So here we all are. Confined to home detention for a defined (but probably unknown) number of weeks. Apart from the screamingly obvious things to do, like culling your wardrobe or doing a Wazgij puzzle, what sort of amusements does your home hold? Here are some ideas:
Bake a weird vegetable cake
Stressful times demand cake; but daily cake eating can have weighty side effects. So have your cake and eat it without guilt by making it high-fibre and healthy. Carrot cake is just the beginning. Your fridge is potentially full of vegetables that can be made into a healthy-ish cake. Simply substitute the carrot for pumpkin, courgette, beetroot, kumara or parsnip. Cut the sugar down to less than one cup, use oil instead of butter and throw in some chopped nuts and desiccated coconut.
Learn to use Zoom
Keeping in touch with family and friends is more fun when you can see their faces. Download Zoom onto your computer, laptop, tablet or phone. It’s an excellent app for business meetings, and it’s also very handy for morning tea chats, Friday night drinkies, Book Club nights and all the other social occasions you might be missing. The Zoom help centre is full of useful resources.
Cull the family photos
Only some of your family photos are great; many of them are probably pretty average. One day, when you’re demented and living in a rest home, your kids or a family member will inherit this giant mish-mash of imagery. Better to streamline it now, while you still have your marbles. Culling can take days, as you wander down memory lane through waves of nostalgia.
Give yourself a professional facial from things in your pantry
Before your morning shower, steam your face over a bowl of boiling water. Use a towel to make a tent over your head, so the steam can’t escape. Add a sprig of rosemary to the water if you have some. Then use brown sugar mixed with a little olive oil as a face scrub. This can be messy, so lean over the hand basin while you’re scrubbing. Rinse off. Finally, mix up a face mask. Ideas include mashed banana, yoghurt and honey, papaya, oatmeal and honey or egg yolk. Relax for 15 minutes in front of Netflix. Rinse off and moisturise. See some face mask ideas.
Spend an hour on your feet
Exploit luxury of time by giving yourself a thorough pedicure. Start by removing all nail polish, then using fine sandpaper or an emery board to sand off callouses and rough skin. Next, soak your feet in a bucket of warm water enhanced with a slosh of olive oil. After five minutes or so, take one foot out and clip or cut your toenails, then clean under each nail with a suitable manicure tool. Yukky, but really good for foot hygiene. Rub olive oil on the cuticle of each nail, then push the cuticle back with an orange stick or your thumbnail. Smooth nail edges with a fine emery board. Repeat with the other foot. Wash your feet in water again, then dry them and rub with hand cream. If you want to use nail polish, skip the hand cream until polish is entirely dry.
Research how to spend your travel bank credit
If your next holiday (and maybe the one after) has been cancelled, resulting in money in an airline’s travel bank, you’ll be able to use that credit to go anywhere…one day. It doesn’t have to be your original destination. Watch amateur travelogues on You Tube (ranging from amazing to truly terrible) to find a destination that’s outside the ordinary.
Learn a language
Now’s an excellent time to brush up language skills or gain some new ones. Share this activity with others in your bubble and see if you can go a whole day of talking to each other in another language. Google Translate will be helpful and Spotify is full of language lessons. You’ll also find lots of cheap language apps for your phone, as well as thousands of free language lessons on the interweb. If you have a library card, you can download free audio language books on Libby (a phone app). Kindle and Audible are another place to find language lessons.
Make a skipping rope
I could see this lockdown coming, so ordered a skipping rope on Trademe in the nick of time. If you don’t have a purpose-built skipping rope, make one with a piece of rope. Skipping for just five minutes a day will boost your cardio fitness quickly. You’ll need to take an interval training approach – 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off – because it’s hard work. Check out some beginner skipping workouts.
Find out what Alexa can really do
If you have Amazon Alexa in some form, find out the extent of her abilities. Ask her to rap, laugh, sing or tell you a story. Get her to tell you recipes, weather reports and news updates. Ask her to talk in another language. You can also ask Alexa for explanations of the universe’s secrets, like quantum mechanics or Einstein’s theory of relativity. And when you’re feeling anxious about Covid-19 and what it’s doing to the world, ask Alexa to help you relax or play a guided meditation from Spotify.
Build a website
Create a blog site for your opinions or hobby, a CV site that’s all about you or a business site for a side hustle you plan to start up when the lockdown’s over. It can cost you next-to-nothing if you use Wix, Squarespace, Word Press or Weebly. Learning how to use a content management system can really make the hours fly by.