Self-Isolation: 20 Calming Activities To Do When You’re Stuck At Home

Rachel Sharpe

With most of the world self-isolating and practicing social distance because of the coronavirus, it seems like now more than ever, we need to practice a few calming activities to destress us during these stressful and uncertain times. With many people feeling claustrophobic in their homes, some much smaller than others, it may feel like there’s only so many things you can do right now. Whether you live in a tiny 500 square foot condo or a giant house, we’ve compiled calming activities you can do when practicing self-isolation in your home. 

Self-Isolation: 20 Calming Activities To Do When Stuck At Home

1. Practice Meditation

Woman on couch, listening to guided meditation app

As governments around the world ask citizens to practice self-isolation, it’s important to ground yourself in the present moment. Meditation can help with that. The Declutter The Mind app that many meditations for anxiety, stress, and sleep, which can help you calm down as you experience a bit of cabin fever. The goal of meditation isn’t necessarily to relax you but to keep you in the present moment.

Rather than worrying about the past or fearing for the future, instead, you focus on how the current moment is. And maybe this moment right now is a bit stressful. Many people have been suddenly laid off. Some worry about their health. There are a lot of stressful things happening around us or directly to us, which causes some panic. But even in these difficult times, there is a silver lining. Maybe you notice that you and your family are healthy. Or you feel a sense of gratitude for being able to spend this time with your family right now. If you’re looking to experience gratitude, you may want to check out our Loving Kindness meditation in the App Store or Play Store.

Even if you’ve never practiced meditation before, now’s a good time to learn meditation on your own at home.

Free meditation appDeclutter The Mind is an app that will teach you how to meditate, help you form the habit of a regular practice, and expand your mind to the teachings of mindfulness.

2. Exercise In Your Living Room

Woman doing yoga in a living room

One of the things that you can do to stay calm in self-isolation is to exercise. While you might not be able to hit up a gym or go for a run outdoors depending on your country’s current situation, you can still exercise at home. There are a few different methods for working out at home. You might turn on a workout channel on your TV, follow along to a free YouTube video, sign-up for a virtual workout program like Beachbody, or play a fitness video game like Just Dance. In some classes, you won’t need equipment to help you exercise at home. If you dance or do an aerobics exercise, you won’t need any exercise equipment. Exercise can play a huge role in your mental health at this time, filling you up with some feel-good endorphins.

3. Read A Book

I don’t know about you, but in my home, I have bookshelves filled with books I’ve never read. Now that you’ve got some spare time on your hands, you can finally get down to some reading. If you have a Kindle and you’re looking to download some new books, we can give you a few recommendations on what to read. During difficult times, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, translated by Gregory Hays, is a popular read. If you’re finding yourself struggling to be quarantined with your family, you might want to check out Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg to improve the way you communicate with others during this stressful time. If you’re looking for something enlightening, you might want to check out one of these meditation books.

4. Watch Your Favorite Reruns

Living room with television with Netflix

After a week of self-isolation, you might be in a state of boredom. While we don’t recommend spending hours upon hours of watching Netflix, you might want to schedule some time to unwind with your favorite shows. You might choose to have a movie night with your family to watch something you haven’t seen before. Or you could take a quick break to catch up on an old rerun of a show you can’t get enough of. Keep in mind that marathoning shows can lead to a feeling of boredom. So aim to schedule your streaming time and balance out your day with other calming activities as well. Watching reruns should be one activity of many to help you have a balanced day.

5. Play Video Games

As the stress levels of self-isolation rise, you might find yourself wanting to play with video games. You can find some anxiety relief games to help lower your anxiety. Or you can play a strategy game to keep your brain sharp. You might play fitness video games, as mentioned earlier, to help keep you in shape while lowering your cortisol levels. And if you’ve recently been laid off, you might stream your video games as a way to make money online during this difficult time. 

6. Create Something From Nothing

In periods of self-isolation and struggle, the possibility of innovation arises. You might find yourself in one of the most creative periods of your life. For the first time, you now have more time than ever to create anything you imagine. Maybe you pursue your passion for painting and use this time to create art. Or you decide to follow your dream of being a writer and publish your first ebook. This is a great period to channel your creativity into creating something new. 

7. Clean Your House

Iron over a buttoned shirt on an ironing board

While a messy house can be a stressful situation in itself, cleaning is surprisingly considered a very calming activity. And in self-isolation, you might find things at home get messier a bit faster. If you’re currently working from home, you might find dishes keep piling up. Working from home can make it difficult to separate your home and personal life. However, just as you took breaks in the office, such as talking to coworkers during the day, you’ll need to integrate some time for breaks while working from home too. A quick break you can take would be dusting shelves, putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher, folding laundry, or cleaning the microwave. Add in some upbeat music to your cleaning routine, and it can be a pretty fun activity. 

8. Practice Self-Care

In self-isolation, it’s easy to let go of your self-care routine. But this is the time when you need to practice it the most. You could paint your nails, style your hair, put on makeup, shave your beard, or give your partner a massage. If you’re working from home, you’ll still want to take showers each evening to unwind after a workday. In some cases, tension at home may be at an all-time high. With mass layoffs, stress about money can come into play. Plus, for some people, being stuck at home with their family can lead to higher levels of stress. Remember that being in tight quarters with people can lead to conflict. So be sure to schedule time out in your day to take care of yourself while also finding time to take care of one another. 

9. Play Board Games

Closeup of the board game Life

Board games can be a fun activity that’ll allow you to spend time with the family as you’re all in self-isolation. Some board games are known to create more conflict than others. So maybe skip Cranium and Twister right now. You might play Scrabble, Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, or whatever your go-to family game might be. Remember to keep the game light. Use the time as a way to bond with your family. Maybe have some game snacks and turn it into your home mini at-home party. 

10. Focus on Your Gardening

With so many people being asked to self-isolate during this time, many are turning towards gardening to get some fresh air. No one ever said you couldn’t spend time in the yard. If you live in a condo, you might choose to grow a few things on your balcony like basil or spinach or maybe some flowers. If you have a lawn, you might decide to use this time to start planting some flowers or vegetables. Some spring gardening if you will. 

11. Have a Family Chat

The best thing about this self-isolation is that it allows everyone to spend time with the family they live with. In so many cases, parents regret not spending more time with their kids because work takes over their lives. This is the universe’s way of having more people spend time with their young kids or aging parents. What better way to celebrate self-isolation than having some good ol’ family conversation. Get to know as much about your parents as possible. Spend more time than usual playing with your children. Play question games and get to know the people in your family on a deeper level.

12. Start a Business

Open Macbook laptop on coffee table

With many coronavirus layoffs happening in today’s world, you may find yourself in need of some extra cash at this time. While most people will return to work after the self-isolation period is over, many industries may be forever changed, with the layoffs being a bit more permanent. This may be a great time to finally start that business you always dreamed about. Maybe you start a blog about your passion, or you build an online business that helps people, or you sell products online. If you’re looking to fill up your time with some meaningful work, this could be a good time for you to start a business. And with everyone in self-isolation, you’ll have fewer distractions. 

13. Send Positive Messages

Another calming activity you can do in self-isolation is sending positive messages to friends, family, and strangers. There will be people celebrating birthdays over the next few weeks who won’t be able to celebrate with loved ones. You might want to keep a close eye on those Facebook birthdays to send your loved ones the most special birthday messages you’ve ever shared. There are also Facebook groups in the hobby space where people create crafts and art. You might use this time to tell people how much you admire their work. You might find posts on social media of people struggling with layoffs and depression, and you can use your words to help people cope in this difficult time. This can be an opportunity for you to practice acts of kindness.

14. Organize Your Drawers

This self-isolation the world is going through is happening around spring cleaning, making it a great time to start organizing your drawers. You can remove your winter clothing from your drawers and replace them with your spring and summer wardrobe. You might even use this time to be a bit charitable. If there are items that you find you don’t use or wear, you might choose to donate them to charity. Many people have been laid off in recent months, so some may need specific donations. 

15. Cook a New Recipe

Woman laying in bed having breakfast she cooked

Food safety is critical when in self-isolation, so you might find yourself cooking more than usual. This temporary period may be an excellent time to brush up on your cooking skills. You can check out recipes on Pinterest or on Google that look appetizing. Of course, you still want to ensure you’re making a healthy meal– especially considering how many people are getting sick these days. Use this period of self-isolation to experiment with some new recipes and try mindful eating.

16. Do the Needed Home Repairs

Two men working on home repairs

Most people put off the much-needed home repairs because they’re exhausted after work and want to enjoy their weekends. If you’re currently working from home or recently laid off, you might choose to do some of the simple DIY repairs you need. There are tons of Facebook groups for DIY home repairs, where you can learn a few tricks on how to fix some of the issues in your home. Maybe you use this time to paint the walls or fix the door handle. Small home repairs don’t need to cost an arm and a leg. And the work can be a calming activity you do on a lazy Sunday afternoon. 

17. Video Chat with Distant Family

Woman and her children having a video chat with family

One of the biggest challenges of self-isolation is the limited interaction we now have with our friends and family. Since the government is asking people to stay at home, it may not be the best time to have a family reunion or throw that spectacular birthday party. However, we’re all hooked up to the internet, so having a Facebook Chat or Google Hangouts call has never been easier. While you may not be able to hug a loved one right now, you can still connect with those near and dear to you. 

18. Write in Your Journal

One of the best calming activities to do in self-isolation is journaling. This is one of the most challenging periods in people’s lives. We’ve never experienced anything like this before. Writing in your journal to document your experiences in self-isolation could eventually become a great memoir or really insightful to read through years from now when all of this is forgotten and over. Periods like this can be a massive booster for creativity. Channeling your thoughts into words can be a healthy way to let it all out.

If you’re not sure what type of journal to keep, try a mindfulness journal. This is a way to express yourself in a mindful way, so you can track how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking, day to day.

19. Learn Something New

Man learning photography at home

In this period of self-isolation, many e-learning communities are promoting free online courses. You can use this time to learn new skills or enhance the skills you already have. With some free time at your disposal, this can be a great opportunity to build out your skillset. Some people may find that their current industry isn’t the right fit or isn’t stable right now. If you’re looking to do a career change, you can use this time to learn something new. Is there a language you’ve been putting off learning? This period is a great time to get started on that. 

20. Listen to Music

Woman listening to music on her bed

And we couldn’t complete this self-isolation activity list without the most relaxing thing: music. Whether you’d rather relax to some jazz and some wine or a household-sized dance party with the kids in the living room, music can help you relax or have fun. If you’re looking to calm down your anxiety while in self-isolation, listen to some upbeat or positive playlists on music platforms like Spotify. If you’re working from home, play some tunes to help make your workday more enjoyable. And hey, enjoy the freedom of belting out songs at “work” since the coworkers aren’t around.


Self-isolation is temporary. If you find your home environment to be stressful, you can try some of the calming activities on this list. If the situation is worse than what you can handle, you can speak with a psychologist or social worker remotely to help you get the support you need. For some, being around nagging relatives can prove to be challenging. Take time to help around the home, spend time with loved ones, and most importantly, find a moment for your wellbeing as well. And remember, this too shall pass.

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