Advice from Sally: 21 ways to keep yourself busy during quarantine

Serah Culler, Contributing Writer

Hey Seahawks! This past year has been a strange one. It has reshaped so many things in our society: how we interact with each other, how we go to school or work and how we stay safe and healthy. Something that has become commonplace is going into quarantine. Before 2020, the only time I ever heard the word “quarantine” was in a zombie movie. Now, quarantine has become almost routine. It’s likely that you or someone you love will go into quarantine at some point.

So, what to do with the long hours of waiting? Here’s a few ideas!

1. Remember that book you’ve never quite had the time to read? Maybe it is a classic novel like “Anna Karenina” or a modern classic like “Little Fires Everywhere”; either way, now’s the perfect chance to try it! Bonus points if it is the beginning of a series with about 17 sequels (“The Witcher,” anyone?).

2. Ditto that TV show all your friends are watching- looking at you, “WandaVision!”Don’t be surprised if you become more of an expert on it than your friend; binge watching three seasons in record time has its perks. And it’s always fun to rewatch a favorite like “Gilmore Girls” or “The Walking Dead.”

3. Don’t forget to get off the couch! Check out YouTube (or UNCW’s Healthy Hawks programs) for workouts that come in different levels of difficulty and timespans. You can find anything from yoga to cardio to Pilates– whatever gets you moving!

4. You could learn how to dance! Start off with something simple like the Cupid Shuffle line dance or head back to ‘90s-era country with Cotton-Eyed Joe or Copperhead Road (cowboy boots optional). Check out something like this channel or this one for one other tutorials.You’ll be ready for the post-COVID-19 virus wedding receptions in no time!

5. We can’t talk about dancing during the pandemic without mentioning the app that took over our stay-at-home days: TikTok. Are TikTok dances really dances? Does it even matter? Try it and go viral—the good way! And if dancing isn’t your thing, I’m sure there is another TikTok trend waiting for you.

6. Grow a plant. You could get anything from a colorful succulent, to marigolds in a flowerpot, to herbs on a windowsill. They really don’t need anything other than water, a little bit of sunshine and your attention every now and then. Unless you pick orchids.

7. Cook using a new recipe! No, it doesn’t have to be sourdough bread. It could be something simple like a pasta dish or a twist on pancakes. If you’re feeling ambitious, try something you’ve never had before or a dish you’ve never made. You can always order take-out if it goes up in flames (hopefully not literally).

8. Clean the house. We’re close enough to spring for it to count as a deep spring cleaning. Reorganize that junk drawer. Mop the floors. Dust the furniture, even behind the couch (so THAT’S where that syllabus went!). Vacuum the couch. Clean out the closet—you could be charitable with this one and set aside any clothes you’re not using anymore to give to a hospice store or church when your quarantine is over. Speaking of which…

9. Attend a virtual church service, even if you haven’t been to church in awhile (or ever). Ask a friend if you could attend with them or check here or here. Might give you some answers or a little bit of peace. If you are not spiritual or religious, maybe take this time to take a breath and focus on what gives you meaning in life.

10. Find out if a student club or organization is holding any virtual events or meetings and attend one. This is a great opportunity to check out those clubs that you’ve wanted to learn about but just haven’t had the time. Clubs like this one, this one, and this one are holding meetings online; you don’t have to leave the house! (In fact, you could join the Seahawk!)

11. Write a letter or make a phone call. Call that cousin you haven’t talked to in awhile to see how he’s doing, write a letter to your grandma asking her about her school days or to your Aunt Jenny to see if she’ll finally give you that recipe for her no-bake trifle. You can make a difference in a stranger’s life with a letter as well—check out organizations like Girls Love Mail, which sends encouraging letters to women fighting cancer, or Support Our Troops, which orchestrates sending notes of thanks to soldiers overseas, or Love For Our Elders, which sends letters to elders to fight isolation and loneliness.

12. Put together a puzzle. That 1000 piece garden scene with the kitten in a basket? Piece of cake. Frame it and put it on the wall as a testimony to your willpower and skill.

13. Catch up on homework, or maybe even get ahead! This could be a great chance to go over that Descartes essay or biology homework that has been stumping you. Or maybe even see if one of your professors is offering extra credit that you could get done at home.

14. Dust off that musical instrument you’ve been neglecting. You can impress your friends after quarantine with your flawless rendition of “Fur Elise” or “Riptide.”

15. Study a language. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to speak Finnish—now’s your chance to learn more than “hello,” “goodbye” and “My name is…!”

16. Learn to juggle. You have hours of time to master this skill, and it can prove to be valuable in a myriad of situations. Won’t it surprise your mom when you casually start juggling fruit in the produce aisle at the grocery store?

17. Host a virtual Zoom lunch with your friends. This is the perfect opportunity to show off those cooking skills you’ve been working on.

18. Play a game like Among Us. Be warned: the clock may actually be correct in proving that you’ve been running away from impostors and completing tasks for the past five hours.

19. Learn a new craft. Give crocheting or knitting a try and you could have a scarf ready by the time quarantine is over. Follow along with a Bob Ross rerun and create a painting full of happy trees and fluffy squirrels. Seriously, your options are only limited by your imagination.

20. Start a journal or a blog. You can keep a minute-by-minute account of your adventures in cooking, juggling, cleaning and puzzle making.

21. Remember to smile. Quarantine won’t last forever; just keep on keeping on.

So, there we go—21  quarantine activities for 2021! I hope these brought a chuckle to your day.