10 ways to fight pandemic boredom without leaving your home

Most of these activities are also free.

Stay productive by upping your culinary skills via local food blog Jun & Tonic; grow an edible garden or learn composting with Eats, Shoots & Roots; or pick up a new read that has been nominated for the 2021 Women's Prize for Fiction. 

If your camera roll assures you that 2020 was the last time you saw the inside of a restaurant, theatre house or even just a friend's home, you are not alone. As countries continue to face the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, it looks as though the homebody economy is here to stay. But think of it this way: Instead of feeling trapped or getting cabin fever, you'll finally get a chance to do all the things you've been wanting to do, but always postpone because you never have enough time. Here are ten interesting and productive activities that will tide you over until MCO 3.0 is lifted. 


Add new recipes to your culinary repertoire 

If you find that the daily rotation of dishes on the dinner table is getting a tad repetitive, explore different cuisines and new recipes. Find inspiration from Langit Collective’s handy list of ideas, from an easy Asian-style one-pan lemongrass paella to a hearty vegan yam rice and most recently, a creamy and citrusy sauerkraut potato salad made in collaboration with Farm Foodies. Local food writer Loh Yi Jun of Jun & Tonic also logged a diverse record of recipes, paired with beautiful photos, on his site that will rekindle your love for cooking and baking — think Taiwanese fried chicken (pictured) and marble matcha brownies.


Visit the world’s most famous museum for free

While virtual tours may not be everyone’s cup of tea, few would pass up a visit — even if it’s through the screen — to Musée du Louvre, one of Paris’ cultural icons and home to renowned masterpieces like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch. For the first time ever, the museum has put up its entire collection online, with more than 480,000 works of art now at your fingertips. Viewers can use the search tools to instantly find specific art pieces or navigate the Louvre room-by-room for a virtual viewing experience.


Read lighthearted comics by local artists

Malaysia is not short of creative talent, what with an Eisner-winning 22-year-old in our midst and a comic artist whose superhero-style works have gone viral. The former, Erica Eng, is a new but formidable name in the local webcomics sphere. Her slice-of-life work Fried Rice captures nostalgic Malaysian scenes and experiences (pre-Covid!) that, in hindsight, we may have taken for granted. If you’d like to reminisce simpler times, Fried Rice is updated every Sunday at 8am. On the other hand, if you want something humorous, Ernest Ng’s comical pandemic heroes and anti-heroes will keep you entertained. His If Covid-19 was an Anime series that was popularized on social media has now expanded to physical copies and merchandise, both of which can be purchased here.


Ease anxiety with simple yoga practices

The current situation with the pandemic has brought about a lot of fear and uncertainty, which can induce unwanted stress and anxiety. One way to attain a calmer state of mind is to schedule in pockets of peace in your daily life to relax and regain clarity. And yoga is a good place to start. Shilpa Ghatalia, the founder of Yogshakti, a registered Yoga Alliance school in KL, suggests simple morning and evening practices that focuses on breath awareness to still the mind. If you’re a fan and want to incorporate this into your lifestyle, subscribe to online yoga classes, such as the ones by Yogshakti or Omology KL.


Catch local shows and international live concerts from the comfort of your sofa

The Dancebox series by MyDance Alliance and The Actors Studio highlights eight new short works presented by talented Malaysian dancers. Look forward to Matt Tan’s Balinese dance piece featuring Ong Jee Teng, Winnie Xuan and Syamil Norzalahuddin’s collaborative work and Puteri Aisya and her dance crew’s performance entitled Saudade. Stream the one-hour show this weekend at 8.30 pm via cloudtheatres.com. Alternatively, if it’s music that you’re into, American Express UNSTAGED has invited Maroon 5 back again for an encore show on June 5. The livestream concert will see the band playing their greatest hits as well as a first-ever performance of an upcoming single from their new album.


Start an edible garden or give back to Mother Nature by composting
Your eco-warrior journey doesn’t have to stop at stocking up reusable food containers or swapping plastic straws for biodegradable ones — you can end up with 50% less trash if you break down food scraps to create compost. We collaborated with social enterprise Eats, Shoots & Roots, which champions growing food in urban communities, for a step-by-step pot composting method you can attempt in your backyard. Not only does composting enriches the soil, it will help retain moisture and suppress plant diseases too. 


Deepen your horology knowledge in a free masterclass

An exceptional opportunity that will appeal to watch enthusiasts and novices alike, the Discovery Workshop by Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre  offers a blend of academic education and hands-on experience in a dynamic format that encourages interaction. The first series revolved around chiming watches, what makes a minute repeater chime, and the difference between a repeater and a Grande Sonnerie. Book ahead for more exclusive tours that explore the watchmaker’s expertise and heritage. 

Make reservations here.


Need some time out? Tune in.

Binge-watching Marvel blockbusters and Friends, as many of us have had ample opportunity to realise by now, can actually be wearing. Whether you are coping by watching escapist fantasies or absurdist reality TV, here are some sound choices to get you through another involuntary (or voluntary) quarantine: The highly anticipated Master of None has returned for a third season, and the biggest question so far is, “Does co-creator and lead actor Aziz Ansari even appear in the show at all?” Reviews have been mixed but critics have praised the storytelling behind the modern love story between Lena Waithe and Naomi Ackie in this reimagined romcom. More shows to keep on your radar: Kim’s Convenience S5 (June 2); Lupin S2 (June 11) and Memoirs of Geisha (June 16). 


Follow these voices that will help you navigate these uncertain times

There's a crop of informative local podcasts that helps to fill any free time you might have — some are entirely new shows to serve our needs in this strange new world. Bibliophiles will relish conversations about literature by Malaysian book lovers at the end of this article; Popcorn Culture by BFM89.9 dissects and deconstructs the cinematic world with almost encyclopaedic knowledge; while funny men Kavin and Keren get you through the week with endless comical banter. Revisit our list of interesting local podcasts here.


Feel empowered through powerful reads

The Women’s Prize for Fiction, conceived by publishing industry professionals who objected to “chauvinism” in the selection of finalists for literary awards, has just released its 2021 shortlist. Dominated by first-time nominees, the selection is one of “complete contrasts”, featuring Brit Bennett (for The Vanishing Half), Susanna Clarke (Piranesi; read our review here), Claire Fuller (Unsettled Ground), Yaa Gyasi (Transcendent Kingdom), Cherie Jones (How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House) and Patricia Lockwood (No One Is Talking About This).There’s no better time to sink into of these reads that reflect the moments of our time. 


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