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Because there are only so many series you can watch and video games you can play before your brain turns to mush!

Learn something new

I’ve been loving watching TED talks, the speakers are usually really engaging and you can learn about a huge range of topics from people all over the world. There is also a new show on Netflix called 100 Humans that is a series of science and psychological experiments on 100 test subjects. It’s presented by fun hosts and you can find out some fascinating things about human nature. Also, if you haven’t already watched David Attenborough’s new series, or any of his series, get on that!

Watch TED talks online here

Complete an online course

Completing an online course or qualification is a productive way for anyone to spend time at home! An online qualification can be a great addition to your CV, whether you want to add to your professional skills to attract future employers, or if you just want to learn more about a keen interest or hobby of yours. Perhaps there is a topic that you love reading about or you want to learn a new skill to start your own side hustle. You can find online courses for near enough anything and you’ll usually get a certificate or qualification at the end, too.

Access free online courses with Coursera.

Practice a new language

It can be all too easy to forget or miss out on practising the language you’re learning when you’ve got a busy routine every day, but this is a great opportunity to schedule in a bit of time each day for it! You could also add on some subtitles to your current Netflix show in your chosen language to get in a few additional words. I’ve said it before in a previous blog post but I’ll say it again – Duolingo is one of the best apps out there and I recommend it for anybody who wants to learn a language!

Try the Duolingo app to help you learn a new language.

Learn to play an instrument

Playing an instrument is a skill that is wonderful to have but that requires a lot of dedication so while you have some time on your hands, why not! It’s probably not going to be the most fun for your neighbours but it’s definitely rewarding! Alternatively to avoid potential conflicts, you could try a keyboard or an electric drum kit and headphones. 

Enjoy a new hobby

Here is the perfect opportunity to take up a new hobby, or perhaps revisit an old hobby that you haven’t looked back to in ages. Pinterest is an excellent place to go for some inspiration if you love arts and crafts or home décor, and Youtube is also a great place to find some less conventional ideas. I have a friend who loves cross stitch and while I thought it was nerdy at first, it’s since exploded in popularity and she’s even started her own online store! Maybe if you have a special skill or are good at making things you could start your own Etsy store too.

Check out some arts & crafts ideas here.

Train your pets

If you’ve got a pet, particularly if you’ve got a pet as needy as mine, they are probably over the moon that you’re home more than usual. To keep both you and them entertained during this period of social distancing, you could teach them some new tricks! Youtube is filled with ideas and tutorials. Maybe this could be your pet’s opportunity to learn all the tricks that they keep forgetting as soon as they see food. You could become a more iconic duo than that girl and her dog who were the winners of Britain’s Got Talent.

Try those at home workouts at last

Now that the gyms are closed, you could actually try one of those at home workouts you’ve saved or screenshotted from Instagram! Lots of gyms and personal trainers are also providing online home workouts to keep us training through this time, including body weight sessions or high intensity classes that require no equipment. For added resistance, you could use water bottles or cans from your cupboard as weights or some online stores will be able to deliver resistance bands, TRX cables, weights or even machines to your home.

Try Cult fit’s app for home workouts.

Actually enjoy your own balcony / garden for once!

I know that many of us are guilty of not doing this enough. When you were viewing properties to move in to, do you remember checking out the balcony or garden and dreaming of all of the lovely morning coffees or evening dinners you would enjoy outside? Since you moved in you probably hardly ever took the opportunity to actually do that. Make sure your beautiful gardens and balconies get the love they deserve during this time! The fresh air and sunshine is good for us, especially when you might be feeling a bit cooped up indoors.

Create an at home spa

When else do you have enough time at home to really invest in spa-ing yourself? You can order face masks, candles, bath treats and whatever else you enjoy to create your own spa at home. If you’ve got even more time to fill you could even create your own DIY hair and face masks out of natural ingredients! You’ll know exactly what’s going in them and it might help you to feel relaxed during this time of uncertainty. Also – you can totally wear face masks whilst working from home, if you’re not on a video call.

Finally finish those DIY jobs you’ve left hanging for ages

We’ve all got some! You may as well do a little spruce up of the house and fix all the little things that have been left behind. If you find being stuck at home more boring than watching paint dry, you may as well get those paint jobs done. Right now is the perfect time for a spring clean and a clean house is a clean mind!

Take a minute to relax!

It’s always important, but it’s even more important to look after yourself in times like these where it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed and you might be out of the swing of your usual routine. Taking some time to relax and feel calm, however you prefer to do that, can help bring you some peace. Some of the most popular and reportedly the most effective methods include yoga, meditation and journaling. I’ve heard loads of great reviews about the Calm app for meditation. Personally, I like to take time to do some stretches! Remember to take deep breaths and try to avoid or ignore distractions. Five to ten minutes a day is all you need to see the positive effects.

Download the Calm app here.

Learn to cook something new

Now you have the time to learn to cook something new! Whether you’re an absolute novice or a seasoned pro (sorry) there is always something new you can learn, or a new vegetable or spice you can try. I actually really enjoy baking when I’ve got some spare time at home as I love the difference between the ingredients you start with and the finished outcome. It also makes your home smell fantastic.

Try some recipes from this Youtube cooking channel.

Try a new local restaurant for takeaway

If your cooking attempts go terribly wrong, you can always support your local businesses and order takeaway! Fortunately, during this difficult time, our trusty food delivery services are still working around the clock. You can order your favourite comfort food or try something new. The Entertainer always has food deals on special offer so you can see which tasty deals are in your area. I’ve seen lots of new food delivery options popping up on Instagram, too.

Actually call your mum, old friends and relatives that you don’t speak to enough

This is the most important one! Be sure to check on your family and give them a call. In our usual busy routines, it can be all too easy to accidentally miss that text from a friend, or forget to call your mum back. WhatsApp group chats are excellent but it’s important to hear voices to feel connected, especially right now when your loved ones may need a little extra support or additional reassurance that you’re ok. Netflix have also recently launched the new ingenious feature to keep us connected, Netflix Party! This will allow you to schedule group watch parties of your Netflix shows with friends and family online. The video playback will be synchronised across your screens and there will also be a group chat feature! Get your snacks ready and have a long distance movie night with your loved ones. It’s another way to stay connected to your family and you can schedule in and look forward to spending this time together.

Check out Netflix Party here.


This article is part of the expat diaries series. Click here to view the rest of the series.


Crystal McClelland

Social Media Marketing Executive




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