Being stuck at home can get boring. Whether you’re sheltering in place for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) or waiting out a future rainy day when you’re stuck inside, you’re bound to get antsy. Prevent boredom by doing a few fun and easy activities that promote health and wellness. Studies show that when we’re bored, we crave and overeat junk food.
In a study, scientists had one group of people watch a funny video, while others watched a boring video. According to ScienceDaily, the boring group ate significantly more unhealthy snacks than those who were laughing.
Don’t fill the hours (or your belly) with chips. If you’re feeling bored, get up and try one of these 10 simple activities that will make your home brighter, your mind sharper and your body healthier… until we can all go out again.
Here are 10 seriously easy (and healthy!) activities to do while you’re bored at home:
Activity 1: Sit in the Sun
We said these activities would be easy! If the weather’s bright but you need to stay home, getting a little extra sun can do wonders for your health. The vitamin D your body will produce has been shown to help with immune function, activate the calcium you eat for stronger bones and can make your body more resistant to cancer and heart disease, says the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. According to Mercy Medical Center, about 42 percent of Americans don’t get enough D. So, grab a book and get some sun!
Activity 2: Go to Bed Early
Getting sound, regular sleep is one of the most effective ways to improve your life. When we get fewer than seven hours of sleep per night, we’re less productive in our work, says CBS News. Even worse, sleeping fewer than six hours per night increases your risk of early death by 13 percent. We’re also more affected by negative stuff and less attuned to the positive in our lives, according to a study, published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.
Not getting enough sleep can affect your weight, too. According to the University of Chicago Office of Communications, one study found that dieters sleeping seven or more hours lost twice as much fat as people who slept less. They also didn’t feel as hungry overall.
Activity 3: Netflix and Chop
Vegging out in front of the TV while social distancing? Chop some veg instead! Grab your cutting board and knife while watching your new stuck-at-home obsession. Create pre-cut snacks of carrot sticks, cucumber coins and sliced bell peppers that will be ready whenever you’re feeling snack-y during a marathon binge session. Having those low-calorie, good-for-you snacks available will make it easier to make a good choice when cravings strike.
According to ScienceDaily, just the act of chopping may help you be healthier overall: One study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that the more time people spent preparing food at home, the better their diets. These preppers ate more fruits and vegetables and less fast food than those who spent less time in the kitchen.
Activity 4: Run the Vacuum
Not all exercise activities have to involve dumbbells or treadmills! Cleaning the house burns more calories than you think. According to the Department of Health Services, a 190-pound person burns more than 300 calories per hour doing things like running the vacuum—around the same amount they’d burn canoeing on a camping trip or by biking at a leisurely pace. The vacuum may not be as fun but it could help you stay in shape so you’re more ready for those activities once you’re able to head back outside!
Activity 5: Walk Up and Down the Stairs
Sitting around increases your risk of dying prematurely. In a study of more than 200,000 adults, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, scientists found that sitting for more than four hours per day increased risks of early death by 11 percent due to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other chronic conditions. If you walk around every hour, though—even if it’s only for a few minutes—you slash your risk of sitting-related death by one third, according to the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Two minutes is easy! Get up and take the stairs for two minutes for every hour you sit.
Activity 6: Write a Thank You Note
Showing gratitude can make you feel better about your life, increase the amount you exercise and reduce your visits to the doctor. Science proves it! When people in a study wrote thank you notes to people they felt hadn’t properly been thanked, the writers’ happiness scores got a big boost, says Harvard Health Publishing. Those feel-good benefits lasted as long as a month. So, if you’re feeling good, swipe away from your social media feed and fire off a thank you email to a friend or relative. You’ll both be happier for it.
Activity 7: Make a “Water Meal” Bottle
Having enough water helps your body function better and can also keep you feeling full throughout the day. Those are just two reasons why Nutrisystem encourages members to drink 64 ounces of water each day.
That number can seem daunting, which is why some members get their agua by having “water meals.” This is where they have a big glass of water at set times of the day—the same way you’d have breakfast, lunch and dinner. To make this even easier, some water-drinkers hashmark a really big bottle of water with a permanent marker and put a time next to each hashmark. At the prescribed time, they drink down to the next hashmark. Make your own and bump up your hydration!
Activity 8: Start a Healthy Recipe Exchange
Help your friends pass the time while you fill your recipe box. Start an email chain or group chat with your best friends to swap and share healthy recipes that you’ve been trying while in quarantine. You can even create your own homemade recipe book to keep handy in your kitchen! If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than The Leaf Weight Loss Blog! There are easy, no-guilt snacks like kale chips, simple one-pan dinners like this slammin’ salmon and craving-crushing desserts like these mini pumpkin cheesecake bites.
Activity 9: Make a Dance Party Playlist
Lots of people who are sheltering at home are having Zoom dance parties, getting together with friends to dance while on video chat. Whether you’re into that or would rather dance by yourself, shaking your booty is a simple, fun way to keep it in shape. So make a playlist! Pick your favorites from your youth, ask your kids to fill in danceable tunes they love or text friends to contribute some songs that spark great memories of times together. Then boogie! You can also turn on your dance party playlist when you’re doing some of the other activities on this list.
Activity 10: Play a Game with the Kids
Sometimes it’s not you that’s bored—it’s the kids. Parents who need a new way to occupy the little ones can get a little action in of their own with a simple game of “Tip the Cup.” Scatter some plastic cups on the ground in a big space and create two teams—cup tippers and cup fixers. On go, the tippers knock the cups over, while the fixers stand them back up. Keep going for two minutes, then give yourself a rest and play again. You’ll be bending over, moving around and both you and the kids will be giggling throughout this fun, sneaky fitness game. The backyard isn’t off limits either. Head outside and play a game of catch or soccer. Do some hula hooping or grab some chalk and play hopscotch in the driveway. Use this time at home to disconnect from your devices and reconnect with each other.