How to keep busy at home

busy at home

How to keep busy at home

It might be a cliché but there’s always a silver lining to a dark cloud. The silver lining of self-isolation is: more time for yourself and your family. 

You might not have looked at it this way, but you now have so much more time to reflect on yourself and others during this time. Ever wished for more time to learn an instrument? Learn to knit? Try a new recipe? Spent more time talking to your grandparents? Or neighbours? 

Well now that we have more time, let’s not waste it!  

Read more to find out some of our top ways you can keep occupied, think of others and self-develop at home… 

Start to think like an astronaut 

Why think like an Astronaut?  

Astronauts have to cope with self-isolation all the time they’re in space. They have to be able to cope in a small space where they can only socialize with a very small number of people, without the ability to see family and friends in person. Sound familiar?  

Scott Kelly is an Astronaut for NASA who has spent a year on the International Space Station. He told the New York Times his top tips for self-isolating based on his experiences in space. And this inspired us to think about what we could be doing to keep occupied during the lockdown. 

Kelly’s top tips included: take up a hobby, take time to connect and go outside. We have compiled an even more specific list inspired by Scott Kelly’s and by our wonderful staff, time to get inspired... 

  1. Learn a language 

As our classroom-based teaching can no longer run, we have set up an ESOL learning group chat for our tenants, where they can practice their English, and send each other voice messages to practice English conversation.  

You could start something similar, whether you’re looking to practice English as a foreign language or learn another language. Try getting a group together to practice over the phone and video call.  

There are also lots of apps that are fantastic tools to learn another language. Duolingo is one of the most used language-learning apps and through it you could learn Arabic, Spanish, Swahili, Polish (or even Klingon!) and many more. 

Think of ways you can reach out online with these new found language skills. Learning Polish? Find a Polish-language book club to join online. You can also download e-books in English and a selection of other languages for free from audible

  1. Give someone you know a tech lesson 

Everyone knows how to use video chats, apps and social media. Right? Wrong. Not everyone has as many digital skills as you might do and now is the perfect opportunity to share these skills and teach. 

Check in with your parents, grandparents and friends to see if they are up-do-date with the latest apps for keeping in touch and entertained. Have a lesson on how to use them over the phone, and then encourage them to use these new-found skills to keep in touch! 

Some great apps to stay connected include: Skype, Facebook, Zoom, Houseparty.  

  1. Learn a craft 

Ever wanted to learn a creative hobby? 

Now is the time to do things you have been meaning to for a long time: pick up an instrument you haven’t touched in years, get crocheting, painting, cycling, sewing, drawing, DIY-ing, gardening, writing or dancing (this is our favourite song to have a dance to in the office!) 

Taking up a hobby is another opportunity to connect with people you know, to skill-share. It’s a great way to get older friends and relatives involved, as they will have a wealth of life-skills and knowledge gained over the years, and could give you craft lessons over video chat or over the phone.  

  1. Do a photography challenge 

Recently, we have been running a photography workshop with our tenants, and it was a fantastic way to see the world through a different lens. As we are confined to our homes, it is a unique opportunity to really look and see our environment in a new way. 

You could pick a topic e.g. home or family and challenge yourself to take pictures around the subject.  

Share your best photos on social media and challenge friends and relatives to do the same. 

  1. Cook your way around the world  

Having more time at home means more time to practice your cooking! 

If you’re stuck for recipes, the internet is a vast tool for learning cookery skills. There is everything you could ever need to teach yourself to cook online: YouTube tutorials, blogs run by grandmothers and recipes from Michelin starred chefs.  

Expand your knowledge and learn recipes from another culture. At ACH we are already missing our regular Somali lunches, so we’ll have to get our cooking skills up-to-scratch at home. Challenge yourself to cook outside your comfort zone and learn a dish from another culture.  

If you like spicy food, we recommend making the super-hot Somali Bas Baas sauce! 

  1. Volunteer 

Astronaut Scott Kelly concludes his New York Times article by saying the biggest revelation space taught him was that we are all connected.  

From space there are no borders, no differences between people. Kelly said being in space, in isolation taught him compassion for others. The more we can stay further apart physically, but closer together mentally, the better. 

The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted everyday life, but it has also shown us the best of humanity. 

If you are well and able, you can volunteer for others during this crisis. Here are some ways: 

NHS Responders – Nationwide  

Bristol Council’s Volunteer Response – Bristol-based 

Find a mutual aid group near you – Local  

OR – Set up your own street-level response to help vulnerable people near you! You can find more information on this here. 


Have any more ideas of your own? Tell us about them and share your self-isolation-self-development progress on our socials! #selfisolationcreation 

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