Whether it is by choice or by restriction being confined at home can be more rewarding and comforting when filled with meaningful activity. I suggest mixing up your days with variation. 8 hour Netflix binges might seem attractive, but it is probably going to do nothing for your mood, your lethargy level or the possibility of “cabin fever”…below is my list of boredom busters for home isolation that should help you out.
So it feels more than strange to be writing the title for this blog post; Boredom busters for home isolation is something I and most people I know are privileged to not have had to contemplate until now. The start of the decade is certainly shaking us up from our sleepy comfort. It wasn’t long ago i was writing this article in response to the worst bushfires Australia has experienced and now I am sitting here thinking up creative ways for our hands and hearts to keep occupied during a pandemic. It’s rare for the world to experience such intense collective anxiety. But it has happened before, through both war and disease. A few lined and wise faces will be looking at this scenario knowingly but the truth is most of us have not had to weather such sinister storms. It is entirely normal to feel a full spectrum of emotions. Before I launch into my creative boredom busters, I thought I would point you in the direction of other trusted resources.
For a description of what the covid-19 virus is as well as updated information on the Australian causalities, deaths, isolation restrictions and general advice, visit the Australian Government website here. It is updated daily and I find it to be an accurate point for information, sans the panic often lathered into other media articles.
For advice on how to try and balance the emotional weight of a pandemic, Mental Health organisation MIND, sums up some key points about what to do well.
For ideas on how to help others read this article. Pandemics are very effective at reminding humanity of its fragility and that despite our best efforts there is much out of our control. One thing we can do is love and care for each other. The need for it is never in shortage and it is surprising the impact the little things can have (100 ideas for small acts of kindness) . Also if the supermarket squabbles and hoarding have you feeling down then find some heart-warming stories about kindness here at the Good News Network .
Okay, now back to the stuck at home scenario and the need for some boredom busters. Whether it is by choice or by restriction being confined at home can be more rewarding and comforting when filled with meaningful activity. I suggest mixing up your days with variation. 8 hour Netflix binges might seem attractive, but it is probably going to do nothing for your mood, your lethargy level or the possibility of “cabin fever”. Explore some exercise options, even if it’s gently stretching, get creative in the kitchen, finish off some odd-jobs, spring clean, play music, read and most importantly get creative. Your imagination might not be feeling its fittest so below is my list of boredom busters for home isolation that should help you out.
These activities are suited for any age and can easily be adapted. Sometimes challenging ourselves or simplifying something and being playful is just what our heart needs. Now is not the time for your inner critic to be labelling you as too old or too young for art activities.
- Design Studio
We all like to think that this will all be over shortly and the anxiety, confusion and for some people loss associated with global illness, death, travel disruption and social restrictions will make room for more predictability and joy. Harness this feeling of hope by creating your own design studio and design some of your ideals.
You will need:
- A clear area of bench or table space
- Magazines (optional)
- Paper, pens, pencils, ruler, eraser
Choose you target and theme of design. Here are some possibilities:
- Design your dream home or castle
- Design a futuristic mode of transport
- Design a new building
- Design a hybrid animal, mythical creature or other
- Design your dream wardrobe or outfits for the red carpet
- Design a dream garden
- Design the layout of your furniture at home (then possibly rearrange it!)
Design can be done a multitude of ways from birds-eye view and mud maps to “xray” vision and just simple sketching. Use the magazines and Google images to help with inspiration. You may like to include notes, links and mood boards alongside your designs.
- Quote pictures
With anxiety running high make sure you top up your sense of inner wisdom. Spend some time researching your favourite quotes, choose one and a piece of paper or canvas. Trace or draw your quote on and spend some time colouring and decorating. The final step is to pin it somewhere you will see daily. Enthusiastic? Use your quote for inspiration for a whole wall or pin up board, adding photos, artwork, words and magazine images.
- Wrapping paper
Yep, I am going to say it. Maximise on your isolation by getting organised. Whilst deep cleaning your cupboards might not be on your thrill list, getting organised for birthday’s can be fun. Write a list of present and celebration ideas for your nearest and dearest. You might like to set any party themes and research decoration and cake ideas. And if your hands are sitting idle, you can make some fun wrapping paper so you have a stock ready. Ideas for artistic wrapping paper include:
- Collecting twine, ribbon and cloth
- Marble paper (use a tray and runny paint or ink and some marbles to roll patterns across the paper
- Experiment with dipping different vegetable off cuts and various leaves, branches and berries from your garden into paint and stamping them onto paper
- Cover paper with some favourite handwritten lyrics.
- Create Rorschach paintings with left over paint
- Masterpiece practise
Want to challenge yourself, learn some art history and sink into a space of concentration. Find an art masterpiece or painting style you love, print a copy or view it on a screen and have a go at mirroring the technique. Seeing as things are a little tough, my suggestion is to find a bright image of flowers or landscapes. Pick something with a simple composition or abstract style if you’re new to art. Also don’t be too self critical and allow your own unique style to show through, yours won’t look exactly the same as the old masters but it is fun to try. Here are some of my suggestions for artists to look at:
- Vincent Van Gogh
- Edward Hopper
- Jim Dyne
- Henri Matisse
- David Hockney
- Georgia O’Keefe
- Robot Making Competition
You might recognise this throwback to a previous newsletter. Simply collect your recycling over the week (paper cups, straws, paper plates, cardboard boxes, tins, milk cartons) and empty out onto your dining table or floor for the ultimate robot factory. Perfect for an activity with the family or housemates (you can get competitive). The sky is the limit, the only extras you will need are tape, glue, scissors and markers and an imagination.
- Portrait drawing
All this time spent with ourselves and we may as well use it to look a little deeper. Portraits can be so challenging but so much fun. If your with other people I suggest doing this warm up activity to get everyone’s juices flowing:
Grab a piece of paper and fold it in 4 times. Each fold should be opposite to the other so the paper makes a spring. Unfold. Everyone should have a piece of paper. Without looking at each others, draw a head of a person, animal or other in the first quarter. Refold that quarter so it is not visible and pass to another person. Next draw a neck and shoulders, fold and pass on, the third segment should be the mid-section and finally the legs and feet. I guarantee once you get the hang of this you will be in stitches of laughter and will be playing several rounds.
Once warmed up, dive headfirst into some portraiture. Here are some variations to portrait drawing:
- In a group get one of you to comically model, set a timer and go for it.
- Draw without taking your pen off the paper
- By yourself with a mirror you might want to just try some basic sketch drawing.
- Use black ink and a brush only
- Be inspired by artists such as Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, Jac Clarke, Anh Do
Ever the collage-holic i always recommend dusting off a stack of old magazines and creating a collage. You’ll get side-tracked by old articles so this is the perfect activity for long days stuck at home. Choose a theme (dream, inspiration, city, country, home, self etc) or freehand your selection of images to see what materialises.
You will need: a large piece of paper or pin-up board, scissors, glue and old magazines
- Draw or Paint to Music
This activity is for a restless soul, which I am sure you well and truly are if you’re in isolation and looking up boredom busters. Pop your favourite music on, grab some paper, pens, pencils or paint and a brush and fill the page with gestures that mirror the music. Fast, punk beats might see an explosion of dots and sharp lines, whilst instrumentals will find you making swirls and gently sweeps of colour. Give a few different songs a go; it can take a while to warm up. This activity is from my E-book Nurture which has 20+ art activities and can be purchased here.
- Artist Trading Cards
You might not be able to go out and see you friends but that doesn’t mean you can’t communicate. Create a pack of artist trading cards and link into a network on Facebook, through Google or just make your through friends. You can also do variations of the artist trading card by creating letters and images and donating them to aged care and homeless facilities. You won’t get one in return but you will brighten someone else’s day. Use smaller postcard size paper so you have plenty of energy to make this a reoccurring exchange, the sky is the limit as far as what actually goes on the card, it could be abstract, realism or anything in between.
- Modelling Clay
Looking at the empty supermarket shelves, you likely have a bag of flour tucked away for good measure. Make your own modelling clay for beads or figurines. The multi-step process will keep you busy all day. My favourite recipes for home-made modelling clay are by Home Education and can be found here. If play-dough is more your Jam you can find my ultimate play dough recipe here. Once the dough is created, knead, shape and press some beads into shape. Use a toothpick to make a hole in the centre. Once dry or baked, you can then paint and varnish them. The principle is the same for those making figurines, plan a floor picnic and an afternoon of play once complete (usually the next day unless you’re a master craftsman).
If you have any other creative ideas for boredom busters for home isolation, comment them below. I would love to know!