Staying at home does not have to be boring. From fitness classes to art exploration, virtual and household resources can make passing the time fun and productive.
Rabat – There is a joke spreading through quarantined Europe: A family is locked down in the house. On the first day, everybody is happy to spend time together, talking and playing games. On the second day, the parents start to make plans to complete all the chronically unfinished tasks in the household.
They paint the house on day three. They fix all the furniture on day four. On day five they get into plumbing to unclog a sink in the basement. On day six they run outside, kiss strangers, and lick handrails, just to catch coronavirus.
The difficult news: Since yesterday, March 20, at 6 p.m., Morocco is under full lockdown. On top of shutting down schools, mosques, bars, restaurants, and hammams, the government declared a state of emergency and advised all against leaving the house.
The good news: There are plenty of opportunities to visit a museum, attend a concert, do yoga, participate in a university study, watch a play, or work out without even leaving the house. The quarantine time may prove not only fairly painless but also a source of fun and productivity.
While wired, dive into …
An obvious choice for surviving lockdown days is to get lost surfing the web. Activities from various social spheres are moving from the physical world into the cloud, with some online services offering free access to content that required payment in pre-corona times. Celebrities, influencers, and businesspeople try to help us #StayAtHome by facilitating access to interesting content.
Forced to shut down their doors, many museums have invited visitors to enjoy virtual tours. Try out Google Arts & Culture Collection or Google Street View and enter the biggest museums in the world: The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Guggenheim in New York, Louvre in Paris and the British Museum in London all offer sneak peeks into their exhibitions through the Google applications or their websites.
Several art events decided to create online viewing rooms after their openings were canceled. International art fair Art Basel offers virtual viewing rooms to help collectors decide on purchases and to help viewers find joy in creativity.
New York’s Museum of Modern Art is offering free online art courses under the hashtag #MuseumFromHome. Smaller local galleries play their part in the #StayAtHome action through their social media activity.
Theatre and performing arts fans will be keen to discover that some performance venues now offer free online streaming. The Metropolitan Opera in New York offers live streams of Broadway performances in HD, with a fresh performance available every evening. Each show is accessible for 20 hours.
London-based Wigmore Hall, which closed to the public on March 17, offers an extensive library of its past live-streamed events. The GRAMMY Museum will publish previously unavailable content for free on its official website.
Some of the biggest names in pop culture have decided to show solidarity and help the public in the face of a difficult lockdown. John Legend recorded an in-house concert for Instagram followers, urging them to stay at home with entertainment. Legend dared other artists such as Miguel and Charlie Puth to follow in his steps. P!nk recorded her piano rehearsals with the caption: “From my heart to yours.”
Supermodel Anja Rubik organized an Instagram action called “Match your outfit with your artwork.” Rubik asked followers to send her pictures from their homes with their free interpretations of what a “matching outfit” is, and she re-posted them on her feed.
The world is turning to creative solutions such as organizing online raves in video conference form, stretching the limits of digital creativity and proving that sci-fi scenarios may be closer than we think.
For non-culture buffs, now is the time to work on that summer body. Travel bans may be lifted by the holiday time and to show off a post-quarantine physique. Physical exercise is important to maintain physical and mental health.
The internet offers many ways to get lost in some productive muscle pain. No professional sports equipment is needed: Household objects such as tights, heavy books, and towels can replace fancy accessories.
Apps and websites are offering free access to virtual fitness classes. Peloton’s app offers users thousands of video fitness courses of varying intensity and length. Throughout the lockdown period, Peloton is offering a 90-day free trial. Ninety days is long enough to get in shape and establish some healthy daily routines!
Snap Fitness, a US-based gym chain, opted for the same adaptive measure and is also offering 90-day trials. The two services total half a year of unlimited access to high-quality exercise videos. Nobody knows how long the crisis will last, but building muscle memory takes between two to four weeks, so the time to start is now.
For those who have never worked out while scrolling through Instagram, Psycle now provides the opportunity. The closed London-based gym offers three training sessions per day via Instagram TV. Their public relations specialists know how to reach millennials.
In times of crisis, it is essential to care not only for physical fitness, but also for mental well-being. Yoga can do miracles when it comes to increasing flexibility, relieving pain, and strengthening the back, as well as relaxing and calming the mind. Core Power Yoga, a US-based yoga studio, offers free access to its online collection of classes. For anyone who has never tried yoga, there may be no time like the present.
A post-workout brain may contain such levels of endorphins and oxygen that it is hungry for some useful information. Coursera and edX are online platforms that offer access to university courses, from business and management to Arabic to the basics of quantum physics. Their courses are free of charge, but require payment for a course certificate.
This is a way to feed curiosity and simultaneously enhance a CV. Coursera offers access to prestigious institutions such as Imperial College London or Stanford. edX has established collaborations with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Their courses begin at designated times and usually consist of video tutorials, tests, and peer-reviewed essays. The courses are worth a try, even for those who hesitate to make a long-term commitment
Some of those with the greatest appetite for learning are our youngest ones. Scholastic, an American publisher of children’s books and educational materials, is offering free access to their “Learn at Home” courses. Divided into four levels, the curriculum is tailored to all age groups, from pre-kindergarten to the second year of high school.
… Netflix, but don’t break the internet!
To serve visuals-focused millennials who flocked to their services this past week, Netflix and YouTube announced they will cut down their bitrates. As a result, streaming quality will decrease, but more users will be able to watch videos
As of today, March 21, Netflix has shared that the measure will only apply to Europe and will last for 30 days. The video giant’s move came after their concerns about whether the services can handle massive streaming demand from those stranded at home across continents. An internet slowdown may feel intimidating, but there are plenty of ways to unwire.
The quarantine may provide an occasion to slow down from a frenzied everyday pace. We cannot control the circumstances, so it may be useful to calm down and recharge during the coming months. Try practicing some slowness.
… Grow a garden
There may be nothing more satisfactory than seeing little seeds become strong stems and leaves. It gives an almost motherly feel of creation. Just put onions into some fresh soil to see chives grow in a week. Collect the seeds of red paprika and put them in a pot, water frequently, and wait for a paprika plant.
It’s also simple to grow an avocado tree from a seed: Leave the seed half-immersed in water for a week or two, and it will sprout new life. Check out this Vegetable Gardening for Beginners tutorial for more insights.
This requires some gardening soil, but there is no need to worry about pots. Gardening can be a recycling activity, a way to use plastic containers that have collected in the household. Washing capsules, feta cheese, and berries or rucola often come in plastic packages that can be reused to grow plants. Anyone feeling creative can decorate newly repurposed “pots” with a unique look.
… Read books
Many of us remember those unscrollable, often heavy, paper objects: Books are an antidote to restless attention spans. Reading helps with concentration, although it might be frustrating at first. Leaving smartphones in another room during the first half-hour of reading can help with a transition from text messages to textual enrichment. Review lists like this can help an interested reader make an appropriate choice.
Rebel Book Group, a community of over one thousand thinkers and readers, created a 14-day reading challenge. After signing up, the service sends vouchers for selected books as well as weekly reminders to continue reading. After finishing a book, Rebel provides a recap to help with reading material retention.
… Talk to family
Now is the time to engage parents in exercise or watch theatre together. Those living alone have no more excuses to avoid family phones calls, so embrace the connection! The lockdown can serve to unlock some deeper connections.
There is no need to lick the handrails
There are plenty of options to pass the time in a fun and productive manner. Use this unwanted holiday to rewire, refocus, and reconnect. Establish healthy daily routines, find your new favorite author, fall in love with theatre, and enjoy grandma’s crazy youth stories. Everybody needs a break sometimes. Now is the time to engage in fun ways to minimize frustration and benefit during this time of lockdown.