ISSUE: What To Do If You Have to Self Quarantine or Get Sick?

By: Gretchen Winkler
Co-host User Friendly 2.0

The professionals can advise us on how to get better.  We are not doctors but do understand being bored. What can you do if you are stuck somewhere for a time?   Our cohost Gretchen Winkler at User Friendly 2.0 has put together a list of how to use modern technology to make the time not seem as long.  Avoid cabin fever and stay out of the rafters.

Here is a list of ideas of things to do since so many special events have been cancelled due to the concern over the Corona 19 virus.  Most of these ideas can be done with a small group of people or by oneself. The reason why people go to conventions is to do something different, be with friends, or meet new people.  This article is focusing on activities that are not shopping oriented or social media oriented. These are common place activities. Our list is based upon activities that one may have forgotten about, never got around to doing due to not enough time, or simply never tried.

DIG DEEPER: Here is a list of suggested activities that might make time pass more enjoyably.

Binge Watching

The age of binge watching a TV series is here.  One could not do this fifteen years ago unless you owned all of the dvds.  Now with on demand content, you can relive your old favorite shows or find new ones.  One thing you will notice is that the experience is much more immersive. Without the barrage of commercials every five minutes, the characters and plot lines will pull you deeper into the what is being shown.  I recommend doing this. You don’t have to watch an entire 60 hours of content in one sitting, but blocks of five or six hours will be fun. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney +, Hulu, and Youtube can provide hours of entertainment.  Netflix can re-unite you with most of the Star Trek TV series, The Witcher, The Crown, and Lucifer. They have more, but these are some of my favorites. I would recommend The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon, and Star Wars The Clone Wars, Rebels, and Mandalorian on Disney +.  If Star Wars is not your thing, then there is the Marvel Universe of motion pictures or perhaps the National Geographic documentaries. Hulu and Youtube also offer bingeable content, but I am not as familiar with those services.

Old Favorites

Perhaps it is time to clean house and dig out all those old favorites.  Dust off that collection of dvds and video games. Or bring out the board games like Monopoly, Risk, Clue, and Trivial Pursuit.  Risk is a great way to start a fight with your friends while Trivial Pursuit now comes in many variations allowing one to customize their trivia experience.  (And yes, I have seen several heated arguments start over playing Risk.) Games are a great way to pass the time away by oneself or with friends and family. Another age old way of passing time that also has a reward at its conclusion is baking desserts.

Making cookies with Mom or perhaps with friends on a gloomy day was always a fun activity, but perhaps your family or friends were never into baking or cooking in general.  You could do this alone or learn how by trying some recipes. There are a ton of cook books available at places like Barnes & Noble where you can select from basic cook books to ones that explain how to make sushi.  Now if sushi is just too advanced for you to learn from a book, then there are loads of online cooking and baking classes and videos. Just type into your browser “cooking online classes.” I was a bit overwhelmed by what I found.  If you want something in a video form, then go to and type in “cooking videos.” The Youtube results were also too numerous to even attempt to list, but it looks like you could be inspired by all kinds of people from a prominent chef like Gordon Ramsay to Paris Hilton.  There are also cooking shows on over the top Smart TV systems, that you can request on demand.

And if cooking is not your thing and you want something more creative, dig out those D&D/ RPG books and modules.  If no one can come over and play, perhaps develop your own game module to play with friends later. If you truly want to play a game with others and just can’t leave the house, then you might want to try Discord, which is a free voice and text chat for gamers.  Personally, I like sitting at a table with friends, but applications like Discord can give solutions for when that is not possible.

Express your Creativity

It is never too late to learn something new that allows you to discover your creative side.  You may not be instantly talented at the craft you select, so don’t be disappointed if the first effort doesn’t look like it should be in the Smithsonian.  I will use knitting as an example. Knitting is basically string carefully knotted into something wonderful. It takes time to figure out how it all goes together and then it takes skill to do it the right way.  Not too loose and not too tight. Then there is the choice of color and texture since yarn comes in many varieties. I am still making scarves. I have not mastered the art of doing anything that looks like a sweater or hat, and my stitches are just knits and pearls.  But the joy of turning a pile of string into something more than that is amazing. It feels that way with drawing, painting, sewing, and many other forms of physical artwork. You don’t have to be great at something to enjoy it, and everytime you do it, you get just a little bit better.   Most art and craft projects can be small and easily put away until there is time to work on it again. It appeals to all ages. One just has to have the courage to try and be willing to fail. We learn from our failures even though most of us hate that.

Crafting and art supplies can be found at basic places like Target or Walmart, local Mom & Pop specialty stores, or at chain stores like Micheals, Craft Warehouse, and JoAnn Fabric and Craft.  If you need to make an order online, Dick Blick, Utrecht Art Supplies, and Daniel Smiths all sell a wide variety of supplies for different artistic needs.

Some creative projects to explore are drawing, painting clay modeling, craft foam projects, knitting, sewing, embroidery, cross stitch, and jewelry making.  These activities can be as modest as a pen and piece of paper to a massive cosplay armor project using EVA foam.

Outdoor Activities

Outdoor activities that can be done alone or with a limited number of people might be a nice way to get some fresh air, exercise, and do something different.  Depending upon where you live, will measure how viable these suggestions are. Take advantage of parks to do hiking, walking, biking, or even Tai Chi and don’t forget to bring all the necessities along and dress appropriately for the weather.   If you are in a location where there is a lot of empty space, perhaps flying a kite, archery, horseback riding or flying an RC helicopter or drone might be fun. Remember, drones require a flying permit

Home Improvement

So you are stuck at home.   Why not take advantage of this time to make your home feel more like a place where you want to spend time or brag about? Gardening is a great way to get in touch with Mother Earth and the surrounding nature, but what if you don’t have a yard or simply hate being outside.  Then indoor home improvement may be your best option. A new coat of paint can do wonders for the look and feel of your home. Even if it is just white paint. If you have woodworking skills, then perhaps a new hardwood floor, book shelves, or a bathroom cabinet. Many hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes have classes in how to do at home projects along with how to books.  There is nothing like basking in the glow of a newly completed tile floor that you did yourself. Taking care of your home is a traditional way to spend your free time. But it doesn’t have to be all wood, paint, and spackle. Within the past five years a new type of home improvement has begun to grow using technology. Smart Homes are a thing and are a great way of creating your own version of the Batcave.

Read Something!

Despite what critics say and predict, reading  will never go out of style. This is something you can do on your own with very little expense.  Books still come printed on paper, which I like, but if you prefer e-books those are available too.  The choices of topics are vast. There is something for everyone, and the more you read, the better you get at doing it.  This is a very old way of using one’s free time. You are doing it right now. And it has so much freedom and privacy. Your opinions are yours and never need to be heard by anyone else.  The Human mind grows with contemplation whether one reads historical biographies or action adventure novels with dragons and elves. It is a tool for learning as well as relaxing. It may be time to dust off those old favorite tomes, try something new you have never explored, or find that treasure trove of comic books that you have not read in years.

Online Classes

Perhaps taking an online class to improve work skills or learn to do things you always wanted to but didn’t have the time.  For example, has a wide range of online classes at various price ranges. Some very affordable with prices around $20 or less.  I found a beginners drawing class that required a modest amount of materials to start with. It was called The Ultimate Drawing Course Beginner to Advanced.  This course is currently on sale for a few more days. The topics that Udemy offers range from Music, Photography, Design to Personal Development and IT & Software.  There are many online educational opportunities that might help to pass the time productively and creatively, but Udemy is flexible concerning when you can sign up and participate while some of the more structured courses from online universities require an application process and rules of how to participate.  An online course from a company like Udemy might be a good way to discover if online education is for you.

What did people do before all this tech and easy travel?

Just over 40 years ago, people listened to the radio, watched TV, talked on the phone, read books or the newspaper, wrote letters, went golfing or fishing,  or puttered around the yard during their free time. Four inventions drastically changed how much free time was available to the average person. The washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, and the refrigerator/freezer changed our lives forever.  People spent a lot of time just doing basic household chores everyday and didn’t have much free time. The acquisition of food was a primary activity. When refrigeration became more readily available, people had more time to plan for other activities.  Mass quantities of food could be provided to the general public without it going bad. If we examine what people did before television or radio was available, the focus is still upon basic household chores and survival. Free time was generally activities like sewing, weaving, knitting, carving, carpentry, which are all activities that help to keep a household together.  People often repaired their own homes and clothing. If a person was educated and had more money, then reading books, playing card games, coin collecting, stamp collecting, playing a musical instrument or singing was a way to spend free time. Technology has changed how people spend their free time and how much free time we actually have everyday.

Article by Gretchen Winkler, co-host of User Friendly 2.0 with Bill Sikkens here on The Answer.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who along with Jeremy Winkler are the co-hosts of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

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Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw