Can you believe I’ve written a blog post about the coronavirus quarantine? As if it’s not our new way of life and the thing on my mind most hours of the day.
We all know that we shouldn’t be leaving the house right now. Go to any reputable news outlet and they’ll give you a million reasons why you should self isolate, if you can. Social distancing can help flatten the curve, and for those of us who aren’t keeping hospitals, grocery stores, and pharmacies up and running, it should be the new normal for the foreseeable future.
It’s a strange new world we’re living in. However, being stuck at home shouldn’t be a scary thing, and it certainly doesn’t mean we have to let our brains turn to mush. In fact, thanks to the “we’re all in this together” mindset sweeping the nation, it’s a great time to embrace all the free resources for keeping your mind in tip-top shape.
Here’s a list of all the ways I’m keeping myself busy during the coronavirus quarantine, including a number of free, online resources for each that you can enjoy from the comfort of your couch. (Because, let’s be honest, that’s where we’re all spending most of the day, right?
Take a free course
What better way to engage your brain during coronavirus quarantine than by enrolling in a class? As someone who adored school and learning (hi, I was Hermione Granger as a child)
This list of free course includes everything from computer science and engineering to humanities and business. I’ve signed up for The Age of Sustainable Development at Columbia and Greek & Roman Mythology at UPenn through Coursera.
If you’re an Apple device user, you also have access to free courses through iTunes U. This free app includes a whole host of courses from different universities and educational services.
Try a new exercise routine
Last week, my friend sent me a meme about gaining the COVID-19. (Get it? Like the Freshman 15? Do you get it?) I laughed and laughed until I finished off a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia three days later and thought oh shit, this could be a reality.
I’ve been a loyal FitBit user for years, and I can’t say enough good things about my Charge 2. Last week, I received news that FitBit would be extending the trial period for its Premium service from 30 days to 90 days. And I immediately signed up!
If you’re a FitBit user, FitBit Premium gives you upgraded health and sleep insights, a full wellness report, and guided programs and challenges to enhance your at-home wellness. What a perfect time to give it a try!
Some of the best free fitness is available on YouTube. Do your body and your mind some good by taking a break, letting go of your anxieties and all the things you can’t control, and trying a new kind of fitness.
Yoga With Adriene
My love for Adriene and her online yoga practice is no secret. Her 30 Days of Yoga is my favorite way to kickoff the new year, and those playlists are available for free on her channel. She’s also put together a playlist specifically for those of us under coronavirus quarantine: Yoga for Uncertain Times. I’m currently working my way through the playlist, one yoga practice at a time.
The Fitness Marshall
If you haven’t heard of The Fitness Marshall, get ready to sweat your butt off and have a great time doing it! Marshall provides quick cardio dance videos to current pop songs with the best beats. What I love about his videos is that he dances with two other dancers who do the choreography at different levels, so if you aren’t feeling the full-out version, there are alternate moves you can do. Check out his channel for all sorts of great videos!
Learn a new skill
I adore Skillshare! Their Original courses are fantastic, and they’re taught by experts in their fields who know their stuff. Right now, you can get two months of Skillshare Premium for free. I would highly recommend Later’s Instagram course, and I’m also completing the phone photography workshop.
Duolingo is my favorite app for learning a new language. I use it regularly to keep up with my Spanish, and I’ve also learned bits of Japanese, French, and Irish. It’s a forever free app, but you can sign up for Duolingo Plus for ad-free game play.
Visit a museum
That’s right. You don’t even need to leave your couch to learn from a zookeeper or tour some of the world’s most famous museums. Take a field trip right from home!
The Cincinnati Zoo holds daily Facebook Live streams to give you a close and personal look at some of their most popular residents. Go on a Cincinnati Zoo Home Safari every day at 3 p.m. ET, and you can catch recorded videos to see lions, penguins, and ocelots, oh my!
Some of my favorite museums in the world have virtual tours of different exhibits and galleries. Here’s a sampling of the ones you can’t miss:
Create a new habit
They say it takes 21 days to fully commit to a new habit, and I feel pretty confident that our coronavirus quarantine is going to give you ample time to create a few new ones for yourself.
If you’re looking for a great book to help you learn how to retrain your brain out of bad habits to make way for good ones, I would recommend The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It’s personal development that reads like fiction, and I’ve already started reading his next book!
Listen to a podcast
I’m convinced that there is at least one perfect podcast for every single person in the world. There are industry-specific ones, true crime ones, and even ones about books!
Hell and Gone – each season, the narrator goes back to her home state of Arkansas to dig up the facts on old, unsolved cases
Harry Potter and the Sacred Text – A chapter-by-chapter analysis of the Harry Potter series as if it were being studied in a literary theory class. Be still my heart!
Is there a better way to combat coronavirus quarantine boredom than a good book? I think not! But if you aren’t a book hoarder like me, there are free resources available online to help connect you with books to transport you to another world.
- Project Gutenberg (classics available for download)
- Free on Kindle (a selection of books to download with an Amazon account)
- Kindle Unlimited (free 30-day trial)
- Scribd (free 30-day trial)
- Overdrive (membership available through your local public library)
Take a little break
Social distancing, coronavirus symptoms, shelter at home guidelines… it’s a lot to deal with. Not to mention it can be difficult to unplug for those of us working for home indefinitely. Give your brain a little mental break without accidentally losing an hour to Instagram Stories. Whoops…
Here are a few of my favorite ways to take a moment to unwind:
- New York Times Daily Mini Crossword – Download the NYT Crossword app, and you can play the mini crossword for free! My friend has a daily competition with her family to see who can solve the puzzle fastest, but don’t be fooled. They can be tricky sometimes.
- Journal – My sister gave me a five-year journal for Christmas, and it’s the perfect way to take a minute at the end of the day and recap my highlights and how I’m feeling.
- Go for a walk – Even if you’re under shelter at home regulations, you can leave your house and take a walk around the block. Just be sure to follow good health practices and stay 6 feet from anyone else in your neighborhood.
- Chat with a friend – Use Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Viber, whichever video conferencing app you prefer. I’ve scheduled “breakfast” with a friend over Zoom for the last week. You can also have a group “happy hour” video chat or even watch Netflix together with this Chrome extension.
Do that thing you’ve always wanted to do
I don’t know what “that thing” is for you. For me, it’s writing a book, and you’d better believe I’m using the time I would be commuting to work to make headway on it.
If you’re also finding yourself with extra time in the day, this is your sign. You have the universe’s permission to do it. Start that blog, write that book, create a TikTok account. This is your time!
It’s a scary, serious time. What happens over the next few weeks and months will continue to affect us for much longer. Why not bring a little light into the world with your business, blog, book, or some other kind of passion project? We need you and your brilliance to help carry us out of these dark times.
How are you holding up in these uncertain times? I hope you’re taking care and staying healthy and safe!
P.S. If you’re looking to write a book, too, check out my writing resources!