As the news has bombarded us with COVID-19 information, the world is feeling uneasy. Not only is the thought of this disease spreading and affecting our loved ones devastating, but the measures to limit widespread contamination can be frightening as well. Total confinement is a reality in several regions, but general self-isolation is recommended everywhere.
For many of us, the thought of being stuck at home for days on end is almost impossible. But, given the urgency of the virus spread, we understand the importance of the collective effort. The question is, “What are we going to do at home?”. Lucky for you, we've compiled quite a few ideas (with examples!) of activities to occupy your time. Some are more fun, others are more practical. Let’s get into it!
1/ Queer and Feminist Shows and Movies
Addicted to Netflix? Well, now you don’t have to feel bad about it. All streaming services that used to make you feel guilty for not being productive have suddenly found an important place in our at-home schedule to occupy long stretches of time. After all, what faster way to go through a day than binge-watch a TV show?
Of course, this was an obvious answer. The real question here is: “What should I watch?”
For some quality queer & feminist movies, here are our favorites:
For the TV show equivalents, this list alone should keep you busy!
Bonus, here are some queer documentaries for your personal culture: Paris Is Burning (1990), Before Stonewall (1984), The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017), We Were Here (2010), I Am They (2018).
2/ Read Queer and Feminist Books
Once again, this may answer may seem all too obvious. However, unless you are an avid bookworm, most of us complain about not finding any time to read books anymore. Well, here is your chance! Reading is an old pastime that allows you to develop creativity, learn new words and discover new stories & points of views.
This is not only an excellent time to catch up on books that you’ve been meaning to read, but also to try out new genres and themes. Consider trying a thriller if you prefer autobiographies, or a foreign book if you are used to cheeky romance. Consider non-fiction or poetry if you generally read novels. You can also find online reading hubs to get lost into on Wattpad or various poetry Instagram accounts that curate the best online writings. Trust me, you can find hidden gems in there.
However, if you have no idea what to read next, our selections of best books (which you can also find digitally, whether on your reading device, mobile app or computer!) are these incredible reads:
3/ Calling Friends and Family
Social interactions are vital even though if you have to stay inside. This is when technology proves to be an incredible tool. Call your friends! It may seem weird at first to video call people that you are used to meeting up with at a cafe, but with a steady connection, conversation flows just as easily. (And remember that Netflix Party exists! You can all watch movies and TV shows together and chat together online as well.)
This is also a great moment to call old friends -- people you have been meaning to catch up with but have not managed to do so yet. Remember that friend you occasionally run into and keep saying that you will plan a meet up soon? Call them up! Everyone is feeling the weight of loneliness, and most will not be opposed to human contact.
For those with romantic partners and aren’t living together, it’s also essential to maintain those connections as well! You should not feel bad for missing them or being frustrated that you cannot be with them. This is an important time for open, loving communication for each other through this tough time.
Last but not least, remember to keep close contact with family members (that you like).
This is especially the case for older and/or sicker family members, who may be worried and lonely during this outbreak. Call them up while you are doing other things.
Call them perhaps daily, for a little bit, just to hear their activities. Help them find ways to stay entertained (they may need help with certain technological pastimes). Stay present for those individuals and help them as much as you can.
4/ Get Creative
Have you been putting off the end of your painting? Have you been curious about writing your first poetic pieces? Do you have an instrument that you keep saying you are going to start playing, but still not have not? The time to (re)visit these activities is now!
This free time is a great moment to be creative. Try out new things and finish the projects you’ve already begun. To make it even more fun: call your friends and encourage each other to finish projects while chatting.
For some types of artists though, such as nature photography, this period may be even more frustrating. You have the will to continue your art, but can’t physically carry it out. In that case, consider these two solutions: move out of your comfort zone (for example: if you are a nature photographer, try shooting from your window, or shooting an apple on a table!) to discover new tricks and challenges that will eventually pay off when you can go back to your preferred style and/or take time to self-improve, by watching Youtube videos or taking classes on some of your weaknesses (maybe you are not using the full potential of your camera model or could benefit from some refreshers in picture editing). That way, when you are ready to create again, you will have new ideas and new tools to use.
5/ Pick up a New Hobby or Skill
Similar to the #4, this is a great time to pick up a brand new skill! It could be for your career or for your hobbies. There are plenty of online courses that can teach you, or free Youtube videos, and you finally have the necessary time to practice it.
Some great skills to acquire could be becoming fluent in a programming language, finally understanding SEO, deciphering Google Analytics, starting a blog or Youtube channel, setting a personal goal to knit your first hat, becoming the household’s best cook, learning to meditate, discover how to read tarot cards, increasing your knowledge in personal finance and anything else you could imagine.
Whatever you choose, we recommend a plan of action! Set small goals for yourself that can help you stay on track and know the direction you are heading towards.
And remember, according to this TedTalk, only 20 hours of practice is required to learn the basics of any skill. That is less than an hour a day for a whole month! Remember to stay motivated.
6/ Get Moving
Staying at home has a distinct comfort -- it’s home. There’s your bed, and your sofa, and your shows… Why would you ever move again? Well, remember that before the quarantine, you may have been going to the gym, or you walked/cycled to work. You walked around during breaks. You used to go for a run, or danced at nightclubs. Don’t lose that precious daily exercise that you used to get in exchange for comfort.
Make time in your at-home routine to dance to your favorite songs, to use the old gym gear you bought but never used (I can see the dusty dumbbell in the corner through the screen), try out some yoga or pilates. There are many ways to exercise at home, and there are many blog articles and Youtube channels dedicated to helping you turn it into a reality for you. If you enjoy muscle-building in particular, check out keywords such as “bodyweight exercises” or “calisthenics” -- these will lead you to exercises you can do mostly at home, with no extra gear. For the cardio lovers, you can find equivalents with “cardio home exercises” typed out into a search bar.
Warning: take the same precautions you would in another environment while working out at home. Remember to take a regular amount of breaks, to drink water, to complete your workout goals as intended and to not push yourself too hard. If you are just starting out, make sure that your form is correct to avoid injuries.
7/ Play Some Games
We are lucky to have many game options around us: cards, board games, video games… and they are all wonderful ways to make time go by faster. If you want an activity to spend with those who live with you, consider card games (you can search online for a ton of fun games) and board games that you haven't touched in a while. These are always fun, and make for a good laugh (beware of the sore loser that may exist among you).
Video games are a more modern take on playing games. But, just like for Netflix, this is a great time to not feel guilty about playing. There is an array of games to choose from on any device, whether it be console, mobile or on a computer. If you are looking to try out something new, search either the online stores or look for a game you think you’d be interested in (for example: a farming simulation) into a search bar and check out the options that pop out. Some video games are free too, and multiplayer online. This means that you can play with your friends during the quarantine.
This is not the most fun for people. But have you looked at your desk lately and can’t quite remember when everything was at its place? Have your cabinets been completely out of order lately? Have you cleaned your windows? Have you washed your sheets? You finally have the time to really sort through items that you want to keep and those that need to leave. You also have the time to properly clean and put away your stuff.
While this is not fun, if certain areas of your home used to bother you before having to be self-isolated, it will only get more annoying now that you have to look at it all the time. Maybe find a small portion of each day to make progress on areas of your living space and keep it tidy. Deep-clean as much as possible. You will thank yourself later.
9/ Discover New Music
While you are doing several other activities on the lists, or just want some time to relax, music will be there to accompany you! Most of us listen to our same favorite songs, without taking much time to go find new awesome music. How about you try out a new genre? Or a new curated playlist? Let yourself discover new music and fall in love with tracks that you can listen to all day.
Moreover, check out if your favorite artists have not released something for you! There is chatter that musical artists especially will release more music during the quarantine to occupy their listeners. Maybe there is already something new for you to check out and you don’t know it.
10/ Home Projects
Finally, home projects. Have you had plans to redecorate properly? Furniture that needs repair or remodeling? This is a great time to work on your living space. While cleaning is important, if the items/objects in your house are not pushing you towards feeling more at home, then something needs to change. If you’ve been considering drastically changing your living space, this is a good time to try out new couch positions to optimize the space.
Also, most furniture stores’ online websites are still open, so you can begin planning items that you don’t have or what to replace current items with. It can be an awesome way to imagine what your living space could become, and hopefully, make you feel more at home in the long run.
You’ve reached the end of this Top 10 list for activities during quarantine.
However, this list is only a summary of all the different ways to stay occupied. If you wish to be productive during this quarantine, try out organizing a community project, starting a blog, or even launching a business idea !
If you are passionate about gender+ (which englobes gender and LGBTIQ+ topics) and wish to use your time productively towards creating change during quarantine, you should check BØWIE. BØWIE is the first incubator dedicated to gender+ projects in Switzerland. Its programme is accessible to all and could benefit you. Sounds interesting? Check it out here.