10 Online Activities To Keep You Busy And Away From The Refrigerator

If you're bored, scared, lonely, or stressed, you may be eating your emotions.

Posted Mar 20, 2020

S.McQuillan
Free online learning can help keep you busy.
Source: S.McQuillan

If you’re stuck at home, or your normal activities have been curtailed for any reason, eating may be one of the things you do to cope. For many people, eating distracts from emotions and, at least temporarily, soothes moods. If that's true for you, you’re likely to eat even when you’re not hungry. And it can be tough to resist overeating when you’re feeling all kinds of feels, and you don't have much else to do. 

A good way to start moderating how much you eat is to recognize when you’re really hungry vs. when you’re tempted to eat in response to boredom or loneliness, fear or anger, sadness or stress. When you aren’t truly hungry, you can distract yourself from eating by keeping yourself occupied with other activities.  

Make a list of realistic distractions and hang that list on your refrigerator and/or kitchen cabinets as a reminder. You can probably think of a good number of things to do—around the house, in the garage, or out in your garden or yard—to stay busy and avoid overeating. Your list should include various forms of exercise. 

And since you'll probably be spending more than your usual amount of time alone on your devices, working, playing games, attending Zoom meetings, and getting regular human contact through some form of social media, this could also be a good time to search out new and different activities online. Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of online learning opportunities that can help keep your mind sharp and fill the time between normal meals with something other than food:

1. Go to Harvard. Free online classes are available from Harvard and other top universities.

2. Get creative. Check out SkillShare for artsy classes with a two-month free trial.

3. Think great thoughts. Listen to free philosophy podcasts at https://player.fm/en/featured/philosophy or check out Stanford University’s Philosophy Talk.

4. Drop-in for free online meditation and mindfulness sessions from Brown University.

5. Enjoy free reading at The Literature Network.

6. Join an online book club. Here’s a long list of possibilities from GetFreeEbooks.

7. Learn a new language at Duolingo.

8. Discover poetry online at the Poetry Foundation site.

9. Play games with your dog, who is likely to sense something is wrong with you. Here are some good ideas from the American Kennel Club.

10. Play games with your cat. Here are some ideas from PetHelpful.