Presented by  

So, you're stuck inside and you're going a little stir crazy. You've already watched all of the movies you wanted to see on Netflix, you've scrubbed the house from top to bottom, and you've read a week's worth of news in five minutes. Now what?

If, like most of us, you're struggling to come up with ideas to keep yourself busy during this odd time, there's good news: there are plenty of activities to help make your time indoors as interesting — and perhaps even as productive — as possible. 

From the soothing art of meditation to once-lost hobbies (with surprising benefits) like knitting, here are 12 cheap and creative hobbies you can do at home that will keep you entertained for hours:

1. Journaling

Dear Diary... I know, I know. You're groaning already, right? Hear us out. Journaling is no longer reserved for emotional pre-teens. It's good for our health. Putting pen to paper reduces anxiety, evokes mindfulness, sparks creativity, and helps us organize our thoughts. Plus, journals are cheap — pens are even cheaper. It's a no-fuss, inexpensive hobby that keeps your wallet full and your mind sane.

2. Launch a blog or podcast

Finally get that blog or podcast off the ground! It doesn't cost much to set up, it's a great creative release, and who knows, you may just launch yourself into stardom with it. If you record a few episodes and then immediately give up, that's okay too.

3. Paint a picture

Are the walls in your house a little bare? Why not decorate them with something you made yourself? All you need is a canvas, a few paints, and a little bit of creativity. Once you're finished, you'll have a masterpiece to hang on your wall and show off to your friends on Facetime.

4. Learn to organize

Some may say organizing more accurately falls under the category of chores, not hobbies, but once you've organized properly and felt that sense of accomplishment, you'll know that simply isn't true. If you're new to the world of organization and don't know where to start, head to your closet. Fold what's in your drawers, arrange everything by colour, use coordinating hangers, and finally get rid of those pieces you've never worn. Once you've tackled your closet, move on to your kitchen, bathroom, office, and any other room that needs a bit of tidying up. When you're done, show off your hard work on Instagram and take pride in knowing that your home — and your life — is finally organized.

5. Take up knitting

Did you know crocheting and knitting can actually reduce stress? Once you get beyond the initial learning curve, the crafts use physical and cognitive skills that can lower blood pressure and bring a zen-like experience similar to yoga or meditation. Plus, you end up with a super cute scarf or sweater you can wear when you're done.

6. Become a plant parent

For those of us who don't have gardens to escape to during social distancing, becoming a plant parent is extremely rewarding. Plants require a bit of TLC, sure, but they don't require as much attention as, say, dogs or human children. You don't need to take them out for walks, feed them three times a day, or keep them busy with pretend tea parties. Depending on the plant, all you have to do is water them once a week and make sure they get adequate sunlight. Once you've got the hang of it, you'll be able to transform your condo into an urban jungle in no time.

7. Take a virtual class

We may not be able to gather in studios or classrooms, but thanks to the power of the internet, there are plenty of classes still available online. Study a language, sharpen your professional skills, or learn how to start your own business. If you want to exercise your body and not just your brain, check with your local studio to see if they offer live-stream versions of their classes. YouTube offers free teacher-led workouts like yoga, pilates, kettlebell, and full body.

8. Bake or cook something special

You've watched and re-watched all of the baking shows you could find on Netflix, now it's time to get off of the couch and make something spectacular yourself. Order fresh ingredients from your local independent grocer, get your best cooking gear out, and start copying one of the many free recipes online.

9. Take up meditation

In times like these, we all need a little bit of zen. Luckily, meditation is completely free. If you're new to the art of quieting your thoughts, there are plenty of books and online courses (both free and paid) to help you get started. A few days of practice and you'll be meditating like a pro.

10. Read, read, and read some more

You can finally give all of those books you've been meaning to read the attention they deserve. If you don't have any books, don't worry! You can still buy them online on Amazon or Indigo, or, reach out to your local library and see if they're delivering.

11. Learn a language

Being cooped up inside has presented us with the perfect opportunity to expand our language skills, so why not really take advantage of it? The options to learn a new language are endless: go intensive with programs like Rosetta Stone, Babbel, or Duolingo, pop in your headphones and listen to a German podcast, or watch a Latin American telenovela.

12. Colour

If you find yourself feeling anxious after checking the news or going stir crazy from being inside too long, try colouring — it helps to reduce anxiety and stress levels, improve creativity, and encourages you to be present. You can get cheap adult colouring books and crayons online at Amazon or Indigo and at big-name grocers and pharmacies like Shoppers Drug Mart.

Hopefully, these 12 creative hobbies save you a bit of cash, keep you entertained, and make the next few weeks of quarantine as easy and enjoyable as possible. We're all in this together!

And Paytm is here to help make your time inside easier, too. By managing and paying your bills from the convenience of the Paytm Canada app on your smartphone, you'll earn rewards for free which you can redeem for groceries, Amazon gift cards, and so much more.

If you download the app today, you’ll get 1,000 welcome points just for signing up. If you refer a friend, you’ll both get an extra 5,000 points, which translates to a free $5 e-gift card. Why not use it to kick off your new hobby?

The Paytm Canada mobile app is available to download for free from the Google Play Store and Apple Store. For more information, visit www.paytm.ca or check out their Instagram page!