In a world where there's no longer a separation between work and home, it's more important than ever to actively check in ourselves and each other. It's easy to get caught up in a seemingly endless Instagram feed filled with productive workouts and "What should be the topic of my next great American novel?" AMAs that convince you you're not doing enough. But when we realize there's no right way to feel right now, we also learn there's no right way to spend our time, either. You want to finish up some extra work? Great! You want to sit on the couch and binge-watch sad movies on Netflix while eating a bag of chocolate? Excellent!
Here, Marie Claire editors share how they've been keeping themselves busy as we continue to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider it a free list of ideas for how to pass the time on the weekend, or kick back after a long WFH day.
Listen to Harry Potter on Audible
"When I'm bored—or stressed or tired-but-can't-sleep or doing household chores or generally doing anything that doesn't require too much concentration, really—I like to listen to Harry Potter. If you're a fan of the books or looking to dip your toes into J.K. Rowling's wizarding world, the audio version is a true delight. The Jim Dale version is a MUST (his Dumbledore impression is masterful) and Audible, which has all the books available to download, offers a 30-day free trial. Meanwhile, for any muggles out there, I've heard Jessica Simpson's Open Book is pretty great too." —Sally Holmes, Executive Editor
Do Puzzles (With Puppies on Them)
"This might make me sound lame, but I have gotten very into puzzles as of late. I’m trying to do leisure activities that don’t require me to look at a screen. I'm currently about 50 pieces away from a complete picture of a puppy on a hammock, so..." —Megan DiTrolio, Associate Editor
Have Dance Breaks and Jam Sessions
"Mid-day dance breaks have been giving me instant waves of energy. Whenever I finish a big task, I blast whatever song comes to mind. Yesterday, I played Brandy's "Sittin' Up In My Room," which felt fitting to say the least. It was so fun to move my body freely while singing along to the nostalgic lyrics. My at-home playlists have varied day-by-day depending on my mood. My background music throughout the day is usually smooth jazz or all Sade, but when I want a dance break I'll turn up a Drake or Burna Boy song and vibe out. Force your friends and family to join your jam session at home, or phone a friend and have a virtual FaceTime party. Music makes everything better!" —Maya Allen, Beauty Editor
Deep Clean the House
"Deep cleaning my apartment! Bleaching my bathroom floor behind the toilet, moving my bed to vacuum underneath it, and taking all my food out of the fridge to wipe down the shelves. Normally it’d be hard to find time to do these things, but they’re so worth it for the feeling of accomplishment and zen when it’s done." —Morgan McMullen, Visual Designer
"I do Skyting Yoga TV every day that keeps my muscles fluid and gets the blood and oxygen flowing in new ways. It's a subscription to yoga videos of Skyting co-founders Krissy Jones and Chloe Kernaghan demonstrating great 15-57 minute routines, so you're not locked in to always doing something super long. It's $20/month for a subscription and you get the first week free. BUT this week they have been doing live 1-hour classes that have been really fun. Even my fiancé does it with me, he's getting really good!" —Julia Gall, Accessories Director
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Volunteer Your Skills, Then Do a Virtual Clothing Swap
"Right now I'm itching to volunteer beyond donating money to our local food banks and shelters. So I offer myself as a free editor: Need someone to look over your resume? You got it. Noodling with a short story? Let me take a look! It keeps me active doing something I love, and it's another way to get much-needed connection right now. Also, my friends and I have lots of clothes we don't wear—whether it's because we've outgrown them or they've just fallen to the bottom of our closets—so we're planning a virtual clothing swap. I've laid out clothes on my bed then I'll snap and share pics with my friends, including pieces I've set aside for them/items I think they'll especially love. They're going to do the same for me, and then we'll call dibs on what we like. Finally, we'll coordinate a date for the actual swap—over dinner and drinks, of course, when this is over." —Katherine J. Igoe, Contributing Editor
Do a Chemical Peel
"I spend a lot of time procrastinating about projects I'd like to do, things I'd like to buy, or closets I should clean out now, much like I did when I had more freedom. What color should I paint my door? Can I order paint online? Should I order those bookshelves? Is ordering stuff online helpful because I'm contributing to the economy or is it irresponsible because it causes people to expose themselves unnecessarily to prepare and deliver my purchases? I'm taking more time cooking meals, looking up ways to cook the limited food I have in my cabinets, and streaming movies and television shows. Suspecting I might be inside for a while, a few weeks ago I bought some chemical peels and I'm relieved I'm in hiding while my face sheds its outer layer." —Bridget Burns, Visual Editor
Play Luigi's Mansion 3 on Nintendo Switch
"I took a leaf out of Chrissy Teigen’s book and downloaded Luigi’s Mansion 3 for my Nintendo Switch. It’s part bad guy-beating, part mental puzzle, and unexpectedly satisfying. (I keep thinking about Chrissy tweeting that she felt 'sad and alone' after finishing it, and how sad and alone I’m going to feel when I do!) I play it in the bath, which I do not recommend, but something about the warm water and puzzling over the levels transitions me from 'work mode' into 'deeply relaxed. I only have three levels left. Send help." —Jenny Hollander, Director of Content Strategy
Binge-Watch Korean Dramas
"To keep myself sane and not constantly check the news/my phone every minute, I’ve been binge-watching a lot of shows from Korean dramas like Itaewon Class (my latest obsession) and Terrace House (like The Real World but more calm) to TLC’s My Strange Addiction. Zoning out of this world and into another has given me a solid few hours of reprieve from this madness." —Marina Liao, Fashion News Editor
Watch Netflix and Hang With Your Cat (...and Husband!)
"Luckily I'm quarantined with my husband and cat and not in total isolation. I'm admittedly not doing much beyond working from home and watching Netflix (I’ve created a standing desk out of my ironing board and a plant stand), but my husband is getting all sorts of personal sewing projects crossed off of his list. My cat is living for the company. Our mere presence is wiping him out. When I'm not reaching out to celebrities to brainstorm content concepts they can capture on their own, I'm spending a lot of time on the phone with friends and family. As someone who has historically been hug/human touch averse, I'm going to need a lot of hugs/human touch after this is all over." —Maxwell Losgar, Entertainment Director
Start a GoFundMe and Donate to a Worthy Cause
"I started a Human Jukebox GoFundMe where you can request me to sing a song in the style of any celeb. (I did Lizzo as Britney last night and Timmy Chalamet as Kermit is coming up.) Large donations will get a clown makeup tutorial (we’re stir crazy so might as well be real crazy). All proceeds to No Kid Hungry, which helps the children impacted by school closings get their meals." —Wanyi Jiang, Design Director
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Cook Recipes You've Had Bookmarked
"As I finally have time to make all the recipes I’ve bookmarked, I’ve been cooking up a storm. I’m cracking into the more decadent spices and ingredients I’ve picked up on my work travels that I’ve been afraid to use up, like saffron and harissa from Morocco and chai spice and mustard seeds from India. Since my boyfriend has a balcony, we've been eating all our meals outside to get some air, even when it's cold. I’m catching up on shows, too: after I’ve exercised all of The Great British Bake Off, I’m starting The Sopranos from the beginning. I’m from Jersey, after all." —Taylore Glynn, Associate Beauty & Health Editor
Read a Book
"I'm sure the 'cool kids' in high school would roll their eyes at me for saying this, but I sincerely believe that people who love reading can never be bored (or lonely for that matter). Books allow you to explore places and meet people that you otherwise couldn't—and without leaving your couch. I love a good thriller—time passes so quickly when you're reading one! I also love reading classics, which allow you to inhibit a different time in history, too. If you're not sure what to crack open next, might I recommend any of Marie Claire's virtual book club picks? That way you have other people to chat about the novel with too." —Danielle McNally, Deputy Editor
Do More Puzzles...and Drink Wine
"One of my new year’s resolutions was to be on my phone less, but the last two weeks I feel like I’ve been staring at it more than ever. My roommate and I have started working on puzzles for a few hours in the evening while playing music and drinking wine. After a few days I’ve lowered my daily phone usage, while also giving our eyes a much-needed screen break." —Susanna Hayward, Associate Art Director
Call Your Friends and Family (Yes, on the Phone!)
"My number one solution for banishing boredom is picking up the phone. Whether I’m dialing up a friend, my mom, or my grandma it always keeps my mind occupied. Conversations run the gamut, from a quick check-in to an overdue catch up session, to a run down of everything that happened that very day. No matter the subject matter, I always hang up feeling a bit better!" —Sara Holzman, Fashion Features Associate
Maintain a Consistent Workout Routine
"Exercise has always been a big part of curbing my anxiety and keeping me happy and productive, so I've tried to stick to my workout routine (4-5x a week) as best as possible in these high-stress times. My amazing trainer has offered to do FaceTime workouts with me, I'll go for early morning walks in the park when it's mostly empty, and one of my favorite dance fitness boutiques, 305 Fitness, is live-streaming cardio classes twice a day that I can do from my living room. (I even convinced my husband to join one, and he didn't hate it.) I also watch a lot of Law and Order: SVU, which has nothing to do with exercise, but Olivia Benson can make anyone feel calm." —Neha Prakash, Senior News & Culture Editor
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.
Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.
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