Whether you’re under instructions from authorities to quarantine or choosing to self-isolate out of health and safety concerns – being stuck at home can quickly turn into tedium when you don’t know how to spend your time. But with an internet connection and a bit of motivation, you could put your isolation to good use! There is a wealth of educational material and courses online that will teach you a valuable or impressive skill in just a few days. For once, time is on your side.
There are many reasons why one might have an aversion to the gym which has nothing to do with a dislike of physical activity. Menacing equipment with no clear instructions, the daunting feeling of being watched (even judged) by strangers, and the all-round lack of privacy is enough to make the sportiest of individuals want to throw in their trainers. But it’s more important than ever – during the long period of sedentary living the pandemic has forced upon most of us – to find ways of staying in shape. Fitness and yoga videos on YouTube will not only keep your blood pumping – they’ll give you confidence, teach you how to use gym equipment, and introduce you to new exercises you might find yourself enjoying.
YouTube is the place to go if you are starting out with an instrument, or simply want to brush up on your skills after a long period of not playing. Brush the dust off that guitar or keyboard, and find yourself some sheet music to a song you want to play on one of the countless free chord or piano music sites. Each song you learn makes it easier to learn the next, and there’s nothing like the feeling of getting through your favourite song without a single mistake.
Still unsure how you are supposed to win at Blackjack? Want to learn some clever openings in Chess? Games are great sources of entertainment, because you can play them both online and with friends. Besides being fun, games can keep your brain active by exercising your memory and encouraging you to think strategically. Why not teach yourself a brand new strategy game, or learn how to play poker so you can impress your friends and maybe win something too? Remember not to get too competitive – each game lost is a learning opportunity, and practice makes perfect.
Are you still cooking the same pasta dish for dinner? Eating cereal for breakfast? Being busy is a valid reason for not having time to prepare and plan food, but if you find yourself spending extra time at home because of COVID-19, then there’s no excuse not to take the opportunity to get a little more experimental in the kitchen. Learn a new dish, new cooking techniques, or experiment with entirely new types of food. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then there’s a whole host of fantastic baking programs on YouTube to devour (pun intended). Learn new culinary skills and reap the delicious rewards during self-isolation.
Disappearing coins, correctly guessed cards, clever illusions; everyone loves a magic trick! If you’ve always wanted to be the person at the party to whip out a deck of cards, then cause the other guests to gape in confusion and disbelief, then why not take a peek behind the veil of magic and learn the inner workings of such sorcery? Lifehack will get you started with eight simple tricks that are perfect for parties.
Art & Crafts
Upgrade your doodling game, or learn how to paint with free or low cost art courses online. From Bob Ross to Coursera, there’s a course for every kind of art you might want to try your hand at. Making art is a great way to express emotions and feel more relaxed during quarantine and lockdown – plus you’ll have something pleasant to show for afterwards; something to hang on the wall or give to the family member you can finally meet in person again after life returns to normal. Get creative with acrylic, watercolours, crayons, or oils.
A good photographer is not defined by their equipment. You don’t need a big Nikon camera to take amazing pictures – you can learn how to become a better photographer simply by getting the hang of some simple techniques and principles. HubSpot offers some great tips for those wanting to learn how to take better pictures with their phone, but there are also a ton of forums, websites, YouTube courses and online videos where passionate photographers will share their tricks of the trade.
Nobody ever regrets learning a new language. Today, the possibilities are endless, withs sites and apps like Duolingo allowing anyone to quickly get acquainted with the basics of German, Spanish, French or Chinese – for free! Using gamification techniques, these language learning apps will make you forget you’re even being educated…it will feel just like a game you can’t resist playing. C’est tellement amusant!
Whether you have got a small balcony or large garden, it never hurts to make your fingers a little greener. Caring for plants is rewarding in so many ways – there’s the pleasant sight and smell of them to put you in a good mood, and if you’re lucky your gardening will also provide you with fruits and vegetables to enjoy. If you want to get better at growing, a good place to start is learning the different plant types, and what kind of care they need in order to thrive. Developing an intuitive sense of how much water, sun and pruning each plant requires is key to success.
Not only does coding significantly improve your career prospects – it can actually be extremely fun. When you know how to manipulate code to create a game, website or program from scratch, a whole world of possibilities open. Fortunately, there are excellent and free courses online where you can learn languages like Python. Get started at the famous Codecademy where lessons are aimed at absolute beginners but will quickly have you levelling up.
Come out of quarantine a brand-new person with fresh skills to show off and enjoy. It beats binge-watching TV shows or video game marathons, we promise!