well… that’s a headline I never thought I’d write!
this is either going to be the dumbest, most mommy blogger b***sh*t I put on my site, or it’s going to be helpful and fun. I haven’t quite figured which side it’ll settle on, but I’m pretty certain there is zero in between. onward!
so we (the global we) are on lockdown for the most part, trying to survive a global pandemic and limit its impact on our healthcare system and economy etc etc new york times etc washington post #flattenthecurve CDC.
I’ve heard some people say “I’m so bored,” and I would just like to
slap u in the face remind you (in the friendliest way) that being bored is a privilege… and it’s a choice. it means you’re healthy, you’ve got shelter, you’re not too stressed about money, you’re not caring for someone who’s sick or dying, etc etc. it also means that you’re not taking advantage of the incredible gift you’ve been given: some time for yourself.
so let’s get you refocused and LET’S TALK ABOUT HAPPIER THINGS, SHALL WE?
I made myself a quarantine bucket list. things I wish I could do in my spare time if I ever had any of it. since my job has been a work-from-home, digital position for the past two years, that bit hasn’t changed and I still have to work (like many of you) so I don’t exactly have weeks on end to craft and venture out on educational explorations, but I have found myself with a tad more time to do things on my “I’ll get to it one day bucket list.”
and to ensure I don’t take this time for granted, I started making a bucket list. the “what would you do if you had a whole day to yourself” kind of list, with lots of options and a choose-your-adventure style list of ways that day could go.
first up, ideas of what to do… without further ado, the…
quarantine bucket list
education / intellectual stimulation
do it 4 ur brain!
- sign up for masterclass. learn about business, screenwriting, the art of french pastries, mexican cooking, editorial fashion, and interior design. there’s a little bit of everything, and you can enrich your mind and bolster your skillset.
- sign up for the great courses (they’re doing a free month rn) and take college courses to learn about history and culture and art, or something practical like adobe lightroom (highly recommend)
- choose an online certificate or program. want to be a health coach or trainer? what about adding a coding/engineering cert to your resume? maybe you just want to take a class at harvard online (they have free ones, btw). I’m prob gonna take one on ancient egypt or music.
- learn a language. my favorite recommendation perhaps, is to pick up some language skills. download a free app, or sign up for (surprise) an online course. watch youtube videos, listen to podcasts. (get all my tips for learning a new language here).
- virtually visit museums and landmarks. I just did the free online tour of the sully wing of the louvre, and it was delightful (highly recommend adding a cup of tea and some baroque music to set the scene).
- write. write a poem. write a short story. write in a diary. write a screenplay. write a blog entry. write a journalism submission. write a haiku. write a love letter. write a postcard to friends. write a book. if you’re a writer, now’s your time to actually do the thing you love.
picking up new skills
you don’t have to go full-blown scholar to learn some tips and tricks. do you want to perfect your calligraphy technique? take up painting? learn how to blow dry your hair for once so you can be presentable when you leave the house (not that I’m talking to myself or anything). some that I’m going to be working on:
- knife skills (I’ve been scared of using knives in the kitchen ever since the bloody bagel incident of 2017 that resulted in getting stitches with the president of popsugar holding my hand, but that’s another story for another day). I want to learn new chopping techniques to feel more skilled and more comfortable when I cook.
- cracking an egg with one hand. this is a weird one, but I like can’t even crack an egg with two hands without smashing a shell into 482 pieces. fortunately, dominique ansel (name twins wooo!) shared some tips in the masterclass I watched last night.
- hair styling/blowout technique. ok fine that was me talking to myself earlier. I don’t know how to blowdry my hair. I can do an inverse french fishtail braid, but the art of the hair dryer has somehow eluded me.
- play an instrument. oh how I wish I could amazon prime a piano (and then somehow fit it in my house). perhaps something like a guitar or flute would be more practical. or a recorder! tbt.
culinary endeavors / cooking / baking
there are so. many. things. you can learn about cooking and baking, including just trying new recipes. do you have a pinterest board full of “wow that would be delicious to make one day” pins that have never once been referenced? what about a house full of cookbooks that have never once been opened or read? now is the time to make a list of all the foods you want to make and learn how to make.
- bake a new kind of cookie
- make a cake or pie
- make handmade pasta (mmm pasta)
- learn a new recipe from every cookbook in your house (I’m using my Dishoom, Hartwood, and True Food Kitchen cookbooks primarily)
- make a four course meal for your family/roommates/yourself bc ur worth it
- perfect your soufflé or pastry creme recipe
- meal prep a bunch of healthy food
- meal prep for your dog (I might actually be doing this don’t judge me)
- do a recipe club kind of book club thing, and make the same thing as your friends and compare notes, or swap recipes with them!
all the stuff you can never get to because you don’t have time? now you do! cleaning and decluttering the house also acts as stress-relief/anxiety management tactic and it’s good for your physical health, too. as my doctor (dr. sadeghi u rule) put it, “as within, so without.” clean your outside surroundings to find clarity within.
- marie kondo all your sh*t
- make a huge donation bag of clothes and items you haven’t used in a while
- organize closets, cupboards, and pantries
- log all of your clothes into an app (I’m literally doing this) so you can remember what clothes you have and design outfits like cher in clueless, the dream
- get a house plant. if you get a fiddle leaf fig, that will take up all of your mental energy and planning time, because that plant is a b*tch.
- refinish a piece of furniture
- do your fixer-upper projects
- paint a room or put up new wallpaper
- sew some stuff, idk? pillows? curtains?
- extreme home makeover, quarantine edition
you can improve your life and brain so much just by reading a bit more each day. if you have a ton of time on your hands, I’d highly recommend just devouring books, as much as you can.
- read a funny, uplifting book
- read a motivational, self development book
- read a biography or autobiography
- read a thriller or suspense novel
- read a historical fiction novel
- read a romance novel
- read a fantasy novel
- you get the point right
another big one that is oft neglected, but some of the best things you can do: unplugged self-care.
- do a jigsaw puzzle
- color in a coloring book
- diffuse essential oils
- make a hot cup of tea
- take a hot bath (with a book! and a hot cup of tea!)
- sit outside and listen to a podcast or some music (might I recommend the podcast I just started hosting, the space?)
- play an instrument
- craft, scrapbook, or make something with your hands
- give your dog a spa day
- do nothing. literally just take a couple hours and LAY ON THE COUCH. it’s great.
this is an obvious one, but somehow is still tough for me. I honest to god hate working out at home. it’s so hard for me to care when I’m in my living room and no one is watching me. I do have some friends who have been teaching online, and that has helped a lot (knowing a friend is on the other end of the computer camera), but it’s still a work in progress. I have, however, loved getting outside a little more for long walks with my dog (I took stella out for four and a half miles today, and it was joyful). that said, there are a ton of options that I’m going to be trying, including dance cardio (which doesn’t feel like a workout to me) and my FAVORITE thing, the release (see below).
- do an at-home workout. like I said, this is a challenge for me, but there are SO MANY FREE OPTIONS rn and you def need to take advantage of it. working out will save your mental health and keep you from wasting away during quarantine.
- challenge yourself to a 30-day program. if doing workouts one by one feels tedious or like there’s not enough structure, try one of those ongoing challenges or programs to give yourself a goal and something to work toward.
- try a new type of fitness you’ve never done before. maybe boxing has been on your mind but you haven’t mustered up the courage to get into a boxing gym. give shadowboxing a shot at home with a video or livestream. maybe you’re new to pilates? a mat class awaits. is dance more enticing to you? see below…
- dance with the fitness marshall. my friend caleb has the most marvelous youtube channel called the fitness marshall, with hilariously fun dances to top pop songs. he’s one of the few people in the world that make me scream-laugh.
- do the release. hands down the best thing I did for myself in the month of march was sign up for the release with liz letchford, my dear friend and former personal trainer. she created the most perfect group fitness class in the world, geared not toward working out but massaging the tension out of your body using two yoga tune-up balls (massaging yourself with balls is a weird phrase to type but I swear it’s great). absolutely sign up for this class (there’s a link to order the balls (lol) on the site as well, and you can get them on amazon too).
- go for a walk outside. this is just the best. it costs nothing, you get sunshine and fresh air, it’s good for your brain and body, your dog loves it…
- hike or run. like the “go for a walk” suggestion, but more advanced. also burns more calories if you’ve been like me and eating all the red and blue sour patch kids out of a 2lb bag.
the best category! ok that’s subjective but like, cmaaaan. taking care of your brain is righteous! ok anyway
- meditate. y’all know this is the best possible thing you can do for your brain. I use an app called calm, and it’s super legit (why won’t they sponsor me), but there are so many free resources out there (including ones from calm) that can get you started on your meditation journey that will literally transform your life.
- talkspace or virtual appointments. I have an appointment for facetime scheduled with my therapist who I usually see IRL. don’t slack on your mental health maintenance! use this time to get your mind right.
- journal. keeping a journal is so cathartic, and can help you in so many ways. if you do a gratitude journal, this is an excellent way to refocus your thoughts into something really positive and thus improve your mood.
- track your mood on an app. speaking of mood, there are apps called daylio that can help you link certain activities and circumstances to your mood, and pinpoint things you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. highly recommend, especially now when you have time to look into it and develop your own insights.
- yin yoga. slow down, breathe deep, and learn how yoga can be not just a workout, but a mental health treatment (my psychiatrist literally tells me like every month that I need to do yoga and I consistently ignore him and ask for ativan, for which I am consistently denied). am I oversharing?
- the release, again. this activates your parasympathetic nervous system (which I’ve brought up before, but a refresher: the ‘off button’ for your sympathetic nervous system, which is your fight-flight-freeze response). you’ll be feeling all sorts of soft and melty and lovely, both mentally and physically.
- read self care books. learn from people who have been through tough times and come out on top. pick up stress management tools and tips on living with mental illnesses and hardships of different kinds. feel inspired, and nourish your brain at the same time. I have plenty of suggestions.
this category serves no “purpose” other than to keep you happy and smiling. enjoy :)
- movie marathon the following:
- harry potter 1-8
- star wars 1-9
- lotr/hobbit 1-6
- all the marvel/avengers
- make your own movie bucket list of films you’ve always wanted to see, and work your way through it
- get into a new show on netflix
- play a video game with friends online
- watch stand up comedy on youtube (make a playlist of your favorite comedians so you can have some packed programming)
- play a board game with roommates/family
- have a facetime date with your friends. might I recommend a large glass of miraval?
because I’m insane I wrote down some ideas for myself for themed days and half-days. it’s okay, I hate me too.
movie marathon day
keeping in theme with the entertainment category, plan a day for pajamas, popcorn, soda (GASP, SODA?!), and candy like you’re at the movies… but all day. pick a franchise and go for it. v relaxing, v nostalgic.
travel day (afternoon in paris)
ok so for me, I wanted to pretend I was in france, so this involves putting on my french music, taking an online french class, doing the tour of the louvre while drinking my laudrée tea, and making a french dinner (coq à vin with pommes purée and soufflé for dessert).
this is the morning I wish I could have every single day. wake up early, make a cup of tea, put on some tranquil music, light a candle or diffuse oils, meditate, journal, and do some gentle yoga. leave the phone off, and have a notification-free, email-free start to your day. finish with a nice fresh air walk outside.
one of my favorite things is afternoon tea. I have like, 83425,305,205,02 teas in my house, and I fully plan on making some + some scones and tiny sandwiches, putting on some classical piano, and eating until the zipper on my pants breaks.
combining a few of the above categories, I want to do the culinary masterclasses, a few youtubes, and make a multi-course meal. spend a whole day pretending I’m at a cooking school, learning different techniques, making amazing meals.
since I can’t go on a wellness retreat now, I can play pretend (all of this feels like I’m parenting myself, which is weird… anyway). start off with the “mindful morning option” (lol this is absurd but I’m in it this far I gotta keep going) and add in some afternoon programming: a healthy detox lunch (salads, nutritional soups, smoothies, juices), a couple workouts, and some at-home spa treatments. bonus points if you leave the phone off for a few days.
piggybacking on the last bit of the “wellness retreat” idea, make a spa day for yourself. fill a hot tub with some luxe salts or foam, bust out all your favorite body care products, light the candles, put on the zen spa music, meditate, do a facial, give yourself a pedicure, and end with the release self-massage technique.
so… that was a lot. the point is, there is so. freaking. much. to DO! don’t allow yourself to be bored if you have the blessing and privilege of having time to spare. if you don’t have as much time, choose your top 10 bucket list activities, and see if you can get through them in the next couple weeks. you can add from there.
and this isn’t even an exhaustive list! there are an infinite amount of things that don’t interest me whatsoever that you may love to do… write down your list! hopefully this inspires you to make the most of your time, expand your mind, improve your skills, and most of all, HAVE FUN!
je vous aime beaucoup, my dearest readers. leave me a comment with what you’re doing during quarantine time!