Are you social distancing? 22 things you can do to keep yourself busy


With the world practising self-isolation and social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, all individuals in the UK have been urged to work from home if they can. But staying in can be just as fun and productive as going out, with HELLO!‘s tips to keep boredom at bay during the COVID-19 lockdown. From learning new skills to embracing your inner DIY guru, we’ve got you covered…

1. Clear out your wardrobe

Dedicate your new-found time and attention to sorting out your clothes, declutter your home, ditching items you haven’t worn for six months and co-ordinating clothes into sections so it’s easier to browse in the mornings. This is a great opportunity to get inspired by new outfits or rediscover an old favourite.

What you’ll need: Vacuum storage bagsADVERTISING


Vacuum storage bags, £3 each, Amazon

MORE: How to cope with Coronavirus anxiety

2. Give yourself a manicure

Sometimes it’s the small things in life that make us feel better, with a fresh manicure being up there. Take some time for yourself, push your cuticles down, slather on some hand cream and choose a shade that makes you smile from ear to ear.

What you’ll need: An at-home gel kit


Le Mini Macaron Gel Kit, £60, ASOS


RELATED: Picasso nails are the Instagram beauty trend we never knew we needed

3. Read a book

It’s time to read that book that’s been sat on your shelf for the last few months. Get inspired by a best-selling memoir, indulge in a celeb-approved book or escape to a different world for a few hours. Hot drink and blanket desirable.

What you’ll need: A Kindle Paperwhite 


Kindle Paperwhite, £119.99, Amazon


RELATED: 11 must-read books in 2020 so far

4. TV

Did you miss the Game of Thrones craze or are you late to the Grey’s Anatomy party? Now’s the time to catch up on all that TV you’ve been curious about, so get comfy and get ready to commit hours of your life to watching someone else’s dramas. If you want to watch the Kardashians from day one, be sure to sign up to hayu.

What you’ll need: a hayu subscription


hayu subscription, one month free and £4.99 after, hayu


READ: Get the latest on what’s on TV

5. Watch Disney movies 

How often do you get a chance to sit around and watch Disney movies all weekend? Ahead of the launch on Tuesday 24 March, there’s a special offer for Disney+ – the new streaming service from Disney. Prepare to be obsessed! 

What you’ll need: A Disney+ subscription


Disney+ Subscription, £49.99, a £10 saving from the usual annual cost of £59.99, Disney+


6. Do a crossword/Sudoku

Looking for something a bit more challenging? Put your brain to the test and do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle and see how far you can get. There’s lots of online crosswords or word puzzles which means you don’t have to leave the house to have a go.

What you’ll need: A crossword challenge


Collins crossword challenge book, £5.99, Amazon


7. Make a photo album/back up your phone pictures

Remember that girls’ holiday you took in 2016 or when you swam with dolphins? Ensure that memories like this are treasured by taking the time to compile a photo album or scrapbook. Similarly, make a back-up of photos on your phone, to ensure you don’t lose them in years to come.

What you’ll need: Scrapbooks 


Scrapbooks, £15.99, Amazon


8. Plant some flowers

Introduce some welcome colour into your house or garden and plant some flowers.

What you’ll need: A gardening kit


9-piece gardening kit, £34.99, Amazon


SHOP: The gardening buys to keep you occupied during isolation

9. Start a blog

Are you the modern-day Carrie Bradshaw or Bridget Jones? Or does your fashion taste rival that of Olivia Palermo and Estée Lalonde? Use your down-time wisely and start a blog to share your thoughts or favourite hobbies.

What you’ll need: A tripod


Tripod, £7.89, Amazon


10. Marie Kondo your drawers

In the words of everyone’s favourite Japanese organisation expert, if it doesn’t ‘spark joy’ it’s got to go. Sift between socks, underwear and whatever else is lurking in the depths of your drawers and reap the rewards of a tidy and organised chest of drawers.

What you’ll need: Drawer dividers


Drawer organiser, £11.99, Amazon


MORE: 5 lessons everyone can learn from Netflix’s Marie Kondo

11. Bake

Indulge your sweet tooth and try a Bake Off masterpiece of your own at home.

What you’ll need: A rainbow cake set


Rainbow cake set, £24.99, Amazon


GET READY, BAKE! 3 Tasty recipes to bake for your neighbours during coronavirus

12. Learn how to knit

Pick up your needles and take the time to hone a new skill like knitting. Not just for grandmas, knitting is considered incredibly therapeutic and practical.

What you’ll need: A instruction manual


Knit Yourself Calm: A Creative Path To Managing Stress, £9.99, Amazon


13. Dance it out

Blast out some of your favourite tunes and get dancing in your bedroom, living room or bathroom. Hairbrush microphone optional. 

What you’ll need: A karaoke kit


Lucky Voice Karaoke Kit, £53.60, Amazon


14. Exercise

Replace your gym visit with an at-home work-out, with squats, burpees and press-ups all achievable without equipment. Transform your lounge into a yoga space and stretch it out.

What you’ll need: A subscription to Fiit


Train free for 14 days and £10 a month after, Fiit


SHOP: The best home gym equipment to make exercising at home easier

15. Make a travel bucket list

Write it down in black and white the places you’ve yet to explore, the trips you want to take and the food you’ve got to sample. Similarly, Pinterest is the perfect place to find inspiration and pin places you want to go to.

What you’ll need: A map


World map poster, £15.97, Amazon


16. Learn a language

Challenge yourself to learn a new language in just a few weeks, ready for your next trip away. With a ton of apps and websites that give you lessons for free, you’ve truly run out of excuses not to.

What you’ll need: A book to help you


Fluent Forever, £9.99, Amazon


PARENTING TIPS: 6 best educational websites and apps to help kids during school closures

17. Get your DIY on

Take the time to tackle some interior improvements – be that painting your walls, upholstering old furniture or rearranging a room. Remember health and safety at all times!

What you’ll need: A tool set


62-piece tool kit, £15.99, Amazon


18. Call your nan

The chances are you’re not the only one that’s self-isolating and people will appreciate a friendly chat or text message to let them know you’re thinking of them. Call your grandparents to check on them or suggest a funny thread in the girls’ WhatsApp group.

What you’ll need: A phone stand (there will be some long conversations!)


Pillow stand, £29.99, SLYK


19. Play board games

If you’re lucky enough to be in quarantine with company, embrace some old school entertainment and crack out the board games for some light competition. Monopoly should be chosen at your own risk.

What you’ll need: Monopoly


Monopoly, £23.10, Amazon


20. Let your creative juices flow

Embark on a creative arts and crafts challenge, from sketching and mindful colouring to pottery. Stuck for ideas? 64 Million Artists have some great suggestions to get you started, launching a two-week daily creative challenge you can get involved in.

What you’ll need: Colouring pencils


Colouring pencils, £19.99, Amazon


21. Learn to play an instrument

Dedicate your new-found time to music and learn an instrument that you’ve always wanted to play.

What you’ll need: Headphones (for the sake of your family)


Headphones, £34.99, ASOS


22. Practice, practice, practice

How often do you have time to practice the things that you struggle with when it comes to your beauty routine?! Whether it’s doing the perfect eyeliner flick, contouring, or applying false lashes, now’s the time to become an expert. 

What you’ll need: Faux lashes 



Step-by-step guide: How to video call your family

By Chris FoxTechnology reporter

  • 22 March 2020
Video call

If you are self-isolating at home, video-chatting can help you stay in touch with your friends and family.

This guide will show you how to make a video call using a smartphone, or receive one using your desktop computer – or help you explain how to do so to others.

How to video call with an Android phone

If your phone is made by OnePlus, Google, Honor, Huawei, LG, Samsung or Sony, it is an Android phone. Several other companies make Android phones too.

There are plenty of free apps you can use to make video calls including Google Duo, Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp and Zoom.

This guide will show you how to make a video call using WhatsApp.

Media captionWATCH: How to make a WhatsApp video call

To video call a friend using WhatsApp, they will need to have installed the app too – and you will need to add their phone number to your smartphone’s address book.

Banner image reading 'more about coronavirus'

How to video call with an iPhone, iPad or Mac

If you have an iPhone, iPad or Mac computer, you can video call a friend using FaceTime.

The app comes pre-installed on all of these devices. However, it only works on Apple devices, so your friend or relative must be using an iPhone, iPad or Mac too.

Media captionWATCH: How to make a FaceTime call

If your friend or relative does not use an iPhone, iPad or Mac, you can still video call them using a different app. You can follow the instructions provided for WhatsApp at the top of this page.

How to receive a video call without installing software

You can receive video calls on a desktop computer without installing any software. Some video-calling services such as Skype and Zoom will let you join a chat using your computer’s web browser.

To do this, you’ll need to be invited to a video call by a friend or relative who already has the software installed.

Ask them to follow the instructions in the video below, in order to send you an invite link by text message or email.

Media captionWATCH: How to receive a video call via a desktop computer’s web browser

Remember, you should only click on the link if you have spoken to your friend or relative and are expecting it.

If you are not expecting an invite, ask your friend or relative to double-check.