To help combat the growing risk of cabin fever, the Cinelinx crew has gathered to share our personal tips to help while you’re in isolation.
With everyone stuck inside for…well, however long it takes, you’re going to need some help to not only take your mind off things, but also to ensure you don’t get too restless while waiting at home. Binging/streaming can only take you so far and you may need some other stimulation to get you through the upcoming days/weeks.
Fortunately the Cinelinx team has some experience being homebodies (some of us with kiddos too) and are here to help you with some suggestions to get us all through this!
With four kids, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to sit around the house looking for things to do. The key, I feel, is to vary things up between things that are just fun, and things that will help you feel productive. More often than not, feeling like “a bum” for too long will make you feel worse than anything else.
Arcade1Up – The line of incredible arcade cabinets from Arcade1Up are a great way to help alleviate boredom in the house, ESPECIALLY if you have younglings. Thanks to their more compact design, you can have a few of these up in the house without taking up too much space and set up fun mini-tournaments with everyone else in your house.
With a plethora of cabinets to choose from (just about all of which feature multiple games), and delivery options directly from various retailers or Amazon, these are a fun way to beat back the boredom and have fun with one another. Personally, I would suggest the newer TMNT arcade cabinet, the Rampage Cabinet, or their soon to be released NBA Jam which actually connects you to other players online.
One Hour Writing – This seems like an excellent time to work on some personal projects! If you’re looking to work on that novel, short story, script, or whatever, you can get some guidance with this handy Journal that is designed to help keep you focused and help out.
Get Outside – I know this seems counterintuitive to what we’ve been told, but our Social Distancing/Isolation doesn’t mean you necessarily have to be trapped in the house the whole time. I strongly encourage people to get out, even for a short walk along your neighborhood, at least once a day.
Not only will the brief exercise help you stretch out your muscles, activity like this can boost endorphins that will make you FEEL happier and better overall. In turn, this helps you feel more productive and like you’re not just “wasting your time.”
Strategy/Simulation Games – There are undoubtedly a number of great videogames you can play during this time, but I think your best bet are to pick up some Strategy titles or building/simulation games (i.e. Jurassic World Evolution, Planet Zoo, Age of Empires II Definitive Edition, Warcraft III Reforged, XCOM 2, Rune Factory 4 Special, Stardew Valley, etc). These types of games are notorious time-sucks, where you can spend hours upon hours playing without realizing it.
TableTop Games – This is a great time to catch up on your gaming backlog, but if you’re stuck in the house with family (or roommates) it’s also a great time to get in some tabletop gaming action. Whether they’re simple board games (which Amazon can easily deliver) full on RPG experiences, or some card games (maybe even Cinelinx Game perhaps), these allow you to have fun while still getting some social interaction with those you’re with. Here are some quick ideas:
I’m excited at the prospect of filling much my quarantine with many of the activities already suggested, namely hitting my video game and tv/film backlog, but I’ve got some tried and true time wasters at my disposal to share for those of you looking for a little more to fill your time.
Free-to-play browser based games – There are tons, between (my personal favorite) Slither.io, Newgrounds (yes, it is still online) and silly idle-games like AdVenture Capitalist and Cookie Clicker there are many ways to waste time. Oh, and don’t forget to test your grit in the 1990 classic Oregon Trail to see how you would fare in the open air.
Strategy, Simulation and Survival Games – I know that Jordan mentioned this, but I am going to chime in with additional suggestions. Of all genres of games that I enjoy, strategy, survival and simulation games have the ability to suck me into a time vortex moreso than any other.
You can search your preferred platform’s online store and peruse the selection of strategy and simulation titles to see what piques your interest, but some of my personal favorites to play are in no particular order: Don’t Starve Together, Oxygen Not Included, Raft, Ark Survival Evolved, Conan Exiles, 7 Days to Die, Stardew Valley, Littlewood, the Sims 4, My Time at Portia, Megaquarium, Planet Zoo, Planet Coaster, Nom Nom Galaxy, Shoppe Keep 2, Dungeons 3, Subnautica and Sid Meier’s Civilization V. In just a few sweet, short (hopefully) days we will also finally have Animal Crossing: New Horizons and I will be able to dissociate for the foreseeable future.
On mobile specifically (with some titles releasing on Nintendo Switch), I personally really enjoy many games by mobile developer Kairosoft. Personal favorites include: Game Dev Tycoon, Pocket Arcade Story, Mega Mall Story, The Ramen Sensei, Venture Towns, but they offer a variety of business simulation titles that have had me hooked for years. The games release on both iOS and Android.
Virtual Walking Tours – You can explore new sights and sounds from the comfort of your own home thanks to the large number of world-exploring YouTubers. You can go on a forest walk through the Snoqualmie Region in Washington State, take the scenic route on Oahu Island in Hawaii, go walking through the streets of Paris to visit the Eiffel Tower, and more.
Online hangouts – Create a Discord server with a voice chat, group Skype Calls, host Facebook movie watch parties in an effort to stay virtually connecting with your friends and loved ones. Social distancing can be difficult, but we have amazing technology at our fingertips that can allow us some semblance of emotional connection. Use it.
Lets face it, I’m a pro at being a virtual shut-in at home, so let me teach you the ways of the homebody, young Padawan.
Social Media – Who needs real life friends when you can make virtual ones. I mean you could even follow @Cinelinx and this awesome guy named @Fathergamer on Twitter. The really cool thing is you won’t feel alone. Not only is this the best way to stay close to the ones you love, it’s also the best ways to watch cat videos. You could even do something wild and branch out and try something new and journal your time on places like TikTok and YouTube. This is a crazy time, why not try and document your physical isolation with the rest of the world. You might even make some new friends.
Online Gaming with friends – During the Black Death, they didn’t have online gaming, sure Shakespeare did manage to write King Lear, but we have Call of Duty and Animal Crossing and Zombie Army 4 that we can play with our friends, I mean, who’s the real winner here?
Why not try beating the entire catalogue of a game series with your friends. Games like Halo and Gears of War are perfect for something like that. You could even start on an MMORPG together. It can’t be a coincidence that Phantasy Star Online 2 is finally out on Xbox.
Virtual Group Movie Night – Just because you’re in solitude doesn’t mean you can’t still have movie night with your friends. Sure, it’s not the same, but you can still watch your friends reactions on group chat platforms like Kast, Scener and FaceTime. My recommendation is making sure to pick some extremely B horror movies, that way you know you’re in for a good laugh or two. Also remember once you get that network up and running with your friends you could also play some good old D&D.
Like Jordan said, go outside. Leave your fort of toilet paper and canned goods and get some fresh air and sunshine. It’s time to be a good person and make sure your neighbors are ok. Maybe exchange social media profiles for a limited time with them. You can check on each other from time to time to make sure everyone is doing ok.
Remember we are all going through a very unique and kinda scary time in modern history. Please be kind to each other. Compassion, humor and community are the things that will get us through this.
Also, Call of Duty and hand sanitizer.
Being the extroverted introvert (yes that’s a thing) that I am, I’m quite familiar with finding ways to amuse myself in times of extreme boredom. Allow me to share a few of them with you:
Read Books: There are few activities guaranteed to make the time pass like sitting down and cuddling up with a good book. I’ve literally passed hours in this way and if you have plenty of time on your hands, this is a great activity. And it doesn’t even have to be a big, thick book too. It can be a YA novel, poems, short stories, comics, graphic novels, whatever. Sitting down and reading is a lot of fun.
Crocheting: I’m sure you’ll have many hobbies suggested to you during this stressful time, and allow me to be the one to suggest you learn the fine art of crocheting as a new hobby. It’s really easy, all you need is a crochet hook and some yarn. The simple stitches are really easy to learn (you can find YouTube videos about them everywhere) and before you know it you’ll be whipping up scarves, dish clothes, hats, and whatever else you can think of.
Coloring Books: Do I really need to say anything else?
Watch movies and play video games: When all else fails, and you’re sick of going outside and staring at the sky, sit down and start a movie marathon and/or pick out that video game you’ve been meaning to beat for six months (like me and Jedi Fallen Order) and have at it for a couple of hours. And if you’re not sure what to pick, go to your favorite streaming service, pick a TV series at random and give it a whirl for a few episodes. Who knows, you might end up hooked on a series that becomes your new favorite.
Above all else, please don’t let the panic get to you. I know this is all extremely scary but we ARE going to get through it. Hopefully we can try and have a little fun in the process.
As someone who has been dealing with “social distancing” for the past six weeks living in South Korea, it’s really easy to get bored. Rest assured, though, there are plenty of things that my wife and I have done that you can do too while locked away from society.
Learn a New Language – Among all the excellent tips you’ve read so far, this tip is a bit of an outlier. When most people think of staying indoors, their first thoughts are on entertainment. An alternative idea to that would be to educate yourself in that language you told yourself you were going to master for the last six years.
For me, that language is Japanese. You know, one of the hardest languages to learn. It may seem difficult but it’s remarkably easy to find free online resources to learn the language, like the one I use for Japanese. Furthermore, italki.com has tons of online tutors to help you learn and speak the language like a local. You’ve got plenty of time now, so there are no excuses.
Complete Long Overdue Projects – We’re human. We all make plans to do that one project or activity, but then we procrastinate. With all this time on your hands now, why not get that project done? Thought about building a boat? Do it. Significant other been pestering you to paint the house? No time like the present! Have an amazing story that will net you millions? Get to writing!
The point is, with all this extra time do those projects, chase those dreams you always said there was no time for. If it’s important to you or someone close to you, do it and feel that sense of accomplishment.
Finally Finish the Video Game Backlog – If you’re a gamer, you have a video game backlog. It’s unavoidable. Whether it’s a free game Xbox, PlayStation, Steam, or Nintendo gave you that you never played or a game you actually bought and cast aside in favor of the next big thing, now’s a good time to clear out the backlog. Or, ya know, just wait until Animal Crossing: New Horizons releases and just play that.
Find a Side-Hustle – For some people, staying at home and being away from work is a financial nightmare. Fortunately, there are loads of contract jobs online to fill up your time and pay you in the process. From teaching kids internationally online with services like VIPKID or doing something more creative on Fiverr, the opportunities to require a side-hustle are all around. You could even decide to become an established streamer, gain followers, earn donations, and never go back to your boring old job again. That’s the dream, at least.
Create and Complete Household Challenges – When all else fails and you or your partner gets so bored, create challenges around the house. Find puzzles online like getting a pen out of a bottle without touching it or even a taste test with different food items or soda. You could even make your own episode of Chopped and make elaborate dishes with random ingredients. My wife and I have even made it more interesting by betting $1 before each challenge. It’s fun, competitive and gets your mind off things.
The biggest thing to remember while you’re away from society is that everything will be ok. Don’t buy into the doom and gloom being spouted on social media. Just be cautious when going out, take precautions, and wash your hands. This isn’t the end times. It’s just a frustrating one. Be safe and just enjoy the time off as much as you can.
Being stuck at home for long periods of time means one thing. Binge watching. Yes you can take some breaks during the binge to play some MK11 now that Spawn has been released. But for the most part, you kill time with a series rewatch. I have 2 easy binge series that really like to go with.
The first is Entourage. Vinnie and the Boys on their adventures in Hollywood. With 30 minute episodes it’s a real easy watch, and gives you ample time to stop between episodes and make some lunch, or snacks, or dinner.
The second has 43 minutes episodes, and that goes to the cinematic universe of Jersey Shore. With the original series, Snooki & Jwoww, The Pauly D Project, and now Family Vacation, this train wreck of entertainment will keep you laughing all day long.
Now if you’re not feeling either of those, well then there is always a complete MCU rewatch. And I do mean a COMPLETE rewatch. This week on my podcast It Is What It Is with The Jackass, I will break down the order to watch the MCU movies intertwined with Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, The Defenders, Agents Of SHIELD, The Runaways, Cloak & Dagger, and the Marvel One Shots. So make sure to check that out!
This is an unprecedented event (at least in our times) and we hope these simple tips can help alleviate the boredom and keep you safe and sound at home. Do what you can to stay at home, wash your hands, and don’t panic.