Like many of you, my quarantine has been an emotional rollercoaster of activities. It started out kind of nice, I'm not gonna lie. I filled my time working out in my living room, baking banana bread, and regularly scheduling Zoom happy hours with friends across the country.
However, the excitement for baking, Zooming for fun, and (unfortunately) working out has long dwindled and I was left bored. But, when I realized I was in a privileged enough space to be bored, I decided to make some changes. (To quote my mother: "Only boring people are bored.")
That's why I've been going hard in the hobby department lately. I've been trying new activities, planning fun nights for myself, and learning new skills — all in an effort to stay entertained outside of watching TikTok for seven hours every day.
Here are the six hobbies that have saved my quarantine.
If you've ever gone into a Paint 'n Sip studio, you know how much fun it is to sit in front of an easel with a glass of wine and tap into your inner Picasso. When I spotted this gorg kit on Etsy, I bought a kit for my roommate and myself and we made a night of it. We had a mini "wine tasting," trying a little bit of red, white, and rosé wines that we already had in our apartment, queued up Spotify, and followed the seller's easy-to-understand instructions. After about an hour and a half, we each had a nice little buzz and a gorgeous new canvas painting to hang up in our bedrooms.
I know, I can't believe it either. I originally wanted to buy a bicycle, but shockingly, all of the affordable hybrid options I was interested in were sold out. So, I moved onto the next best thing. I bladed a lot as a child, so it was, well, just like riding a bike — I fell into the old rythym quickly. I live near the Santa Monica beach path and early in the mornings it's pretty empty, so I pop on a podcast and cruise for a bit. It's been such a fun way to get out of my workout rut and I've even made friends with a few fellow rollerbladers along the way. (Just don't forget a helmet and wrist pads!)
Masterclass is something I originally had mixed feelings about. I had heard that some classes were better than others in terms of actually learning and practicing new skills — versus just watching someone lecture about their particular skillset — and the price tag was a little hefty. But, my sister and I decided to split the $180 pass, which gives you access to all classes for one year, and we virtually took Alice Waters' cooking class together over Zoom (which was fabulous). And now, we each can learn about own individual interests on our own time. Next on my docket? Judd Apatow on comedy, Kelly Wearstler on interior design, and Mixology with Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana.
Is there a limit on how much Netflix can be consumed by one person? (Asking for a friend ...) In an effort to cut down on screen time — since I was also checking Instagram/Twitter/TikTok while watching TV — I purchased this paint-by-numbers kit on Etsy. I love that it keeps my hands busy while watching TV, but doesn't require too much brainpower after a long day of work. It's also cool enough to actually be hung up in my place when I finish it, which can't be said for all paint-by-numbers final products.
I've been obsessed with Samin Nosrat since I heard her interview on Dax Shepherd's podcast Armchair Expert last year. (She also has an incredible Netflix documentary called Salt Fat Acid Heat that I highly recommend if you haven't seen.) She breaks down cooking in an easy-to-digest and fun way and I've been slowly making my way through her cookbook, also named Salt Fat Acid Heat, over the past few months. It's filled with adorable sketches of each recipe and, so far, everything I've made has been unbelievably delicious. Consider this my public plea to become her best friend and eat olives and foccacia in Italy as soon as we're allowed.
This one might already be on your to-do list, but I've been attempting to learn Spanish through the Duolingo app each day. The standard package is free to use — or you can sign up for Duolingo Plus, which is $6.99/month — and it prompts you with daily lessons that take no longer than five minutes. Although it's certainly slow to start, I find myself really absorbing vocabulary and certain grammar rules and enjoying my daily pause from the world around me to learn something that will enhance my life going forward.
Katie is a Los Angeles-based writer who covers shopping trends, deals, and product reviews for Hunker. She's written for PureWow, Food Network, and Well+Good. When not online shopping, you can find her collecting vintage glassware or rewatching Nancy Meyers' movies for design inspo.