Cheap & Easy Goals, Life Skills, And Hobbies You Can Get REALLY GOOD At While Social Distancing!

Had enough of all this self-isolation yet, Perezcious readers??

Maybe you’ve watched absolutely everything Netflix and Hulu could possibly have to offer by now?? We know we have… LOLz!

While there’s plenty to be frustrated about with this whole coronavirus s**t show, one thing the pandemic has given many of us is downtime at home. And with potentially more social distancing on the horizon as upcoming waves of coronavirus diagnoses continue to spike, future alone time is a very real possibility, too.

So why not use some of that time to better yourself?! Pick up a new skill, update the ol’ resumé, heck, even learn a new hobby that’ll help you better pass the time and have more fun doing it?! Trust us, those Seinfeld re-runs on Hulu ain’t goin’ anywhere, and all your favorite childhood films will still be on Disney+ even after you stay away from the screen for a few days! Ha!

Below, we’ve got a few ideas for ya — things you can commit a realistic amount of time to, say 30-60 minutes per day, a few times a week. Easy, doable, enriching, and FUN! And by the end of quarantine, maybe you’ll be able to do something here that you never thought you’d ever accomplish otherwise! Yay for learning!!!

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Fight The Man

If there’s one thing this last month has taught us, it’s that direct action and social activism WORK!!! Of course, the late May and early June nationwide protests didn’t exactly adhere to social distancing protocols, but can we blame the people for demanding that their voice be heard?! Still, for those of you concerned with maintaining a safe distance but still looking to help out, there are a TON of ways to get involved in the movement and fight back against racial injustice, law enforcement overreach, police brutality, and related issues… all from your own home!

For one, while it’s great to tweet your support for Black Lives Matter, change actually comes about when you put your money where your mouth is. If you’re stuck at home in quarantine and want to make change, we suggest you donate to a bail fund to support those taken to jail while exercising their right to protest and free speech. This page has links to dozens of vetted bail funds from nearly every state! Or, you can make like Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively did at the start of June, and donate to the nationally-focused NAACP Legal Defense Fund right HERE.

Watch this video (below) for more ideas on how to help financially and physically the movement for racial equality and true equal protection under the law:

Love it!

There’s even more to do beyond donating money, though, too! How about buying goods and services from black-owned businesses? Reading books and paying for movies and music produced by black artists? Here’s to consuming, supporting, and crediting cultural pieces created by black hands!

Learn A Language

Yeah, yeah, we know… you’ve been telling yourself you were going to perfect your inconsistent Spanish for forever now. Or maybe you’ve been bragging to your friends about how you were totally the best student in your 10th grade French class, and if only you had stuck with it… well, now’s your chance!

Learning a language is a wonderful challenge for a period like this extended quarantine because you can put in whatever amount of effort you’re most motivated for, and get something good out of it. Depending on what language you’re trying to learn, there are literally thousands of hours of free content on YouTube, where you can start to immerse yourself. Free and low-cost apps like Duolingo allow you to pick up on simple vocabulary and sentence structure rules for dozens of different languages in as little as 10 or 15 minutes each day! Slowly but surely, that time adds up! Or you can buy a grammar book for a few bucks on Amazon, or even splurge on something like Rosetta Stone, and go all in for a couple hours each day, immersing yourself and getting surprisingly good at your new language in a short amount of time!

Languages like French, Spanish, Tagalog and Chinese are among the most-spoken here in the United States, if you’re wondering about learning something that’ll be useful in the future. Or, here’s a crazy idea: learn Norwegian!

Believe it or not, language experts say Norwegian is by far the easiest second language for native English speakers to learn, due to similar Germanic word roots and verb conjugations, and identical sentence structures. Norwegian is also mutually intelligible with Danish and Swedish, so if you’re trying to become a polyglot, it offers a perfect opening. Hva synes du om at, Perezcious readers?!

Play An Instrument

The key to learning something like a musical instrument is consistent, daily practice. Just as with learning a language, even a half hour each day adds up over time — and we’ve all got a TON of time on our hands right now, with what looks like more ahead for the rest of the summer. So if the space you’re quarantined in would be good for it — and those you live with wouldn’t get too mad at the practice process (LOLz!) — why not teach yourself to play an instrument?!

Piano (keyboard) offers a great entrance to the music world, and a nice base upon which to build music theory, for those new to the area. Instruments like guitars are very popular and super accessible; the ukulele may be an even better beginner, as it’s set up a little more simply than the guitar and offers an accessible way to learn to play a few songs quickly.

Whatever you choose, make it something fairly common, as you’d be surprised by the number of in-depth, high-quality tutorials and lessons there are on sites like YouTube for some of the more basic, beginner instruments. You’d be SHOCKED at how simple some songs are, and how quickly you can build skills through simple, small commitments.

And when you start, set a doable goal: half an hour every day. If you’re motivated for more, that’s great, but don’t most all of us have a half hour floating around somewhere to which we can commit to practice? Slow and steady wins the race!

Wood Carving

Pretty random, right?! Indeed! But wood carving is also SUPER accessible, easy to get into, and very cheap! Twenty bucks or so on Amazon will get you a workable set of the simplest tools necessary for the gig, and a package of cheap, small pieces of wood with which to start crafting. Sure, you can drop more coin on higher-end wood and more-intricate tools as you go, but there’s really no need for that, especially as a beginner.

Just like most every hobby imaginable, there are thousands of tutorials online showing various wood carving techniques. You’ll probably start with a simple spoon the first time you do it, and that’s OK! Before you know it you’ll be able to do more and more intricate pieces as you go. The best part about it is you’re really only limited in what you can create by your imagination, so dream big and marvel at how quickly you can noticeably improve!

Wood carving not your thing? What about knitting, or sewing?! Perhaps you’ve got some cooking skills you want to brush up on, and a few recipes you’d like to try?? Heck, if you’ve got a little outdoor space to work with, how about gardening?? There are SO MANY around-the-house activities like this that are fun and rewarding for their own sake, and many of these require very little start up cash. Some (like gardening) can even save you some money in the long run!

Just one quick request for those of you ready to jump in the deep on on the wood carving plan: please, please, please wear cut-proof gloves! Take it from us on that one… Safety first!!!

Computer Programming

One of the coolest things about computer programming and coding, even more so than most of the things on this list, is that the culture of the programming community makes it so that there are an unbelievable amount of cheap and/or totally free resources to learn the craft. Never done anything with computers before? Start with non-profit organization like freeCodeCamp, where you can literally learn the most basic HTML commands and work your way through thousands and thousands of lessons (all entirely FREE!) until you’re an expert in JavaScript, Bootstrap, JQuery, and a ton of other super-technical stuff that’ll make you very marketable for high-paying software development jobs.

Or, go to a site like Udemy, where you can learn Python, Word Press, Ruby on Rails, PHP, and thousands of other programming-related technologies and languages as in depth as you want for just a few dollars per course. Udemy offers beginner level courses all the way through the most advanced stuff you’ll find anywhere on the web — there’s SO much content out there!

The other cool thing about computer programming is that the learning never really ends; even experts in the field are constantly learning new languages, or tinkering with code to experiment with producing new things. You can use that to your advantage by bouncing around wherever your passion may take you, too! Frustrated with Python after giving the language a go for a few months? No problem! Pick up a new language like Perl or C#, teach yourself to make something simple in that coding hierarchy, and go from there. The best programmers aren’t always the smartest, or the most capable, but the most curious. Always exploring, and giving yourself surface-level understanding of multiple languages could set you up for significant long-term success if you stick with it.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a math expert to excel at all this stuff, either! If you like to solve problems and figure out riddles, programming lessons may be the perfect outlet for you to teach yourself something new in a fun, challenging way! Oh, and did we mention how in-demand jobs in computer programming are right now? And how well they pay?! Yeah… with this terrible coronavirus economy throwing us all for a loop, it’s never a bad idea to pick up a new marketable skill!

Set A New Fitness Goal

Slow and steady wins the race — in life, and even in fitness! Self-isolation may mean weight gain for many of us as we’re cooped up inside and sitting in front of the TV and computer screens all day. But as states begin to slowly lift various levels of quarantine, and the summer months roll in with all the sunshine and good weather we’ve been missing, now is the perfect time to get back on track physically and give yourself a new fitness goal to reach!

Just like with everything on this list, that doesn’t mean you need to work yourself into the ground like you’re training for the Olympics, or beat yourself if you miss a day or two here or there. We’re all about steady, consistent, repeatable progress that’s attainable and realistic here!! Hence, slow and steady wins the race. So get outside and (while continuing to social distance yourselves!) do something good for your body!

For those seeking structure in their new fitness regimens, you won’t be surprised to know there are literally thousands of free resources on the internet for you to learn new exercises, follow fresh workouts, and get new inspiration for your health goals!

One of our quarantine faves is Fitness Blender. Their website has literally THOUSANDS of free (!) workouts, health tips, and more, along with a paid version that provides even deeper and more focused information. Search by body parts, workout difficulty, workout length, or a variety of other metrics there and you can figure out exactly what’s right for you, and where you want to start on this fitness journey. Yay!!!

Take A Class!

Going back to school is a major commitment, and one that takes a certain amount of time and the right headspace in which to really take on the challenge. But what about taking a class?? We mentioned a couple online places for wonderful low-cost classes of all kinds (above) like Udemy, but if the virtual environment isn’t one you can get into so easily, what about a community college course?!

Here in California, for example, there are literally hundreds of community colleges offering thousands of courses on varying topics, and in-state tuition is just $46 per credit hour. For a standard three-credit course, then, you’re spending less than $150! And depending on the course you choose, you can learn some seriously valuable life skills, job skills, or other new information!

Fret not if you’re not a California resident! Every state has its own community college system designed exactly for times like these, and people like you: those who want something more out of their professional life, or simply those who seek personal enrichment from improving themselves accordingly. Classes can range from simple life lessons like personal finance and financial literacy, to complicated liberal arts topics, to job skills and specific resumé-boosters that’ll give you an edge the next time you’re looking to make a move in your career.

And increasingly (and especially) with COVID-19, many of these courses are moving online, too, which means cheaper delivery and easier access while you’re stuck at home social distancing. So… what do you want to learn more about???

Not a bad set of ideas here, is it?! Believe us, we’ve had WAY more than enough time sitting on our hands and watching every streaming service under the sun over the last few months. It’s time to get back on our feet and accomplish some goals! You with us?!

Besides, social distancing looks like it’s going to be with us in varying degrees for at least a few months more, if not longer… so why not make the most of it now? Remember, no matter what your goal or plan, every little bit counts! We truly are all in this together!!!

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