A MONTH ago most of us had never heard the term ‘self-isolate’.

But now we are faced with the prospect of having to remain at home for long periods - weeks, maybe even months.

This will be a very testing time, and we will have to make the best of it in order to come out the other side.

Here are a few suggestions as to how to pass the time while staying safe at home.

*Binge on box sets

This is what many people are likely to do in this situation. Breaking Bad, Friends, Game of Thrones, Peaky Blinders, whatever you’re into. There are so many highly addictive series out there, you could entertain yourself until well into the next century without moving from your armchair.

And if the idea of a TV binge-fest is too much for you, watch a few films instead, either on Netflix or Freeview. There’s nothing like a good movie, a glass of wine and a few tasty snacks to take the mind off problems. I would probably steer clear of ‘Outbreak’ or ‘Contagion’, however.

*Read War and Peace

We have all joked about Tolstoy’s novel. ‘It’s like War and Peace’, we jest, whenever we have to read something long and drudgerous. But what is this book actually about? It’s maybe not as easy to settle into as the TV drama, with its steamy sex scenes, but - even if you put it down after three pages – at least you can say you’ve given it a go.

*Start that novel

When you’ve had your fill of reading, start writing. Only if you’re itching to do it, of course. People say the best stories are based on real life, and there’s plenty going on in the world to inspire a gripping plot line.

*Crack on with the spring cleaning

We all drag our feet over this. But being under house arrest leaves us with all the time in the world to knuckle down with dusters and mops. Go easy on the disinfectant, though - you might have to wait until next year to get any more.

*Clear out the garage

How many of us actually use it for the car? A survey by the RAC found that half of Britain’s motorists now use their garage to store household clutter. Four out of ten of those polled said their garage was so full of household items they could no longer fit their vehicle in.

And among the half-empty paint pots and rusty gardening tools are some valuable possessions, with the average garage holding £1,650-worth of ‘stuff’. That’s one heck of a car boot sale to look forward to when this is all over.

*Wash your car

Traditionally this is something we do on Sundays, but what the heck. Take a sponge and spot of soapy water and wipe the winter grime from your motor. As you’ve got time on your hands, why not vacuum the inside too?

*Whip out the board games

It doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy a 14-hour game of Monopoly or hark back to your youth and rediscover the delights of snakes and ladders. No arguing though - life is stressful enough, try and keep things civil.

*Ring a relative or friend for a chat

We all love hearing from family or friends. This especially applies during a time when life isn’t going so well. A familiar voice at the end of the phone can be reassuring and comforting.

*Try a jigsaw puzzle

It will be a long time since any of us have done one of these, so, if you can lay your hands on one, have go at it. Count the pieces first though - you don’t want to spend hours on it only to find a piece missing at the end.

*Learn to knit

There is not much you can’t learn from YouTube videos. Knitting is known to be relaxing so sit back and have a go.

*Sort out your photographs

This is a job many people have reserved for retirement, so if you are retired you might already be on with it. If not now seems like a good time.

*Surf the web

As everyone knows, you can while away hours doing this. Catch up with what friends are doing on Facebook. Don’t worry, you won’t come away feeling hard done by - they are unlikely to be posting holiday snaps on sunkissed beaches.

There‘s also plenty of fitness videos online, with short and sweet workouts at various paces, which can be done at home, to keep us all active.

Or, if you can face it, look up official advice on how to stay safe during these difficult times. Any tips are useful.

*Computer games

Last, but by no means least on the list (for many people this will no doubt be on top) there is the option to blast others to oblivion in a virtual world, where there’s bound to be more going on than in the real one.