A man and woman on a couch looking at their phones, while a young child sits on the floor next to them with an open laptop.

If you’ve self-quarantined to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, thank you! To return the favor, we’re here to help you alleviate the boredom of staying home all day. Here are some ways you can make the most of your free time.

Watch Educational Content on YouTube

If you like to learn new things, you don’t have to look any further than YouTube. Yes, the site is also jam-packed with music and funny videos, and entertaining shows. However, it’s also a veritable goldmine of interesting educational content.

No matter what your interests are (geography, psychology, history, filmmaking, writing, etc.) you can find a YouTube channel about it that will teach you something new or interesting.

Here are some recommendations to get you started:

  • Crash Course: Probably the best educational channel on YouTube. It offers dozens of crash courses. A few of our favorites are Crash Course World History and Psychology.
  • TED-Ed: Short, well researched, educational videos with wonderful animation.
  • AsapSCIENCE: Breaks down some of the most difficult aspects of science and technology in short videos.
  • Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell: Meticulously researched science and general interest videos, with a unique animation style.

Of course, you can also just search YouTube for anything you’re interested in, and you’ll find many videos and channels. As you find some you want to watch, you can build a video queue. Then, just sit back, press Play, and absorb all the knowledge.

RELATED: How to Use YouTube’s Queue Feature

Relax with Meditation Apps

Meditations in the Headspace and Smiling mind apps.

It can sometimes be stressful when you’re home alone or surrounded by family. The news constantly spouting worst-case scenarios doesn’t help either.

The best thing you can do for your mental health is to take a bit of break and relax. Use your free time at home to start a meditation practice—it only takes about 10 to 20 minutes per day.

We recommend the Smiling Mind app (iPhone, Android) developed by a nonprofit organization in Australia. It has simple, daily guided meditations and relaxation guides (like body scanning).

You can also try the popular Headspace app (iPhone, Android), which is currently offering basic courses for free.

Master a New Skill

One of the most productive ways to spend free time is learning something new. You can start a new hobby or master a skill you’ve always wanted to learn.

If you have a guitar lying around, why not pick it up, check out some online tutorials, and finally learn how to play it?

You can learn new skills for both your work and personal life. Spend some time experimenting with new software that could help you at work. If you’d like to take on a relaxing hobby, try origami. All you need are some sheets of paper, a few YouTube videos, and some time to kill.

Group Video Calls with Friends and Family

Five people in a group call on a tablet and smartphone.

If your support system is mostly offline, you can transfer it online. This way, you can stay in touch with your family, close friends, colleagues, or therapist.

This will help ease your transition to staying at home. Spend some time messaging your friends and arrange regular video calls with your closest friend group and relatives.

RELATED: The 6 Best Free Video Conferencing Apps

Catch Up on Books You’ve Always Wanted to Read

A woman's hands holding a mug of tea over an open book.
Dragon Images/Shutterstock

Almost everyone has a list of books they’d read if they “only had the time!” Well, now you do! You’re at home, and you’re not going anywhere.

This is the perfect time to make some tea, coffee, or hot chocolate and get lost in a book. Not only will you enjoy exploring new worlds, but reading will also help you stay calm.

If you’re not sure what to read, you can browse book collections on Goodreads, take a look at the Amazon Best Sellers list, or check out how to build an awesome reading list.

RELATED: How to Build an Awesome Summer Reading List

Watch Documentaries

Documentaries section in Netflix

If you don’t enjoy reading, you can learn something new from watching TV. There are dozens of places you can watch documentaries online.

However, you really don’t have to venture any further than your streaming services. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO all have extensive collections of documentaries.

The Documentaries section on Netflix is an excellent place to start. What you find there will likely keep you engrossed for days.

Start an Online Course

This is also the perfect time to start an online course because they require both time and effort. Choose anything you’re interested in, from how to use Photoshop, to learning a new language or studying philosophy.

You can also find a lot of free introductory courses on sites like EdX and Coursera. Of course, you can also pay to take classes on websites like Udemy.

RELATED: How to Learn Photoshop

Practice Yoga

Finally, you can log some time on that yoga mat! Your age or physical capacity doesn’t matter here. Start with 20 minutes per day to ease your way into it.

You can find many apps in the App and Google Play stores, and a lot of them are quite good! You don’t have to spring for a monthly subscription to get started with yoga.

We recommend Yoga with Adriene. She has more than six million subscribers, which makes this one of the most popular yoga channels on YouTube. If you’re new to yoga, she has a beginner’s series.

If you’re feeling up to it, she also has a 30-day yoga challenge.

Your Exercise of Choice

If yoga isn’t your cup of tea, you can try all different kinds of workouts. If you usually go to the gym, try to replicate your regular workouts at home.

Apps like the Nike Training Club (iPhone, Android) offer completely free home workouts. If you’re looking for something that’s a bit more fun, try a dance workout like the one below.

You can also keep it simple and just go for a short walk around your neighborhood.

Draw, Doodle, or Color

The letter "A" in a pigment coloring app.

An art project is a fantastic way to spend free time! Order some arts and crafts supplies online, and then try out that project you’ve always wanted to tackle. It could be anything, from something you saw on Pinterest to abstract painting.

If you don’t want to buy supplies, just draw or doodle with pen and paper. Search for some drawing tutorials on YouTube and follow along.

If you have an iPad with an Apple Pencil, you can doodle in the Apple Notes app or try out the Procreate app ($9.99). On Android, you can use the Autodesk Sketchbook app.

You can also spend some time coloring—it helps reduce stress and anxiety. You can buy coloring books online or use a coloring app on your phone or tablet.

Colorify is a completely free coloring app on Android. If you have an iPhone or iPad, try the Pigment app—it has a collection of free drawings, or you can subscribe to unlock the entire catalog.

Board Games

If you can’t go out, gather the family and play some board or card games. It’s a fun way to keep everyone’s mind engaged and refreshed.

Working from home? Here’s how you can make the transition easier.

RELATED: Tips for Working from Home (From a Guy Who's Been Doing It for a Decade)

Profile Photo for Khamosh Pathak Khamosh Pathak
Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on Lifehacker, iPhoneHacks, Zapier's blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has nearly a decade of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet.
Read Full Bio »