Ready, set go! Here are some ideas on what to do during your coronavirus lock down, so you don’t go stir crazy.
We’re gearing up for an official coronavirus lock down here in Slovenia, after about a week of a more or less successful nationwide self-isolation. Unfortunately we’re not the only ones and some countries have been in quarantine for a good while now, so I imagine the isolation is starting to chafe a bit by now.
Even though I feel like I’m running out of time more than ideas, I guess some of you might be running out of things to do when you’re not working or studying at home, or you may need a fresh perspective to avoid killing the other members of your household out of frustration. Fear not, the Internet and I are here to save you! I’ve gathered a list of promising websites and ideas, so you won’t have to become one with the couch or a nervous wreck until all of this is over.
Travel & Culture
- Museums: about 2500 of the world’s museums now offer virtual tours, either of the museum itself or their entire collections. You could explore the French Louvre or even the Vatican. If you’re more into science and engineering, then here are some tech museums with virtual tours and you can also take a virtual tour of NASA.
- National parks: take a virtual tour of the U.S. national parks.
- Street art: take a virtual tour of the world’s best street art neighbourhoods.
- Music and theatre: many operas, music venues and theatres are currently streaming their performances for free, so check out if your local or world favourite is doing it and go for it. Here’s a site with a wide variety of recorded operas, the NYC Met opera or the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
For Slovenians: our puppet theatre is offering some video puppet shows.
- Zoo: lots of zoos also have live webcams of their animals, like the San Diego zoo, or educational updates on how the animals are doing if that’s your thing.
- Travel documentaries: you could watch a travel or nature (or any) documentary and see a new part of our planet. I suggest starting with all those wonderful classics narrated by David Attenborough.
The list of virtual tours goes on and even some big attractions like the Great Wall of China now have virtual tours. Also, check out this project with travel guides to countries, which no longer exist. Here’s another general list similar to mine, but do a bit of Googling if you’re looking for something specific and I’m sure you’ll find it.
Learn something new
- Languages: learn a new language simply and free with Duolingo.
- Crafts and skills: learn a new craft or skill online at Skillshare or through YouTube tutorial videos. Maybe it’s time to finally learn how to crochet or how to dance? I suggest swing (lindy hop).
- College courses: self-invest and take a free online college course of something you’ve always wanted to know about. Here’s a list of 450 Ivy League courses you can attend for free, but there are others too.
- Watch documentaries: yes, I already mentioned that, but it’s such a great option for learning something new in a non-dull way, from history to astrophysics (Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman anyone?).
You could learn literally anything from tutorial videos on the Internet, so let your imagination run wild. For example, learn how to open a door.
Naturally, you need to eat. Why not use this quarantine time to tackle a more extensive cooking project and try something new? There’s even a #cookathome hashtag now. You could cook, bake, roast, pickle, ferment, marinade…the possibilities are endless, even with the limited isolation food supply you grabbed for home. If you want to keep it casual, check out Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meal ideas, if you want to go super fancy, here are some very fancy baking/dessert ideas, and some more cooking inspiration from me (the rest of my food posts are here). You could also do a themed meal, like the historical food series my boyfriend and I are doing, although the theme could be anything.
I’ve been on a cooking spree lately, so there’s an isolation food post (and many others) coming soon, but for now here’s a couple of sneak peeks below.
Working out and shaking your body up a bit helps a lot in a time of crisis. Not only will it burn off those extra cooking project calories, but it will also ease any anxiety, help you to focus and stay healthy. There are literally thousands of online exercise options for working out at home, so I’m sure you’ll find one that works for you – this is the perfect time to get fit, because you’re out of excuses.
My personal favourites are Fitness Blender, a website with free, smart and realistic workout videos and advice (none of that “push it push it/no pain, no gain” bullshit), and Alo Yoga, a YouTube channel, which belongs to an overpriced yoga clothing brand, but has surprisingly good yoga workout videos with likeable instructors and no chakra-cleansing spiritual additions (if that’s your jam, by all means, enjoy, but I personally view yoga only as a type of exercise).
Movies, series & games
- Movies: here’s a list of classic movies that everyone should see at least once that I quite agree with. I love How to train your dragon, One flew over the cookoo’s nest and the recent Free solo.
- Video games: a list of top 50 critically acclaimed games. I’m a huge Elder Scrolls fan and I loved Fallout, Rogue legacy and the Witcher games as well.
- Series: here’s a list of top-rated TV series of all time. I quite liked Altered carbon, Derry girls and the 100, which are all on Netflix and I’m a Star Trek fan, which is a series that would last you through the whole quarantine and beyond. You could also rewatch some cartoons from your childhood, because Tom&Jerry makes everybody happy.
- Board games: remember those childhood Monopoly wars? You could play with the people you’re stuck inside with (if you don’t have any board games, you can easily make your own versions), or you could try and play popular board games online with your friends and strangers (try this or this). If you’re a D&D player, you could continue your usual campaign online on roll20 and if you’re not, now’s the perfect time to try it.
- Classics: In light of the recent events, I suggest starting with Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 if you haven’t read them already. Then I suppose you could continue on with classic novels from let’s say this list and pick the ones you’re interested in.
- Fantasy: I’m a huge geek and I read quite fast, so I’ve read way too many fantasy books in my life. You probably already know the big names, like Tolkien, Rowling, Martin, Pratchett, Sanderson, Le Guin, etc., but this list also has some others, which are great too.
- My personal favourites: besides the aforementioned fantasy books, some of my favourites are The Shadow of the Wind (and all of Zafon’s other books too), Night Train to Lisbon, The Hundred-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared, Lamb:The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal and The Solitude of Prime Numbers.
- Story time: you could make your inner child happy and read a good old-fashioned folk story (here’s an e-book about Slovenian mythological creatures and I love fae stories and old Greek legends). If you’re too serious for that, you can also read Tolkien’s essay on fairy stories and their importance. Also, people have been reading stories in costumes under the #coronastorytime and posting videos, so go check it out.
- Comics: if books are not your thing, there are plenty of comics online, which should keep you busy for a while. I love Slackwyrm, SMBC and Garfield.
P.S.: many free legal e-books can be found here and here, as well as Project Gutenberg for more serious literature and classics.
For Slovenians: you can find nighttime stories for kids here and some free e-books here. There’s also a really cool grandma on Facebook telling Slovenian national stories.
Of course you can also read magazines or blogs (hint, hint), if you prefer something shorter.
“It’s up to you how you waste your time and money. I’m staying here to read: life’s too short.”C. R. Zafon – The Shadow of the Wind
- Make something new: from crafting projects to upcycling clothes, now is the time to try and make something new, fix old broken things you never get around to fixing and recycle useless items into something cool. Just type DIY + whatever your want into Google or Pinterest and search away for inspiration. You could make a storm cloud lamp for example.
- Help researchers: You could use your extra free time to help librarians by tagging images, deciphering old handwriting etc. (see here), or you can donate your extra CPU and GPU computer processor power to power the simulations researchers need to fight the coronavirus, by connecting your computer to a global network (see more here, it’s a legit and worthy project, although I imagine this could be targeted by hackers at some point).
- Gardening: whether you have a garden or just potted plants in the apartment, you could plant some new seeds and grow your own herbs and vegetables.
- Go out: if you still can, go for a walk out in nature, somewhere without people. If you can’t, spend some time on your balcony or open your windows wide to let the fresh air in. It helps to prevent cabin fever and the arrival of spring will ensure you make some vitamin D in the sunlight.
- Personal growth: speaking of growing, why not take some you time to process your recent life events in peace? Everyone does their personal growth/self-care business in their own way and I’m not here to debate that, but it’s important to remember it’s a thing we should be doing.
- Draw/paint: make art, let your frustrations and crazy dreams loose through images. Don’t worry if you think they aren’t good enough, no one has to see them. Take a look at deviantart for inspiration.
- Join a challenge: tons of different crafting, decluttering, meditation, exercise etc. challenges have been popping up allover the place to motivate people in lock down. Join one and introduce a change into your life.
- Spring cleaning: nobody really wants to do it, but needs must, so why not know? Remember to donate your clothes and useful items to the appropriate collection centres instead of throwing them in the trash and to correctly recycle your waste.
- Go green: now is the perfect time to start adjusting your habits for a greener, more sustainable lifestyle. As horrible as it all is, the virus effectively stopped the world for a bit, which gives us a good chance to change things when the world starts up again. In the meantime, nature has already started to recover even in such a short time: China’s pollution levels dropped and they can now actually see the sky, so the chance for change is real, if we can learn from this. Start small: look at your weekly garbage pile and really consider what went into it and if it could be reduced somehow (here’s a beginner’s guide to less waste living – I don’t like the term zero waste, because it’s not realistic). Think twice about everything you own or plan to buy: do you really need it? Could you buy it with less packaging? Then go from there and start reducing your general footprint when you’re ready, everything counts. 🙂
- Call your friends and family: whether it’s an ordinary phone call or a video call, remember to stay in touch and reach out when you need to. We humans are naturally social animals and even if you think you’re doing great, you’re bound to miss the company of others, which is perfectly OK. Who knows, maybe the person you’re calling was too socially awkward to call you and you’re doing them a favour. On a similar note, reconnect with those friends you fell out of contact with (remotely of course).
There! I’m pretty sure we should all be able to survive our lock downs with enough ideas on what to do now. Let me know in the comments if you’ve got any specific suggestions for me, book recommendations are particularly welcome. 🙂
Although lock down time is a great chance to spend some quality time with your family, sometimes living in the same space can get frustrating. It’s important to focus on activities instead of waiting around, and to try and take some space and time off if you need to. If worst comes to worst, you can always battle it out with nerf guns or pillow fights. Physical activity and can be the perfect stress release when you’re stuck inside, as long as it’s not true aggression, and your problems will end up feeling absurd and laughable by the time you’re done. Personally I believe it’s better to clear the air over whatever issue as soon as possible, instead of letting it fester into true grudges over time.
Remember to stay at home, wash your hands, be kind to one another, help out the elderly (even when they think they’re smarter than everyone else, because they survived the war) and don’t buy into the conspiracy theories (here’s a list of relevant scientific literature for understanding the new coronavirus). Also, start thinking of weird stories we’ll be telling our kids about the coronavirus quarantine time and don’t forget to check out all the great memes that have been popping up. As we say in Slovenia, laughing is half the health, so stay healthy!
P.S.: If you do get sick, don’t be ashamed of it and don’t panic. I’m currently showing some symptoms and it’s not the end of the world. Call your doctor, rest, drink plenty of fluids and follow the recommended guidelines from the experts who know what to do. Good luck!
P.P.S: I did a collab with RJ’s Fitness Solutions and you can find one of my ideas in her blog post 100+ Healthy Homebound Activities.