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10 most creative ways to kill time in self-isolation

By Catharina Cheung 6 April 2020

Citywide closures of F&B and entertainment venues, as well as social distancing rules, mean that many have been stuck at home and getting increasingly frustrated with cabin fever. We know how you feel. Luckily, a lot of the world is also facing the same issues, and there’s been lots of clever people who’ve found interesting ways to keep themselves entertained. Here are some of the best and most creative ways in which people are spending their self-isolation!

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Tic-tac-toe with pets

People who have pets are lucky, because our furry companions often do insanely silly things that make us laugh. In a time when little else in the world is amusing, animals just being their weird selves is contributing greatly to our mental health. Thank god pet owners around the world have been sharing clips so the rest of us who don’t own pets can also have a good chuckle.

One of the best pet-related trends going around is playing tic-tac-toe. We knew they were intelligent, but who would have guessed that animals could literally beat humans at their own game?

Recreating theme park rides

Public entertainment venues have been closed to prevent large scale gatherings, which of course, includes Disney parks. House of Mouse fans all over the world have been coping with withdrawal by imaginatively recreating their favourite rides at home, complete with accurate touches such as waiting times and well-known complaints. If you’ve got kids, make your own theme park ride for them as a project. The best thing about these at-home rides? No more waiting in queues.

Love in a time of coronavirus

Jeremy Cohen is truly a modern day hero for not letting a global pandemic keep him from shooting his shot with a crush. For those who have yet to follow his story, a girl dancing on her NYC rooftop during the lockdown caught his eye, so he sent her his number via drone. They then went on to have a digital dinner date from their separate balconies, but the best part of their romance was when they met in person. In order to adhere to social distancing rules, Cohen (literally) rolled up to the date in an inflatable plastic bubble! Their cute story has gone viral on social media; follow this modern love story here.

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Neighbourhood singalongs

There’s no question of music being a balm for the soul, and if there’s ever a time we need some healing, it’s the present. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread and worsened, we’d seen increasing clips of people around the world singing together with their neighbours while on lockdown. New Yorkers sang The Beatles’ The Yellow Submarine out their windows; neighbours in Bamberg, Germany, sang the Italian resistance song Bella ciao from their rooftops in a show of solidarity; and Italian tenor Maurizio Marchini has been videoed serenading his street in Florence, Italy. We’re so here for this heartwarming method of keeping up morale!

Workout challenges

Between gyms being closed and us being stuck in a small space, a lot of people are worried about not getting enough exercise during self-quarantining. Cue a barrage of workout-related content all cross social media. The viral by far are workout challenges, for example the “See 10, Do 10” challenge; if you get tagged, you film yourself doing 10 pushups, then tag other friends to do it. Some people have levelled it up with different variations, such as putting on a t-shirt while doing a handstand, or doing squats while using their pets as weights. Any exercise is better than being sedentary, and we might as well have some fun with it!

Cooking up a storm


like to see more of our fun dinners 🙈😤😌 ##fyp ##wishmeluck ##ButterGlossPop ##makeadrink ##dinner

♬ Myself - Bazzi

What better way to combat the boredom nibbles than to unleash some creativity in the kitchen? With the spike in cooking clips going around, it’s probably safe to say that humanity will see a bunch of pro chefs in the making once we’re all unleashed from our homes. We’ve seen people baking banana bread and cupcakes, making fluffy souffle pancakes, or whipping up full eight-course meals, purely out of a lack of things to do.

One of our favourite budding chefs has to be 14-year-old Derek Cannuscio who has been making themed dinners for this family. Some of his creative themes include airplane meals, Cinderella, and Japanese teppanyaki performance. His sister Caitlin has been uploading clips onto TikTik under @caitcanoe; see for yourself!

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Coronavirus spoof songs

We’ve already had a slew of humorous songs about coronavirus, such as the riff of Natalie Imbruglia’s hit Torn as performed by local comedian Kathy Mak. More recently though, American comedian Dana Jay Bein thought up lyrics to make a spoof of Queen’s famous Bohemian Rhapsody after coughing from a tickly throat and spontaneously singing “Is this a sore throat? Is this just allergies?” The internet jumped on it after Bein posted the lyrics on Twitter; one of the more popular covers of what is now dubbed Coronavirus Rhapsody features vocals by Adrian Grimes.

Getting pantsdrunk

Image credit: Kottke

It’s recently reemerged online that the Finnish have a tradition of getting drunk at home in their underwear. In fact, such behaviour is apparently so commonplace that there’s even a dedicated term for it: kalsarikännit, roughly translated to English as “pantsdrunk”. This has obviously struck a chord with folk around the world in self-quarantine, who have taken to posting pictures of themselves drinking in their underwear tagged #pantsdrunk. There’s even been a book written about this cultural practise: Päntsdrunk by Miska Rantanen. No better time to get drunk in your undies than when you’re forced to be stuck at home!

Fashion shows using things at home

While some people might revel in being able to sit around in their comfiest sweatpants all day, others are fashionistas lament not being able to showcase their style any more. Taking inspiration from RuPaul’s Drag Race and drag ball culture, people have been putting together some top-notch lewks with stuff they’ve got lying around at home. The effort that must’ve been involved in some of these TikToks blows the mind. Quarantine, but make it fashion, and the category distancing!

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Clubbing at home

They said we should try to retain a sense of normalcy during this pandemic so we don’t go absolutely bonkers. People have clearly taken this advice very much to heart: since going out drinking was no longer an option, some have taken it upon themselves to transform their homes into faux nightclubs. Miss doing happy hour with the gang? Weekends don’t feel complete without strobe lights and a DJ set? Finally turned legal but can’t go out to celebrate with drinks? No problem, have a look at what these people have done and take a leaf out of their books on getting properly turnt!

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Catharina Cheung

Senior editor

Catharina has recently returned to her hometown of Hong Kong after spending her formative years in Singapore and the UK. She enjoys scouring the city for under-the-radar things to do, see, and eat, and is committed to finding the perfect foundation that will withstand Hong Kong’s heat. She is also an aspiring polyglot, a firm advocate for feminist and LGBTQIA+ issues, and a huge lover of animals. You can find her belting out show-tunes in karaoke, or in bookstores adding new tomes to her ever-growing collection.