Make the most of staying at home

Photo of a London home exterior

From nationwide lockdowns and mandatory quarantine to self-isolation, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected us all in one way or another. ๐Ÿ™ƒ

You may feel overwhelmed at times and that’s totally normal. To combat lethargy and feelings of isolation, try to establish a routine and find ways to use this time productively.

From self-development to redecorating, these activities will inspire you to make the most of extended periods at home!

Get organised

If your travel photos are a mess or your tax return is almost due, why not redirect your “lost” commute time to getting your life admin under control? OVERDUE notices, begone! โœ‹

With all this extra time at home, you might also consider reorganising the furniture, too. It’s surprising how small tweaks can really transform a space. A nice air-filtering plant is a nice addition!

If the tired sight of dirty dishes and laundry gets on your nerves, now you can easily tidy up here and there without exhausting yourself. It’s also a great excuse for getting up throughout the day – this is especially important if you live a sedentary lifestyle.

Speaking of lifestyle, whether you have a special diet plan or a fitness or mindfulness goal, don’t forget to prioritise your health. Set aside some time to plan your meals for the week and identify optimal times to exercise and unwind. ๐Ÿง˜

When was the last time you refreshed your CV? You never know, might come in handy at short notice!

Create and innovate

While getting your life under control is important, it can get a little tedious. To avoid procrastinating, break up the admin checklist with some creative flair. ๐ŸŽจ

From colouring to coding, there’s a creative activity to suit everyone’s interests and skill level. There’s loads of great online resources like free tutorials and apps to get you started.

Who knows, you could even take your creations it a step further and open an Etsy store or Patreon. ๐Ÿ›๏ธ

If words are more your strength, why not start that blog or dust off that manuscript you’ve been meaning to finish for years?

Entertainment escapism

From mobile phones to gaming consoles, there’s a gadget for everyone these days. ๐Ÿฆ–

When you’ve got plenty of time on your hands, it’s the perfect opportunity to indulge in an epic open world adventure or series marathon.

When you’re feeling a little more sociable, you can co-op with your housemates or host a virtual cook-off with your mates.

While it may be tempting to go down the video streaming rabbit hole, remember to strike a balance and switch off regularly. This is especially important to get a decent night’s sleep. ๐Ÿ”Œ

Keeping a novel on the nightstand or a crossword puzzle book on the coffee table is a great starting point.

Get physical

If the gym or your local sports club aren’t an option, you’ll be surprised how much fitness you can achieve in your humble living room. ๐Ÿ‹๏ธ

A yoga mat, resistance bands and dumbbells are perfect for a more confined space such as a bedroom floor. If you’re looking to expand your home gym, add a medicine ball, hula hoop or skipping rope (high ceilings are recommended).

For something a little different, there’s a range of fitness software and games with motion controls to try. I’m a fan of Ring Fit Adventure for Nintendo Switch, but there’s also more affordable options for for boxing, dancing, yoga and other cardiovascular exercises.

No equipment? No problem! There’s a plethora of no equipment online workouts for all fitness levels. ๐Ÿ’ป

If cabin fever strikes, get out for some fresh air by going for a walk or run around your local park. You can also check if there are any cycle hire options in your neighbourhood for a more adventurous journey.

Learn something new

Last but not least, try learning something new. What better time to stream podcasts while prepping lunch or curl up and watch a documentary in-between meetings?

There’s also plenty of free seminars and tutorials online from every industry to explore – perfect for playing in the background while completing monotonous tasks. ๐Ÿ“

With a little more dedication, you can take it a step further and enrol in e-learning modules for free or quite cheaply. Easily up skill, network, or learn a new language or instrument from home!

With the lack of commute time in your day, you might even fancy attempting a mid-week slow cooker meal or tricky dessert recipe you’ve been putting off for ages.


How have you been keeping cabin fever at bay when spending extended periods of time at home? Share your tips in the comments below! ๐Ÿ‘‡


More in Lifestyle

Photo of a girl in hotel quarantine

Hotel quarantine survival guide

Whether it’s considered effective or a costly overkill is hotly debated. And for now it doesn’t look like it will be going anywhere anytime soon. ๐Ÿจ

Photo of an Australian koala

Australia survival guide

From crocodiles and sharks to a nasty sunburn, here’s how to survive a visit Down Under. ๐Ÿจ

Photo of a squirrel in London in autumn

Fall for London in autumn

London in warm autumnal hues coupled with fun activities and events will make you think twice before swapping hiking boots for slippers. ๐Ÿ‚

Life-changing reads

If you’re a fan of print, you’ll understand the panic mode that hits when you realise you have to abandon your home library when it comes to The Big Move (see below or read more on Instagram).

With an average of 20-something kilos per bag, you quickly realise suitcase space is hot property real estate. That’s when you face the painful process of picking your favourite book child(ren) and sadly part with the rest ๐Ÿ“š

A few ways to get around it are to:

  • Convert to an e-reader and bring your digital library anywhere you go
  • Hit up secondhand bookstores once you arrive. I picked up Rubicon by Tom Holland in great condition for just ยฃ2 at a London charity shop!
  • Ask your family to stuff a bag full of books and goodies from back home during their obligatory visit
  • Scope out pricey shipping options if you can’t live without your 12 volume fantasy saga. Expat Facebook groups are great for recommendations.

Below are some of the titles that I couldn’t bear to part with, and ironically some actually inspired me to move in the first place – like inspirational comets, crashing into my life plan and shifting its trajectory off course โ˜„๏ธ

โ€œA room without books is like a body without a soul.โ€

Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Orator

Warning: Reading the following books might change life as you know it! Proceed with caution.

Writing and teen angst

Bitten๐Ÿบ

Kelley Armstrong, Women of the Otherworld, Horror, Fantasy, 2001

Elena Michaels is the worldโ€™s only female werewolf. And sheโ€™s tired of it. So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where sheโ€™s trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him.More info

Before Twilight‘s sparkly vampires infected our lunchtime gossip sessions, I was nose deep this is dark, gritty urban fantasy about werewolf mafia.

The story gets up close and personal, making you shudder with images of gore, and flush red from the abrupt, raunchy sex littered throughout. Armstrong’s writing perfectly blends the supernatural and the adult world, minus the cringey tropes of teen fantasy novels.

After turning the last page, I opened up my Word and immediately started writing my own supernatural saga (because I was such an ‘expert’ by that point). I’d print off every new chapter and bring it to school for my best friends to take home and read. Surprisingly, they enjoyed it and pestered me daily for the next installment. Chuffed that my writing was such a hit in the schoolyard, I decided that being a writer was my calling.

History buff

Mistress of Rome โš”๏ธ

Kate Quinn, Empress of Rome, Historical Fiction, 2010

First-century Rome. Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, purchased as a toy for a spiteful heiress. Now she has infuriated her mistress by capturing the attention of Romeโ€™s newest and most savage gladiator. Reinventing herself as a singer for Romeโ€™s aristocrats, Thea unwittingly attracts another admirer: the charismatic Emperor.More info

The story hits the ground running. Quinn brings imperial Rome to the present through her protagonist’s modern voice and hits you with sensory bursts – colour in rich silks, thunderous applause in the Colosseum, the shiver of the Emperor’s breath down your neck, and the smell of gladiator sweat as they fight it out for their lives.

I picked up Mistress of Rome early on in my uni degree. At the time I was indecisive about first year Psychology and looking for ways to avoid stats. Knowing that I’d have to tackle my numerical demons at some point, I jumped into my imagination’s time machine. The world of emperors, gladiators and lavish banquets was so richly immersive I longed to be a part of it.

And so began my second (and third) academic start, bringing me closer to my Serious Writer dreams and ever so much further away from stats. Seeing the Colosseum in person never fails to snatch the breath from my lungs ๐Ÿ›๏ธ

Culture and cuisine

The Gypsy Tearoom ๐Ÿ

Nicky Pellegrino, Fiction, 2007

Raffaella Moretti is by far the most beautiful girl in the southern Italian village of Triento and she is about to marry the only boy she has ever loved. The last thing she expects is to find herself a widow one short year later, down on her hands and knees, scrubbing clean the layers of dirt from a strange house.More info

I don’t subscribe to the motto ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ – something has to entice you to pluck it from the shelf, right? This little teal book caught my eye and the strange title instilled me with the sudden need to know what a ‘gypsy tearoom’ was.

A chapter or two in, and I’ve been a tragic Italophile ever since. Food, language, art, history, culture, romance … what’s not to love?!

Pellegrino depicts Italy in sepia – picturesque towns and traditions passed down over generations, and a calmness that makes you want to curl up on a sunbed and sip spritz on a summer afternoon by the beach. Hmm, maybe I could live there…

Girl power!

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon ๐ŸŒ™ Volume 1

Naoko Takeuchi, Shลjo Japanese Manga, 1992

Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets Luna, a talking cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon who must fight evil and enforce justice, in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. She meets other girls destined to be Sailor Senshi (Sailor Scouts), and together they fight the forces of evil!More info

Sailor Moon combines most things I enjoy – superpowers, strong females, romance, action, mythology, Japanese culture, the list goes on. The series really kicked off my love for visual storytelling, resulting in many trees sacrificed to my endless ink doodling. Good thing now we have tablets!

Confession: This phase actually started with the American 90s anime adaptation Sailor Moon. This ‘phase’ hasn’t exactly ended yet, and it may have inspired a trip to Japan and led to an obscene amount of merch purchases ๐Ÿ›๏ธ

My interest in the original manga only started amidst the hype surrounding the franchise’s 20th anniversary and the release of the Sailor Moon Crystal anime series. Nostalgia of the fun, quirky show of my childhood came flooding back and I gave the back-to-front illustrated novels a go. After devouring every instalment, plus a few volumes in Spanish and Italian, I went ahead and rewatched the entire series.

Warning: Prepare to have this track stuck in your head all day.

Myths, gods and heroes

The Iliad ๐Ÿบ

Homer, Epic Poem, 800 or 700 B.C.

The darkest episode in the Trojan War. At its centre is Achilles, the greatest warrior-champion of the Greeks, and his refusal to fight after being humiliated by his leader Agamemnon. But when the Trojan Hector kills Achilles’ close friend Patroclus, he storms back into battle to take revenge knowing this will ensure his own early death. Interwoven with this tragic sequence of events are the conflicts between the Gods on Olympus as they argue over the fate of mortals.More info

Homer. Where to even begin? A timeless epic of Greek and Trojan heroes: honourable Hector, god-like Achilles, beautiful Paris, proud kings, egotistical gods, a hidden trap wooden horse, a decade of war and forbidden love, and ‘the face that launched a thousand ships’.

The Iliad is eternal and enduring. It embodies the Greek heroic tragedy, and would pave the way for countless retellings and interpretations across the ages. The story represents storytelling in its richest form and adapts seamlessly across all mediums: oral, written, audio, visual. In my opinion, its only downfall is the repetitive comparisons of every warrior to a lion. How about a wolf, mountain bear or an eagle to mix things up a bit?

The Iliad is my muse, as my well-thumbed copy can attest.

โ€œEvery story I create, creates me. I write to create myself.โ€

Octavia E. Butler

Honourable mentions ๐Ÿฅˆ

Okay, so this post sort of became a shopping list.

  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Leigh Bardugo, YA Fiction
  • The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller, Historical Fiction
  • Imperium, Robert Harris, Historical Fiction
  • Antony and Cleopatra, Colleen McCullough, Historical Fiction
  • The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux, Gothic Horror
  • DraculaBram Stoker, Gothic Horror
  • The Aeneid, Virgil, Epic Poetry
  • The Odyssey, Homer, Epic Poetry
  • Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, Memoir
  • Lunch in Paris, Elizabeth Bard, Memoir
  • Geisha of Gion, Mineko Iwasaki, Memoir
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood, Dystopia
  • The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, Fantasy
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien, Fantasy
  • The Book of Tomorrow, Cecelia Ahern, YA Fiction
  • The Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton, Children’s Fiction
  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning ThiefRick Riordan, YA Fiction
  • Stardust, Neil Gaiman, Fantasy
  • Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen, Fiction
  • Harry Potter: and the Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling, Fantasy
  • Eragon, Christopher Paolini, Fantasy
  • Magic Knight Rayearth, CLAMP, Shลjo Japanese Manga
  • Sakura Hime: The Legend of Princess Sakura, Arina Tanemura, Shลjo Japanese Manga
  • W.I.T.C.H, Elisabetta Gnone, Alessandro Barbucci, Barbara Canepa, Italian Comic.

โ€œIf there is a book that you want to read, but it hasnโ€™t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.โ€

Toni Morrison

Latest posts ๐Ÿ‘‡