Mahjong is our list of things to learn in our newfound free time. Stock photo.

Three ways to pass the time while social distancing

As fun as crossword puzzles and a family game of Monopoly might be, during some downtime at home, there’s only so many games to be played and patterns to be solved before people start going a little stir crazy. With parks, movie theaters, malls and restaurants closed, everyone is staying put for the time being, so we might as well make the most of it, right? Now is the perfect time to read a bestseller, try out a new recipe with the Instant Pot you got for Christmas, make a Tik Tok with the kids, or even pick up a new hobby.

To help that productive light switch go off in your head, we rounded up a few of our articles that are filled with stories and ideas that just might leave you a little more inspired.

1. Learn how to play Mahjong

Story: Mahjong madness: The ancient game’s growing popularity in Baton Rouge

For those unaware, Mahjong is a Chinese sequence game played with various tiles, and dates back as far as the Qing Dynasty. And although the game has been played for centuries, it recently gained more modern attention upon the Hollywood release of Crazy Rich Asians. Typically the game is played with four players, all aiming to organize a winning sequence. However, for the sake of social distancing, there is an official Mahjong app, Red Mahjong, that will connect you to three other players from across the globe, in case you’re really looking to put your skills to the test. Learn how to play first without leaving home by checking out–what else?–some good YouTube videos on the subject.

Photo by Collin Richie.

2. Take up cross stitching

Story: The Creatives: Meghan Daniel of Crybaby Stitch

What started as a fun DIY for her young daughter’s nursery quickly turned into a full-on business for local artist Meghan Daniel. Daniel, the owner of Crybaby Stitch, fell in love with cross stitching almost by accident, as she found it was a creative way to pass the time and tune into her inspired side. Some of her favorite pieces include sayings like “You are Enough,” and “Bigger Idiots that You,” while some of her more popular stitches include the occasional expletive or two, just for giggles. And I’m not sure about y’all, but like Daniel, my grandmother was on to something because cross stitching can be fun. See what we mean by trying your hand at it with an instructional YouTube video.

Courtney duQuesnay. Photo by Marcella Laine.

3. Fill your house with pretty floral arrangements

Story: Flower power: Bubbles & Blooms’ tips for starting a floral design hobby, and why you should

Although grocery stores might be running low on toilet paper, they’re not lacking in the floral department. Trader Joe’s for instance is literally blooming–pardon the pun–with fresh flowers, greenery and deals to get the most bang for your buck. And since we have to stay inside, what better way to bring the outdoors in than with a bright and beautiful arrangement inspired by the local florists behind Bubbles & Blooms. Creating bouquets to put on display is such a beneficial activity that channels all of your bodily senses, without breaking the bank. And if you’re lucky, you can even just step outside and pick a few pretty blossoms from your own yard–no social interaction required.

What will you be doing to pass the time until April 13? Let us know in the comments below so we can try it out, too.