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Cabin Fever Productivity Cures

The global coronavirus pandemic gave us circumstances that have led to us staying at home for a long period of time in the interest of preserving and promoting public health. When this all started, you probably assumed the obvious: eat, sleep, and repeat. Maybe you would consider occasionally reading a book from the “to-be-read” pile on your shelf, or catching up with the movies and series you saved to your Netflix list. But while you’re sitting up in bed, looking around feeling like your options are limited to just these “activities,” they’re not.

How come when we’re at home we feel limited in the possibilities for proactivity?

Essentially, this reason stems from the feeling that staying at home gets too comfortable and gradually becomes a mindless and boring routine. We fear that we’ll eventually feel stuck, uninspired, unmotivated; even sluggish.

Having an off-day isn’t wrong—go ahead! Take that nap. Do your nails. Watch that documentary or comedy special. Read that guilty pleasure novel.

You can still cultivate your creativity while living an indoor lifestyle.

It can be challenging for us to find motivation and stay optimistic and innovative as we face uncertainty and boredom. Let’s mention the obvious: we know everyone is cooking, exercising, creating TikTok videos, cleaning, organizing, online shopping, sewing homemade face masks, and perusing their social media feeds. These are all great activities, which, by the way, I definitely partake in as well.

But what if you wanted to do a few different things to switch up your schedule? Sometimes we need a change of pace and a chance to learn something new, whether it’s a hobby or an insight about ourselves.

Here are a few creative ideas to do that can expand ways of how you can view your needs/wants and turn them into indoor activities. 

Make a Vision Board

vision board motivation collage
Vision boards can be any format: Pinterest boards, cork boards, whiteboards, etc. Even your walls!

Write and/or draw your goals for the year (yes, you can still work on your #goals even in your pajamas in the midst of #quarantinelife).

What are your short term goals?

Long term goals?

Have you been thinking about finally getting that learner’s permit you’ve put off for a while? Write that short-term goal on a sticky note and add it to your vision board: study the driver’s manual. You can add a snapshot of a car on the road to symbolize your goal and your travel destinations.

Another short term goal you might choose to have is to lose a few pounds. (It’s usually best to start off small). You might include photos of healthy food recipes and fun workout ideas that you can start doing at home.

An example of a long-term goal is maybe deciding to go to graduate school to further develop your skills and study a subject that you’re passionate about learning. Or maybe you want to pivot roles/industries and find a career in business finance. You can use your vision board as a way to gather ideas for areas where you would like to improve.

Consistency is important: it won’t work unless you set realistic habits for yourself to do each day or week. It’s best to be intentional about the images and actions you choose in order to meet that goal. No matter what it is, create a vision board that will keep you motivated to start achieving some of those goals. Decorate it and make it your own. 

Start a Scrapbook or a Bullet Journal

This is Jus Tri’s bullet journal.

If you have Broadway tickets from a show with your family or business cards from your favorite brunch spots then stick them in a nice scrapbook. If you’re not super artistic, craft stores have stickers which are like pre-drawn drawings. If you’re on a budget, you can cut out letters, quotes, and images from magazines and newspapers, or even trace your own shapes and symbols on construction paper. You can also learn how to press leaves or flowers between the pages of your scrapbook or journal.

If you don’t have a spare scrapbook or notebook, consider going digital: apps like Evernote, Goodnotes, and Notion have awesome mobile-friendly features that you can use to keep your personal thoughts and digital photos organized. Update your notes on your laptop, tablet, or phone.

If you have a cloud service such as iCloud or Dropbox, sharing image files and page updates as you switch between devices becomes an easy and intuitive process while creating your entries.

Buy a Potted Plant

assorted spring flowers in pots

Plants not only circulate oxygen in your home but they keep you accountable while managing your day. Owning a plant (or even a pet) can give your schedule structure by taking care of it. You have to turn the pot toward the sun or water them at certain times throughout the day. The plus side is that plants can also be used for indoor decoration that can brighten up any room and add serenity to any room.

Note that there are specific plants that thrive better indoors and those that are more suited for outdoors. For indoor plants, you want to look for a plant that can survive in “lowlight” which is how most florist shops categorize their plants. 

Style a Photoshoot

Make use of all the clothes you have never worn and neglected because they never fit any of the occasions you’ve had in past years. While you’re cleaning out and organizing your wardrobe, you can categorize each clothing item and also have fun making stylized flat-lays.

Have a family member behind the camera or use a tripod. With an indoor photoshoot, you can showcase your true style and use this as an opportunity to experiment with a more avant-garde aesthetic. You can experiment with makeup, accessories, objects, furniture, and lighting angles around your room. 

Complete a DIY Project

I know people refer to these projects as ultimate, epic fails when they try them out. However, it depends on your skill, ability, attentiveness, and the level of difficulty in the project. But where do you start? Just look around your room and think about what you think you need to upgrade.

Maybe your journal needs a new cover or DIY a calendar board instead of ordering a $50 one online. Just browsing through Home Depot might give you ideas for projects you forgot about until now. 

Paint-by-numbers

This is for the not-so-artistic people who still want to create art and it’s an extremely therapeutic and calming activity, too. It is basically a big coloring page where each grid is numbered. Each number is assigned a different color and usually, the set of paints or markers comes with it. These are available for purchase anywhere from Etsy, Amazon, or Michael’s.

Send a Letter

Write a letter, postcard, or greeting card to your grandparents, your friends, cousins, or anyone—near or far. Take note of all the important holidays and birthdays coming up. Who needs a pick-me-up? Nowadays we rely so heavily on our phones for messaging that handwritten letters are almost non-existent. Little acts of kindness like this will brighten anyone’s day when they see your name on an envelope meant for them. 

Develop a New Hobby

There are many hobbies to choose from. With a little research and innovation, you can start any hobby based on what you already have at home.

You can learn a new language. Take up the art of paper folding: origami. Relearn piano on that dusty one in your living room. Create new, delicious recipes.

Find something you are genuinely interested in so that the effort is worthwhile. 


Also recommended reading: The Beauty of Manifesting by Alizé Martinez

CategoriesOn Motivation
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Karessa Abe

Karessa Abe was born and raised in the Sunnyside, Queens. She graduated with a BA in Communications Research at the University at Albany (SUNY). She hopes to contribute her own perspectives on life with creative essays that inspire readers to discover their inner passions. You can follow her on Instagram (@golden.karat).

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