17 Things to Do by Yourself While You're Social Distancing

How to stay healthy, focused, and entertained when you're hanging out alone.

The self-isolation necessary to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic has been challenging, especially for those who live alone. While those waiting things out with family or roommates can still arrange group activities, single-person households are bound to be a little quieter. If you live on your own, there may be a silver lining to your unprecedented new lifestyle. There are a ton of things to do by yourself while you're social distancing that may even help you emerge from this solo period smarter, happier, and in better shape than you were before. Keep reading for our self-isolation to-do list, which features several free or low-cost activities that you can pick up right now.

1. Take an online class.

Man writing in a notebook and looking at his laptop for an online class or work

Whether it's been decades since the last time you sat in a classroom or just a few months, online classes make continuing education easy and enjoyable. And then there's the freedom. You don't have to fulfill a course load, just pick any subject that interests you! There's a near-endless course catalog across various education sites, with classes in writingcodingguitar, photography, and much, much more. Browse the web to find a class or two that strike your fancy—some are even free.

2. Host a Chopped challenge via FaceTime.

Woman cooking in kitchen with her laptop

While grocery stores are running low on certain items, you may be looking to get creative with the strange and seemingly incompatible ingredients you have in your own kitchen. Why not host a Chopped challenge for your friends? Chopped is the long-running Food Network hit that has chefs prepare three-course meals using all the odd ingredients the show provides, which can be anything from gummy bears to Vegemite—and it can also be your inspiration. To compete virtually, FaceTime with a friend, show them your pantry and fridge, and let them select three weird items you must include in your meal, and vice versa. While you whip up your meals, catch up on your day. When your dishes are done, rate each other's plate on appearance, then dig in.

3. Paint and sip.

Woman painting sitting on floor

If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind piece of art to adorn your wall, why not paint it yourself? Paint and sips are hosted all over the country, and there's no reason you can't have a one-person event in your home. Order a canvas and some paint for a new creation or to refurbish something you already own. And to reach maximum relaxation, pour yourself a glass of wine. You can paint freehand or follow along with a class, because you make the rules at this paint and sip.

4. Make a vision board.

Woman cutting paper to make a vision board

We're all eagerly envisioning the day we're finally free to roam the streets and visit our friends again. So why not represent that creatively with a vision board? Use your time alone to set out your goals for the next six months, one year, five years—however far you want to look in the future—and put them down on paper. Grab a stack of old magazines, a pair of scissors, glue, and a piece of cardboard or poster board, then get to work manifesting the life you want.

5. Participate in a Zoom writing circle.

Video chatting

Writing is an excellent way to process emotions, which is something you probably need right now. Gather a group of friends together through Zoom video conferencing and swap stories once a week. Get into a rotation where each person has a a chance to select the week's prompt, and don't take yourselves too seriously. Be flexible with what the group creates, from poems to songs to spoken word to short stories. If you're working on a structured project and want a more serious setting, you can also join an existing online community of aspiring writers.

6. Jump into online workout classes.

Man doing an at home online workout

Online workout classes are the perfect solution to being shut out of your local gym or studio. There are many online class options including balletyoga, boxing, and, lest we forget, those retro Jane Fonda workouts. This is the time to try something new in the safety of your home or perfect a technique you've been working on for months so you don't lose your progress. Move your furniture, blast some music, and break a sweat, because endorphins make you happy.

7. Catch up on podcasts.

Man listening to headphones relaxing on his couch

If you're looking to catch a break from the depressing news alerts that pop up on your phone, check out some light podcasts. You can learn about what you missed while daydreaming in history class; fall in love with love; or celebrate the messiness of being human. Toss a podcast on while you're getting dressed or tidying your kitchen, whether you're chipping away at your own list or embarking on something new.

8. Invite your friends to a FaceTime book club.

Girl reading a book on her couch with a mug

Your pile of "to read" books has not shrunk in months. Now, you have all the time in the world, so why not tackle it? Creating a book club will give you a solid appointment at least once a week, allow you to chat with friends, and hold you accountable for reading. Take a vote with your friends to decide what your inaugural book will be, then set a comfortable pace (i.e. reading two chapters or 50 pages a week). You'll be pleasantly surprised by how many deep conversations flow when you're discussing a juicy read.

9. Write letters to family and friends.

Girl writing a letter

Show your family and friends just how much you're missing them right now. Since you can't swing by and see them, take some time to write heartfelt letters to brighten up their day. As a bonus, it'll make you feel less lonely too.

10. Learn a new language.

Man learning studying online

Your trip to Barcelona may have been postponed, but that doesn't mean you can't experience some culture at home. Get a jump on learning a new language, so the next time you book a trip, you can easily chat with locals. You can teach yourself, take a virtual class, or download an app to get started.

11. Start journaling.

Woman journaling in bed

Journals are time capsules that capture your innermost thoughts during a specific time in your life. If that's important to you, you should be documenting your experience during this current moment in history. You can set a schedule that suits you: Journaling in the morning is a great grounding technique that allows you to begin your day in a powerful way, whereas journaling before bed lets you wind down and reflect. If you're stuck, you can scan the internet for some creative prompts to get you started.

12. Learn to meditate.

Man meditating on mat

Doing nothing can be challenging for people who don't like to sit still, but if you have a habit of getting restless, now is the perfect time to experiment with meditation. The practice can help you manage your anxieties and let go of negative energy that doesn't benefit you. To get into the groove of taking this time for yourself, you can check out one of many guided meditation apps or take an online course for a little more guidance.

13. Have a Netflix Party with your movie buds.

Woman watching tv on couch

Missing movie night with your friends? Netflix Party is here to help. This new technology from Netflix allows you to sync your video with friends, so you can watch your favorite movies and TV shows together. There's even a group chat feature that allows you to discuss what's on the screen, just like you would do if you were physically together.

14. Foster a pet.

Woman holding little dog

If you're lonely, why not look to an animal in need for some companionship? Shelters all over the country are overrun with pets from people who cannot afford to care for their furry friends in this economic climate. Fostering a dog or cat lets you do something kind during this crisis, gives you a reason to go out for walks, and provides you with a snuggle buddy who will lift your spirits.

15. Tie dye old clothing.


We all have a couple of old T-shirts or a pair of sweatpants that we've worn a hundred times but aren't quite ready to part with. Why not give yours a second life and a pop of psychedelic color? Tie-dying can be done with a kit or with all-natural ingredients you may already have at home. Things may get messy, but when all is said and done, you'll have a groovy up-cycled shirt to show for it.

16. Take a virtual museum tour.

Man on laptop on couch

The world's most famous museums are offering people virtual access to roam their halls from the couch. You can experience the Musée d'Orsay of Paris and the National History Museum of London on the same day without the pricey plane ticket. With these features, you can curl up in a comfy spot and study some of history's most stunning artworks and incredible advancements with your laptop or phone.

17. Switch over your wardrobe for spring.

Woman looking at her closet

Spring cleaning may feel less imperative while you're wearing the same pair of ratty leggings every day. However, when you can finally leave the house again, you'll be glad to have already crossed off this chore so you can have more time in the sunshine. Pack away your bulky sweaters and down jackets for next winter. And while you're at it, you can channel Marie Kondo and set aside clothes you want to donate, so you're ready to start anew this spring.


Filed Under