50 Things to Do While Stuck at Home and One Don’t

(1) Prayer & Meditation. I list this first because I believe it is where our hope and peace and wisdom are cultivated and maintained. If you need ideas about how, here is a basic guide to prayer and meditation . Check it out.

(2) Take a walk (you finally have time to get your 10k steps per day in). It’s perfectly fine and now super easy to maintain social distance (not my favorite term these days).

(3) Read a book.

(4) Read the Good Book. There are great Bible Reading plans you can find online.

(5) Meal plan. Refine your typical planning. Maybe there is a better approach?

(6) Cook More.

(7) Cook together more.

(8) Try a new recipe.

(9) Spring clean (limit this to only one room at a time. Multiple rooms simultaneously will produce more stress—better yet, limit to one section of a room at a time to make it even more relaxed) How about that junk drawer you have been annoyed with? My wife just read this and quickly reminded me of my own junk drawer—I told her to shush! Not very therapist-like I know. As my dad used to say, ‘do as I say not as I do’? Ok I’ll work on it.

(10) Catch up on something, like your laundry. Remember the lesson learned from the last time you attempted to eat an elephant: one bite at a time and not all in one day!

(11) Begin a Goodwill pile or give away to charity pile—just wait for the all clear.

(12) Sleep more. With little or no commuting happening for many people, take the opportunity to finally get your 7-9 hours per day. Sleep is unquestionably a recovery asset both physically, cognitively and emotionally.

(13) See your counselor via Telehealth. Use the opportunity to add to or refine your coping strategies. Currently, it appears there is no cost sharing for you if you have health insurance which means no copays or coinsurance for you.

(14) Try a new exercise routine. Simple calisthenics are excellent, build muscle and reduce stress. There are a ton of apps that will even plan your routines and show you proper forms.

(15) Video meetings with family and friends. There are many great softwares (i.e. FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, etc.).

(16) Cut your own hair. Oh and youtube it so we all can be amazed or laugh with you (never at you).

(17) Binge watch that show you’ve been thinking about. I have been strongly encouraged to watch Parks & Recreation. Yes, after the first few episodes is when it supposedly gets funny. I will let you know.

(18 Watch an uplifting Movie. I am hearing good things about this movie titled, ‘I Still Believe’ and might watch it with my wife later this weekend if it is available. I just finished watching Ford vs. Ferrari and the best quote works for all of us now—Ken Miles (the fantastic driver for Ford) explains to his son the kind of focus needed to get through an important turn or marker “You go fast, and as the car speeds up and everything else slows down…you don’t do that (he narrows his focus with his hands), you do this (makes his hands wide) and then you see everything.” Gonna use that in my next therapy session.

(19) If you have kids, go outside and play. The Sun is supposedly good for you (nothing new here) and what can be better to resist cabin fever. Just stay off the playground equipment for now. It appears the virus lasts just a little longer on plastic. Thankfully the Sun is not friendly to Covid 19.

(20) Finish a long delayed DIY project. This week I plan on grouting the tile around our bathtub…finally! I’m gonna do it.

(21) Think about a new DIY project. The one room at a time rule still applies here. It could be super stressful to have large chunks of your home undone while everyone is home all day. Enlist your family to help and make finishing goals. Avoid being irritable with each other however.

(22) Go to an online Church with your friends or extended family. Schedule a time to video chat after to talk about your Pastor’s message over lunch. My siblings have agreed to do this together. This week my brothers and sisters from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Washington all came to my Church. Some of my nieces and nephews also joined us. We didn’t even need a super long pew to make it happen! It was a great message by my Pastor. He did me proud for my siblings. There are so many wonderful Churches with great preaching happening across the world every Saturday and Sunday. Next weekend we are going to Church in Seattle—I’m looking forward to it. Still going to my Church however. It’s important to maintain connection with our own faith community.

(23) Break out an old puzzle. The only question is 500 or 1000 pieces

(24) Begin plans for that vacation you are going to take after we recover. Maybe it isn’t going to be this year but next? This doesn’t have to be a dream vacation either. It could simply be a long weekend of relaxation or fun. Hikes, tours, history, climbing, flying, new experiences, revisiting old favorites and more.

(25) Go through a self help book with your spouse, children, or friend. Pick a topic you want to work on and go! I mean grow!

(26) Practice something! How long has it been since you played your musical instrument from high school? Routinely spoke that second language (verb tenses anyone? Anyone? Bueller?) or any old hobby or skill?

(27) Watch Ferris Bueller (see 26).

(28) Offer to grocery shop or some other errand for your neighbor—especially an older neighbor or one with a high risk factor.

(29) Do something nice for someone in your home at least once a day. This is one of the best ways to get out of your anxious mind and promote feel good neurochemicals.

(30) Do something thoughtful for a loved one or anyone in need…just because…most everyone is in need. Think whoever might be especially isolated here.

(31) In honor of the novel coronavirus, here’s a novel idea: write a letter but send it via email to avoid touching. Simply write on your best stationary with your best handwriting (if you remember what that is), scan and send.

(32) Hmmm—what’s your idea?

(33) Make a playful mess (you might have more time to clean right?) Play-dough, painting, legos, crafts, just to name a few. This is about relaxed, play inspired, fun for one or several sharing the same space.

(34) Do some gardening. I planted some beautiful Dahlia tubers that I can’t wait to see later this Summer—40 inches of colorful splendor.

(35)How about that restoration pruning of your Lilacs (wait til after they blossom) or another shrub you love?

(36) Clean out your car—even under the seats and the usually avoided nooks and crannies.

(37) Garage?

(38) Finally build that set of shelves and clean and reorganize those tools? Also make room for all that toilet paper you now own. You know who you are! LOL

(39) Have a good, belly laugh! C’mon!

(40) Finish those taxes…ugh. Of course you don’t have to file them until it benefits you most.

(41) Organize those photos! Old photos? Really old photos? Check out this one my sister found today:

(42) Relax. I mean really—relax. Relaxation requires intentionality. I also understand that many of us avoid being still in order to avoid feeling our anxiousness. Trust me, I get this. Let me encourage you to stay with the anxious feelings—feeling them intentionally for several minutes at a time. You will build up a tolerance against the anxiousness in due time. Relaxation, believe it or not, happens on the other side of this. One of my favorite verses? “Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10.

(43) Keep a journal! Something your great grandkids will find an interesting read fifty years from now. It will also help you maintain a healthier perspective if you remember you have an audience (in fifty years).

(44) Remember to keep the Sabbath! Work hard wherever you have to work, play—even play hard when you can, but then take a day to rest and to Worship.

(45) Set a no-digital device goal—say no devices for 4-8 straight hours. What would you do instead?

(46) Solve an old problem through innovation. Remember that old saying, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’? Maybe you are more creative than you think you are. Go for it! Work a problem, stay with it, solve it.

(47) Try to figure out fifty ways to cope with being isolated at home. Three more to go…three more to go, C’mon Scott, work the problem—be innovative.

(48) Organize your finances. Don’t stress, Has God given you everything you need TODAY? Widen your focus perhaps? Need a new way to look at it? Be careful not to let anger take over difficult money talks. Lots of folks are having tough talks about spending and saving right now so stay with your best empathy and understanding—stay.

(49) Give thanks! Has God provided for you today? Consider gratitude be part of your journal. This has known mental health benefits and was an important component of the apostle Paul’s treatment for anxiety (see Philippians 4:6-7).

(50) Rejoice! This is another feature of Paul’s anxiety treatment. Rejoicing is something you do which then produces joy. It’s a practice that will not only bolster your ability to feel calm, be creative and tolerate what seems intolerable. Rejoice! Really? Yes, Rejoice! Try it for fifteen days in a row.

One Don’t: Don’t watch the news 24/7! Seriously. You could limit your entire news update to 20 minutes per day. Free yourself from tons of catastrophic thoughts and ideas. 

Important Notice! This list is not designed to do all every day or even every week or month—or at all. These are just ideas. Do some or many or none. Make your own list (see number 32). The idea here is to intentionally stay connected, be productive and remain healthy. It isn’t to over tax or add to your burdens. Balance is just as essential now as before. Would love to hear some of your ideas.

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