As the U.S. continues recommended social distancing, this time can be filled with uncertainty, chaos, stress and boredom. If you’re feeling cooped up at home with an empty schedule, there are many positive ways to find meaning in this newfound free time.

Staying social while socially distancing

Even though everyone is staying home, social gatherings are not off the table. Netflix Party lets users watch content with friends virtually, allowing you to host a makeshift movie night for your pals. Platforms like Zoom, Skype and FaceTime can also allow you to stay connected with friends and family on your own. If you miss game nights, apps like Psych!, Stop and The Jackbox Party Pack 3 are all multiplayer games found on the Apple App Store and Google Play that you can play with friends no matter the distance.

Makeshift talk shows

Many celebrities have taken to social media in an attempt to share positivity during this challenging time, hosting at-home talk shows featuring their famous pals. While professional talk show hosts Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon have moved their programs onto YouTube, other celebrities have followed suit. Actor John Krasinski started his own YouTube series called Some Good News, where he shares positive news stories with the audience and discusses hot topics. In a recent episode that gained popularity, Krasinski video called former co-star Steve Carrell and shared favorite memories from starring in the sitcom, "The Office", on its 15th anniversary since airing. Musician and actress Miley Cyrus also began “Bright Minded: Live With Miley,” a daily Instagram live show where she shares mental health tips, updates audiences on her life and interviews famous friends. If you have young siblings at home, actresses Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner have created an Instagram page called Save With Stories, where they read children’s books aloud. The actresses are also using the page to raise money for children in need and have partnered with charities, Save the Children and No Kid Hungry. Musicians have also made an appearance on social media, as John Legend began hosting Instagram live concerts from his home, while his wife Chrissy Teigen sits on the piano drinking wine. Chris Martin and Yo-Yo Ma hold similar digital events on the social media platform.

Becoming a master chef

With many restaurants closed, some families — including mine — have been forced to cook at home. Learning how to prepare your favorite meals can be a productive way to spend your time stuck in the house. Bon Appétit posts daily videos on YouTube, where viewers can watch professional chefs make delicious dishes. Joshua Weissman also creates weekly comedic cooking videos for more amateur chefs.

Screen-free afternoons

After a day full of Zoom classes and FaceTiming your grandma, taking a technology break can help you unwind and give your brain time to relax. Get creative — do a puzzle, listen to a podcast, read a book or have a “Chopped” competition with your family. Spend time outside, talk a walk and most importantly, make sure you prioritize your mental health during this chaotic time.

This is the opinion of Riley Hetherington, a freshman communication studies major from San Diego, California. Tweet comments @LALoyolan or email

Hi! I'm Riley Hetherington, a freshman communication major from San Diego. I love spending time at the beach, with my family, and reading the Loyolan!

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