It’s beginning to feel like one long weekend, isn’t it? Being quarantined at home is rough, but those first few weeks were the worst. Things began to get better after I plugged into a couple of online communities and having more FaceTime with my family and friends. And they got a whole lot better when I started writing again. While on furlough from my day job in the events industry, I’ve been taking on more projects like this one. Writing is perfectly suited to working from home, and it helps to give my days a little more structure.
That’s just what Vurb’s list of projects can do for you. The goal is to find something to distract yourself until the quarantine lifts, because wouldn’t it be great if your post-pandemic life was even more amazing than it was before?
We might not know when, but we do know this crisis will eventually end and these projects are some of the best ways to stay ahead in a way that is low pressure and with potentially huge rewards.
Check out this list and if you’re inspired, join me and start one of them.
Project One: Online Dating
If you’ve been putting off dating because you’re too busy, now’s your time! Online dating during this health crisis feels a bit more challenging, but people are also being more authentic so it’s worth pursuing. With a little more time on your hands, you can build a connection with someone through texts, messaging, emails, and video chats –before eventually meeting them in person. Plus, now more than ever, people are spending time online. Just think of all those extra fish in the sea!
Here are three dating services worth checking out now.
- Match: Match recently launched a ‘Dating while Distancing’ hotline staffed by the company’s dating experts, which is now available for free several hours a day.
- Bumble: On Bumble, women make the first move and they believe relationships begin with respect and equality. What a concept, right?
- Hinge: “The Dating App Designed to be Deleted.” The app is now encouraging people to ‘date from home’, using phone calls and video chats to build those connections.
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It’s time to take dates digital. 💛 Right now, we’re committed to powering positive and healthy *virtual* connections. That means staying safe — and, as much as possible, staying home. (Bumble’s video chat is our new best friend during these times!) Stay tuned for ongoing tips about how to connect safely. We’d love to hear what’s on your mind. Feel free to drop a comment 👇 or head to our Instagram Stories to share any questions or feedback about virtual dating.☝️
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Project Two: Online Courses
In my opinion – now is truly online education’s time to shine! I’ve been wanting to sharpen my photography skills, and there are companies now offering free or discounted classes to help aspiring students. Check out these great platforms for learning a new skill, build on existing passions, or just get into your creative groove.
- MasterClass: At only $15/month for unlimited classes, this is a fantastic deal. You get to learn from the best of the best, as this platform features legendary instructors such as Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue.
- UDemy: This is the world’s largest selection of courses. From business to personal development, you can find it all here with rates per class running you about $10.
- Coursera: Coursera offers 13+ professional certificates and 20+ degrees and MasterTrack Certificates in business, computer science, and more — all online! Many are free and some are offered by Ivy League universities such as the University of Pennsylvania.
- SkillShare: SkillShare allows you to find what fascinates you, and explore your creativity. Many courses are FREE!
- Linkedlearning: Learn the most in-demand business, tech and creative skills from industry experts.
Project Three: Home Organization
Since we’re cooped up indoors, your home is probably looking more chaotic than usual. By taking advantage of this long weekend that’s not quite a weekend, you could work on your garage, closets and other organization projects you’ve been putting off. I personally thrive in an uncluttered environment. If my counters are clean or I can open the closet without things toppling out, I definitely have less anxiety. It may be the same for you, and now might be a good time to get on top of things.
I shopped at these two stores recently and liked them both. I think they’ll definitely help jump start your home organization quest:
- The Container Store: You name it, they have it! I also love how they include project tutorials online for inspiration on getting your own space organized.
- At home: I picked up one of these cute baskets recently. Plus, you can buy online and pick-up curbside!
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Project Four: Learn to Cook
I think we can all agree, we’ve all spent much of this quarantine eating out of boredom – am I right? Don’t worry, I get it. I may or may not have had ice cream for dinner the other day.
With so many restaurants closed right now, you might be having to fend for yourself more by cooking at home. If this is a foreign area for you, now is the perfect time to try on that chef’s hat and learn to cook! You can make the whole process easier by ordering your groceries online from an app like Shipt. I personally am a fan of HelloFresh. They helped me learn to cook and become more comfortable and (dare I say it!) even confident in the kitchen! The ingredients are delivered to you and the kits include instructions to guide you to a home-cooked meal in under 30 minutes!
Gordon Ramsey is going one better and serving tutorials for dishes to prepare in around 10-15 minutes:
Project Five: Work on your Sleep Hygiene
Stressful times can have a negative impact on our sleep habits. Up until recently, I wasn’t helping my sleeping situation, by constantly refreshing my social feeds before bed to stay up to date on COVID-19 developments. Then in the mornings, I would sleep in because of the shorter commute to my kitchen table.
If you didn’t have a bedtime and morning routine in place, the stress of this situation can throw off your sleep routine even more. But as difficult as it might seem, now is a great time to set a consistent bedtime and wake-up schedule, and work on developing other good sleep habits. In his book, The One-Week Insomnia Cure, Professor Jason Ellis put his years of pioneering research into sleep management to come up with a practical program you can do at home. Below, Carrie Gill of The Wild Gut Project does a good overview of The One-Week Insomnia Cure and shares how she used the program to cure her insomnia.
Project Six: Your Self-Care
When we’re under stress we forget to take care of ourselves. Ironically, that’s when we most need to. We may never have to deal with another pandemic again, but we will always have every day stress. I’m learning that taking care of stress is more than having a mani or pedi or taking the occasional vacation. According to Dr. Robyn Gobin, real self-care is a more substantiative holistic endeavor that touches every area of our lives. It’s about tuning in to what we need emotionally physically and mentally, and giving yourself just that.
It may be glaringly obvious these days that we’re missing social connections and fresh air. When things get back to normal and we’re again living on autopilot, it might not be so obvious what we need from day-to-day. It may not be so obvious when we need more rest, talk therapy, or hydration. Try Mel Noakes’s self-care quiz to help you assess your self-care needs and get better at detecting your needs.
Project Seven: Get started on your (fill in the blank) dream
Whether you’ve been wanting to start a blog, a YouTube channel, or learn the guitar – now might be the time to get on with it or at least, take the first steps. Years from now, when you tell the story of how you got started on what’s now a successful hobby or business, you can say: I started as a way to distract myself during the COVID-19 quarantine.
Now is the time to sit down and create an outline, do the preliminary research, size up your competition, assess your skills, pick someone’s brain or do online networking. If it’s a new career you’re wanting, this could be a good time to work on your resume and your LinkedIn profile. By doing any of these things, you’ll be jump-starting your DREAM and could come out of this crisis stronger than ever.
I plan to continue on getting my house in order, take online courses on photography, and finally crack open a few books. This is a serious time we’re all facing, but trust me, it will pass. I think staying motivated and putting this extra time to good use, will ultimately make this time less stressful, for you and me.
I hope some of these projects have inspired you! Let me know what you plan to do to positively distract yourself.
Stay home, stay safe and healthy!
Megan is a widely creative professional in the events planning industry, who writes and does digital marketing on the side. She's a huge foodie who likes to use the time walking her dog every day to clear her head.