By Anne Peters, LMFT
We’ve been quarantined long enough that introverts and extroverts alike are experiencing that cooped-up feeling. We’ve got cabin fever! I’ve compiled a list of 7 ideas to beat boredom.
1. Take a virtual class: Now is the time to put our learning caps on and learn about something we have never had the time to before. There are many, many online universities and websites that are offering free or discounted online learning options. This ranges from actual college courses to photography lessons to learning a new language. For me, I’ve got my eye on a vegetable gardening course that Oregon State University is offering for free.
2. Exercise: We all know exercise is good for the mind and body, and it can also be a great boredom buster. Luckily, many gyms are offering free exercise classes on their social media pages. Check out your local gym’s Facebook page to see if they are offering free classes. Two in my local area are offering this: the Spencer YMCA and Northwest Iowa Community College Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center. They offer yoga, aerobic, and strength training classes you can do in the comfort of your own home.
3. Arts and crafts: Anyone else miss the arts and crafts time we had while growing up? Now is a great time to revisit this. Grab a canvas and some paint and create a masterpiece! If you’re unsure what kind of craft appeals to you, do a general “crafts” search on Pinterest and let your mind run wild.
4. Stay connected: I think this has been a topic that has been tied into nearly all of my past blog posts. It’s SO important. It’s important for our overall mental health to continue to connect with our support system. Here are some really fun ways to do so. I mentioned a couple of blogs ago an app I’ve been using with my family. It’s called Houseparty. You can play games while video chatting with your family or friends. It’s a blast. Facetime, Skype, and Zoom are all great ideas too to get a group of people together. I’ve seen people host theme nights (costume party, crazy hat party, etc.) and invite their friends to a Zoom gathering. Finally, there are so many game apps that you can use to “challenge” your family and friends. Right now, my sister and I have been playing on the Yahtzee with Buddies app. You take turns just like a real game of Yahtzee, and it helps us stay connected. I usually win, but she would tell you otherwise.
5. Organize: I know, cleaning is rarely on the top of my list when boredom starts to set in. More than just cleaning, organizing feels really good. It gives instant gratification because you can see your hard work right in front of you. This could be something somewhat simple, like organizing your kitchen cupboards, or something a little more time consuming, like organizing your garage.
6. Go on a drive: Sometimes the key to beating cabin fever is to simply leave the cabin. Our options are still limited as to where we can go, but that does not mean we can’t hop in the car and do some exploring. Take a drive around town and explore neighborhoods you have not seen before. Do a scavenger hunt. I know different towns have different scavenger hunt themes going on. In Spencer, people have placed rainbows in the windows to search for, or bears to go on a “bear hunt.” Engage in this, even as an adult! If your town hasn’t started these activities or you want a different idea, drive around and just notice. Notice spring colors coming in. Notice wildlife. Notice the peace.
7. Go on a virtual tour: This is perhaps my favorite idea! SO many museums and zoos have opted to have a virtual tour option in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are experiences we may not otherwise have. The Denver Zoo and the Cincinnati Zoo both have done a great job creating virtual encounters on their Facebook pages. It’s fun to see those wild animals up close and personal and learn some things while you’re at it. The Metropolitan Museum of Art also offers a 3D tour of 26 different exhibits.
We know staying home is so important. We will continue to do so, but we know there are days the boredom really starts to set in. Let us know if you try any of these ideas or have some of your own! We’re all in this together.