-in with your loved ones so that you feel connected while staying safe.
18. Teach your children a new skill – Take this opportunity to teach your child a skill such as how to cook a basic meal, do laundry or clean the bathroom. Essential life skills such as these may be harder to teach when you have limited time. You can also access kid’s courses for a range of ages with Outschool. They offer affordable ways to engage your children with an instructor via Zoom.
Engage in Self-Care
19. Physical exercise – If you can, get some exercise, even if it’s 10 minutes a day, to feel better, emotionally and physically. Ride the exercise bike or walk on the treadmill. If you don’t have exercise equipment, you can walk outside around your neighborhood or in a park, while still keeping a safe distance from others. Many yoga instructors and fitness experts are offering online classes. An easy way to get the blood flowing is to do an online Tai Chi class.
20. Start a gratitude journal – The simple practice of jotting down three to five things you are grateful for each day can boost happiness and physical wellness as studies have revealed. When going through tough times, practice gratitude by journaling what you are grateful for each day in a nice journal or notebook. You can even start a journal online.
21. Catch up on sleep – You may only get six hours or less sleep at night because of your commute and then the nighttime activities. Studies show that people sleeping on average 7 to 8 hours per night performed better cognitively than those who slept less. Sleep is so important for our health. Now may just be a perfect time to catch up on some extra ZZZ’s.
22. Do deep breathing exercises –When we are anxious, we forget to breathe or breathe erratically, making us lightheaded and unwell. So paying attention to our breath and then consciously regulating it helps reduce anxiety. You can relax your nerves by doing breathing exercises.
23. Cook new recipes – Do you have recipes that you’ve always wanted to try? You can download recipes online with famous chefs or Google recipes that you can create out of what food supplies you have at home. Cooking new meals can give us a sense of adventure and make our loved ones happy too!
24. Listen to music – Music can instantly boost your happiness. Activities like listening to your favorite song can immerse yourself in the present moment. Now you are not thinking about the past or the future, where worry and fear can live.
25. Do what makes you happy – What makes you happy in life? Whatever it is—playing the guitar, working on a novel, walking or cuddling with your pet, cooking a new recipe, doing a puzzle—be sure to do more of it now to stay creative and productive. You’ll feel better and have a sense of accomplishment with the time you have at home.
We challenge you to select one thing on this list to accomplish while you are at home. Let us know what it is in the comments below.