101 Joyful Things To Do While Self-Isolating

It's never been more important to self-isolate if you've been told to do so. But what is there to do if you're stuck at home and not working?

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Self-isolating is not only the right thing to do, but you could also end up in serious hot water financially if you fail to do it. Refusing to self-isolate is now illegal in England – those who don’t could face fines up to £10,000.

As it stands, there a few different circumstances where you need to self-isolate:

  • if you have any symptoms of coronavirus,
  • if you’ve tested positive for coronavirus,
  • if you live with someone, or someone in your support bubble, has symptoms or tested positive,
  • if you’ve been told to self-isolate by Test and Trace,
  • or if you’ve arrived in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk.

If you have symptoms or have tested positive for coronavirus, you’ll usually need to self-isolate for at least 10 days.

However some people – such as those who live with, or are in a support bubble with, someone who has symptoms or tested positive; or those who’ve been told to self-isolate by Test and Trace – need to stay put for 14 days. The time scale is longer in these groups to allow for the virus’ incubation period.

Of course, spending long periods of time at home without being able to leave the house can be pretty boring for those who aren’t working or studying.

So, here are some uplifting ways to fill your time if you do end up having to self-isolate (or, if you’re just stuck indoors because there’s a storm outside!):

1. Look after and tend to your house plants.

2. Download a language app and use it each day.

4. Finish reading that book on your bedside table.

5. Binge a Netflix series. We recommend Schitt’s Creek.

6. Use the colouring book you got for Christmas in 2014.

7. Make a dish you’ve never made before.

8. Call a grandparent.

10. Have a bath (or a longer shower than usual).

11. Open a window, pause, and enjoy the sun shining onto your face.

12. Complete a video game.

13. Learn sign language.

14. Make a delicious breakfast – and eat it in bed.

15. Take part in ‘Optimistic October’ every day.

16. Bake some cookies.

17. Write a page of that book you’ve been meaning to start.

18. Search for freebies on Nextdoor.

19. Jot down a poem.

20. Upcycle old furniture instead of getting rid of it.

21. Order a takeaway.

22. Go for a run – on the spot or around your flat/house.

23. Learn origami.

24. Deep-clean your home (it’ll make you feel better afterwards, honest).

25. Make a start on your Christmas shopping, online.

26. Buy a cross stitch kit – and actually finish it.

27. Play a board game.

28. Listen to a new podcast.

29. Clear out your makeup drawer and ditch any out-of-date beauty products.

30. Marie Kondo your wardrobe and put unwanted items in a charity bag for when your self-isolation ends.

32. Carve a pumpkin and put it in your window.

33. Dance in your kitchen to your favourite song.

34. Create your own sourdough starter.

35. Sort out your crap drawer – we all have one.

36. Make your favourite pizza from scratch.

37. Book an online food shop and order all your favourite things.

38. Invest in some swanky new PJs or loungewear – you deserve it.

39. Write a letter or send a card to a friend.

40. Plan a staycation or weekend break for once you’re out of quarantine.

41. Take time to think about what makes you feel good – and implement it.

42. Sign petitions to further the Black Lives Matter movement.

43. Research local charities in your area and donate to one.

44. Think about one change you can make in your life that benefits the environment.

45. Download the Calm app and actually use it.

46. Paint your bedroom (or any other room in your home).

47. Put up some of your favourite pictures (if you’re renting, get some Command strips so you don’t have to put nails in the wall).

48. Teach yourself to make a killer cup of coffee.

49. Rewatch old Bake Off episodes.

50. Become an online mentor.

52. Colour code your bookcase.

53. Give online wine tasting a whirl.

54. Master the art of DJ-ing, from your phone.

56. Ditch social media for the day.

57. Treat yourself to an early night.

58. Write a five-year plan.

59. Sit down for an hour to draw or paint.

60. Make time to watch A Life On Our Planet (on Netflix from October 4).

61. Ditch the meat and see if you can follow a vegetarian diet for the week.

63. Treat yourself to a new winter coat.

64. Cheer up your home with letterbox flowers.

65. Learn to knit (it’s good for the soul).

66. Paint your nails – or give yourself a pedicure.

69. Swot up on your general knowledge.

70. Finish that jigsaw puzzle.

71. Masturbate – go on, treat yourself.

72. Buy some ring binders and file away your paperwork. Colourful dividers are a must.

73. Write a journal about your life in the pandemic. One to show the grandkids some day!

74. Organise your photos – they might be stored on The Cloud, but it’s helpful to pop them into folders so you can easily refer back.

75. Print your favourite photos out.

76. Shimmy your way through an online dance class.

77. Try online yoga.

78. Play a card game with your housemate – single player card games are a thing, too.

79. Leave conditioner on your hair for longer than normal and get that glossy feel.

80. Decorate your own gingerbread house (and then eat it).

81. Make a list of all the life admin you have to do – and get started.

82. Book a haircut (for two weeks time, of course).

83. Switch energy providers to get a cheaper deal.

84. Assess your direct debits.

85. Try Laughter Yoga, if you dare.

86. Make popcorn and watch your favourite childhood film.

87. Host an at-home cocktail night with these easy recipes.

88. Build a den – with or without kids at home.

89. Polish your shoes for when you’re allowed into the world again.

91. Get the Christmas decorations out early (we’re in a pandemic, it’s allowed).

92. Try this mulled wine recipe while you’re at it.

93. Follow uplifting Instagram accounts – and delete the ones that are dampening your sparkle.

94. Sew on that button, or mend that hem, that you’ve been meaning to do.

95. Make an upbeat playlist and listen to it.

96. Laugh out loud at these honest film trailers.

97. Teach yourself how to play chess.

98. Use one of your newly-acquired skills to make a Christmas present for a loved one.

100. Set up a standing order to your savings account.

101. Pay attention to nature from your window.