It’s winter. It’s dark. It’s social distancing. It’s lonesome. It’s boring! What can a travel nurse do to while away those long, dark, winter off-hours when on assignment during COVID-19 — especially when you’re away from family and friends?

    Do not despair, there’s plenty to do. We’ve put together some suggested ways to have fun on your own or with loved ones via the twinkling electrons of your devices.

    Group Fun with Zoom! Yes, Fun and Zoom may sound like an oxymoron, but turns out there are tons of fun group activities you can do over the ubiquitous conferencing platform. The Washington Post has come up with a list of terrific, fun, and challenging games to keep spirits up when you’re far apart from loved ones. And if you’ve become hooked on “The Queen’s Gambit,” you can find a chess game on Zoom. Good Housekeeping has another basketful of fun for all.

    Coloring Books — Don’t scoff! Adults have rediscovered what they enjoyed so much as kids — coloring. Nowadays you can find coloring books for grownups, with intricate designs you can fill in with any color you desire, limited only by your imagination (and the number of color pencils you have). Many adult colorists report feeling calmer and more centered, almost zen-like, after a session with their coloring books. Here’s a link to help you find the perfect coloring book for you.

    Origami — Have you ever been intrigued by the intricate folded designs of origami, but thought it far too complex for the average person? Well, even if your paper-folding efforts have been limited to the cootie catchers and paper airplane we made as kids, origami is far more accessible and practical than you might think. SpruceCrafts has this easy tutorial to get you started. The sky’s the limit from there!

    Jigsaw Puzzles — Who doesn’t love a challenging puzzle? Maybe a table-sized 1500-piece jigsaw puzzle is a bit unwieldy for your temporary living arrangement, but you have access to tons of great puzzles on your phone, tablet, or laptop. This website, Online Jigsaw Puzzles, posts new images frequently, and you can adjust the level of difficulty by selecting the number of pieces from 12 to 216. You can also make a puzzle from an image in your own collection.

    Word and Logic Puzzles — If you have an extra $20 to spend, treat yourself to a year’s subscription to the New York Times Games service. You’ll get full access to a variety of challenging interactive puzzles, from word games to spatial challenges to sudoku and more, plus full access to the legendary New York Times Crossword. There’s even a community feature where you can set up competitions with other puzzle fanatics — or just with yourself.

    Polymer Clay — For a more advanced, craftsier pastime, consider buying a small kit of colorful polymer clay. Available at craft stores or online, polymer clay is an ideal medium for sculpting figures and objects or creating jewelry. There’s something very therapeutic about molding the soft “clay” and forming it into a creation of your own. Who knows, you might find a new hobby!

    Journaling — Winter is a time to be introspective, and if you’ve never kept a journal, now would be a great time to start. All you need is a quiet space to curl up in, a pad and pencil, and a mug of steaming hot coffee or cocoa. Or if you feel especially indulgent, how about a mug of steaming hot chocolate chip cookie? Try this One-Minute Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug from the Comfort of Cooking blog.

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