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Keeping busy at home

Spending more time at home and being unable to see all the people we care about can be very difficult. Finding ways to pass the time or trying something new may help us to find a little joy in this time. 

Stay in touch

Not seeing our friends as family as much as usual is difficult, particularly if you’re a very sociable person. But there are plenty of ways to stay in touch with the people you care about. 

Video calls

A video call is a great way to see a friendly face and catch up. You can even try hosting a virtual quiz with a group of friends – if you’re up to the challenge! Video calling might seem quite daunting if you haven’t really done it before, but it's simple, secure and can be a lot of fun. We have more information on how to get to grips with video calls.  

How to make a video call

If you've got a smartphone, tablet or computer at home, there are easy ways to use video calls to talk to other people. Let us show you how to get started.

Chat rooms

If you enjoy going out and meeting new people, you could always try going on to forums or chat rooms. There are plenty of them on the internet, and many that might be more suited to you than others. 

Many charities have their own forums where you can talk about specific issues that may be affecting you. For example Carer’s UK have their own forum dedicated to carers. 

Letter writing

It's something of a lost art, but many of us love to write and receive letters. This could be a particularly nice way to stay in touch with grandchildren. You could ask neighbours or helpers to post your letters for you if you're staying indoors. 

Take part in research

If you are looking for new things to do while spending more time at home, why not help researchers increase society’s understanding of the effects of coronavirus?

Keep moving

Staying active isn't only good for our physical health, but it can lift our spirits too. There are plenty of ways to keep moving. 


If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, gardening is a great form of exercise – especially as the weather improves. We have some tips and advice of how to make the most of your outdoor space. 

If you don’t have a garden you can always try planting something in a pot on your window still. Having some greenery around the home can make you feel more relaxed. Why not try growing your own vegetables from leftovers?



Yoga is a great way to have a gentle stretch. It also helps relax you and so now would be a great time to try it! There are videos online for all levels so don’t be put off - here's one you may like.

Chair exercises

These are a great way to make the most of what’s around you at home while having fun and raising your heart rate that little bit. Have a look at our chair-based exercise tutorial below.

Go for a walk 

Under the new restrictions, we are still able to go out and exercise by ourselves or the people we live with. We are also able to meet up with one person from another household to exercise.

 Getting out of the house and going for a walk is a great way to stay active and provide a change of scenery – just make sure to stay at least 2 metres from anyone you see. and wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds when you get back inside.   

Get creative

Now’s a great time to rediscover forgotten hobbies or even take up a new one. There are lots of different things you can do and enjoy at home. 

Try your hand at painting, drawing or even knitting

This might seem daunting at first, especially if you’re new to it, but you don’t have to be an expert to get arty. But there are plenty of YouTube tutorials that can help you get started. 


With a little extra time on your hands, this could be the perfect excuse to perfect an old recipe try a new one. Why not have a go at making our spiced carrot cake? Not only is the cooking fun, but there’s also a delicious treat (hopefully) at the end of it. 

Get Cooking

Cooking is a great way to encourage yourself to eat well and pass the time. There are plenty of online cooking classes, such as Migrateful where you learn to cook dishes from around the world by donating what you can. 

For those on a budget, Jack Monroe hosts all their cheap and cheerful recipes on their website.

If you find you aren’t eating as much as usual, there is advice on how to stay well during the coronavirus pandemic here


There’s nothing quite like curling up on the sofa with a good book and this is the perfect excuse, so why not put aside the distractions and lose yourself in another world? Why not get your friends and family involved too? You could ask them for recommendations of some of their favourite books. You could even select a book to read together and discuss as you go along. 


Creative writing is a good way to let your mind escape. Poems, stories and keeping a diary and all great excuses to get pen to paper. A great way to get going if you're not sure where to start is a daily prompt. Try writing words on scraps of paper - like 'spring', 'hope', 'surprise' or 'colour' - putting them in a container, and picking a new one each day. Writing can also be helpful if you're feeling worried or stressed. Write down your concerns in a journal to help get them off your chest. 

Make a scrapbook

Now is a good time to sort through your old photos and put them into a scrapbook or photo album. Spending an afternoon reminiscing can be a lovely way to pass the time.  

Challenge yourself

Staying mentally active is really important – it can also be a welcome distraction. Why not have a go at one of these? 

Do a puzzle

Something you can dip in and out of, a puzzle is a great way to keep yourself busy. But if you’re digging out an old jigsaw, just hope you still have all the pieces!

If someone's helping you with your shopping, ask them if they might be able to pick up a puzzles magazine for you at the supermarket. They're usually good value and contain hours of crosswords, word searches and number puzzles to keep you busy. 

Learn a language

If you are considering learning a new language: it's never too late! And science shows that learning a language is a great way to keep our brains healthy in later life. There are lots of websites, apps and videos that can help you. If you already know more than one language, why not have a refresh? Knowing a language is good, but practising it is even better. This French beginners video might give you a taste of that 'je ne sais quoi!'

Look into your family history 

With more time at home, why not do some family research? It can be difficult to know where exactly to start but we’ve put some information together which should help. 

Learn a new skill

You could take the opportunity to explore an interest or learn a new skill. The University of the Third Age have lots of ideas on how you can keep learning at this time. 

Visit somewhere new – from your sofa

Lots of attractions and landmarks are offering virtual tours so that you can continue exploring from the comfort of your own home. Have a look on google arts & culture.

Keeping busy can be good for your mental health and provide some light relief from everything going on. 

But this is a stressful time and can leave so many of us feeling tired and unmotivated. There might be some days where you don’t feel like doing much at all, and that’s absolutely fine. It’s important to just do what you can and keep yourself busy when you feel like it. 

Find out more about the importance of hobbies

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Last updated: Apr 20 2021

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