Social distancing is the new norm for the foreseeable future. It disrupts every aspect of our lives. This period presents us with opportunities we normally fly right by as we live our busy, daily lives. Make the most of the time and come out of it in a better place.
We’ve compiled a handbook of things to keep you occupied while staying at home.

Get creative.
This is a good opportunity to unleash your creative side. Do you have a story that’s been freeloading in your head for a while? Now is the time to write it. The Internet has a wealth of information to help you turn your tale into a book. There are support sites like NaNoWriMo and Youtubers like Chris Fox offering valuable lessons for free.
Paint. It doesn’t matter if you can paint. Just paint something. Art is a wonderful way to re-lieve stress and to take your mind off the current situation. A good place to start is free-online-art-classes.com.
Build something. Unleash your inner carpenter. Instructables.com is an amazing communi-ty of people who teach you step-by-step how to build anything. Sign up for the newsletter and you’ll get weekly ideas in your inbox.

Read a good book.
If you’re anything like me, you have a list of books that you want to read. Being stuck at home is the perfect time to make your way through the list. Maybe you’ve plowed through your reading list, and you’re looking for your next favorite author. If so, and you have a kindle or the kindle app, check out Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. New subscribers can sign up for a 30-day trial for free. The service is $9.99 a month if you choose to keep it. Most traditionally published books aren’t available in Kindle Unlimited, but there are over one-million books available. You can also browse popular magazines, and there is a selection of audiobooks as well.
Speaking of audiobooks, Audible offers two free titles for new subscribers. The service is $14.95 a month after the trial, but if listening to books is your thing, Audible can help you pass the time. Another audiobook service worth noting is Chirp. It’s a free newsletter that sends dai-ly audiobook deals to your inbox. Prices vary from .99 and up.

Even though you can’t visit your book-loving friends during this time, you can virtually hang out with them. Start an online book club. Choose a book. Meet up through one of the many con-ferencing sites like Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts and discuss the book.

Stay entertained (and fit).
Many of our local musicians and fitness instructors are offering online shows and online classes during this time. You can support them by participating in watch parties and classes as well as sharing the upcoming events on social media. If you’re uneasy about taking your first yoga class, this is your time to erase the fear and get to practicing.
Also, there are sites like stageit.com where national artists perform online concerts. Last month, Reidsville-born, BJ Barham performed a five-night event showcasing five different American Aquarium albums from his living room.

Learn a new skill.
Youtube is a goldmine for free tutorials for anything from meal prepping to self-publishing the book you wrote during the stay at home period and everything in between.
If you want more structured learning Coursera offers many free courses including subjects such as app building and machine learning or one of my personal favorites, social psychology. Skillshare is another site that offers classes in photography and illustration, as well as many other outlets of creativity. There are also classes in business, technology, and lifestyle. At the time of this, Skillshare is offering two months free of its premium service when you join. If you keep the subscription, it’s typically $19 a month. Skillpop Online is another service offering online classes a la carte with classes starting at $20. If you ever wanted to learn how to navi-gate LinkedIn, Skillpop Online has you covered.

Get organized.
Financially, these are scary times for many. Use this time to assess your finances and set a plan to come out of this stay-at-home period financially healthier. Do you have a lot of sub-scriptions services dipping into your checking account every month? Take inventory of your sub-scriptions and cancel the ones you’re not using. The savings will add up.
Sites such as The Penny Hoarder offer daily articles on ways to put money back into your pocket. If you’re not already subscribed to a credit monitoring site, it’s a god time to sign up. Sites such as Credit Karma and Credit Genie give you an accurate snapshot of your current fi-nancial health as well as ways to improve it.
Spring cleaning season is here, and you have no excuse to put it off. It’s time to go through pantry, cabinet, and closets to eliminate the clutter. If you’re looking for inspiration, pick a copy of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up. For those wanting to organize (and sim-plify) more than a cluttered utensil drawer, check out Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.

Take in some natural Vitamin D.
Being cooped inside for long periods of times takes its toll on us physically, emotionally, and mentally. The cure is fresh air and sunshine. Embrace these rare moments where you can sit back on your porch or in your yard and enjoy all the beauty nature gives the world. Also, it’s a great time to plant that container gardener that’s been on your to-do list for the past few springs. Need inspiration? Hit up Youtube for ideas.

Support each other.
It’s called social distancing, but it’s actually physical distancing. Don’t forget to stay in touch with those you care about. Technology makes it possible to “visit” with friends and family through this difficult time. Check on each other. Make sure everyone has what they need. Support each other.

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About The Author

Paul Seiple
Editorial Director