Device-Free Activities to Do During Your Free Time

by Chloe Alviz

With stay-at-home orders keeping us indoors, our lives are pretty much online now—from school and work to our social engagements. The amount of time we spend staring at our screens can add up and strain our eyes. We should be mindful about giving our eyes a break. Here are some fun activities that can be a great alternative to looking at our devices:


For some, quarantine means more free-time during the day. Starting an art project can be a great way to fill that extra time and keep ourselves occupied! 

Create a scrapbook of your favorite memories

Although we aren’t able to be physically present with some of our friends and family, we can take this time to reflect and appreciate all of the things they’ve done for us. Scrapbooking is a wonderful way to keep these memories alive. A scrapbook also doesn’t need to be made with a fancy leather photo album—it can be made with an old journal or a few pieces of construction paper! The beauty of a scrapbook is that it can be personalized to our own style. 

Don’t know where to start? Take a look at this Pinterest board for some inspiration!

Learn how to fold origami

Origami is a great way to exercise our minds while taking a break from actual work. There are a lot of amazing creations for every difficulty level—so don’t stress about your ability level. The best thing about origami is that there are step-by-step guides for pretty much any creation! 

Color pages you can print from websites

Not in the mood to work on a messy art project? There are many websites online that offer a wide variety of printable coloring pages. This is especially a great way to wind down after a long day at work or school. 

Here are some of our favorites:


It can be tempting to lie in bed and binge-watch shows on our devices to cure our boredom. However, there are many great ways we can entertain ourselves without having to stare at a screen!

Write a short story

Although Netflix and Hulu offer us a great variety of stories to follow, we’re definitely capable of creating our own fascinating narratives. Writing stories can be a great way to escape the craziness of these times and get in touch with our imaginations. If writer’s block is getting in the way, there are many sites such as this one that have fun prompts to follow! 

Have a mini-dance party

Need an activity to get the day started? Having a dance party is a great way to get the energy flowing. This is also a perfect opportunity to bust out some old dance moves and learn new ones as well!

Try baking/cooking a new recipe

Cooking and baking are great ways to destress! Whether it’s a sweet or savory dish, there are a wide variety of recipes available that require minimal ingredients and easy-clean up, including this three-ingredient flourless banana bread recipe. For those who want a challenge in the kitchen, they can also consider trying this classic ratatouille recipe!


Our lives have drastically changed as a result of this quarantine—we’ve sacrificed much of our old routines in the effort to flatten the curve. However, staying at home around the clock can be physically and emotionally draining for many people. During this time, it’s especially important to look after ourselves and stay healthy. 

Create a journal

Journaling is a great tool for organizing our thoughts and feelings. Take a few moments out of the day to reflect and write down whatever comes to mind. Keep in mind also that journals aren’t limited to writing entries––they can also be used for creating to-do lists, tracking meals, or simply doodling! The beauty of journaling is that we can personalize our journals to cater our needs and interests. 

If you’re experiencing emotional and mental distress or thoughts of harming yourself or others, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat with a Lifeline counselor here.

Journal - UCLA Total Wellness

Try some indoor workouts

If there are restrictions on taking strolls outside, indoor workouts can be a terrific alternative. There are a wide variety of workouts available online—whether you’re feeling something light or in the mood for an adrenaline rush.

Our very own Design team also released a Move Well Zine that has a wide variety workout suggestions, so check it out here

Do some chores in the house

Although doing chores can seem like the last thing we want to do, they can actually be a helpful way to destress! Housekeeping not only keeps our spaces clean, but it also gives us a sense of accomplishment and boosts our moods. Spotify also created this cleaning playlist to keep things fun. 


Although stay-at-home orders have physically separated us from others, it shouldn’t stop us from helping others in our communities and showing our gratitude for those working on the frontlines. We should definitely take some time out of our days to spread the love! 

Make masks for healthcare workers

Many healthcare facilities are struggling with the dwindling supplies of PPE—personal protective equipment—for their workers. This problem can put workers at risk of catching the virus while on shift. 

Have some old articles of clothing sitting in the closet? Those can be recycled into face masks that can be donated to local hospitals and clinics! If you don’t have sewing experience or a machine, don’t fret—here are some tutorials that can get you started:

Face Mask - UCLA Total Wellness

Check on a member of your community

It has been difficult for many vulnerable populations in our communities—the elderly, low-income and immunocompromised—to get the supplies they need during this pandemic. It’s important to reach out to these individuals and let them know that support is always available. 

If you don’t know anybody but are still willing to help, you can check if there are any local programs looking for volunteer drivers and shoppers. But remember to do these activities at your own discretion! 

Leave affirmation notes on your window for your neighbors

We are currently living in difficult times, and it can sometimes feel quite distressing and lonely. Writing notes can help bring a smile to those in our communities and assure them that they’re not alone in what they feel. Here are some things you can write about: 

  • Thanking healthcare workers for their service 

  • Reminders to take care of yourself 

  • Positive/motivational quotes

the bottom line

Considering how most of our daily routines are online now, it’s important that we take regular  breaks from our screens each day. There’s a wide variety of activities that we can do instead of scrolling through social media and binge watching shows––whether it’s learning how to fold origami or trying a new baking recipe. This is an important time to take care of ourselves and those around us, so be sure to make room for self-care exercises and gratitude activities!

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