For many folks actually being at home all the time can be frustrating. It can be a huge transition, depending on previous work and lifestyle, and some folks look at having to stay close to home as deprivation. People can become stymied, sluggish, frustrated and bored with the move to being home full time.
I am at home most of my day, most of my days. This doesn't mean that I am a hermit, or that I lack a social life, or that I "never go anywhere" as the saying goes. It does mean that for reasons financial and personal, my home is literally my castle for many hours. While I am not an expert of making folks happy at home, I do have some ideas on things to do to make that time interesting and fulfilled.
- Make cooking an experience, not just time spent to get food on the table. If you are part of a couple, prepare meals together. Experiment, experiment experiment. I am not a great cook, but still enjoyed watching and helping hubby on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
- Read, Read, Read. Most folks I know have more books to read than they will ever finish. Be grateful for the chance to lie down on the couch and read a book cover to cover-just do it. I read books from the library for free, but there are also free books for Kindle and Nook.
- Get in touch and stay in touch. The Internet is a wonderful thing. Search for old college mates, keep in touch with former coworkers, even meet new friends on the net. Facebook is not just for Generation X.
- Learn. Consider a free online class, just for the enjoyment of it. There are all kinds of lifelong learning opportunities on the net for pennies or for free. I've recently taken an online, free course on Women Artists of the American West. Be it a hobby, interest or vocation you can probably can find an online class on the subject,
- Pursue a hobby or interest from home. Even if you have other hobbies and interests such as golf, add a couple more that can be done in and from the nest. Hobbies pursued at home do not have to be crafty-homemaking hobbies. Genealogy, writing, photography and painting are just a few of the hobbies that can be done from home or nearby. As an avid road tripper, much of that hobby is done from home-the research, planning and writing about said travels afterwards.
- Move, and move daily, weather permitting. Do this at home, in your yard, in your neighborhood.Find some way to exercise. It's cheap, you'll stay alert, and have a chance to meet neighbors and friends.
- Create "events" to make things interesting. Don't just turn on a movie. Decide it's "movie night" and make the popcorn, drinks and dim the lights. Invite family or friends to may be nearby. Revive your own version of the cocktail hour in the afternoon. Adjourn to the patio in warm weather, to the living room to watch the news in winter.
- Entertain. Start a tradition of weekly movie night, monthly dinner group or other potluck style even with friends and/or family. Be willing to host and have others contribute, or rotate homes. I've mention before that my dinner group rotates among the homes of the members. My girl's night out remains at the same home because of the ease of scheduling, and we all contribute.
- If you share your castle, try and make individual space. No matter how small the apartment or home, each person deserves a little place for just themselves.
- Make commitments to go out of the house on a regular basis. These don't have to be often, and they don't have to be expensive. There are millions of small frugal ways to leave the house. Make the promise, if only to yourself. If you think there are no free diversions in your area, think again. Look again. Other than Sunday morning church and coffee, I have one regular social activity per week. However, I generally am out of the house at least once or twice. I may go to a local book group at our independent bookstore. I've been known on a nice day (or a crappy one) to take a book to my local independent coffe shop and sit and read, nodding and occasionally chatting with folks who go in and out. I love to visit the farmers market-yes, alone.
- Search out volunteer opportunities that can be done from home or close to home. Many agencies need help with web pages, advertisement, phone calls and the like.
- Finally, make your home your castle. Step back, take a look, and decide what small changes you would like to make to make home your "happy place". Forget about kids, entertaining or what the repairman sees when he enters (assuming you're no hoarder). My living room has pillows and a quilt, a pile of to read books, space for hot chocolate and snacks and many many pillows. I can retreat with a book, wine or cocoa, and come out a few hours later. Think about what you do, what you want to do, and arrange home accordingly. Make it work for you.