10 Things to do at home during self-isolation

10 Things to do at home during self-isolation

5 min read

In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, many of us are looking for things to do while practicing social distancing and self-isolation. Here are 10 things you can do to pass the time at home:  

1. Find ways to stay connected with friends and family

Staying in touch with friends and family can make self-isolation feel a lot less lonely. A group Houseparty call with your besties; reconnecting with old classmates on Zoom; or a Whatsapp message to your mum. And let’s not forget checking up on loved ones with a good old phone call.

2. Take time to adapt to your new lifestyle 

For many of us, being at home 24/7 will take a lot of getting used to. To make things a little easier:  
  • Change out of your pyjamas and wash your hair, even if you’re not leaving the house. I spent the first few days of quarantine lounging in my pyjamas and forsaking shampoo, both of which did nothing for my productivity and self-esteem.
  • Maintain a schedule.
  • If you’re working from home: try to separate ‘work life’ and ‘home life’ life by allocating different tasks to different rooms. My housemate, for example, set up a workspace in her bedroom — her ‘work’ — and uses the living room to relax — her ‘home’. 
  • Try to keep things organised around the house. A clean and tidy room = a clear mind.  

3. Try out new recipes

Homemade lemon cookies
Pizza from scratch

People have been going through flour and yeast like never before — myself included. Some of my favourite baking recipes are lemon cookiescinnamon rolls, apple cinnamon muffins and, the quarantine classic, banana bread

4. Give your home a little makeover

Before
After

Self-isolation is a great excuse to do some spring cleaning. Sort through your wardrobes, clean out your cupboards, and rearrange or update your furniture.

5. Take an online course 

If you’ve got time on your hands, why not take an online course? For example:

If you’re interested in accessibility and disability-focused courses, make sure to check out: 

6. Start a new creative project

Just a few things I made

Creative projects can be a great way to distract yourself and give you a sense of purpose. In the past, I’ve spent hours behind the sewing machine learning how to make tote bags, pillow cases, and more. For more project ideas, check out The Atlantic’s “8 Ways to Stay Creative During Quarantine“.

7. Explore the the world through virtual museum tours

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Just because we can’t visit museums, doesn’t mean we can’t bring the museums to us. For a list of my favourite virtual museum tours in Amsterdam, take a look at: “5 Museums in Amsterdam that you can visit from the comfort of your sofa“.

8. Research your family history 

Thank you to the Ward family in Canada for this photo of my great grandmother

If you’re interested in your family tree, now is the time to do some research. Thanks to Ancestry.com, I was able to get in touch with distant relatives in Canada and trace a photo of my British great grandmother. This was especially heartwarming for my grandmother, who lost her mum at a very young age and didn’t have a photo showing her face. Who knows what you might find! 

9. Support your local community

Many people in especially isolated or at-risk (health) groups will need extra support. If you’re interested in helping, or in need of help yourself, look into suitable initiatives in your local area. 

If you’re in Amsterdam and would like to offer or receive help: 

  • Serve the City Amsterdam” to provide care packages, financial aid, and other services
  • Voor Elkaar in Amsterdam” if you’d  like to help someone with groceries, transport, etc. or are in need of help yourself
  • Wij Amsterdam” provides information about various (volunteer) initiatives across the city 
  • Vrijwilligers Centrale Amsterdam” to send a free card, become an online buddy, and a variety of other (virtual) volunteer opportunities
  • Ready2Help” by the Dutch Red Cross is a network of volunteers that can be connected to individuals who need support, especially those in high risk groups
  • NL Voor Elkaar” to place/ respond to individual requests for support

10. Take a break

A little break with my friend's dog

The uncertainty, change and loss caused by the coronavirus makes it a stressful and difficult time for all of us — for some more so than others. Whatever your situation, try to take a break and take care of yourself as much as possible. 


Thank you to everyone working round the clock in hospitals, in medical labs and elsewhere to battle this virus. Thank you to teachers, daycare staff, supermarket workers, pharmacists, delivery workers, and all other professionals playing a big part in keeping our society going. The rest of us need to do our part and stay at home as much as possible. Take care and stay safe. 

What have you been up to in self-isolation? Let me know in the comments below! 

Share this post
Follow on Bloglovin

Josephine Rees

My name is Josephine Rees (1993) and I am Dutch-British. I was raised in Tokyo and Moscow and moved to The Netherlands to study Anthropology & Human Geography in 2012. After briefly living in Thailand and Cambodia, I am now based in Amsterdam. I love exploring Amsterdam and hope to help others by sharing accessibility tips.

Leave a Reply