When I was a child, my mom was fortunate to own a green book called What Can I Do Now, Mother? It was filled with creative projects to keep a child busy and out of her hair. Without it, the four of us kids would have spent many days bored and whining. Nowadays do you find yourself sometimes wondering, What can I do now? For people who are hard put to come up with ideas to fill the long hours spent at home, I offer some suggestions. Those people whose days are already chock-full because they have a full-time job or care for children might adopt some of these ideas during a staycation.
1.Of course, for me, an author, my paramount suggestion is read a book (preferably one of mine!) Download a free or inexpensive ebook from BookBub, raid your collection of “books I intend to read someday,” or pick up a book at your library’s curb service. Did you ever read a book of the Bible straight through? Try it.
2. Write. If writing your own book is too daunting, try writing a short story, a poem, a journal of your days in isolation, a thank-you note to surprise someone, or a letter to an old friend or a relative you’ve been out of touch with for decades.
3. Go through photo albums that you have carefully put together and relive vacations and celebrations. Or take that box of hundreds of photos and arrange them into photo albums. Don’t forget to label them before you forget the occasion or the people pictured.
4. Take a walk (or run if your body permits) in your backyard or in a park. This will be healthy exercise and combat the extra ten pounds you may have added by snacking.
5. Work puzzles, any kind: crossword puzzles (maybe in ink), jigsaw puzzles (thousand-piece ones are good), sudoku puzzles. Some of these can be found online.
6. Focus on your home: de-clutter that closet or basement, rearrange the furniture in your living room, clean your bathroom or kitchen like you are a professional cleaner. This will perk up your spirit.
7. Speaking of cleaning, clean up the hundreds of emails that have accumulated over time and the items on your computer desktop and in your folders. You don’t really need to keep that video of people doing impossible athletic feats.
8. Learn a new skill: playing the piano, guitar, or harmonica; speaking Spanish or Chinese; crocheting or knitting; water coloring; doing yoga. Memorize state capitals so you are more likely to be a Jeopardy contestant.
9. Cook. Try a new recipe for a casserole or pizza. Bake a three-layer cake, snickerdoodle cookies, or make fudge. Share your finished product with someone (so #4 won’t be that necessary).
10. Pray. There is certainly a lot to pray for nowadays. Besides, it’s always a good time to strengthen your relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit so that they at least recognize you when you reach “the other side.” Go back to ways you used to pray: the Rosary, your collection of prayer cards, your homemade prayer book. Or experiment with a new way of praying: meditating on a Gospel passage, repeating a mantra, centering prayer, the Divine Office (which can be found on the Internet), Divine Mercy Chaplet, or simply talking to God like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.
What can you add to this list of ways to occupy your time?