The coronavirus has brought the world to a standstill. Berlin’s bars, shops, clubs, schools, museums and restaurants are closed; landmarks deserted, streets empty. Whether you’re in full quarantine mode, working from home, or simply scaling back your social life, you’ll be spending a lot more time indoors for the next few weeks.
But instead of staying glued to Netflix and live news feeds, there are plenty of creative ways to use our enforced hibernation. Here are 9 worthwhile things to do while you’re stuck at home during the corona crisis.
1. Finally read that book you’ve had on your shelf for years
Let’s face it, half the books on your shelves have never been read. Kept aside for a rainy day, perhaps. Well, that rainy day has well and truly arrived — cheers, coronavirus! It’s the perfect time to make a great literary discovery or two without even leaving your sofa.
2. Quarantine? Spring clean!
Spring is the time to get your apartment in shape, with or without a global pandemic. Use your new-found free time to systematically clean your rooms and make sure those surfaces gleam. We can’t guarantee this will destroy all corona germs, but it feels damn good to walk through a sparkling apartment — especially if you’re going to be spending most of your time there. Don’t forget those windows, either.
3. Have a good clear-out
Once you’ve given your apartment a good deep clean, you’re free to start clearing out all the crap you don’t need. After all, you really don’t need those hole-ridden T-shirts and outdated guidebooks you’ve had lying around for years. Or that obsolete DVD player. CDs, clothes, superfluous kitchen utensils, and other miscellaneous junk can finally be discarded. What doesn’t go straight in the bin can be sold or given away later. Stored in an airtight bag or moving box, your preloved possessions can wait in the cellar for their appropriate disposal.
4. Tackle your washing and ironing
Why not wash and iron all shirts, blouses, towels and bed linen again? Freshly folded and stored, it will be super satisfying to see your crisp garments neatly piled in your gleaming bedroom. An all-round good feeling.
5. Realise that creative project
If you’ve always wanted to pen a sci-fi novella or dabble in impressionist landscapes, now is the perfect time to realise that dream. Your living room can easily become a writing room or studio, and there are no limits to what you can unleash. The world is poised for works like ‘The Corona Elegies’ or ‘Self-Portrait with Virus’. Joking aside, you don’t need to produce a masterpiece to feel deeply contented with what you’ve made.
6. Call your long-lost family and friends
Call your elderly great aunt, your cousins, grandparents, siblings or nephews. Or those old friends you’ve been meaning to Skype back home. Of course, in times of pandemic, we talk to our closest relatives, but there are also those family members and friends we see once in a blue moon. Which is fine. But now is the perfect time to reconnect. You can always talk about coronavirus if the conversation dries up — or indeed your new art project or the über-tidy apartment.
7. Take the time to cook for yourself
One of Berlin’s absolute plus points is its culinary diversity. The selection of restaurants offering food from all over the world is sometimes almost overwhelming — and here you can fill your stomach for bargainous prices. Corona hibernation offers the chance to finally cook for yourself — or learn to do so. Supermarkets are open and the possibilities are endless: curries, roast dinners and pasta are not witchcraft — all that’s required is a home chef with a little time and patience on their hands. And the smell that wafts from the kitchen after a cooking session brings comfort that is priceless.
8. Learn a new skill
Ok so you might have to open your laptop for this one. These tips are intended to be entirely screen-free, but a brief search on YouTube will yield instructions on almost every topic. Use your time to learn new Spanish vocabulary, a few chords, or perhaps the art of meditation. If you opt for the last suggestion, hop straight to the next point.
10. Just do nothing
Escape the buzz and viral panic. Retreat and decelerate. Turn off your smartphone and computer and really get some rest. Talk to no-one, think about nothing. It’s hard, but maybe the pandemic is also a good time to reflect on the really important things in life. And if you can’t do that, just listen to a soothing podcast or two.