Staying home is more necessary than ever right now in light of the coronavirus pandemic. In some states, it’s even required by law. And while you might understand why isolating yourself is important to stop the spread of the virus, you also might be wondering what the heck am I supposed to do for the next few weeks?!
An easy answer? Take up a new hobby. To help inspire you, NerdBear analyzed recent Google search trends to find the 15 most popular hobbies in the U.S. right now, from doing yoga to learning a new language. Below are the results along with our tips for getting started with each.
1. Watching TV shows and movies
Being stuck at home is the perfect excuse to binge-watch all your favorite shows or movies. While Netflix and Hulu are popular picks, of course, people have also recently become obsessed with Disney+—and for good reason. You can choose from any Disney flick your heart desires (including Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, National Geographic, and the animated classics) and, because there are no R-rated movies, all of the content is completely family-friendly.
Whether your choice of reading material is an e-book, audiobook, or actual physical paperback, escaping into a page-turning read is a great way to pass the time. Here at Reviewed, we love the Kindle Paperwhite (it’s our favorite e-reader! because it has 24 levels of illumination for reading anytime anywhere and has the most storage of any other model. And if you like holding a real book in your hands, consider signing up for Book of the Month—the subscription service delivers a curated selection of must-reads right to your doorstep every month.
3. Working out
Can’t get to the gym? Bring the gym to you. That’s what plenty of people are doing, with the help of at-home workout essentials like dumbbells, resistance bands, a Pilates ring, and more. And while you can find plenty of free videos on YouTube, you can also sign up for a subscription to online services like ClassPass or Alo Moves, both of which offer virtual classes led by expert instructors. You can take everything from barre to HIIT to yoga from the comfort of your own living room.
4. Arts and crafts
There’s something about doing arts and crafts as an adult that makes us feel like a kid again. And there are so many projects to choose from. Maybe it’s learning how to knit with a monthly subscription box from Darn Good Yarn. Maybe it’s taking a watercolor painting class online at Brit.co. Or maybe it’s simply grabbing some markers and filling in the pages of an adult coloring book like the ever-popular Secret Garden, which features gorgeous hand-drawn pictures.
5. Board games
If you’re quarantined with friends or roommates, challenge everyone to a little friendly competition with a board game tournament. While you can stick to the classics—Monopoly, anyone?—there are also tons of new games worth checking out. Some of the most popular games for groups include Code Names (this is my family’s favorite!), Exploding Kittens, and What Do You Meme. Psst: Even if you live alone, you can get creative and host game night via Zoom or FaceTime with your friends and family.
6. DIY projects
All those Pinterest projects you “don’t have time” for? Well, now that you’re home 24/7, you do. Whether it’s something as fun as making a pallet wine rack or as practical as painting your living room a new color, you can shop for your materials online at The Home Depot (or whatever retailer you prefer!), then browse YouTube or Pinterest for easy-to-follow tutorials. And if your project requires basic tools? We recommend a multitool like this Gerber one, which has screwdrivers, pliers, a ruler, and more all in one.
I might be a little biased—I am a yoga teacher, after all—but I feel infinitely better if I make it to my mat every day. Not only is it healthy to get some physical movement in every day but yoga can also help relieve stress and channel your inner zen. To nail your next down dog, you’ll want a good yoga mat like this one from Lululemon. It’s our number one pick because it provides just the right amount of cushioning and has a non-slip surface.
If you’ve opened up Instagram the last week or so, chances are high you’ve been bombarded with pictures of homemade bread, cupcakes, muffins, even Pop-tarts. It seems like everyone is baking these days—and can you blame them? Spending time in the kitchen whipping up that recipe you’ve been drooling over is not only fun, it’s productive (and delicious!). Some of our favorite baking tools include this non-stick baking sheet (a must for perfectly golden cookies), this loaf pan (hello, banana bread), and this wooden rolling pin. And of course, if you’re looking to splurge a little, you can’t beat the beloved KitchenAid stand mixer.
Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t get outside. One way to spend more time outdoors is by taking up gardening, which you can learn via an online workshop from popular plant delivery service, The Sill. And if you don’t have a yard (i.e. if you live in an apartment or in the city), you can still garden indoors. Consider getting a few houseplants—again, we like The Sill for this!—or grow your own herb garden with a starter kit like this one.
10. Video games
There’s a reason so many people are obsessed with gaming, especially right now—it’s fun, challenging yet entertaining, and an awesome way to socialize with friends from a distance. Whether you have an Xbox, Nintendo Switch, or some other gaming console, you can shop for digital games—which you can download and play instantly—at plenty of retailers online. Bonus: Unlike actual discs, digital games are stored on the cloud so they don’t take up space in your home and they’re accessible anytime, anywhere.
Every morning since I’ve been social distancing (i.e. not leaving my house), I’ve been starting my day with 15 minutes of meditation. And I don’t want to say it’s changed my life but it’s changed my life. Or at least it’s improved my mood and mindset. I use the popular app Headspace, which has over 630,000 glowing reviews. It has hundreds of guided meditations starting at just two minutes long, including Wake Up Mode for your morning and Mindful Moments for quick reminders throughout your day.
12. Audiobooks and podcasts
While I love sitting down and reading a book, I also love listening to audiobooks and podcasts when I’m doing things that require my hands or feet, like cleaning the house, walking outside, or cooking dinner. For that, I use Audible. It’s the largest library of audiobooks, with thousands of must-listen-to reads from best-selling fiction to self-improvement books and everything in between. Plus, you can listen to Audible on almost any device and, if you’re a Prime member, you get two books free as soon as you sign up.
As for podcasts—whether you listen via the Podcast app or Spotify—there are ones for every person and every interest out there. A few of my personal favorites? Crime Junkie if you’re into true crime stories; Brene Brown’s new podcast, Unlocking Us, if you want to better yourself; and Office Ladies if you can’t get enough of Jim and Pam.
It doesn’t matter if you’re journaling, blogging about what you ate today (i.e. all the snacks in the pantry), or writing the next chart-topping novel—writing not only keeps your brain busy but also boosts your creativity. And as a writer myself, I have a few things I use every day (and 10/10 recommend). Like these gel pens, which write smoother than any other pen I’ve owned and come in a rainbow of colors. Or this pretty notebook, which I use for everything from my daily to-do list to jotting down notes for my own future novel.
14. Learning a language
Bonjour! Hola! Guten Tag! No matter which language you want to add to your arsenal, there’s a slew of online lessons, videos, and apps to help. While the classic Rosetta Stone is still just as popular as ever (you can try it for a week for free!), there are also free apps like Duolingo and Babbel that provide thousands of language lessons from experts on everything from vocabulary to grammar to pronunciation.
15. Learning an instrument
Why settle for listening to music when you could play it instead? I.e. stop saying you’ve always wanted to learn how to play guitar, piano, ukulele, , and just do it. You can find plenty of free tutorials and lessons on YouTube or, if guitar is your instrument of choice, sign up for Fender Play. The popular guitar company is currently offering three free months of their app, which has easy-to-follow lessons taught by expert musicians.