Finding novelty at home

Calis Lim
Mercury Staff

20 new activities to try while social distancing

Being cooped up in the same place for weeks might start to make any student’s day feel monotonous. Right now, all the time that students could have spent going out and about can instead be spent trying something new. By trying something you’ve never done before, you can add a little more color to your life, avoid monotony and possibly find something new to be passionate about.

  1. Learn a new language from a website like Duolingo. Better yet, contact someone who knows another language and is willing to teach it to you. Knowing another language can help you connect with people across the globe or allow you to communicate better with relatives.
  2. Read a book from a genre that you’ve never tried before. This is the time to try something different, so why not expand your knowledge of literature and potentially find your new favorite genre while you’re at it?
  3. Teach yourself how to code, or learn a new coding language, either for fun or to add to your repertoire of marketable skills. When we come out of this lockdown, you’ll be ahead of the curve.
  4. Research a topic that you’ve always been intellectually curious about or is not a part of your major. Even just scrolling through Wikipedia pages on obscure topics can lead you to some really interesting things. For starters, did you know that in the 1960s, a man named Jose Delgado made brain implants that could control animals and humans’ abilities to smile, become calm, or be neurotic? If not, maybe start there.
  5. Play an instrument that you haven’t played before or haven’t touched in a while. Your parents or roommates might have some ancient guitar or harmonica accumulating dust, so you can start there. If not, you can buy a cheap but relatively easy to learn instrument like a melodica, recorder or kalimba. If physical instruments aren’t attainable right now, learn how to make electronic music using software like GarageBand or make a Soundcloud rap.
  6. Figure out how to write in calligraphy, which will likely impress the recipients of your handwritten notes. After all, it’s hard not to appreciate an old school letter with beautiful penmanship.
  7. Learn how to knit a sweater or crochet, so that you can gift something handmade or to prepare yourself for the cold season. Chances are your grandma, aunt or mom might know how to do either, and they would be willing to teach you. If all else fails, YouTube is also always there for you with tutorials on different techniques.
  8. Try to fold origami, which can be very relaxing and only needs any kind of paper. Origami makes a thoughtful gift, and it can convey some thoughts that words sometimes can’t.
  9. Write more often by journaling your everyday life, creating poetry or writing a story. If you want to dip your toes into the world of writing, try putting together a commonplace book, a journal where you can collect notable quotes, sayings, notes and daily musings. It’s very low maintenance and an easy way to look back on your thoughts later on or share your thoughts with others.
  10. Paint or sketch by yourself, or if you’re new to the concept, do it alongside a video. Bob Ross videos are classic if you want to try painting with an instructor. If that seems a little out of reach, try cartooning or digital art to recreate some of your favorite characters. You can always start easy and work your way up to more advanced skills.
  11. Take some photos and learn some videography skills. To alleviate the mentally draining schoolwork, use a camera as a creative outlet. Take photos and videos to capture the happy moments that you’ll want to look back at months or years from now.
  12. Find some new trails or parks near your house. It’s an excuse to get out of the house more and a good way to unwind after sitting down watching lectures all day. Be sure to maintain the six-foot distancing limit if you encounter other hikers!
  13. Figure out ways to tidy up or decorate the house. Having a living environment that’s more aesthetically pleasing and better suited to your taste can make you feel more comfortable at home. You can grow food plants like potatoes or carrots, setting a routine for keeping the plant healthy, having a nice-looking addition to your living space and getting free food out of it after!
  14. Teach yourself how to meditate. It has been proven extensively to have many physical and mental health benefits. As a bonus, you won’t have to think about all of the things that might be stressing you out.
  15. Try doing yoga, Zumba or a HIIT workout. It’s a good way to exercise at home without needing outside equipment. There’s a video for every level and activity, so just find a routine that you enjoy and want to do consistently.
  16. Find a new sport to play and improve your skills through practice – all while social distancing, of course! Once you really get into a sport and enjoy playing it, this is another great way to exercise consistently.
  17. Work on your sense of style. Although it may seem like a little thing, the way we dress and present ourselves is sometimes the only impression that others get. Right now is a good time to clean out the closet or put together outfit combinations you normally wouldn’t try.
  18. Try to cook a dish you’ve never tried before, or as an even bigger challenge, try cooking a cultural dish that you’ve never tried before. Cooking is therapeutic and on top of that, the fruit of your labor is edible.   
  19. Find out a new way to relax and destress. Try to reflect on how you’re feeling, drink tea, take a bath or lay outside and watch the clouds roll by. There’s something different for every person, so try different things and see what works for you. Your future self will thank you.
  20. Take the time to connect with someone that you haven’t talked to in a while. Whether you’ve grown apart or you parted due to a conflict, be the first person to initiate. Everyone could use an extra friend right now.

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