Everything from food, hobbies, crafts and self-improvement, here’s something you can do to kill the boredom while staying home during the Full Movement Control Order (FMCO).
By this time, we are sure that most Malaysians are slowly getting used to staying home and working from home. That said, it definitely can’t be getting any easier with the periodic MCO extensions (FMCO was recently announced to be extended till June 28 2021, read the complete SOP here) and we believe most of you are slowly running out of things to do after staying home for over a year now (after all, how many times can one declutter, right?).
Thanks to the internet, we can access a myriad of how-to’s and tutorials to learn new skills or develop a new hobby.
1. Grow food from your food scraps
Gone are the days where we can just hop by the supermarket to grab something whenever we like. With the MCO and social distancing measures in place, long waits are expected to enter most major supermarkets and travelling through roadblocks can be quite a hassle. Thankfully, most kitchen scraps can be regrown.
For example, spring onions are a staple in most Malaysian households but can quickly run out if you’re not grocery shopping often enough. Placing the discarded bottom section of the spring onion in water can actually yield new growth in a weeks’ time, or you can even try using a small onion bulb. The bottoms of bok choy can also be placed in water to spawn an extra yield of baby bok choy.
Other veggies you can try the water propagating method with: rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, sweet potato (for its delicious, edible leaves), spinach, mint and even ulam raja. You can turn this into a mini project that would soon turn your kitchen into a functional, edible garden.
Bring this project to the next level by learning about simple hydroponic systems to grow your own endless supply of greens.
2. Recreate viral food trend at home
Not a fan of dancing on TikTok? Well, how about trying some of the allegedly ‘easy’ food trends that are creeping all over social media. Let’s start off with the easiest one: dalgona coffee. It’s a deceptively simple recipe of 1:1:1 ratio of coffee powder, sugar and water that you need to whisk till it gets to a thick and creamy consistency, which you then pour over the milk. Sounds easy, right? With a mix of success and fail stories out there, we’ll leave it to you to decide.
The other trend we’ve been seeing everywhere? Sourdough bread. With the lockdown in place, more and more Malaysians are actually searching for bread recipes and learning how to bake their own due to the scarcity of bread in supermarkets (no doubt snatched up by panic buyers). Take note, it has a long proofing time of 24 hours, but since you have all the time in the world at home, why not try your hand at making some?
Other food trends you may want to try: rice cooker cake, burnt cheesecake, apam balik, KFC rice (yes, it requires you to order some actual Kentucky fried chicken) and banana bread.
If you have an air fryer at home, you can even cook your own food with these easy air fryer recipes.
3. Upcycle the items you plan to trash
Remember during the first MCO where everyone was so busy Marie Kondo-ing their home (as seen on social media)? These items may still be sitting around in bags, waiting to be dumped or donated after MCO has lifted. Why not take a second look at them and see if anything can be upcycled into something new altogether? Here are some ideas:
- Turn unwanted tins and jars into cute plant propagation pots
- Turn old garments/jeans into envelope clutch bags
- Sew your own face mask, because why not?
- Turn toilet paper rolls into cord organisers so you can work from home, fuss free!
4. Stream TV shows and movies on Disney+ hotstar
Ran out of shows to watch on Netflix? Don’t worry, there’s a new streaming service in town and we’re told that it has over 800 films and 18,000 episodes of TV shows (enough to last another lockdown). The highly anticipated Disney+ hotstar arrived on June 1, offering both local content like J2: J Retribusi, Ejen Ali, KL Special Force, and Zombitopia, and international titles from Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, National Geographic,
Since its inception, Disney+ has churned out numerous original shows like The Mandalorian, WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki and more. If you’ve been wanting to watch these shows, now your chance to watch them. Pricing-wise, it’s not too expensive either. Currently, there are two different packages being rolled out: RM54.90 for three months or if you’re an Astro subscriber, you only need o fork out an additional RM5 to get the streaming service.
5. Learn a new language
It’s never too late to pick up a new language. Whether you’re learning a language to up your skills, communicate with friends abroad, prepare for your next travel adventure or to challenge yourself not to read the subtitle the next time you’re watching a K-drama, there are many benefits to learning a foreign language.
On top of that, a study done in Sweden found that the brains of those who had just learned a new language had physically changed. Researchers observed that the hippocampus – the part of the brain that plays a major role in learning and memory – and parts of the cerebral cortex grew in size. It’s also worth noting that, according to research, the more foreign language we learn, the easier it is for the brain to acquire a new language.
And thanks to the Internet, it’s now easier than ever for us to master a new language. With a plethora of language learning apps out there, you just need to pick one that appeals to you and start speaking like a pro.
6. Host a game night
Miss hanging out with your friends? We feel you. Here’s one simple way to stay connected with your buddies while all of you are self-isolating at home: host a game night. There are a lot of video-conferencing apps like Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger or Houseparty that you can use for this purpose. So gather your friends, allocate time for everyone and just show up!
Here are some fun ideas to do:
- Assign someone to mute themselves and mime words or phrases. Whoever can read their lips wins the round.
- Ask your friends to submit fun facts about themselves before the session. During the game, read the fun facts out loud and let everyone guess.
- Charades. It’s fun. It’s entertaining. You can’t go wrong with it.
- Host an online pictionary and see who’s the artist in your friend group.
7. Bring out the old boardgame
Received a jigsaw puzzle as a birthday present when you’re 10 but didn’t bother piecing them together back then? Maybe now’s a good time to bring it out of the storeroom. You can even challenge yourself to complete the puzzle within a timeframe to spice things up a little.
Got an old Monopoly board at home that you haven’t touched in years? Bring it out and play a round or two with your family or housemate. Be warned, this relationship-testing game will either make or break your relationship.
8. Learn to paint
If you’re looking for a creative and meaningful way to spend (hopefully) the last MCO, then you should try painting. Not only is it therapeutic, but it’s also a good way to destress and disconnect from the digital world because, let’s be honest here, our screentime has probably doubled or tripled since the MCO started.
Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start, there are a lot of shops like Mossery and The Craft Crowd that provide art kits for those who are interested to paint. For inspiration, we suggest the Google Arts & Culture Zoom-in guided tour. Here, you’ll get to see the high-resolution images of famous paintings and see how each artist bring the painting to life.
9. Host a scavenger hunt at home
By now, your kids have probably run out of things to do at home and videos to watch on YouTube. Instead of cracking your head to think of fun activities to entertain the kids during the FMCO, try hosting a scavenger hunt instead. There are a lot of ideas online that you can use for this. It can be as simple as listing down a number of items to ask your kids to find or something more complex where they have to decode and hunt for hidden clues to get the ‘treasure’.
10. Create your travel bucket list
Just because we can’t travel doesn’t mean we can’t plan for our next travel adventure. If you have a destination that you want to go to when all this is over, now’s a good time to do your research. Websites and apps like Google Trip Planner, Wanderlock and Inspirock are amazing for trip-planning as it allows you to plan your day-to-day itinerary. They even provide suggestions on where to go, what to do and what to eat. So when the border finally opens, you can just book your flight and hotel, and just leave.
11. Break out of a virtual escape room
Remember how escape room was such a big hit back then? Relive those moments with your friends with a virtual escape room experience. While it’s not going to be as fun as the physical one, it’ll do for now. There are a few sites that offer this game experience, namely Breakout, Trapped in the Web and The Escape Game (do note that some of them are non-local and you’ll need to pay in other currency to join). For those who don’t want to pay, you can always create your own virtual escape room.
12. Host a movie marathon
Everyone has their favourite movie genre, be it comedy, superhero, horror or romance. The next time you’re hosting a movie night with your friends or family members, get them to vote on a theme and hit the play button. To make the session more interesting, get your squad to dress up as well. Say if you’re binging on a Disney marathon, the dress code for the night would be Disney characters. Watching a rerun of the Harry Potter series? Put on your cloak and wear your house colour with pride.
Here are some movie marathons you can do at home:
- Star Wars
- Marvel Cinematic Universe
- Harry Potter
- Lord of the Rings
- James Bond
- Jurassic Park
- Disney classics
13. Read that book that you’ve been putting off
Guilty of buying books during the Big Bad Wolf sales but never got the chance to even flip a page? Now would be the perfect time to immerse yourself in the book. Whether you’re into fiction or non-fiction books, reading is said to help to improve our vocabularies and enhances our imagination. If you prefer audio, there are tons of audiobooks out there available too! Not to mention, some books are also available on Spotify so there really is no excuse for you to not read.
14. Play some video games
Remember when everyone was obsessed with Animal Crossing back in MCO 1.0? Some of us even bought a Nintendo Switch just to play the game and visit our friends’ islands. Though the hype for Animal Crossing has dipped, there are lots of new video games like Monster Hunter Rise, Pokemon Snap, Super Mario 3D World and Bravely Default II released recently that you can play on your console.
Aside from Nintendo Switch, there’s also the newly launched PlayStation 5. And some of the top games include Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Resident Evil Villa, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Dirt 5.
15. Attend a yoga class
Before you get all excited, no, yoga classes are not allowed to open yet during the FMCO. But the good news is, there are plenty of yoga studios offering online classes so you can practise your downward dog and shavasana pose with your teacher. To make your surrounding more calming, we suggest playing claiming music in the background to get you into the mood.
16. Start a DIY project
Do you have a DIY project that you’ve been wanting to do but just didn’t have the time to commit to it? It’s time for you to get started then. Whether you’re looking to transform your dated bedroom design, install wainscoting for the hallway, repaint your living room or build a walk-in closet in your bedroom, take this time to work on it. Don’t know where to start? We have a plethora of ideas you can refer to.
There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the before and after transformation of your home.
17. Sign up for an online course
Whether you’re looking to improve your professional portfolio, learn a new skill or pursue a new hobby, there are plenty of online courses offered by universities and colleges around the world. Always wanted to know how the marketing industry works? Google has a whole host of digital marketing courses. Another popular spot you can go to is Skillshare where there are thousands of free courses available, including photography, design, writing, animation and more.
Other online courses you can attend includes:
- Nikon School Online – Photography courses for aspiring photographers out there.
- Harvard University – Free courses on Data Science, Law, Biochemistry, Creative Writing and more.
- LinkedIn Learning – Online training courses on various business, tech and creative topics.
- Udemy – There are over 100,000 online courses here from web development to graphic design, data science and more
- Home School Piano – You can even learn piano online for free now. This site provides 30-day free trial for you to practice. And if you like what you’ve learned, just continue the course for (approximately) RM 61 a month.
- FutureLearn – 44 free courses available taught by world-class universities and organisations.
And here are just some of the things you can do during this FMCO. We hope this list will help curb your boredom while you self-quarantine at home. Remember, it is a privilege to be staying home and being safe, so use the given time wisely and get something great out of it.