May 13. • 7 min read
If you find yourself stressing out about social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people are in the same situation. It’s next to impossible to ignore the daily updates with new coronavirus cases and the near-constant headlines. Self-isolation is the general advice to the public, along with practicing social distancing.
While mandated time at home was fun when you were younger, it’s much different now that you have a routine that includes a packed schedule and social outings with friends. This can be a jarring switch, whether you found yourself furloughed or you suddenly had to switch to working from home.
The first thing you should do is make sure all of your work or assignments are done if you’re working from home or a student. But, if you find you have time on your hands, there are things you can do to stay productive. Several companies are offering free online courses and live streaming for anyone interested. The following activities are perfect ways to keep your anxiety and boredom at bay while you practice social distancing.
1. Enroll in a Massive Open Course Online (MOOC)
Maybe you haven’t had time to further your education or you always wanted to study aspects of marketing more in-depth. Self-isolation is the perfect time to enroll in online courses, and MOOCs are free. Colleges, universities and other educational institutions around the world offer these MOOCs, and you can pick a huge range of subjects like engineering and coding to artificial intelligence and marketing.
You can pick a single subject or do a whole course. These online courses allow you to work with students around the world, learn from world-class professors — and there are no fees or entry requirements. If you want an actual certificate, you’ll usually have to pay. FutureLearn and edX are two great MOOC platforms.
2. Take Time to Sharpen Your Skills
Anyone wanting to learn or hone their skills during social distancing can take advantage of LinkedIn Learning’s 14,000 courses and their month-long free trial. They have classes on leadership, data science and software development, to name a few. You can learn popular software applications like Excel, data analysis and Apple’s programming language, Swift. General Assembly has digital workshops available, including short courses and boot camps in everything from coding and copywriting to front-end web development and UX design.
3. Take a Renovation Class
Have you ever wanted to learn how to renovate your bathroom or kitchen? Or maybe you want to know more about interior decorating. The Reno School offers a free online module that will teach you how to design, plan and style your dream house. If you want to continue with more modules, you will have to pay a fee. However, they have nice discounts available, and you can work at your own pace. They offer insider tips, tricks and step-by-step guides to help you through.
4. Go On a Virtual Tour
Just because you can’t get out and visit museums in person doesn’t mean you can’t experience them. Many zoos and museums around the world are offering completely free virtual tours. Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and go through the Met 360° Tour. If you like animals, you can get a glimpse of them, thanks to the Royal Melbourne Zoo. They’ve set up live streaming cameras around the zoo that give you 24/7 access to the animals, or you can virtually visit the Paris Louvre.
5. Listen to Podcasts
Dive into the world of podcasts and shut out the world. There are comedy-based podcasts, murder and mysteries, history, business and much more. iHeartRadio has an extensive list of podcasts from around the world, and they have music lists you can customize. NPR has a host of podcasts ranging from binge-worthy shows, pop culture and business topics to movies, books and food. You can take it all in from the comfort of your favorite chair or couch.
6. Attend a Live-Streaming Concert
Just because you’re on self-isolation doesn’t mean that you have to feel alone. Music has the amazing ability to connect us to people. You can watch a concert via live stream. The World Health Organization and Global Citizen put together the #TogetherAtHomeconcert series, which lets you view intimate shows with your favorite artists. The Met Opera offers nightly streaming events if you want something more refined.
7. Learn a New Language While in Self-isolation
Have you always wanted to learn a new language but you never had the time? There’s no better time than now, and you can pace yourself. Duolingo is a game that can help you read, write and learn over 100 languages. The creators claim that using Duolingo for 34 hours equals a semester of language immersion learning. Open University offers a free course on learning French drink and food, where you’ll learn how to order from a traditional menu and chat with your server. There’s also the Italian Experiment, which will teach you how to count, shop and ask for directions.
8. Get Inspired
We could all use a little inspiration with the constant barrage of news articles and updates regarding COVID-19. Goalcast features short inspirational stories from motivational speakers to everyday people who survived extraordinary circumstances. You can also binge-watch over 3,400 TED Talks. These are video posts by leaders in the tech, science, business and education industries that include tips and little-known information.
9. Get Fit
If you don’t have a home gym or a lot of fitness equipment lying around, you can still get fit while you self-isolate. The Peloton Appgives you a 90-day free trial with access to hundreds of different fitness videos. You can lift weights, do cardio, and work out individual areas of your body in short sessions each day. Yoga with Adriene has 15-minute sessions that help fight anxiety, and she offers beginner yoga sessions. For more challenging yoga workouts, try Yoga with Tim. They’re both completely free on YouTube.
10. Learn New Skills
Maybe you want to learn to sing, build a table from scratch, or fix up areas in your home. You can learn new skills using step-by-step YouTube tutorials. Big companies and industry professionals offer tutorials on virtually anything you can think of, and they break them down into step-by-step guides that are easy to follow. You can learn Google Adwords or learn how to play an instrument like a piano.
11. Dance Like No One Is Watching
What better time to learn how to dance than when you’re stuck at home on self-quarantine? Whether you want to learn to dance for fun or for fitness, there’s an online class for that. Dancing Alone Together has a class calendar that offers live-streamed dance classes from around the country. You can upload your own video based on prompts. You can check out Learn to Dance and its list of free solo and couple dance classes, or you can take a dance workout on YouTube.
12. Take a Creative Writing Class
Maybe you’ve always wanted to try your hand at creative writing but you didn’t know where to start. Self-isolation gives you plenty of time to discover new hobbies. Daily Writing Tips gives you guides to help improve your grammar use and spelling. The author of A Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood, has both paid and free writing tutorials. They can give you prompts, show you how to create outlines and much more through video streaming.
No matter what you choose to do during this self-quarantine, you have a plethora of options available that can help you learn new skills or improve your current ones. You can pick one or two to focus on, or you can easily try several different ones to come out of this trying time happier, healthier and with more skills.
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