Hobbies to try instead of seeing your friends during quarantine

Homemade+%22afternoon+tea%22%2C+perfect+for+family+bonding+during+social+distancing

Homemade "afternoon tea", perfect for family bonding during social distancing

POV: it’s your fourth day in quarantine and the coronavirus memes are getting repetitive. You’ve watched Contagion for the fifth time and your parents (who have also been newly quarantined) keep asking you who Khan is and why his Academy is more important than you doing a yoga routine with them.

Last week, the coronavirus was a “flu”. This week it’s a pandemic. No matter where you stand on the spectrum-of-coronavirus-induced-anxiety, if you happen to be quarantining yourself like I am, here are a few hobbies that I’ve picked up that are also fairly accessible to the average housebound individual.

GARDENING – for the outdoorsman/woman

PICTURED: My two year old crassula ovata (“jade plant”)

By far my favorite activity – gardening is accessible in most living arrangements. I have both potted plants and an outdoor garden that I tend to, and at times seeing the change in my plants is really grounding (no pun intended).

Staying inside all day can really wear on the spirits –  especially with the beautiful Californian spring and summer seasons.

Although I highly encourage beginning gardeners, plant parents, etc. to tackle any plant that they wish (research goes a long way), I recommend, the bamboo plant, zanzibar genus (“ZZ plant”), dracaena trifasciata (“snake plant”) and any type of philodendron for anyone new to gardening.

MACRAME – for the multitasker 

PICTURED: macrame plant hanger, made up of only one type of knot

Stemming from gardening (in some aspects) is macrame. For anyone familiar with any yarn work, crochet or knitting, macrame is like the most laid-back cousin of any of these hobbies. Requiring only your hands, tape, scissors, some type of measuring device, rope and a loop, it’s an art form that is based purely on tying different types of knots.

I find macrame extremely soothing because unlike most other activities, it is an extremely interactive one that ironically doesn’t require that much attention. Many tutorials are available on YouTube, (the tutorial I used featured a square knot).

I highly suggest doing this on a rainy, low energy day. Macrame is something that is easily done while bingeing shows on Netflix.

READING – for the daydreamer

PICTURED: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and Am I Overthinking This? by Michelle Rial

I have had a lifelong love-affair with reading for as long as I can remember, however, I am sure that if you are a bookworm (I prefer the term “avid reader”) you need no convincing from me to pick up your next tome. However is thinking about picking up a book — there is literally no better feeling than finishing a good book. Modern classics like the Harry Potter series are woven into the fabric of our literary culture, however, if you aren’t into fantasy? I highly suggested The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry if you want not only a coming of age arc but also a soul-wrecking cry session. Also, may I note that you can pick up this book at Barnes and Nobles with free curbside pick up? (Support physical bookstores!)

(JULIE NGUYEN / EYE OF THE TIGER)

PAINTING – for the Bob Ross Enthusiast

Fact — painting is an amazing artistic outlet. Fact — Bob Ross is the most soothing person you will ever listen to.

I highly suggest you follow along to Bob Ross: Beauty is Everywhere on Netflix if you want a poignant but beautiful reminder that although you are inside, there is still beauty out there.

Personally, I love painting on my own or even outside under natural light. I have found acrylics and watercolor to be more forgiving than oil painting, and would probably recommend these mediums for anyone new to painting.

ALTERATIONS – for the thrifter (or the person thinking about dyeing their hair)

PICTURED: My rhompers altered with fabric paints

 

Personally I haven’t been thrifting during this pandemic (for obvious reasons). To anyone who is going through a crisis and desperately trying to reinvent their appearance, I have found that making alterations to my clothing has played a role in keeping my wardrobe from going stale.

Whether it’s that button that fell off in the wash, downsizing down those Levi’s, or just an addition with fabric paint, do it. Now is the time to experiment on that ambitious project you had bookmarked on Instagram.

It’s going to look at least semi-decent, and even if you mess up, you can still use the material for other projects. Same goes for hair (i.e. — wigs).

COOKING – for the take-out addict

(COURTESY / EMILY HOLPUCH)

Treat yourself — to some homemade meals! When are you ever going to get such a time to perfect your very own culinary skills? Like the average foodie, shows like Ugly Delicious, The Great British Bake-Off and SALT FAT ACID HEART are a constant in my Netflix queue.

Despite having a deep love and investment in food, I have found that I literally don’t know how to make it. Food as I have come to know it in the context of my family is a major source of communication.

Learning alongside my mom how to make recipes passed down from generations and also trying new recipes has curbed (some) of my cravings for take-out but also only brought my family and I closer.

Two easy recipes for the average teen are baked brie and sourdough bread.  Granted, neither are a full course meal, but that’s really all I can make.

WRITING LETTERS – for the traditionalist

(JULIE NGUYEN / EYE OF THE TIGER)

 

The first time I even thought of sending a letter was when I learned that my cousin was a part of an international letter-writing-alliance.

I know — texting is way faster. But there is something about the anticipation of opening an envelope and deciphering the sometimes illegible writing of a friend/loved one.

Especially since I have family  across the country, this source of communication acknowledges the distance, but still manages to communicate a sense of care and thought put into the process of putting on a stamp and addressing a letter.

I have also attached a care package to my letters in the past, which is coincidentally a great method of communication during social distancing.

                                        CROCHET – for the old soul

PICTURED: a crocheted bag

Not only are crochet projects excellent Christmas and birthday gifts, but they are also extremely therapeutic. While is does require thicker yarn and hooks specifically for the craft, once you watch a few tutorials and fall into the repetitive nature of crocheting, crocheting becomes addictive.

You will really find that you can make anything: sweaters, bags, scarves, coasters – the whole gambit. If you’re lucky, you can probably even sure your grandma that her crochet skills are inferior by the end of this quarantine.