couple cooking in the kitchen

It’s been a while since life seemed normal, and as the pandemic continues there is an end in sight, though it could still be months away. During this time, many people are working from home and their children are learning from home. While trying to adjust to all this home time, you can start to feel a bit stir crazy and like the walls are closing in. Now that you’ve binged everything on all the streaming channels and the children have, too, what’s next?

Not to worry. There are still a ton of options available to you and your family. It just requires a bit of creative thinking and planning. Here are some tips to help you find satisfaction in your home while waiting out the pandemic.

1. Bring The Recreation Home

If your family was active before the pandemic, adjusting to the space around your home can be particularly challenging. Perhaps the young ones were in little league and the adults regularly hit the gym. The good news is, you can still have that. Maybe even a little better.

There are many recreational activities that can fit under your roof or outside in the yard. Activities such as ping pong, tennis and volleyball can all be played at home, regardless of how big your yard is.

If you live in a location that has mild seasons, consider the addition of an underground pool. Many pool options are affordable and will offer your family a lifetime of activity, memories and fun. And, the next time there’s a pandemic, which hopefully is never, you’ll be well-prepared to handle it again. Check out some options for custom pools Bullard.

2. Challenge Your Minds

All that junk you’ve funneled into your brain from binging Netflix may not have done much to expand your knowledge of the world. You likely binged because you were bored, but after it was over, you found you were still bored. Boredom can have a negative impact on choices you make in life, so you’ve got to find a way for you and your family members to be less bored.

So, while the children are engaged in school work this semester, engage with them. You could probably use a refresher in math, history and English grammar, anyway, right? As you keep up with them, have family trivia nights that incorporate all you’ve learned that week. Everyone will be excited to take part. It’ll also make learning competitive for everyone, and there’s nothing bad about that!

3. Bring the Restaurant Experience Home

Many people say one of the things they miss most since the pandemic began is dining out. For many families, dining out is the only opportunity they have to share a meal together at the table. There’s good news. You can still enjoy that experience.

While you may not have the opportunity to do it every night of the week, because let’s face it, you’ve still got work to do and now you’re also managing your children’s education, but you can make time to do it during the weekends. Make each dinner an experience.

Decide what kind of restaurant you will be experiencing. Will it be Italian, Mexican, Middle-Eastern or something else? Plan your meal, look up recipes and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and try something new. Get the whole family involved. Don’t forget the dessert.

But, it isn’t just the food that’s going to make this a special occasion. You also need ambience. If you have nice dinnerware, such as china, make use of it. Light candles and place them at the center of the table. Bring in fresh flowers from the garden. Use cloth napkins. Because everyone was a part of making it happen, everyone will enjoy it and look forward to it again next weekend.

4. Stay Connected

You’ve been seeing the same faces for weeks now. Sure, you’ve texted or talked to friends and family over the phone, but it’s just not the same. You likely have friends and family you haven’t seen in weeks. Why not go for a visit? It’s time to start inviting the outside world in. But, not literally.

Gather everyone around the computer and use an app such as FaceTime, Zoom or Skype to spend time with a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a while. Make an “outside” visit a regular part of every week.

People get lonely and these times can especially be hard on older people who live alone. Be sure you are staying connected with grandparents and elderly aunts and uncles. Everyone feels good when they know they are thought of and cared for enough for you and your family to spend your time with them.

5. Get Some Home Improvement Going

Everyone has something they’ve been putting off in their home. Procrastination in home improvement is common, especially during normal times when you can walk right out the door and go have fun somewhere else. But now, you’re stuck home, and those tasks are still calling.

Have the windows needed cleaning? Do the closets need to be reorganized? Or, perhaps the walls need new paint and the baseboards need repaired. Maybe the bathroom needs a new tile job. Everything you need for your repair can be ordered online. Whatever it is that’s been needing your attention, there really is no better time than now.

Just imagine how great your house will feel once you’ve got all the repairs and updates out of the way. It’ll be like a new home. And all that time you’re spending here? It will be much more pleasant and relaxing.

6. Go Camping

The experts mostly agree that traveling during the pandemic isn’t a wise choice; however, camping out is considered, by some, to be relatively low risk. That doesn’t mean it is without its risks, as you may still cross paths with fellow travelers and share facilities where the virus could be picked up. Yet, there are ways to camp without coming into contact with other people.

Have you ever considered camping in your own backyard? The whole family will enjoy it. Get the family involved, and plan it as a camping trip to another state, or even country. Choose somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.

If you don’t have a yard, or you live in the city where the light pollution doesn’t allow a view of the stars, perhaps you know someone who has land in the country they wouldn’t mind allowing you to borrow for the night. Whether you sleep in a tent, or use sleeping bags and watch the stars fade as you fall asleep, camping in the backyard is an excellent family activity.

7. Read for Adventure

People who read every day know that reading has the ability to take you away on exotic adventures. Whether you enjoy spy stories or romance, the collection of books by authors is so vast something new always awaits you.

If you aren’t an avid reader, it’s never too late to start. Join an online book club and see what other members have enjoyed. Or, form a book club of your own with real life friends and family, and get together over email or webcam to discuss what you’ve read.

If your children are elementary age or younger, read to them, too. Little Golden Books are great for smaller children. Classics by Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary will have your school-aged children anticipating the next nightly chapter.

8. Start a New Hobby or Learn a New Language

The pandemic has given you more time at home, which means more time to develop yourself. While you’re doing the home improvement, also make time for self-improvement. Have you always wanted to learn to oil paint? Or, maybe you’ve always wanted to learn Spanish. Or, compose and record a song. There is no right or wrong answer.

The tools you need to learn your next new hobby or new language are readily available online. Youtube is packed with millions of videos from people eager to share their knowledge. Your local library also likely has access to some great material you can access through their portal.

Learning a new skill will make the time spent at home well worth it. Once the pandemic is over, you can show off your new mad skills to everyone at the office. Imagine how impressed your friends will be!

This pandemic has presented a challenging time, but with a little patience and a new lease on life, you’ll find there are still a lot of ways to enjoy your time at home. Your family is much more resilient than you may give them credit, and they may have some ideas on how to get through this pandemic as well. Let everyone be a part of making this new and temporary life an adventure. By the time it’s over, your family will have forged a bond that makes your relationships healthier and closer, and you may develop some healthy family habits that last a lifetime.