Illustration by Allegra Lockstadt.

Illustration by Allegra Lockstadt.

This special winter-break edition of The Disconnect offers 15 ideas to help you relish every single second of not-school you have at your disposal. None of them require the internet, so they’ll be especially useful if you want to take a holiday from the World Wide Web (but not a permanent vacation, nooooo). These boredom-blockers may also come in handy when: You have an appointment to hang out with your built-in best friend (aka Y-O-U), you’re on day 100 of being grounded, you notice that you’ve been thinking/speaking in 140 characters or less and decide that you and Twitter need some time apart, et cetera. The real world is your oyster!

  1. Build a fort! We’re talking pillows and blankets and sheets galore. As many as you can find. Use Christmas lights as decorations. (That’s what they’re for, right?)
  2. Learn how to play and sing a song you love, and perform or record a cover version. You could try to make the song sound as similar as possible to the original, or you could take it in a totally different direction, like changing or speaking the lyrics. If you don’t own or know how to play any instruments, rope in a friend to sing or hum the backing music and play “percussion” on stuff from your house. For a bigger-scale project, ask friends to pick songs to cover—or you could all do the same one—and compile them in an anthology! (If you called it COOL WINTER SONGZ, we would be fine with that.)
  3. Then…make your own music video! You don’t have to show this to anyone. Pick a song, make up a routine, set up your laptop webcam or prop your cellphone up against some books, and record and star in your own vid. There’s a chance you may feel a teeeeeny glimmer of self-consciousness, but we believe that it will be overshadowed by a true sense of accomplishment.
  4. Put on as many clothes as you can, layers upon layers upon layers, Joey Tribbiani–style:


  5. Learn to cook one meal, even if it’s mac and cheese. Even if you think you can’t really cook. Even if, down the road, you end up making it over and over again. Learning to whip up one reliably delicious thing to eat comes in handy when you have friends over, when you want to treat your family, or when you want to feed yourself.
  6. Or: Recreate your favorite cooking show! Unlock your inner Ina Garten or Gordon Ramsay. Actual food preparation optional.
  7. Make a zine. You can fill a zine with absolutely ANYTHING you want. Try making a zine with photos and mementos from adventures you’ve had—how cute would it be to have a mini scrapbook filled with pictures, ticket stubs, and receipts from a concert? You can even make copies to give to your friends! We’re into it.
  8. Choreograph a dance. (This could come in handy for that music video you’re self-directing.) Here are some tips:

    • If you’re not sure where to start, try a basic side-to-side step and go from there. Add some arm work, swing your hips around—you can pretty much do anything while side-stepping!

    • Single out the main emotion/feeling of a song and sync up your body to that mood.

    • Copy any and all dance moves you love from other people. There is no shame in that.

    • Have fun, and be yourself. (Or pretend to be someone else for the duration of the song, that’s fine too!)

  9. Is making hot cocoa ever out of the question? For something SUPER indulgent, you can do any of the following things:

    • Use melted chocolate instead of or in addition to hot cocoa mix

    • Add a drop of vanilla extract to your favorite hot cocoa recipe

    • Substitute sweetened condensed milk for regular milk or water


  10. Interview someone you know about…anything! Anything that interests you about their life, or that they want to talk about. Take notes or record it on your phone or a tape recorder.
  11. Write letters to people you love, then walk to the post office or a mailbox and send them.
  12. Invigorate for 2016 with an in-home spa day. Here’s a sample schedule that we’ll call “Spa By Myself”:

    • Drink some tea.

    • Light some candles in the bathroom and soak in the tub (bath bombs are a bonus) or steam in the shower.

    • Use body scrub—you could even make one!

    • Moisturize your whole bod—it’s like a mini-massage, and your skin will feel so good afterward.

    Paint your nails, if you’re into that sort of thing.

    • Sit in your room with the lights off and some candles lit, concentrate on your breathing, and relaaaaax.

    • Drink more tea, and read a book. Ahhhh, where did the time go?

  13. Dye your hair. (Note from Savana: If you live at home, you’re probably going to want to check with your parentals before you do this! It took me YEARS to convince my mom to let me rainbow-ify my hair, but it was totally worth waiting to avoid any arguments that may have arisen if she found me painting my skull pink.) Go to a beauty supply store and pick out some candy-colored semi-permanent dye—Jerome Russell and Ion are brands you can find for less than $10 and that turn out super bright. Apply the dye to your hair with a brush or a pair of GLOVED hands (unless you’re into the dyed hands look!), let it sit for however long the box says to wait, and then wash it out with cool water and shampoo. Ta-da! The color should only stick for about a month, so it’s super noncommittal and loads of fun. There are also totally temporary hair color options out there, if a month is more than you want to sign up for.
  14. Color. Coloring is always fun! You can get a coloring book at the dollar store or give some of these coloring pages a whirl. Find a pack of crayons and color—whole-heartedly!
  15. Redecorate your room. Redecorating your room can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, but it’s mad satisfying when you’re finished. Rearrange furniture, put new art on the walls (art exchange, anyone?), and hang cool stuff from the ceiling (like this, or this). Or, what about wallpapering your room with Polaroids or even making balloon-letter pillows? Invite a few friends over, pool your art supplies, pull a few inspiration pictures, and make ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING your brains can dream up! ♦

Contributions from: Chanel: 8, 12; Estelle: 2, 4; Keianna: 6, 10, 11; Savana: 7, 13, 15; Upasna: 1, 3, 5, 9, 14.