Feeling cooped up at home? We all are. Too much screen time? Yup. Our blog editors got together and gathered some great screen-free anxiety-soothers you probably already have at home. These fall into 4 categories: The Amusements, The Adornments, The Rituals and The Refreshers. Today, Part 1: The Amusements. Along the way, our editors offer tips, reveal design industry secrets, and of course, fun facts – this is The Amusements, after all.
Books: Whether you re-read an old favorite or finally crack open one of those those classics you bought a while back for an as-yet-unfulfilled literary New Year’s resolution, books are a centuries-old form of great escape. The delicious smell of the pages, the gentle crackle of the spine, and the promise of entering another place, maybe another time, far removed from the right now, is relaxing in a way a screen just can’t be. In fact, maybe turn off your devices for an hour so those dings don’t lure you back. When you go back to your screen-time, let your friends know what you’re reading with hashtag #longlivebooks. If you don’t have good old books around that interest you, may we recommend you tap into some great ideas on friend-of-the-design-industry Katherine Scully’s Instagram feed? This is the luxury design industry’s secret source for obscure and delightful book tips. A former librarian, Katherine is also an alum of our industry’s own go-to title, Architectural Digest, where she worked for more than 20 years. Since retiring, Katherine reads and recommends awesome books, photographing each cover for her followers along with a cuppa, the best way to enjoy a book in our estimation.
Board Games: Break them out and bring the snacks. A game of good old Monopoly will amuse everyone for 90 minutes or more. A great American tradition, people have been enjoying this board game since 1935, when its originator, Charles Darrow of Philadelphia, sold his game idea to toy company Parker Brothers. (It was ultimately sold to current owner, Hasbro.) Mr. Darrow’s board was made of oilcloth – arguably the original version of performance fabric, a heavy canvas coated in linseed oil that repelled liquids. Of course unlike today’s performance fabrics oilcloth was stiff as, well, a board. The player tokens in Mr. Darrow’s game were charms taken from his daughters’ charm bracelets.
If you’re looking to spice up the classic game you already have at home, you can order online any of the dozens of versions now offered, including the Stranger Things Edition, Cats vs. Dogs Monopoly and our personal favorite Deadpool Monopoly!
Storytelling: Try the art of storytelling while you’re at home with your family. Here’s one where the activity itself is analog and originates at home but can also be shared on screens with distant loved ones and friends with a virtual storytelling party. Think of it as an amped-up words with friends game. In ancient times and in tribal cultures, storytelling, both visual (heiroglyphics, ancient rug patterns, ancient pottery all were visual methods to tell stories) and verbal storytelling defined whole communities. This tradition is global and the telling of stories has an intimacy that brings people together. Most storytelling directly or indirectly reveals something raw and vulnerable about the teller, and telling your own story is an act of love and trust toward the listeners. Tip: Start the storytelling with provocative questions such as “What was the most humiliating thing that ever happened to you?” or “When in life have you felt most alone?”. Here’s a whole list of questions from the experts at nonprofit Story Corps to help start anyone you know telling their story. You’ll be surprised how much laughter and genuine emotion ensue. This exercise may even help you practice your delivery for those pesky Zoom presentations.
Baking: The need for focus and precision combined with the opportunity for creativity – not to mention yummy aromas wafting through the house – makes baking one of the top stay at home amusements. Now’s the time to comfort your brood with family favorites, and maybe try something new that is more time consuming than you’d normally do, like bread making. We recommend anything from Food52, like Alexandra Stafford’s sweet Cinnamon Swirl Bread, or In Pat’s Kitchen’s savory (pictured at top of post) Italian Snacking Bread. If you don’t have the patience to wait for yeast breads, try this savory quick bread, adapted from your grandma’s Joy of Cooking by cookbook author and Food 52 co-founder Merrill Stubbs’ Mediterranean Olive bread. Zillions more simple and genius food ideas are on their Instagram, so be sure to join the Food 52 Community! Bring on the DIY carbs, say we!
Singing: Whether you croon from your balcony or keep it indoors, singing will ease your stress level. Just make sure all your singers are at least 6 feet apart! According to the nonprofit SingUp Foundation, singing can also improve your overall health. They say the goal of their work is to publish studies on the benefits of singing in relation to overall health and well-being, which they divide into four main areas – psychological, social, physiological and behavioral. SingUp’s experts say that “Singing improves social bonding and social cohesion. Research has shown that group singing (no matter the quality of the results) has even been shown to synchronize the heartbeats of those people singing together. Imagine we’re all singing, folks, and all of our hearts are beating at once. If your singing voice is usually relegated to the shower, since creating and sustaining social bonds has never been so important, now’s your time! SingUp says bonding, even from a distance, is critical in combating loneliness and depression.
As always, we want to hear what you guys are doing at home. Give us your best analog anxiety reducers by posting and tagging #analogantidotesapril and you may see them here during April, which we have dubbed Analog Angst Antidotes Month.
Photos in this post courtesy of: Hasbro, Instagram/Katherine Scully, SingUp.org, Food52.