If you’re anything like me, you’re currently stuck at home in some version of self-isolation or quarantine.
It’s not exactly the most inspiring way of living. We love our homes, and they’re a safe-haven… but right now, those walls are probably feeling a lot closer than usual. The feeling of being horrifically stuck at home, possibly for months on end, is creeping in.
Now, more than ever, we need coping mechanisms to battle that isolating feeling. While the situation is undeniably crappy, there are plenty of simple ways that we can seek out a little joy each and every day that we’re stuck at home.
Before I begin, please know that any and every feeling you’re encountering right now is valid and important. There is no fix-all for the times when you’re scared, sad, lonely or bored. While these mood boosters can help lighten your day, they’re not a solution to the strangeness of being in a long-term quarantine situation.
I consider myself a happy, easy-going person but I’m feeling the pinch, just like everyone else. So believe me, I’m not trying to sell you the idea that the weeks and months ahead can be easy and fun if you just do X, Y, Z. I don’t know your exact situation, but I do know that you’ve been affected in some big or little way by the current events.
So with all that in mind, I hope you can find a handful of ideas that help boost your mood while you’re stuck at home!
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13 Mood Boosters For When You’re Stuck At Home
1. Read Some Fiction
And keep it light, for goodness sake. At the moment I’m reading (and really enjoying!) The Flat Share. Other books I’ve really enjoyed recently are Circe (such a stunning read!) and Where The Crawdads Sing (LOVED THIS).
And if you’ve got a friend willing to read along with you and discuss over Skype while sipping wine, I highly recommend Cold Storage. I think my book club’s hilarious discussion of this book is one of my top moments of 2020 so far!
2. Open The Windows
Unless it’s bitterly cold out, or blowing a gale, open every window that you can and let the breeze and sunshine into your home. There’s something exceptionally sweet about fluttery sheer curtains and fresh air filling your space.
3. Bake Something
Freshly baked treats engage all your senses in the very best ways. The sound of the spoon scraping the bowl as you mix. The smell of sugar permeating the kitchen. The sight of a dozen freshly baked apple muffins all lined up in their tray. The warmth of holding it in your hand. The taste of that first highly-anticipated bite. Baking is almost guaranteed to cheer you up, every time.
Looking for recipes that will hit the spot? Try these bakery-style muffin recipes, my ridiculously gooey chocolate pocket brownies, or for something healthier this nutty oat banana bread.
4. Put On Some Music
You know exactly which tunes make you feel good, so bang them together in a Spotify playlist and blast that playlist like the quarantined champ you are. If you want to mix things up and find some new favourites, search Spotify for “Happy Songs” and pick a playlist that someone else has put together.
5. Move Your Bod
It’s a known fact that exercise releases endorphins that make life a little better. So claim your very own set of endorphins. Do an at-home workout or dance routine from YouTube, pull out your skipping rope or rebounder trampoline, or even bust out the Wii Fit you haven’t used since 2009. I recently wrote this list of joyful movement ideas, and there are many exercises that can be done at home.
6. Start A Grateful Journal
It may feel insane to even consider being grateful in the current climate. Life is a mess. People are scared. We can’t leave our homes. We can’t be with loved ones. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons to be grateful today. We just need to dig a little deeper to find them.
Got a decent coffee machine that’s currently powering you through #workathome life? I bet you’re grateful for that. How about a friend who keeps texting through hilarious memes? You must be really grateful for that friend. A house plant that’s throwing out a soft green new leaf? Grateful! That batch of apple muffins you baked this morning? Heck yeah, you’re grateful! Every time you find a small spot of joy or relief, write it down, and read your list back often.
7. Make Your Bed
Give your room a healthy clean and get in the habit of making your bed each morning as soon as you get up. Each time you glimpse your fresh, clutter-free, visually pleasing bedroom, you’ll get the best little kick in your heart.
8. Start A Simple Hobby
Now might not be the time to be stretching your brain too hard, but it’s a great time to engage in something simple and pleasurable on a daily basis. Try colouring in (I love any Johanna Basford, like her World Of Flowers adult colouring book). Give knitting a go. Learn to crochet granny squares. Start a bullet journal. Journal or write in the mornings. Having a manageable ongoing project is a great mood booster.
For a longer list of soothing hobbies you can do at home, check out these ideas here.
9. Bring Some Hygge To Your Home
If there were ever a time to embrace the Danish practice of Hygge, it’s now! Not familiar with it? It’s basically creating, seeking out and recognising special moments throughout your day. This article explains the concept in detail.
Light some candles, sip tea from your favourite cup, cut yourself some flowers from the garden, eat freshly baked apple muffins (yes, I’m clearly going to keep talking about these muffins), drape a cozy blanket over your knees while you work, and whip up a batch of your mum’s spaghetti bolognaise. Heavenly.
10. Laughter Yoga
It’s weird but it’s also kind of awesome. If you’re allergic to exercise, don’t worry… Even the couchiest of potatoes can handle this, as it’s more a breathing exercise than a workout. This is my current favourite laughter yoga video for reasons I can’t explain.
11. Catch Up On Your Podcasts
Those podcasts you’ve fallen behind on, the podcasts you’ve been meaning to check out, and the podcasts that you know you’ll enjoy listening to… Get onto them! There’s never been a better time to immerse yourself in podcasts than when you’re stuck at home with not much else to do.
12. Play Pictionary With A Robot
So this is cool. Quick, Draw! is an online game of Pictionary against a computer. Can a neural network learn to recognise human doodling? While having a go is undeniably a bit more fun than scrolling Facebook for the 29th time in a morning, it also helps the computer learn a little bit more about human doodling, making it more accurate the more that it’s played with.
13. Connect With A Friend
Texts are fun and keep the day moving, but at least once every few days, you need a little more than that. Open a Skype or Zoom session with a friend, see their face, drink wine together, and tell them how many batches of apple muffins you plan on baking until quarantine is over. Laugh together over how fat you’re going to get. And then get real about your feelings. Check in with each other. Remind each other that it’s okay to feel sad or scared or strange.
Or you know. Keep it light and start a Netflix watching party together. That works too.
Are you ready to bust out of those stuck at home blues? Seeking out little moments like these – regularly – can really help you cheer up just enough to get you through the rest of the day.
Remember, we’re all in this together. Separately. It really sucks, but we owe it to ourselves to try and spark a little joy in our day-to-day.
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