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10 things to keep you busy during lockdown  

Those who had hoped that full lockdowns would be left behind in 2021 were disappointed at the end of last year, as everything in the Netherlands had been instructed to close again until mid-January. It is also unclear whether January 14th will be the end of it, since the Omicron variant is causing much uncertainty at the moment. It can be tough to stay positive during these times, especially for international students who may be far away from their loved ones.  

Chances are you’ve googled ‘things to do during lockdown’ countless times over the past two years, often stumbling across unimaginative lists that tell you to go on plenty of walks. Duh. Anyone could come to that conclusion. I’ve compiled a better selection of things to do during lockdown, chock-full of activities that you’ll actually want to do.  

1. Host a digital karaoke night with friends  

Karaoke bars are great fun. There’s little that relieves stress like going on to a dingy stage and screaming your heart out to Mr. Brightside with your friends. Betcha didn’t think you could recreate the experience from home, did you? Well, by using websites like luckyoicekaraoke and zoom, you can totally ensure that your friends don’t forget your best (or worst) singing voice. Your neighbors may hate you a little, but hey, nothing’s stopping them from hosting their own karaoke night and rivalring you through the wall.  

2. Do a yoga challenge  

Maybe you’ve already given this a shot at one point or another. After all, yogawithadrienne is a popular YouTube channel that many people look towards for some good vibes and relaxation. Every January, she posts a yoga challenge with a new video uploaded every day for 30 days. You may question your life decisions at the beginning when your joints threaten to give out during your first downward facing dog, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly. And who knows? Maybe you’ll even find yourself looking forward to your yoga sessions after a few days.  

3. Visit a digital museum

For lovers of the arts, it can be difficult to get your cultural fix when nothing is open. Fortunately, many of the world’s best museums, from Musée d’Orsay to the Tate, have created digital versions of their collections. Google Arts & Culture has plenty to offer, and you can even find out who your painting doppelgänger is.  

4. Find a Dutch language buddy  

During the lockdown, you can easily find yourself a native Dutch speaker who will help you improve your language skills. Maybe you haven’t had the time to start learning Dutch yet but will now find yourself with a little extra time on your hands. If that’s the case, then tandem has got you covered there. You and your buddy can video call every now and then, and maybe you’ll finally learn how to say more than just pinnen graag at the Albert Heijn. 

5. Declutter your belongings  

Ok, I know I said that this list will only have things that you’ll actually want to do. Chances are, decluttering your room or apartment isn’t on your list of fun evening activities. However, maybe it’s exactly what you need. I mean, there’s a reason why minimalism is becoming so popular these days, right? Maybe getting rid of some clothes you don’t wear anymore or throwing away a year’s worth of study materials that you know deep down you’ll never look at again is a good idea. Perhaps you won’t only clean your space, but also your mind.

6. Retrace your ancestry

Maybe you’ve always wondered whether that rumor that your family is 5% something is true. In that case, ordering an ancestry DNA kit could be a fun self-discovery project to take your mind off of the current bleak reality. They can be quite pricey, but maybe you have a little bit of Christmas money left over… 

7. Learn how to code at Harvard

Hearing the word Harvard impresses most people. But, who says you can’t go to Harvard too, just for a little while? And hey, this won’t even cost you very much. Since the start of the pandemic, many top universities have been offering online courses on a variety of subject matters, from coding to art history. You’ll have to pay for the certificate, but the courses themselves are free of charge. Learn away!  

8. Make stuff out of clay

Learning how to draw can seem daunting, so why not try out something easier instead? Pretty much anyone can make a little bowl or flower pot out of clay and paint it with a nice design. Pick out some air-hardening clay online and get to work with your creations. The options are endless, though I recommend giving cute clay earrings a shot. Check out pinterest for some inspiration!  

9. Go on an airbnb online experience

Chances are your big travel plans have been put on hold for the time being. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still keep them in mind. Using Airbnb’s online experience function, you can easily leave your student room with the click of a button. And who knows, maybe it’ll even inspire you to start a bucket list of all the things you’ll want to do do when you visit London or Paris for real in a few months.   

10. Write a novel in 30 days

While the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has already passed (it was in November), that’s not to say that you can’t still join retrospectively. Challenges are great, especially because you’ll have a noticeable product after a short period of time, allowing you to be proud of yourself. No matter the genre you think suits you best, from fantasy and thriller to poetry and non-fiction, channeling your energy into a creative project will definitely boost your mood! You’ll also earn yourself bragging rights by saying that you’re one of those people who managed to write a novel during lockdown, gasp. People will have no choice but to be impressed.  

That’s our list of fun activities to keep you sane during the lockdown period. Remember to reach out to family and friends as much as possible, since (virtual) social interactions are the best way to keep your spirits high.  

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