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Self-isolating? 12 things you can do to stay busy (and sane)

  1. Get your bake on

    In our usual busy lives the idea of getting home from a hectic day at work and attempting to bake bread, a cake or just pull together something semi-edible often feels like a mammoth task. Hence opting for microwave meals and takeaway delivery apps.

    Baking requires time. And if there's one thing we've got right now guys - it's time. Indoors.

    Pick a recipe for something you've never made before (maybe don't go for the one that consists of 67 weird and wonderful ingredients as you'll struggle to get everything on your list) roll your sleeves up and get stuck into an afternoon of baking!

    Post your culinary masterpiece on ingenie's social once it's fresh out the oven. You might just inspire someone else to get the whisk out.
  2. Clear out your wardrobe

    How many times have you opened your wardrobe doors and thought to yourself, well that's too big, that's too tight, that's hideous but I can't chuck it out as Nan will get offended, that's actually part of a fancy dress costume and THAT... I'm not entirely sure that's even mine.

    Sound familiar? Well that's pretty much how my mornings usually go. But not anymore.

    Wardrobe organising

    Being stuck inside is a great way to get organised and make some space in your drawers and wardrobes. Once you're left with everything you want to keep, you could go even further and organise your clothes into seasons, occasions or even colours. Game-changer.

    Don't ignore that bag of odd socks you've been collecting over the years either. You're never going to find that polka dot trainer sock from year 9. Let it go. It's time.
  3. Learn a new skill

    Just because you're not at college, uni or work doesn't mean learning has to stop. And this time, rather than learning about how rocks are formed or trying to solve boring algebra equations, you can choose the subject.

    Learn a language, an instrument (a ukulele is an easy taster into music), how to sew/knit/crotchet, how to code html, how to become a topiarist and impress all your neighbours...the list is endless when you put your mind to it.

    YouTube has tutorials on just about everything. How to plait hair, become a tai chi master, solve a Rubik's Cube - before you know it hours would have passed and you'll have gained a few more smart cookie brain cells.
  4. Get handy with some DIY

    How many times have you looked on Pinterest or Instagram, seen some bedroom design inspo, saved it on your phone and never looked at it again. Guilty. I literally have albums.

    From simply putting up a shelf to creating a photo wall full of your best memories, you don't have to be Kevin McCloud to make some impressive home improvements.

    We're going to be living, learning, working, eating and sleeping in the same 4 walls for a while, so why not make it as nice and as comfortable as it can be.

    Photo wall
  5. Host an online quiz

    Friday and Saturday nights with your pals don't have to come grinding to a hault while all this unfolds. Physical social-distancing is a must, but there's nothing stopping you from setting up a Zoom or Skype call with your mates and hosting a virtual quiz.

    Get a group chat going to find out who's game (let's face it, everyone will be free) and send them an email or message with a link or ID to join the web cam call. Just Google online quizzes and you'll find everything from Disney Characters to 90s chart-toppers.

    If it turns out to be a success, pick a set weekday or night and take it in turns to host. The person with the least points at the end of this self-isolation period has to order the pizza and drinks - for real!

  6. Map out your family tree

    This is a great activity to get all the family involved as you'll need as much family input as possible. Grab a pen and paper (or a digital notepad) and start a timeline of your immediate family. Include their dates of birth and where they were born, then start branching out into Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins...

    Once you've mapped out as much as you know, get in touch with the oldest member of your family and see if they can help you map out any blank areas.

    You could also start a free trial at and trace your family roots wayyyyy back to caveman time. Barney Rubble is actually a long-lost brother of mine. Who knew.
  7. Give yourself a manicure (or pedicure if you're brave enough)

    This one's pretty self-explanatory but self-care is definitely high on the list of things we all neglect when we're busy. But since the pace of life has slowed down somewhat, get the nail files, clippers and polish out and give yourself a lovely hand and foot pamper.

    If you suffer from dry skin, smother your hands, feet (or both) in a thick moisturiser and put on some cotton socks and/or gloves (not on your feet) after. It might sound weird but it's a great way to help your skin rehydrate and absorb all the moisturiser.

  8. Make a bucket list

    It can be really tough to stay positive during times like this, but having things to look forward to will help lift your mood massively. While everything is on hold, start writing a list of all the things you want to achieve and experience in the next few years or just before you're 100 years old.

    Once you're done why not ask the people you live with to do the same and share your lists. You might even be able to help someone else tick some things off their bucket list.

    Typewriter list

    Here's a few of mine:

    1. Learn to play the guitar - properly!
    2. Host a podcast with my best mates
    3. Write a self-help book
    4. Fly business class, just once!
    5. Rescue a cat or dog (or any animal really. Just not a snake. Sorry.)
  9. Get the (bored) games out

    Don't eyeroll - stick with me. It might feel like you've gone back in time but there is actually something really fun about putting your phone down and turning your game console off in favour of a board game.

    Cluedo, Articulate, Scrabble, The Logo Game, Ludo, Monopoly, Jenga - all the classics! You can't beat'em. Gather the people you're living with round the table and dust off the family favourites. You'll be arguing in no time. Joking!

    Help keep an elderly or vulnerable person's mind active by suggesting they play along too or by encouraging them to complete a simple puzzle, sudoku or crossword. Games are a great mood-lifter.
  10. Get physical

    Guys - this one should be higher up the list, but I've snuck it in further down so you don't all yawn and say "yes, yes, I'll go for a run later." Exercise during self-isolation measures is CRUCIAL.

    It's not about burning calories it's about getting those feel-good endorphins going and keeping your energy levels up. Don't think of it as a chore, just work it into your daily routine so it feels normal.

    There are SO many online workout videos to choose from: yoga, pilates, zumba, P.E with Joe Wicks (great for kids) - all you need to do is get some comfortable clothes on and get moving.

    Yoga at home

    Don't worry about ordering a load of fitness equipment or weights while you're indoors. Body-weight will be enough for most exercises, plus there's loads of household items that can be incorporated into your work out.

    Baked bean tins, bottles of water and books can all be used as handy weights. Just make sure the water bottle caps are on tightly. Messy.
  11. Update your CV

    Any kind of life admin makes us want to strop on the floor like a toddler, but it's also one that will save you a lot of time when it comes to job searching.

    Fire up the computer, open up your CV (that's if you have one already - if not, here's a good place to start) and update your latest work experience, achievements and any extra information from the last time you dusted it down.

  12. Phone (yes - actually speak😱) to a loved one

    With so many of us now unable to see our friends and family in person, maintaining regular contact is more important than ever. Texts and social media messages are great, but picking up the phone and having a good ol'catch up can really make someone's day.

    We're all in this together and so the more we can support and take care of each other, the closer and stronger we'll be by the time the world opens up its doors again.

    Phone call
  13. Take care. Keep positive. #StayAtHome.

Need a bit of cheering up? We're giving away 10 £25 Nando's gift cards (for when they open again!) on our Instagram. Just follow us on Insta and fill in the survey in our bio for a chance to win.

Katey Gregory

By Katey Gregory

Katey Joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of all things social and content. She passed her driving test in 2015 and her first car is a Toyota Yaris T3 named Tyrone.