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101 things to do in self-isolation

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101 things to do in self-isolation

While the coronavirus curve is starting to flatten, it will still be a while before life returns to normal, so if you haven’t already, embrace isolation. This week we kick off our new series, 101 things to do in self-isolation. Here are our first 40 ideas, with more to be shared in coming days.

1. Set up camp Take the entire family on a camping expedition – in the backyard. The kids will love searching for the perfect spot to set up the tent. Ask them to help gather supplies, blow up air-beds and roll out the sleeping bags. Create an outdoor area with camping chairs and picnic blankets so you can enjoy an alfresco dinner. It’s also fun to ask the young ones to come up with some fun activities such as star gazing, playing board or card games, hunting around for food supplies in the kitchen or telling stories around a lantern or torch.

2. Eat! Local Sunshine Coast business Creative Tours and Events has introduced interactive food tourism tours online. The ‘Meet the Maker at Home’ virtual series delivers local produce to your door and includes online sessions featuring some  of the best local brewers, farmers and chefs in the region. There will be farm to fork sessions, gin masterclasses and cheese events. Visit creativetours.com.au.

3. Pamper yourself The team at Sunshine Coast beauty business Wendy Christina is sharing skin care tips and massage techniques via social media channels once a week. Followers who miss the salon can enjoy pampering themselves at home. Visit facebook.com/wendychristina.skincare

4. Read Choose a book from Time magazine’s All-Time 100 Novels.

5. Learn, learn, learn Online learning platform Udemy is offering courses discounted by about 80 per cent. There are so many classes you can do across a range of categories including business, web development, lifestyle, marketing, design and many more. The video classes are designed to be done in short stints and you earn a certificate at the end. We recommend choosing the courses with the highest ratings.

6. Time out All of the changes that have come with the pandemic can take a toll on children. Create a comfortable, quiet space for them to escape to throughout the day. Fill it with their favourite things – colourful cushions, books, fairy lights, sensory toys, the list is endless.

7. It’s a challenge Tackle a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

8. Theme nights Have a little fun by turning Saturday night into a theme night. Create a themed environment and incorporate relevant games, food, books or movies. From space night to Italian night, the options are endless.

9. Shell art Use your exercise time to stroll along the beach and collect shells. You can then use them to create a memory of self-isolation – just fill a glass lamp base to create a pretty eye-catching piece for your home. Or use them to create a piece of wall art, or get the kids to make a tissue box.

10. Pen pals Write a letter.

11. Binge Watch The Handmaid’s Tale if you haven’t yet.

12. Listen Try a new podcast.

13. Butterfly beauty The Coast is alive with thousands of butterflies at the moment and to celebrate the event, charity Sunshine Butterflies has created a challenge for budding artists. All you need to do is take a photo of any butterfly you see – it can be real, a drawing, painting or butterfly-shaped object. Then, simply post your photo on Instagram, tag @sunshinebutterflies and include the hashtag #ButterflyPhotoChallenge.

14. Go glam Dress up like you’re going out for dinner, and then enjoy a home-cooked meal.

15. Ciao Learn a language with an online app. We recommend Duolingo.

16. Take five Sit quietly and watch the sunset.

17. Plan Sort through your recipe books and make a list of all the recipes you want to attempt.

18. Get busy Finish those family and baby photo albums.

19. Do it Make your bed EVERY DAY.

20. Yum! Order takeaway from a restaurant you haven’t tried.

21. Shop like a celeb – While many stores have unfortunately been forced into closure during this period, there are many business owners who have been able to adapt to the new rules. If you’ve ever wanted your own personal shopping experience where you can feel like a Kardashian strutting about Gucci, then look no further. The lovely team at Whitepepper Homewares is offering private shopping experiences. To book your experience, head to whitepepperhomewares.com or send the team a text message to 0488 440 626.

22. Backyard adventure – Just because the camper trailer can’t go anywhere doesn’t mean you can’t sleep in it! Pack a bag, stock up on marshmallows and get ready for an adventure in your very own backyard. Cosy up around the campfire as you roast marshmallows and hold each other tightly as you tell scary stories. Plus you don’t have to worry about that strenuous, tiresome drive home – just pack up and you’re done!

23. Get biking – Open up the shed, dust off the cobwebs and get back into bike riding! There’s no better way to view our coastline’s beautiful scenery than close up and personal on a bike. Take the whole family for a leisurely ride, or strap on the Lycra and see how many kilometres you can pump out in one session.

24. Learn to paint – All this extra time is perfect for picking up a new hobby and what could be better than painting? If you’ve never tried your hand at art before, or are just looking for a refresher, The Art Hub Sunshine Coast is hosting free painting tutorials online. To learn more, visit thearthubsc.com.au/paint-sip-events.

25. Spring clean (in autumn) – If your wardrobe is more like a floor-drobe and there are dust bunnies nipping at your heels, it might be time for a spring clean, even if it is a little early. Pull out the duster and Spray n’ Wipe and you’ll have your house spick and span in no time!

26. Board games – Re-live your childhood while opening your child’s mind to the wonders of board games. Fall back in love with all the old favourites like Monopoly, Cluedo, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit. Or see what new games stores are offering. No matter what you choose, making sure the table isn’t flipped is hours of fun!

27. Meditation – Clear your mind and cleanse your soul with the practice of meditation. Meditation isn’t about becoming a different person, or even a better person. It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgement. And eventually, you will start to better understand them as well.

28. Yoga – In yoga, the body, breath and mind are seen as a union of these multi-dimensional aspects of each and every human being. The various techniques of yoga are designed to cultivate the experience of that union, not just give your body a great workout. Those who regularly engage in yoga say it leads to peacefulness and clarity of the mind, and that it cultivates health, happiness, and a greater sense of self-awareness and higher consciousness.

29. Create – Whether it’s the latest from Nigella Lawson or a ‘quickie’ from 4 Ingredients, there are thousands of new recipes just waiting to be discovered. Use this time to hone your skills or learn new ones and see what tasty treats you can cook up. Get the kids involved as a great activity for the whole family.

30. Grow – Stock your kitchen from your own personal vegie garden. If you have the space, now is the perfect time for some extra gardening while everyone is home to take care of it. A varied range of home-grown organic vegies will also give you an extra boost in the kitchen with freshness and flavour.

31. Reminisce – Take a trip down memory lane with old family photo albums. This activity is sure to tug on those heart strings, remember days long passed, rediscover events long forgotten, and feel the nostalgia of way back when. If you happen to have a lot of unorganised old photos, now is also a great time to get into scrapbooking or creating new albums!

32. Date night – Have a fancy date night with a spouse or partner from the comfort of your very own living room! There’s no reservation needed for this super-exclusive new dating destination. Just be sure to tip the waiter, especially if you’re using the kids!

33. Review – Writing a review for your favourite local restaurants and boutiques can be a massive help to businesses with reduced trade and for those who have closed their doors. Not only does this give stores great insight and personal feedback, the extra publicity will speed up their bounce back once they re-open.

34. Swim – There are only a few reasons we are permitted to leave the house at the moment, but one reason you can venture outside is to exercise, and one great example of that is ocean swimming. With calm secluded bays all along our coast at Noosa, Coolum and Mooloolaba, we are lucky to be so spoilt for choice. Strap on a cap and some goggles and enjoy our coast from the sea.

35. Write – Sit down with pen and paper or just open a word document and start writing a letter to your future self. Talk about how you are feeling at the present moment, evaluate how you’re travelling through life and write down goals for the future. Set a time five, maybe 10 years into the future and put the letter somewhere safe till you are ready to open it again.

36. Learn to play – If you’re an old muso who hasn’t picked up an instrument in years, or a beginner looking to start, now is the perfect time to learn to play. Whether it be a guitar, violin, piano, or something in between you want to learn, there are lots of apps and websites you can use to help learn an instrument.

37. Bucket list – Write down a bucket list of everything you want to do after isolation is over. You can add to it day by day and by the time restrictions are lifted you’ll have the first year planned.

38. Catch some rays – Get some sun. As long as you practice social distancing and stay close to home, some vitamin D will do your health and wellbeing a world of good. Just remember if you’re out in the sun to always slip, slop slap!

39. Stream – With more streaming platforms available than ever before, we are spoilt for choice on what to watch. But how about something different? Try streaming some free entertainment like live video from Zoos Victoria. It has 24/7 live streams on numerous enclosures that will keep you entertained for hours. Visit zoo.org.au/animals-at-home.

40. Med check – Now is a perfect time to check your medicine cabinet for any out-of-date items and make sure your first aid kit is up to date.

41. Pet pampering – Now that we’re home all the time our pets think it’s Christmas every day! Give them a little extra TLC with a nice warm bath and run a brush through their fur.

42. Budget – With the economy in turmoil, money is tight for everyone. Help the kids understand what is going on by giving them a budgeting lesson they can take into adulthood.

43. Read the news – Stay connected and stay informed about what’s going on in the world. Also, its not all doom and gloom, there are numerous media sources that share positive and inspiring news stories from across the world.

 44. Sleep – Now is the perfect time to reset your body clock and catch up on missed sleep. If you find yourself getting to bed later and sleeping through half the morning, it’s time to get back into healthy habits!

45. Admin – It’s boring but it has to be done. If you have bills to pay, need a new broadband or insurance provider, or have to get a new passport, now is the perfect time to get organised and get it done.

46. Car clean out – Sometimes we can neglect our cars when we clean the rest of the house, so while no one’s driving very far it’s a great time to clean it out. Don’t forget under the seats!

47. Make a playlist – If you’ve had the same 20 songs on loop since 2009, it might be time to update your playlist! Streaming services have made it so easy to compile your favourite music from across the decades and store them in one place.

48. Create a time capsule – This is a great project to complete with your children or grandkids. Fill a box with memories, newspaper clippings and photos to create a coronavirus capsule. The kids can look back on it in years to come.

49. Polish jewellery – If you’ve got special jewellery pieces that are gold or silver, you’ll be surprised at how much better they will look after giving them a quick polish!

50. Redecorate – If that feature wall is completely doing your head in, use this time to redecorate. Order some paint samples, plan your colour scheme and browse some new furniture. Redesign a small area or tear down and redo half the house.

 51. Connect – Pick up the phone or open up the laptop and video call with a loved one. Whether you’re using Skype, FaceTime or something else, think of a loved one you haven’t seen in a while and just give them a call.

52. Freezer cleanse – Pull everything out of the freezer and remove anything that’s been there for longer than six months. If there’s an excess of ice built up inside, it can also be good to defrost the freezer entirely.

53. Plan – Plan your days to give yourself structure and routine. A simple list at the start of each day naming everything you want to achieve that day will help you feel productive and positive. The key to a successful day is preparation.

 54. Origami – If you have never tried your hand at origami before, it’s time to get folding. The beautiful Japanese art form is relaxing and great for someone with extra time on their hands.

55. Check on your neighbours – It can be a really challenging time for people who live alone, and have limited human interactions, especially the elderly. It is possible to check in with next door while still following social distancing laws. Write a note, send a text or sit a few metres away from each other and have a chat.

56. Living room gigs – Lots of artists are still preforming and streaming live on social media. Tune in and turn up for a mosh pit in your lounge.

57. Get competitive – Brush off the cobwebs and turn on the Nintendo Wii for hours of family fun. Start an inhouse tournament to see who is the best at each game. Or team up to take the win.

58. Gym – It is very important to keep up our exercise even while the gyms are closed. There are loads of home workouts available for free on YouTube. Most of them don’t require you to have any of your own equipment, and they vary in length so you can choose a quick or longer workout. Remember, the only bad workout is one that didn’t happen!

59. Say thanks – Say thank you to those essential workers working longer hours. If you know any healthcare workers, supermarket staff, pharmacists, or security guards, let them know you are grateful for their efforts.

60. Bake! – Considering the supermarkets are selling out of almost everything, why not get some ingredients and start baking. Don’t stress if the bread aisle is bare, there are hundreds of super easy recipes online that can help even the most amateur baker channel their inner Betty Crocker

61. Meal prep – Planning a week’s worth of meals in advance is a great way to keep dinners organised and easy. Think of a few meals that can easily pop in the freezer, and get cooking. Ask the whole family to join in for a fun family activity.

62. Puzzles – If you have the patience, jigsaw puzzles are a fun way to fill those extra hours. Most aren’t expensive and there’s a range of styles and difficulties to suit everyone.

63. Donate – Times are tough for everyone right now but some people are worse off than others. A great way to help those less fortunate is to donate unwanted belongings to charities like the Salvation Army and Vinnies.

64. Cirque Du Soleil  – Obviously, Cirque du Soleil can’t perform to a live audience right now, so it’s taking the show online. The world-famous troupe is streaming the most impressive moments from its larger-than-life shows on CirqueConnect, its new digital hub, every Friday.

65. Audiobooks – If you’re the kind of person who likes to disappear from reality into an audiobook, you’re in luck. To help those in self-isolation, Audible has just opened up a huge chunk of its collection to readers/listeners for free. All you have to do to get access is visit the Audible website.

66. Foster – Self-isolating? Why not make it a little cuddlier? With many people across the country practising social distancing, animal charity the RSPCA is looking for Aussies to take on pets in need of a temporary home for two to four weeks during the pandemic. Just contact your local branch.

67. Get smart – The eight Ivy League colleges across the US – Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale – are offering 450 free online courses. You can browse through all the offerings on Class Central, a search engine and review site for free online courses. Visit classcentral.com/collection/ivy-league-moocs to begin studying now.

68. Catch up – You know those films you’ve been meaning to watch for years? Now’s the time. Jump onto your streaming service of choice and scroll down to the classic movies list. The world is now your oyster.

69. Photography – Photographing children and pets is one of 10 online photography courses Nikon has made free for all to stream. To find out more, visit nikonevents.com/us/live/nikon-school-online.

70. Re-live it – While we may have seen the end of gigs and concerts for the foreseeable future, we can always re-live our old favourites and it’s easier than ever. YouTube has a number of free full-length concerts from Abba making it shine in ’79 to Radiohead’s first Glastonbury headline spot in the late ’90s.

71. Netflix Party – It’s no secret that streaming service Netflix is our best friend during lockdown. You probably have one eye on it right now! But did you know there’s a way to have a Netflix party with your mates? The Netflix Party app, available of Google Chrome, lets you stream Netflix in unison with your pals.

72. Cook with a pro – Massimo Bottura is an Italian chef whose restaurant was named in the top five globally. The Michelin-starred chef is as energetic as ever, and the jolt of optimism we need as millions enter into quarantine to mitigate the spread of the virus. Mr Bottura offers a nightly, free cooking series on his own Instagram account. Find him on Instagram @MassimoBottura.

73. Colouring in (for adults) – Free your inner child while getting your creative juices flowing with a colouring in book. Artists Gillian Wearing, Grayson Perry and others have all joined forces to create a free downloadable activity book called Art is Where the Home Is. Visit firstsite.uk/art-is-where-the-home-is to download it today.

74. DIY Haircuts – Now is a very tempting time to do something crazy or get creative with your hair. Thinking about giving yourself a quick lockdown chop? Keep it simple and have fun – it’s not like anyone important is going to see it anyway!

75. Sonnets with Sir Stewart – A lot of Britain’s greatest stage names have gone to ground during the pandemic. Dame Judi Dench has published a couple of funny videos, while Sir Ian McKellen has been plugging away with retweets. But it’s Sir Patrick Stewart who may emerge as the top dog. The seasoned Shakespearian is self-broadcasting one sonnet a day. Tune in on Twitter @SirPatStew.

76. Virtual cocktail parties – Social distancing has us all missing our friends and loved ones, but we aren’t completely out of options. Hosting a virtual cocktail party is a great way to catch up and have fun. Pick one of many group video apps and study up on your mixology for a night with friends.

77. Watch the skies – While our movements may be restricted, that sure doesn’t apply to the cosmos, which is whizzing around like it always does. Take a virtual tour of space, thanks to apps like The Night Sky.

78. Northern Lights live – Thanks to explore.org, you can now live-stream the Northern Lights straight into your front room. The live cam is located at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre in Manitoba, Canada, directly underneath the aurora oval. With the arctic dark most of the day and the skies clear, now’s the perfect time to tune in.

79. Learn to code – Quickly becoming one of the world’s most sought-after skills, coding is certainly the future. You can learn how to code online for free. Visit a free code-learning website such as Codecademy, Free Code Camp, Codewars, HackerRank, and CodeSignal. Try out one of their many lessons and challenges every day so you can become a pro coder.

80. Sing – Self-isolation shouldn’t stop you from singing along with a group of like-minded people. Tonnes of choirs have gone online since the pandemic and would love others to join their ensembles. Whether you are just missing your regular group or have never sung in a choir before, now is the perfect time to get singing!

81. Tie dye – A trend that has become popular again during quarantine is tie dying. Choose some of your most boring clothes and be ready to turn them into explosions of colour! This is also a great activity to keep kids entertained, and once finished you are left with cool new clothes.

82. Street view – Go further by discovering art collections and using Street View for a walkthrough tour of some of the top museums around the world, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the British Museum, Tokyo Fuji Art Museum and more.

83. Dine in again – As we begin slowly peeling back restrictions, restaurants and clubs are re-opening for dine-in trade under heavy guidelines. If you’ve missed sitting down at a restaurant over the past few months make sure you get in quick. Limits to the number of patrons and the stoppage of walk-ins means booking are essential and most places will fill up quick!

84. Virtual book club – Eight weeks into this self-isolation business and many have hit their Netflix capacity. The idea of a book club might sound a little bit ‘boring’ for those who do not appreciate the wonder that is reading, but knowing you and your friends are reading the same book together is fun. Then discussing it gives you something else to talk about rather than the usual ‘I’m so bored,’ talks.

 85. Ping pong – You will need a small investment for this, but you don’t have to invest in an entire table. Get yourself two ping pong rackets, a ball and a net. Set it up on your dining table and start challenging members of your family to games.

 86. Day trip – With travel restrictions being eased, recreational travel is now allowed up to 150 kilometres from home for day trips. This is awesome news for anyone who was itching for a chance to get in the car and visit some beautiful locations on our doorstep.

87. Virtual pub trivia – Just like a regular pub quiz, but online over a video chat. A group of people gather to try and answer questions posed by the quiz master. Answer questions by writing them down, and don’t cheat by Googling.

88. Brain training – Playing online memory games will help you strengthen your mind while there isn’t much stimulation elsewhere. There are plenty of apps and websites like Lumosity that make it fun and easy to improve memory. Activities like this can also help protect against early onset Alzheimer’s.

89. Finish up – Now is the time to complete anything that is still sitting on your list of to do’s at home. Whether it’s to finally hang up those picture frames, or finishing that half-completed project, just get it done.

90. Stretch – If you’d stretched every day since lockdown begun, you’d be as flexible as a gymnast by now! It’s not too late to start – adding stretching to your daily routine will help you feel younger and healthier.

91. Shakespeare – The Show Must Go Online is a digital project led by classical actor and director Robert Myle, where professional actors and experienced amateurs are encouraged to take part in a weekly reading of Shakespeare’s works, and the public can follow along on YouTube. They’re going through all his plays from A to Z.

92. Delete – If your iPhone is running slow or you get an error message when you try to take a photo it’s time to de-clutter. Deleting apps and removing unwanted or doubled-up photographs you no longer use can clear up much-needed space.

93. Feng shui – Learn about feng shui and see if it can help you with the design of your home. Who knows, it might allow positive energy to flow through your living space.

94. Update your resume – Even if you aren’t planning to leave your job, now is a good time to work on your resume and make sure it’s up to standard.

95. Email admiration – Why not reach out to someone you kind-of know, but maybe don’t know well enough. Whether it’s an author, speaker, or CEO of a company, just send them a lovely email. It’s nice to show influential people their work is making a difference to your life.

96. Blog – Even if you think that bloggers are lame, you might find yourself part of them one day. Start your own website and get cracking on writing about things that you love, whether it’s travel, fashion or food.

97. De-clutter your socials – We all follow or are followed by people that we don’t really want in our lives. Go on your socials and get rid of people you honestly don’t want all up in your business.

98. Plant a kitchen herb garden – Get yourself a few jars, dirt and seeds. Taking care of these plants every day will give you something to look forward to and you can then eat your very own herbs.

99. Rank things – Most people love giving their opinions on things. If you are really bored, go to Ranker.com and share your thoughts by ranking just about anything.

100. Lego – Not only will the kids enjoy getting creative, but the inner child in you will also have a blast with some LEGO.

101. Defrost – No one wants to clean the freezer, but you’ll be thankful you decided to do this boring chore.

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Candice's passion for journalism led her to the Sunshine Coast 12 years ago where she has worked across multiple media and communication platforms. An avid traveller (she lists Paris, Venice and Vietnam as her faves), this mum of one loves meeting with people from all walks of life and finds inspiration within their stories. Candice joined the team in 2014 and is MWP's editor.

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