From snowstorms to summer heatwaves and illnesses to injuries, it seems as if there's always a cause to kick off your shoes and hunker down at home. But some things are easier said than done. Humans are social creatures innately, and after a few days — or even hours — stuck inside, it's easy to forget all the enjoyable things we can do at home. Whether you're waiting for flu symptoms to pass, enjoying paid time off, or settling in with the kids for the winter, there's no reason why staying in can't be the most fun you've had in a long time.
Plan a DIY Spa Day
Being stuck at home will tempt almost any adult to catch up on chores, but self-care is just as important. Any staycation should include at least one day for self-pampering, and luckily, you can choose natural ingredients to keep from spending a fortune. Mix a nourishing face mask with oatmeal and milk, or overripe avocados and honey. Use a luxurious scrub made with sugar, olive oil, and coffee grinds to exfoliate your skin. Mayonnaise has long been a staple for hair restoration, while coconut oil has become the new conditioning treatment. The possibilities are endless, so raid your kitchen and get to pampering.
Have a Backyard Adventure
Staying at home doesn't mean you have to remain indoors. Pack a picnic lunch and lay a blanket out on the lawn at your apartment complex, or recreate a chic café seating area on your balcony. Your backyard is another perfect spot to pitch a camping tent to keep the kids busy. Encourage them to explore the yard and study the plants and insects, or keep your eyes upward and identify your neighborhood birds. If the weather isn't cooperating, build a fort with couch cushions and bedsheets indoors. A picnic works just as well on the living room floor.
Plan a Sing Along to Your Favorite Musical
Let down your guard and embrace nostalgia with a fun sing-along. Old movie standards like Grease or The Rocky Horror Picture Show are reliable crowd-pleasers, while new classics like Mamma Mia! and Frozen are just as fun during an impromptu sing and dance party in the living room. Turn on the closed captions if you don't know the lyrics, and turn the volume up. You are at home, after all. Pop some fresh popcorn for the dialogue scenes, or create a charcuterie board with groceries you have on hand in the fridge.
Create an Indoor or Outdoor Green Space
Gardening is a fulfilling endeavor. Whether you decide to grow drought-resistant succulents or exotic vegetables, design your green space to be as big or small as you need. Apartment dwellers can grow tomatoes or peppers in a pot on the balcony, and herb gardens make lovely additions to windowsills. Backyard gardeners can grow foolproof greens like zucchini, lettuce, or nopales, and aloe vera comes in handy for topical home remedies. If you have space, consider starting a compost pile. Not only will you generate less waste, but you'll also produce nutritious mulch for next season's crops.
Make Sourdough Starter and Bread
Baking bread from scratch is an age-old tradition that spans cultures and cuisines. Not only is it delicious and chewy, but sourdough bread is also packed with nutrients not found in commercially baked bread. To start, mix a half cup of water and one cup of flour in a container, leaving it out to ferment. Continue adding flour and water daily while the mixture ferments and grows, discarding extra starter over the next five days. Sourdough starter will thrive as long as it's fed. For bonus points, you can gift the extra starter to a friend or family member, effectively sharing your love of carbs.
Learn a New Skill or Talent
The internet is a treasure chest of information. A quick online search will produce countless how-to videos and lists in seconds, making learning a new skill or hobby a cinch. Try your hand at folding origami or crafting dream catchers, or learn how to play the piano or guitar from an online instructor. If you're looking for activities to engage children, try learning how to juggle fruit or perform yo-yo tricks. The point is to have fun and be creative, so don't be afraid to indulge your inner child and let loose.
Make Use of Old Photos
A staycation is a perfect opportunity to browse through old photos and select some favorites to frame. Make color copies on photo paper to freshen up your family picture wall, or print black and white images on white paper, then colorize them for a unique vintage look. Once you've curated your collection, choose a selection of eclectic frames, even painting or refinishing a few. Arrange them in small groupings, or create a large abstract display for added interest. Include reproductions of professional pieces for a sophisticated vibe, or frame children's artwork and inspirational quotes to engage the family.
Shoot a Photo Essay
Whether you're nursing the flu or escaping the weather, when you find yourself staying indoors for a long time, there's a story to tell. Why not take advantage of smartphones and social media to document your experience in a photo essay? The purpose is to tell a story with evocative images, so start with an outline or storyboard, then plan your shots. Record your unique experience by photographing candidly, and don't be afraid to select abstract or unconventional points of view to get your message across. Post the images on social media to engage followers, and show off your photography skills.
Redecorate a Room in the House
Even after binge-watching your favorite shows and learning a few yoga poses, too much time at home is likely to become dull. Refresh your surroundings by rearranging the furniture in your most-utilized rooms. Try moving dining table chairs into the living room for extra seating, or switch out the old curtains for a new pattern and color scheme. For a few extra dollars, paint an accent wall in a bold color, or add some new pillows and a throw to the decor. Finish with a live plant to bring some life into the room.
Upcycle Old Items
If you've recently cleaned out the closets or garage, chances are you have a pile of knick-knacks waiting for the garbageman. Lighten the load by sifting through the donation pile for reusable items, letting your creativity run wild. Repurpose an old nightstand as a small bookshelf by removing the drawers, or find a pattern online and use old clothes to make your dog a new bed. Even old boots can be reborn as vessels for potted plants, while painted tin cans make great candle holders. Search your Pinterest board for ideas and get started crafting.