Help! What Should I Do Offline?


Samantha R.

Submit your own anonymous questions to Ask Angela here.

Dear Angela,

Now that we’re doing so much stuff online, what are some fun activities to do off-screen?

-Screen Break

Dear Screen Break,

Great question; thanks for writing in! It certainly does seem like we’ve been becoming one with our devices lately. Rest assured, there are many, many fun things you can do offline.  

Perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself is to get outside. We’ve all been lacking in vitamin D throughout this long New England winter, so take a walk, go for a run, ride your bike, or practice a sport when it isn’t precipitating or unbearably cold outside. See if you can enlist siblings (if you have any and you can bear to spend time around them) for some friendly competition or accompany you on a walk. Additionally, if it aligns with your family’s Covid safety protocols, see if you can take a masked, distanced walk with a friend, or hang out with a small group of people in your yard for some good ol’ human interaction. Again, make sure everyone in your household feels comfortable before you do these things! 

Another thing you could try is to recruit your family for a game night! If you want to, ask your parents if they can pick up some snacks at the store, and then crack out some of your family’s favorite board games. If you aren’t big into board games or don’t have any, try cards or another game such as Consequences [1]. You might find your family super annoying sometimes, but spending some quality time with them is important, especially during such uncertain times. 

Now comes the part of this column where I’m going to suggest all the cliche quarantine activities. Try doing a puzzle! Seriously; they’re super fun. See if you have any in your house that you never got around to doing. The more pieces, the better. They’re a fantastic brain workout and great when you have a little extra time that you really just don’t want to spend on screens. Another fun activity you could try is cooking or baking if it’s okay with those in your household for you to use the kitchen. Being in the kitchen gets you up and moving and requires you to be alert and aware, which is great if you’ve been feeling lethargic from all the screen time. You can start out with simple snacks, dishes, or sweets, or if you’re feeling more ambitious, you can also try something more complicated. Take a look in the cookbooks in your house, get some out of the library, or ask a family member about their favorite recipes.

The last point I’ll make is that you should spend your offline time doing things you’re fulfilled by. Think about what you’re passionate about, and go from there. If it’s crafts, knit or sew something, or make bracelets to sell. If it’s current events, write a letter to your senator or see if you can volunteer for a local town campaign. If it’s nature, go on a hike or see if you can start a little garden inside or outside your house. These are just hypotheticals; everyone has something they genuinely love to do. It’s just a matter of finding your thing. Experiment, try new things, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Best of luck!


Dear Angela,

How do I ignore online distractions when I’m on my Chromebook all day?

-Distraction in Action


Dear Distraction,

Good question! This can be really hard to do. The first thing I’ll suggest, which I also brought up in my last column article, is to power off and hide your phone (if you have one) when you’re in class or working on asynchronous work. This eliminates your risk of getting sidetracked by your phone. However, it seems like what you’re primarily asking about is distractions on your computer, which is obviously more difficult! One thing you could try is turning off desktop notifications for social apps on your computer during school hours, which will reduce your risk of getting drawn into a conversation with friends or scrolling through social media. Additionally, since you are using a Chromebook, make sure you are signed in with your Spyponders account. The administration limits access to many games and forums on school accounts, so having restricted access to many of the things that normally distract you could be helpful. If you have to be on your personal account or there is a website you feel is frequently distracting you that the administration has not blocked, see if you can install a website blocker that will limit your ability to use the site. Another tip I have for you is while you are in class or working on something you need to get done, close out all irrelevant tabs. While this won’t prevent you entirely from looking at distractions, it will certainly make them less tempting. 

When you feel your attention drifting, don’t be too hard on yourself! It’s difficult for some people to focus on virtual school. Try to acknowledge that you’re getting distracted, and gently shift your focus back to your teacher, classmates, or the task at hand. The more you are able to recognize and redirect, the easier it will be to build up immunity (relevant, timely phrase not intended) from distractions. Try to also acknowledge what it is that’s causing you to seek out distractions–is it a teacher who gives lectures that bore you, or a subject you simply find uninteresting, or a concept you’re struggling with? If it’s one of the former, you’re just going to have to muscle through–try taking notes to keep yourself on topic, and gently correct yourself if your mind strays away from the lesson. If you’re avoiding an assignment because you don’t understand the material (we all do it at one point or another!), definitely go see your teacher for help, or ask a parent or older sibling. You are capable of understanding, and you will get it!

I hope these tips help! Hang in there!



[1] How to play the game Consequences:

  1. Gather at least three people. Give each person half a sheet of paper and a pen.
  2. Have each person number their paper 1-8. 
  3. Each person writes, on the first line, without showing anyone, a female name. It can be a name they make up, the name of a celebrity, or the name of someone they know. 
  4. Each person folds over the top of their paper so that the name they wrote is not visible, and passes their paper to the person on their right. Everyone should now have a different paper than the one they started with.
  5. On the second line, each person repeats the process for the first line, but with a male name. Fold and pass again.
  6. On the third line, each person writes the word “met” and then writes a place, such as “in a house” or “at the beach.” Fold and pass.
  7. On the fourth line, everyone writes “he said” and then something that they want the character to say. It can be anything! Fold and pass.
  8. On the fifth line, repeat with “she said.” Fold and pass
  9. On the sixth line, write an action for the male character. For example, “He ate a cookie.” Fold and pass.
  10. Repeat on the seventh line with an action for the female character. Fold and pass.
  11. On the last line, everyone writes a final statement in the form of “and then they…” For example, “and then they opened an ice cream parlor.” Fold and pass one last time!
  12.  Everyone unfolds the paper they are holding and reads the story aloud! You can, of course, change up the pronouns. Just make sure everyone is clear on that before you begin the game. Have fun!