Amidst the recent coronavirus outbreak (also known as COVID-19), staying at home is more essential than ever. As we approach the peak of viral cases in the United States, NPR reports that more than 10,000 people have died as a result of the virus and there will likely be more deaths to follow in the upcoming weeks. Emergency care clinics are packed and New York City even had to implement its hospital ship. Truly, staying at home is the best way to keep yourself safe from catching the virus and spreading it to others.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t go a little stir-crazy. A growing number of small businesses have close their doors as they wait for this to blow over. On top of that, countless “nonessential” businesses, both big and small, have also shuttered their doors and laid off millions of people. In a single week, more than 3.3 million people had filed for unemployment and the situation has only gotten worse.
This is a distressing time for many, especially for those with nothing to do as we wait for the COVID-19 outbreak to dwindle. Taking care of yourself, both physically and mentally, is essential. Studies have shown that mental health issues are on the rise, particularly anxiety and depression. Life coaches and therapists will tell you that reaching a point of comfortability is key before you start piling more work on your plate. When you’re ready to start using your time in a more productive manner, learning a new skill online can be a great way to pass the time until we can start working again.
After all, learning a new skill online is easier than ever. Between tutorial videos, countless blogs, and life coaches paving the way across the web, learning a new skill online is a great way to break up the monotony of staying home all day. Since you can do this at your own pace, it also leaves ample time for you to take care of your mental and physical health during this crisis.
When you’re ready to take on a new skill, try these helpful hobbies and classes to make your life a little richer (even if it isn’t meant to make you financially richer).
Learn how to garden or grow flowers
Gardening is a great hobby since you can do it outdoors or indoors. Whether you own a home or rent an apartment, some houseplants are easy to grow and don’t demand a lot of your time.
Houseplants are particularly important within the home. These green spaces can make your home seem more inviting and they even clean the air. Studies have shown that even a few houseplants can boost the mood of its occupants and make for a more relaxing space. If you’re struggling with mental health issues at this time, growing something green or making the effort to plant flowers can help you feel accomplished as you watch your efforts create tangible results.
Gardening is also a great skill to teach your children. This activity engages all of the senses and can inspire creativity in the most unexpected places — like decorating pots to hold the flowers or choosing a fun arrangement once they are fully grown. If you’re not interested in growing plants from a seedling, you can also invest in common houseplants from your local shops (just be sure to call and check that they are still open). The simple act of watering a plant every day or every couple of days can help you feel more grounded and present.
Millennials have been one of the largest groups to begin gardening; some have even started calling their favorite greenery their “plant children.” In a day and age where having children is too expensive and having a dog might be frowned upon by your landlord, finding new ways to show love and affection has become increasingly common.
If you can garden outside, then that’s all the better. You can have fun finding the best arrangement of plants on your lawn. It might even encourage some people to invest in hardscaping for parties once social distancing ends. Some might even find that learning about erosion control methods, like hydroseeding and regrading their lawn, might help improve their home, too. While these tasks as better left to the professionals, just making plans for the future can be an important part of giving yourself something to look forward to when this isolation is all over.
Try to learn the best ways to take care of your plants, too; some plants need ample sunshine while shrub and tree pruning is vital at certain times of the year to maintain their health and longevity.
Learning a new skill online, like gardening, can lead to a fulfilling hobby that can last you a lifetime.
Learn how SEO marketing works
Marketing is an important skill. After all, we’re bombarded by marketing efforts each day, from what we see online in our search results to ads on television. If you’re wondering how certain Google results make it to the top page, however, you might not know enough about marketing.
Digital marketing has become one of the most common forms of marketing today. This is because just about everyone uses the web multiple times a day. Nowadays, entire careers are performed online. In an effort to reach more people, many companies invest in SEO, known as search engine optimization.
SEO utilizes a number of digital marketing tactics to get a business’ website on the first page of a search engine. Well, that’s the goal. But even moderate SEO use has been shown to bring websites from not ranking on Google all the way to the 4th and 5th pages. Even those who aren’t learning a new skill online and already work in the marketing field can have trouble with this. Here are some of the most commonly used SEO tools:
- A blog: An onsite blog is a great way to share important information with a company’s clients. Offering helpful tips, along with relevant keywords, can boost your site’s SEO score and make your company seem more reputable in the eyes of search engine crawlers. Better yet, a well-written blog is free fodder for social media channels. If a blog is interesting enough, it can even be shared across the country. This is a common form of marketing since building a blog is free if you do it yourself.
- Site optimization: Optimizing your website for online use comes with a few important steps. Utilizing keywords throughout your pages is a good way to become more relevant in the eyes of Google and other search engines, like Bing. However, optimizing your site for mobile use is becoming increasingly popular as more people search for companies and restaurants with their cell phones. If your site isn’t quick to load and streamlined for mobile use, you could be losing tons of customers who would rather go to a faster site.
- Backlinking: Having your company’s website link appear on another reputable site can increase SEO juice. While there’s no liquid involved, this sharing of links looks better for Google since you seem more reputable.
- PPC ads: Pay per click advertising is a little tougher to grasp as you’re learning a new skill online. This form of SEO allows you to pay for spots on Google by targeting certain keywords. This is a little more hands-on, but it can definitely pay off when you’re trying to grow your business.
When it comes to learning a new skill online, SEO might be a good tool to have in your back pocket. This is especially beneficial for those already in the marketing sphere or for small businesses who need to get back on their feet after the lockdown.
Learn the basics of a trade
There’s no substitute for quality drain line repair from an experienced professional. But if you’re interested in getting into a new trade or learning some basic skills for work around the house, researching a few different trade jobs can be a great way to pass the time.
This is especially beneficial for those who are considering a career change. If you’re interested in becoming a plumber or getting into electrical work, knowing what to expect is the first part of the battle. For example, many people think that being a plumber is simply snaking drains when they’re clogged. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Some plumbers will end up working for the government, laying the groundwork for city planners who want to build high-rise buildings. Others will work with home builders who want to establish new housing areas in old suburbs. Plumbing isn’t about just cleaning drains. But that’s why it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you quit your job and strap on a coverall.
For those who want to perform simple jobs around the house, learning a new skill online like plumbing is a good idea — as long as you set your expectations. You won’t be able to engage in drain line repair or install a new bathroom in your home with ease. However, you might be able to snake that drain or patch up a leak until a professional is able to check out your plumbing in the future. Learning about new trade skills can help you perform simple tasks, but don’t go getting a big head: if a skill is out of your repertoire, then you might make a small problem much worse.
Learning a new skill, like a trade, can be fun and informative at this time, especially if you’re planning to remodel your home. In some cases, you might even be able to save a few bucks in the future. Check out some tutorials, do some reading, and see if a trade is worth spending your time on learning.
Learn to make art, like custom jewelry or sculptures
Some skills are meant to make or save you money while others can be just for the thrill of it. If you want to start expanding on your creative side, learning a new skill online in the arts can fun and make you money.
Of course, not many small-time artists are able to get their work featured at a museum or local art gallery. However, making fun, new pieces of art for your friends is a fun way to pass the time and surprise the ones you care about the most.
If you’re already a painter or a sketch artist, indulging in these hobbies can be therapeutic and relaxing. But for those who want to learn a new skill online, like making custom jewelry, now is the perfect time to try your hand at something new. Making jewelry isn’t easy, but you should know that you can always dismantle your pieces and start again. When you try learning this new skill, keep in mind that you should always start small: a bracelet or a necklace is easy to make since all you need is a chain and a few beads. Play around with the colors and try to get more creative as your skills progress. There are plenty of online tutorials you can use to improve with time and you can rely on your favorite jewelry creators for inspiration. As you learn more, you can even craft custom earrings and more advanced pieces, like tiaras.
Learning to sculpt with polymer clay is another growing hobby. Few people are adept at working in three dimensions and many people haven’t played with clay since they were a kid. This nostalgic treat is a fun way to learn a new hobby and craft some work that you can display right in your home. Try making outlandish creatures to use as boardgame pieces or attempt to make your friend out of polymer clay — this last venture usually yields hilarious results.
Learning a new skill online can help make your day feel more productive and exciting. As long as you’re taking care of your physical and mental health, starting a new project can be a fun way to pass the time. But if you force yourself to be productive, you might even find yourself looking for urgent care clinics from the stress. Take care of yourself and try these new projects when you feel like you’re ready.