Coping with Boredom During COVID-19

Alyssa Moore, Centurion Staff

As the world has been dealing with quarantine due to COVID-19 for the past couple of months, people have started getting creative with ways to spend their newfound free time.

Not many would have suspected that the world would be starting the new decade stuck in their houses. Staying home from work or school for a few weeks doesn’t sound too bad at first, that is unless we have nowhere else to go. With businesses and parks closed, many have been left to scramble for new hobbies.

For students, though this semester has been a rather interesting turn of events, they have been able to persevere the switch to in-class to online. Both students and teachers both quickly needed to adjust to the online format. Most students have found with this change that they have a lot more free time on their hands than expected.

Spenser Sheffield, a 22-year-old communications major, said, “I feel like I have classes under control online. It is different than physically being on campus in a classroom, but it is bearable. I do like having this break to spend more time with family and catch up on things that I haven’t while being busy commuting to school during the week and working. It’s always good to slow down every once in a while.”

This is an interesting time for families as they are encouraged to stay home, yet find ways to be productive. Parents have found themselves taking on yet another role they weren’t prepared for: teacher.

In Buck County, in an effort to establish a new sense of normalcy and community bond, many residents have been stepping up. Residents have picked up sewing to help make masks for people who don’t have them, as well as do drive-bys to wish their neighbors a happy birthday. There have been many community movements to help support local businesses through the pandemic, such as buying from local farms and restaurants. Younger residents have also been volunteering their time to grocery shop for their older relatives and neighbors.

Many college students are also taking up jobs at grocery stores and food delivery since non-essential businesses have been closed. Due to the flexibility of online classes, people who want to work longer hours to make money can.

“I wouldn’t really say it’s a new hobby, but I have started to work out more 5 times a week at my friend’s house now that I have time for it. Before during normal school life, I could only workout 2-3 times a week. I would say I have been practicing a more healthy way of living since the pandemic started,” said Sheffield.

Working out and exercising seems to be one of the more popular hobbies during the quarantine. Now that people have the time and energy to actually fulfill their New Years’ resolutions, they’re getting active. Bucks County recently opened up its state parks on April 20, yet municipal parks are still closed. This has angered some Bucks residents as their smaller, more local parks are not completely open.

Conditions may vary, but few municipal parks have only opened their trails to allow people to use them for their walks. Municipal parks with sports fields and playgrounds will still keep those particular areas closed.

Allyson Stachelek, an 18-year-old early education major, said, “I’ve done some drawing and cooking classes online, and made a scrapbook. My family has been doing this virtual gym class every morning, so I guess working out more, definitely playing guitar and piano more, and taking virtual ballet classes. And definitely watching movies.”

Along with exercising, many online exercising classes have opened on multiple social media platforms. Yoga has been one of the more popular online classes as it not only offers exercise but also relaxation. People taking the online classes have found that it keeps them mentally stimulated and eases the anxiety that has come with this sudden pandemic.

COVID-19 has caused a spike in mental health issues as people are told to stay home. With layoffs, unproductivity and a turbulent news climate, it is no surprise as to why some feel the need to panic.

Though this is an unpredictable time in everyone’s lives, we should not encourage panic. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourage people to take breaks from watching/listening to the news, take care of your body, eat properly, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and staying in touch with your loved ones. Make sure to keep in touch with older loved ones and ones that live alone as loneliness is another factor of the worry and panic. Using online video sharing sites such as Zoom has increasingly replaced normal family reunions.

Jigsaw puzzles have also been on this rise. The CEO of Ravenburgers North America, Filip Francke, stated, “We’re continuing to see incredibly high demand for puzzles from consumers. After the sales surge during this past month, we’re trending closer to selling 20 puzzles per minute.” Ravenburgers is one of the world’s leading jigsaw puzzle makers. They have seen as much as a 300 percent increase in puzzle sales.

When it comes to TV watching, streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+ have seen a rapid increase in subscribers. Netflix has garnered about 15 million new subscribers and Disney+ gained 50 million new subscribers.

On the flip side, sports TV has been suffering since the rest of the basketball season and the baseball season has been called off until further notice. Locally, Bucks County officially opened the golf courses back up, so sports fans are seeing a glimpse of hope of things starting to come back.

Whether it be binging Netflix shows, taking online yoga classes, or getting involved in the community, there are multiple ways that people have found ways to keep themselves productive during quarantine. Looking at this situation positively, we could walk away from this experience with many new hobbies and passions.