COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere any time soon. As the global community battles this public health crisis, millions are cooped up at home — alone or with their roommates, partners, or kids. If you’re starting to feel stir-crazy and need some ideas on how to stay occupied (and sane) during this pandemic, we’ve got you covered.
From keeping the kids busy to maintaining productivity, we at Mochi Magazine are doing all of it. Here’s a list of things you can do while stuck at home.
TO KEEP KIDS BUSY
Select guest teachers for your kids.
“Since my kids’ school doesn’t have an official distance-learning program in place yet, I’ve been putting together my own lessons, with a new theme each week. Each lesson includes a short time of instruction, along with a video or story and some sort of hands-on activity. Themes we’ve done so far include important people/careers, nature, and the human body. To make things more interesting for the kids (and to make my life a little easier!), I’ve recruited family members and friends to teach the kids via Zoom. The kids love guessing who their next ‘guest teacher’ will be!” –Melody Ip, managing editor
Use pre-loaded animated stories via Facebook Portal.
“My sister has a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old — exhausting under normal circumstances and a real challenge under quarantine! Since I can’t visit and help out, we use Facebook’s Portal device to connect. It’s pre-loaded with animated stories, and I read them to my 3-year-old niece for as long as her attention span lasts. When that fails, we move on to the silly filters and effects. It’s a small respite for my sister, and a huge joy for me to see my nieces.” –Tria Chang, staff writer
Let the kids keep each other company.
“Many of [my kids’] classes moved to Zoom, and since I have so many children (4), they’re keeping each other company on screens, learning and playing board games with my husband, and generally being their normal selves.” –Virginia Duan, entertainment editor
For older kids, try out this Escape Room-style game via Google docs or create your own.
“One of my peers shared this creative activity that’s sure to eat up time. It was created by Anthony Smith. If you want a simpler version, try making one from scratch.” –Kelly Moon, executive editor and head of business development
Go frozen, get veggies (and pickle away if you want to).
“I have to cook more…I made sure to buy a lot of freezer foods. It has helped me in the sense that I now no longer go to my local boba shop every other night, so I’ve lost weight and saved money.” –Virginia Duan, entertainment editor
“I had to cancel my plans to visit my parents (and eat a ton of Korean food) at the end of March. So to battle homesickness and to keep all the veggies I bought in bulk from going bad, I’m pickling! So far, I’ve pickled sweet and sour radish, red onions for black bean tacos and salads, jalapenos, carrots, and, of course, lots and lots of vegan kimchi.” –Sarah Jinee Park, copy chief
Try those recipes you’ve been eyeing for years. (Woks of Life and Lindsey Eats LA have some good ones.)
“A food blogger that I follow, Lindsey Eats LA, has interesting recipes using ramen, so I have been trying some of them. On the other hand, this combination can never go wrong: ‘a hall-of-fame struggle meal from the Asian delegate is boiled spaghetti with soy sauce and vinegar. That’s legendary as-is, but add some peanut butter and sesame oil if you got it and you’re in chef’s kississippi, population: you.’”
–Yvonne Su, copy editor
“I’ve been getting a lot more ambitious with my usual baking since I have the time to spend all day in the kitchen. I’ve been baking more bread (like everyone else seems to be doing since yeast is impossible to find anymore) and trying recipes I’ve had marked for years. And who doesn’t love an excuse to bake a cake in the middle of the week?” –Danielle Slauter, social media coordinator
Sign up for a meal kit delivery service like Blue Apron.
“I signed up for a meal kit before the coronavirus pandemic hit, and it’s been pretty useful actually. I’ve learned a lot more recipes than I knew before, and I don’t have to go grocery shopping as often. The only thing I do differently now is I make sure to wipe everything down on the outside before I use it. I still wash fruits/vegetables like normal. It helps me feel like I’m doing my part with social distancing.” –Steph Lee, MD, public relations director
Indulge in a nourishing, hydrating beauty or self-care routine.
“Beauty has always been a major form of self-care for me, and that’s even more true now. Now that I’m spending the majority of my time indoors, I’ve been extra indulgent with my beauty routine. Some days that means using my most nourishing, hydrating products and foregoing makeup; other days it means doing a full face of makeup with rainbow eyeshadow and a bright lip, just because I can.” –Tori Smith, beauty editor
Take long walks and listen to a podcast or ten.
“With my husband now working from home, I have the flexibility to leave my kids and take long walks during the day. I’ve been walking 2-3 miles a few times a week, while listening to a podcast. This simple outlet gives me the mental and physical refreshment that I need to be a better person for my family. I can be in the crabbiest mood, but once I get out on my own, my mood completely changes.”
–Melody Ip, managing editor
Try Glo for daily yoga sessions or join a yoga Facebook group.
“I joined a yoga Facebook group and have been following along with some of the videos. It’s a small group and I know the teacher, so it feels more personal. Gentle yoga is so healing.” –Yvonne Su, copy editor
“My husband and I have been doing daily yoga sessions through Glo — it helps get us active and is a fun time to connect at the end of the day because neither of us are that good at yoga and we make fun of each other.” –Maggie Hsu, co-founder and advisor
Check out Forward Space’s free dance workout sessions on Instagram.“Virtual dance workout sessions on the daily with Forward Space have been a lifesaver! Sometimes you just have to dance it out. In addition, going for a run especially when it’s nice out is a mood changer. Lastly, I thoroughly enjoy soaking in a bath with lavender epsom salt whilst listening to The Weeknd’s new album ‘After Hours.’ This has all helped me take on the next day!” –Ivy Payne, fashion market editor
Turn your garage into a workout space.
“I’m trying to keep my routine as much as possible. I usually go to the gym first thing every morning, so now I’m doing garage workouts at home. It helps burn off the extra adrenaline from being cooped up so long. I’ve been baking a lot, which always calms me down when I feel stressed. Anything that helps me focus is great, too, like puzzles and even Legos.” –Danielle Slauter, social media coordinator
Don’t forget your pets have needs too.
“My pitbull and three kittens are definitely keeping my mental health and circadian rhythm in check. It’s very tempting to sleep in and abandon my to-do lists and slump into depression. But the kittens are on strict feeding schedules and they all need a lot of stimulation and socialization. They’re absolutely thrilled my partner and I are home all day!” –Sarah Jinee Park, copy chief
Read all the books on your GoodReads list.
“Now that I’m home, I have more free time to read for leisure. Lately I’ve been reading ‘Hard Times Require Furious Dancing’ by Alice Walker and ‘The Lonely City’ by Olivia Liang, and as you can probably tell, not only are they topically relevant to the current quarantine, but they remind me to find inspiration in the everyday and relationships I still have with those in my life. I really recommend them!” –Kelly Pau, staff writer
TO BE PRODUCTIVE
Maintain your daily routine with a planner (like the Passion Planner) and Google Calendar.
“Google Cal has helped me stay on schedule between the Zoom and IG Live sessions. I’m old-school and prefer to write out a checklist of what I need to do on a planner. Both have helped me stay organized and feel very productive. It’s very satisfying to cross things off a list too!” –Ivy Payne, fashion market editor
Try Icebreaker to host virtual gatherings.
“My job involves getting people with political differences across the country to come together in-person, so we’ve changed our model quite a bit. Meeting people, building understanding, and finding connection is especially important during times of isolation, so we’ve been using Zoom and Icebreaker to host gatherings, and partnering with other organizations to increase our reach.” –Tria Chang, staff writer
Invest time in some side projects or a new hobby.
“My [employer] reduced my hours and I’m home more often than before. I’ve started working on some side projects that I never felt I had time for and picked up a few of my old hobbies, like reading for fun! I’m starting with Michelle Obama’s book and definitely taking suggestions on more good reads.”
–Steph Lee, MD, public relations director
“No writing is being done (or it’s done painfully). But I am creating a lot of YouTube content… ”
–Virginia Duan, entertainment editor
TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Host a virtual game night.
“My husband and I have been hosting virtual game nights using our Nintendo Switch, phones and Google Hangouts. It’s been great connecting and laughing with family near and far. If you don’t have a Switch, download Jackbox party packs via Steam on your laptop and project the game via Hangouts. Have your friends/family visit jackbox.tv on their phones and type in the room code. That’s it! Game on.” –Kelly Moon, head of business development and executive editor
“I convinced my brother and sister-in-law to buy ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ so we can all play together on my Nintendo Switch. My mom also hosted a family bingo night over Zoom, complete with prizes. We’re all planning on doing another virtual game night soon!” –Danielle Slauter, social media coordinator
“I played Cards Against Humanity (aka Remote Insensitivity) on PlayingCards.io with some Internet friends, and it was hysterically amazing. The creators of Azn Flush have also issued a PDF version of their game that you can play with friends over Zoom. If your family speaks Mandarin, you could also order Parents Are Human and have some long-postponed heart-to-heart conversations.” –Jennifer Duann Fultz, editor-in-chief
Write letters and send some snail mail.
“I love writing letters and have been doing more of that lately. I enjoy the intentionality of sitting down, choosing stationery, and writing — and it’s fun to think about how surprised the recipient will be when they find the letter in their mailbox!” –Melody Ip, managing editor
Host a virtual happy hour.
“My friends and I have virtual happy hours where we all order takeout and have a drink in hand. Last happy hour, we played pop culture trivia and acted out ‘Goodwill Hunting.’ It was such a good time.” –Ivy Payne, fashion market editor
“We’ve had virtual happy hours, Zoom reaction videos, and even played Cards Against Humanity online. It’s been awesome. Why didn’t we do this before?” –Virginia Duan, entertainment editor
Pick a date night and stick to it.
“My husband and I are both introverts, so for the health of our relationship and ourselves, we’ve instituted Wednesday to be date night, and Thursday to be self-date night. On date night, we dress up, order from a favorite restaurant to support local businesses, get into deep conversations, and connect. On self-date night, we burrow away in separate areas of our tiny condo and ignore each other. He’s been using the time to play video games, and I’ve been using the time to write or watch shows he doesn’t enjoy. Might be my favorite day of the week!” –Tria Chang, staff writer
Have a wedding reception via Zoom.
“Our dear friends had to cancel their April 4 wedding, so their officiants surprised them with a Zoom gathering of would-be wedding guests. We did toasts, and then I facilitated the popular ‘shoe game’ with a twist. In the traditional game, the couple sits back-to-back, each holding one of their shoes and one of their partner’s shoes. In response to questions like, ‘Who made the first move?’ they answer by holding up that person’s shoe. In our version, everyone on Zoom has to hold up cards to guess the answers. If the bride and groom both hold up the same shoe and you guessed wrong, you have to take a shot or do five pushups. If the couple holds up different shoes, they have to take a shot or do pushups. After those festivities, they sign the marriage license and seal it with a kiss.” –Tria Chang, staff writer
Dress up and dance on!
“My birthday is tomorrow, and I’m planning on wearing my most outrageous celebratory clothing that I can’t wear under normal circumstances, getting a cake from a local bakery, and having a Zoom dance party with my sisters.” –Tria Chang, staff writer
Celebrate someone else with a Kudoboard.
“After completing my MBA program, my sister asked my friends and family to sign a digital e-card to congratulate me. When I opened it via email, I landed on a colorful page (imagine Pinterest) with fun, animated GIFs and accompanying messages from friends and family. It was such a great surprise. I didn’t know Kudoboards existed!” –Kelly Moon, head of business development and executive editor
Watch livestreams and check out concerts online.
“I watch Governor Andy Beshear’s livestream every day. (1) It’s really helpful to have a daily ritual. (2) It’s how I learn the latest news about COVID-19. (Granted, I don’t live in Kentucky anymore, haha). (3) It’s a genuinely enjoyable way to spend time. He’s very comforting and inspiring.” –Alyssa de la Rosa, marketing designer
“I have been enjoying all the content on IG Live; the virtual global dance party with DJ Nice, intimate concerts with Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Miguel, and 24-hour plays with actors doing monologues have been very entertaining and uplifting.” –Ivy Payne, fashion market editor
Complete that 1,000-piece puzzle.
“I’ve been doing jigsaw puzzles and reading books that I already own. They’ve been on my shelf for a long time and I’m finally honoring them! They’re also a nice break from the increased screen time.”
–Yvonne Su, copy editor
Re-organize your space like Marie Kondo or switch up the decor.
“This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as a lover of all things design, I’ve really enjoyed rearranging the furniture in my room and doing small scale redecorating to set intentional spaces for lounging and comfort or work. I find that creating a space that brings you joy really helps you stay productive and less caged-in. I’ve built more cozy nooks in corners for reading and leaving spaces empty to work out in. I think it helps me feel like I’m somewhere new and transformative, which seems to parallel this time period a lot too.” –Kelly Pau, staff writer