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Things to do at home when you're stuck indoors in coronavirus self-isolation

Things to do
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Finding fun things to do has become increasingly difficult now that we've been stuck indoors in coronavirus self-isolation for more than a week. We suspect that, like the rest of the world, you have run out of ideas during this indefinite confinement.

Some good news: we have a list of things to do that are entertainment or productive, and all of them serve to distract you from the surreal situation we find ourselves in. It's better than obsessively reading the grim news and then worrying every second of everyday.

Below is our things to do list at home list that's tailored for what to do indoors. It has something for everybody, highlighting the best new games to play, movies to watch, ebooks to read and podcasts to listen to, from the latest releases to classic you may have missed.

Our things to do guide is here to make self-isolation bearable and keep you satisfied with staying at home. We also included a how-to guide so you can properly clean all of your gadgets.

1. Become a master chef with a meal kits service

(Image credit: Purple Carrot)

The best thing to do at home mirrors what we liked doing when going out: eating. It's a harder now, with grocery store delivery time slots backed up globally. To the best of our ability, we're highlighting the best grocery delivery services in the US and grocery delivery services in the UK

Better yet, now is your chance to become a master chef with the best meal prep kits delivering step-by-step recipes to you along with the necessary ingredients. Blue Apron is our favorite in the US, while HelloFresh is available in both the US and UK.

If you're not ready to flex your culinary skills, there are food delivery services in the US and similar takeaway apps in the UK that will get you ready-made foods from the restaurants you'd normally visit. You order get breakfast, lunch and dinner, and you'll be supporting many of the distressed restaurants in your area.

2. Play either Doom Eternal or Animal Crossing

Doom Eternal

(Image credit: iD Software)

Nearly a week ago, two new video games came out that couldn't be more different, and we're thankful for the variety provided by Bethesda Softworks and Nintendo. 

This ride through Hell is one of the best experiences you'll have in 2020.

Doom Eternal is a beautiful, but brutal reinvention of the first-person shooter series that actually makes life at the moment look... not so bad. This ride through Hell is one of the best experiences you'll have in 2020. Our full Doom Eternal review agrees, with a five-star rating and an Editor's Choice award. It's fast-paced at 60fps and has surpassed our expectations even when it played it in 8K with a $2,500 graphics card.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is on the other end of the spectrum – it's a ready to lull you into a sense that nothing is wrong whatsoever like a good ASMR. This is fine. Everything is fine, says main character Tim Nook. Nintendo's cute social life sim is ideal for today's self-isolation situation. Read our Animal Crossing: New Horizons review and think happy thoughts.

One thing to note: while the new Animal Crossing is a must-have Nintendo Switch-exclusive, Doom Eternal is available on a wider set of platforms: PCs, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and even Google Stadia.

3. Watch movie series in order

(Image credit: Marvel)

Nothing eats up more time than a good, long TV series, but because movies typically have bigger budgets and higher production value (outside a select few TV shows), we're switching it up (and also we ran out of TV shows to watch this weekend). Now is the perfect time to go through an entire movie franchise – in order.

There are a couple different ways to watch the Marvel movies in order, and we have the links to where you can watch most of the 23 Marvel movies (Disney Plus being the easiest way to watch a majority of them). If you're looking for things to do during the coronavirus self-isolation, this will take you a total of 60 hours.

We also have lists for how to watch Star Wars movies in order, Batman movies in order, James Bond movies in order (sadly 'No Time to Die' is on hold), Star Trek in order (including the new-ish Picard series), Harry Potter movies in order, and, if you're in the mood for some mindless Vin Diesel-helmed entertainment, Fast and Furious movies in order.

4. Start a Zoom chat with friends

Video conference

(Image credit: Zoom)

Zoom is video conferencing software meant for the boardroom, but it's suddenly a popular way to break free of self-isolation by inviting friends to a chat. People have been holding meetings during work-from-home hours, and then continuing to use the same video chat client when off-the-clock.

Why is Zoom suddenly as popular as Skype and Google Hangouts? Chalk it up to the fun virtual backgrounds filters that can mask your embarrassingly untidy room look like a news studio. We've found playing online games that lack video and voice chat (like Animal Crossing) infinitely better, and some people have been using Zoom to play board games, all while remaining way more than the suggested six feet apart.

5. Read one of 100 top ebooks

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Do this... but indoors or away from people, please. (Image credit: Amazon)

It's easy to put off reading books when life gets busy and you have a commute. But you're probably free from your commute if you're working from home. So basically you have no excuse to flip through a few pages of an ebook.

Where do you start? That's sometimes the hardest part, but we've been impressed with Amazon's 100 books to read in a lifetime list. Not all will be your cup of tea, but there's something here for everyone and most ebooks are conveniently discounted. 

Not a fan of reading? Hate the sound of your own voice in your head? Audible is the best remedy for that. The Amazon-owned audiobook company still offers a free 30-day membership. The best parts? Both ebooks and audiobooks are delivered instantly and Amazon won't run out of inventory on either.

6. Discover a new podcast

Noise Cancelling podcast

(Image credit: Future)

Podcasts are by-and-large free and often strike the right balancing between being entertaining and informative. Notable podcasts including This American Life, Serial, and Stuff You Should Know – they're consistently in the top 50 on podcast platforms.

If we can be a bit biased for a second, you should really check out Noise Cancelling, the best new tech podcast around. This is our new weekly podcast that talks about what's happening in tech, expanding on the daily written coverage of TechRadar.

7. Clean your gadgets – physically and digitally

(Image credit: androidpit)

We launched a series of how to clean articles, which is timely given you've probably put this off for a long time in the lead up to the coronavirus outbreak. It's among the top things to do if you haven't wiped-down your filthy, germ-collecting gadgets.

The biggest offender is your smartphone, so we launched a how to clean your phone guide, which mirrors our advice on how to clean your iPad or tablet and how to clean your laptop screen. It's very easy to forget about cleaning your AirPods, but they too could use a good rubdown, whether or not you see visible wax. Don't forget about your Nintendo Switch and cleaning all of your gaming peripherals. You'll hug those tightly during gaming marathons and they become germ magnets.

Already done that? Now is also the best time to dive into your digital files with our how to backup your PC and how to format your Mac guides. Backing up your pictures with Google Photos is one of the best uses of your free time.

We'll keep this list of things to do updated as the weeks of confinement continue and so long as we feel we're offering helpful advice. We're not in a global call to arms, but a worldwide call to couch – and we understand that can be difficult if you run out of fun ideas during the beginning of week one. We often give people buying advice, but we're just as happy to deliver enjoying advice.