Staying home and practising social distancing? Good for you! Thanks for keeping your community in mind and doing your part to keep everyone safe.
Staying at home and away from friends and family can pose some unique challenges.
Even if most of your day is still being spent “at work” and you’ve just switched to working remotely, there’s suddenly this vast expanse of time available that typically gets eaten up by commuting, going to appointments or meetings, and grabbing coffee with colleagues.
Plus, our brains really do thrive on routine and without feeling a certain level of control, things can get a little sticky, mental health-wise.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of (mostly free) things that you can get up to at home when you need a break to keep your mind and hands occupied.
Move Your Body
Exercise is not only good for your immune system, it’s also vital for your mental health.
If pacing around the house while reading the news and scrolling through Twitter isn’t quite doing it for you (stop that), here are some other options.
Adrienne has some 30-Day yoga challenges on her channel, as well as individual videos. Yoga can help ground you in your body, settle the mind, and it gets your body moving and stretching. Plus, committing to doing yoga once a day will help you to keep track of the days as they pass (since time can get a little weird if you're home every day).
A yoga app that is currently offering all their apps (Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout) for free for students and teachers until April.
While there is a pro version available, the free one is also great! The work-outs are short and manageable, and even allow you to swap out exercises if you aren’t a fan of certain options (burpees can bite me, just fyi). You can add a warm-up and cool down, and the style of workout changes daily, which can help to keep things interesting.
Find a playlist or make your own and dance around the house like no one’s watching!
You can even pull out all your fancy outfits and strut down the hallway like you’re on the catwalk. Maybe you’ll find some new outfit combinations you’ve never tried before?
Learn Something New
Did you know that MIT offers open courses online for FREE.99?
You can search by topic, course number, or department.
Skillshare is also a great, relatively inexpensive way to learn some new creative skills!
Also, by using this platform and others like it, you’ll be able to support some creators that may have had some gigs or work opportunities cancelled, which is a great bonus.
Coursera also has some free online courses available.
Looking to focus on some arts and culture? Here are 12 museums that offer a virtual tour which you can take from the comfort of your own home.
Brit + Co is offering free registration to their courses until the end of March with the discount code SELFCARE. They’ve also got some great suggestions for how to keep your toddlers occupied.
The amazing and hilarious Berna, Financial Hype Woman, is presenting a FREE #HellaHelpful financial workshops series, taking place next week. It's created by and for BIPOC, first-gen immigrant kids, and everyone in the struggle.
Arts and Crafts Aren’t Just for Kids
Bring out the paper, glue, scissors, markers, crayons, whatever you have available! Let’s get crafty.
Low Poly Crafts is a Canadian paper craft company that sells some adorable kits online. They’re also offering some free downloads of their patterns, to encourage people to stay home and stay healthy.
Taking up something like knitting or crochet is also an excellent option, because as you get used to the motions, you’ll be able to make things while binging something on Netflix at the same time! Wool and the Gang offers some free patterns.
If you need to pick up craft supplies, consider shopping small and local online! Also, if you do have some money you’re able to spend, be sure to check out some artists on Patreon or Etsy. Many are offering extra colouring pages, art, you name it! They could really use your support.
Libby’s Happy Project has listed some beautiful colouring pages on her Etsy, and posted on her Instagram story that if you have children you’re trying to keep busy, she’ll send them your way for free.
Speaking of kids by the way, more and more outlets are publishing lists on how to keep them feeling safe, entertained, and (mostly) out of your hair. Here’s a good one from Let Grow, and another from Self.
No printer? Try out Canva as a creative outlet. Canva is a free online tool for designing graphics that allows you to upload photos and incorporate text. They’ve got some great templates for uplifting social media posts, and even schedule templates if you’re looking for a cute way to structure your time.
There are also thousands of free music lessons online, so now might be the moment for you to start learning that instrument you bought a little while ago and haven’t had much of a chance to practice. And if you don’t have an instrument, there’s always karaoke!
If you typically text or message friends, try calling them or setting up a skype/google hangouts coffee date. Hearing someone’s voice and seeing their face isn’t quite the same as seeing each other in person, of course, but when you’re spending most of your time indoors, it really can make a huge difference.
And why not take some time to see how your usual communities are connecting online?
Xtra Magazine, for example, has been posting a daily round-up of how some LGBTQ2 folk are coping and caring for each other. March 19th’s post featured Club Quarantine (Club Q), as well as author and playwright Catherine Hernandez, who's reading stories for kids on her Facebook page.
If you’re looking for a way to connect and consume media at the same time, there are also options out there like:
Kast (formerly known as Rabbit) is a way to set up watch parties with your friends. It’s a video calling service similar to Skype or zoom, that is specifically built to handle streaming content at the same time.
There’s also a brand spanking new Chrome extension called Netflix Partywhich has a similar premise.
Speaking of Netflix
(and other streaming services), now’s a great time to catch up on your favourite shows, podcasts, youtube channels, etc.
Some of our favourites?
The Mandalorian (Show)
Work in Progress (Show)
The Good Place (Show)
Good Life Podcast (Podcast)
Cool Mules (Podcast)
Horse Girl (Movie)
The Lord of The Rings Trilogy (Movies)
Or how about tuning in to catch something you’ve never watched before?
The Metropolitan Opera is streaming previous performances online for free.
(Pro-tip if you haven’t watched opera before from someone who studied it: Read the synopsis before you watch it.)
Also, if you’re looking for some CanCon, check out the National FIlmboard of Canada’s site. There’s a lot of great content on there, and you can filter based on subject to find something you’re interested in.
Neil Young has also announced that he’ll be hosting some online concerts from his house, and keep your eyes peeled because it looks like a lot of others are joining in!
The Canadian National Arts Centre has also just announced #CanadaPerforms, an online performance series that will pay Canadian artists for their live online performances (on Facebook Live).
NASA has also made their entire media library available online, and photos of space are always just stunning to look at.
Check with your local businesses!
Locally owned stores often work with tight margins to begin with, so now is an especially crucial time to support them, if you can.
Massy Books in Vancouver, for example, is closed for in-person shopping, but is still delivering books if you order online!
Don’t forget your library!
They might be closed to the public, but many libraries have lots of online offerings! Some even have access to online learning platforms such as Lynda.com, and you can check for apps like OverDrive to keep your e-readers fresh.
For all you gamers out there
Steam has their Spring Steam Game Festival on right now, and there are a bunch of free to play games available.
Epic Games has some free to play games available as well.
Xbox and Playstation also have free to play games, though availability varies by country. Nintendo has a variety of games on sale as well. (Also, Animal Crossing came out this week, in case you're the lucky owner of a Nintendo Switch).
Time to get real familiar with your kitchen. There are so many different places to get recipes, but here are some websites to get you started:
Cooking with the New York Times has some great recipes, as well as tutorials so you can brush up on your cooking skills or learn to use new kitchen tools.
Try Minimalist Baker for easy recipes with minimal ingredients.
Sorted Food is a fun Youtube channel with full recipes available on their website. The premise is essentially: “Chefs teach non-chef friends to cook”.
And, if you’re interested in fermented foods and the zero-waste lifestyle, be sure to check out the Zero Waste Chef for some great, easy to follow recipes. (Sourdough bread is delicious by the way, give it a try!)
Check-in with yourself
Take some time to disconnect from social media and get some rest. I know that things are stressful, and there’s so much new information coming out every day, which is why it’s incredibly important to unplug and take some time for yourself. Now might actually be a great time to do some research into the practice of setting healthy boundaries and putting them into effect.
Headspace is a paid meditation app that is currently offering a free selection of guided meditations and other experiences to help during this time.
Calm is another meditation app that offers some free guided meditations as well.
For those struggling with depression and anxiety, this app tracks your symptoms with daily questions and documents your progress.
An app designed to alleviate negative thoughts and hopelessness through self-help tools and guidelines.
An app for those struggling with food habits, exercise, and body image.
An app that provides weekly tests to test the severity of your OCD, and clinically-supported guidance during OCD episodes.
An app that teaches diaphragmatic breathing to help decrease the body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ response and manage stress.
Also, masturbation has been shown to be really good for your immune system and your mental health so, you know, just saying.
One Last Thing...
Remember, you are allowed to go outside, so long as you stay away from others! So please try to get some fresh air and maybe go admire some trees. We’re all in this together (at a distance of 6 feet or more).
Lastly, for those of you who are not able to stay home because of your job situation, we want to thank you for being on the front lines and for providing the rest of us with essential services. We hope that you’re able to get the support that you need, as soon as possible.
We're giving away four $50 gift certificates to someone in your community who could really use some eco-friendly period care right now. Head to our Instagram for more details and to nominate someone! Winners will be chosen on March 27th.
Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash