Bored While Safe at Home? Reframe Your Mindset for a Sabbatical


Ashanti Barber has found volunteering comforting during this time of social distancing and has sewn masks for numerous health workers. As of April 23rd, this Warhawk had sewn over 300 masks.

Callie Cook, Staff Reporter

With so much time on your hands due to the stay at home order to help combat COVID-19, and given the fact that most of us have been home-bound for weeks now, you might be wondering how to curb the boredom that may be setting in. It is likely that you have already attempted the tried-and-true activities that have served you well in the past: video gaming, reading, social media, and even cleaning or updating your room. 

Such activities have consoled me over the past few weeks, but at present with no unknown date of how long we will need to remain at home, I find myself looking for more meaningful options. In light of this, I have taken to considering this time at home to be a sabbatical of sorts, a period of renewal and inspiration during which time itself becomes a precious commodity to use wisely rather than fill with fleeting follies. 

Scholars take sabbaticals from teaching for the purpose of rest, research, or travel. Typically, for each seven years of teaching, they take a year, or at least a semester, of leave. When their sabbatical is over, they aim to return to work refreshed, refocused, and improved. So, in that spirit, one may choose to reframe the current situation from home-bound to sabbatical, from quarantined to cloistered

The goal at hand is to seize this opportunity to dive into the things that you have always wanted to do or try. Aim to be inspired, grow, and transform. WIth this goal in mind, what follows is a list of things to try to not only curb your boredom but to also invest in your future, and maybe even an improvement in your mental health.

Learn a New Instrument

Do you already have an instrument at home? If so, practice, practice, practice to improve if you already play. If not, you can check out the many tutorials on YouTube to learn. If you do not have an instrument, a ukulele is a relatively inexpensive option that can be shipped to you. It is a pretty easy instrument to learn and provides a way to tap into your creative side. If you learn the ukulele, you may be surprised to find that you can then transition to other string instruments, and if you start with a ukelele you don’t need to take on such a commitment as a guitar too soon. If strings are not your style or present a budget issue,a recorder or harmonica are also fun and easy options.

Develop a Green Thumb

What better time to explore your homesteader potential than during a pandemic? Provide for your family by putting food on the table while avoiding supermarkets. You can order seeds through the mail, and any patch of dirt can be used. From tomatoes to cucumbers, growing your own produce is sure to put a smile on your face when you crave a salad come June. It is also a great way to connect to our Earth. 


If you want to help make a difference in your community, consider how you can use your talents to volunteer. From making masks, to tutoring kids online, to delivering basic goods to those who need it, volunteering at this time can bring a ray of sunshine to many. Even if you use your time to simply call people who do not have someone to chat with or offer a Zoom playdate for your niece or nephew so parents can work from home with more peace of mind, using your time to connect with others can improve your mood as well as the person you help. 

Learn to Speak a Foreign Language

During this pandemic, it is abundantly clear that our world is connected. What better time is there than now to invest in our connectedness by learning a foreign language? Duolingo is an excellent app for learning a new language. It is free, simple, and engaging. It is also very easy to use. Within just a few days, you will learn how to speak basic phrases. 

Accept a Fitness Challenge 

Now is the perfect time to dive into a home workout. In just three months, you could be in the best shape of your life and emerge from this pandemic as a whole new and more fit version of you. Many fitness challenges are free to access online. From Yoga, to running, to cross training, the options are many. If you’re like me, you may find a P90X DVD collection in your basement. Dust it off and dive in. If not, consider a free app, such as Couch to 5K or Nike Run Club. 

Research Gap Year Options

Graduation may be a few years away, which is ideal since travel is likely off for a while. In the meantime, research gap year options. From traveling to volunteering with the Peace Corps. If you’re considering a Gap Year, you have time on your hands to dive into the research.

Be a Stay-at-Home Hero

Regardless of how you spend your time, remember that you are doing something very important by staying home. Being a Stay-at-Home Hero may seem like a great sacrifice, but given what others have sacrificed before us, we must acknowledge how fortunate we are to make a profound difference in the health of our community by just staying at home and protecting those who are most vulnerable to Covid-19. WIth the right mindset, you can use this as an opportunity for growth, inspiration, and renewal.