Have we gotten used to the lockdown yet? More importantly, what have we learned during this crisis?
Firstly, that the pandemic-related stories are drowning all other news. People are “overloaded,” and discussions are filled with topics about how humankind is yet to discover the consequences of the new reality. Children are suffering from anxiety, they say. Adults are complaining of depression. Pity that pets can’t speak (most of them, anyway) otherwise, we’d have vets telling us how we’re at the threshold of a pet depression pandemic.
One might argue that our fast-paced society has taken a hard blow now that there are no traffic jams, overall hysteria, tight schedules, and all other stressful situations we have somehow come to consider “normal.” Lunch breaks are more relaxed, families can enjoy more time together, and food is coming to our doorsteps all on its own (well, almost)!
Yet, what do we do with this new-found freedom? We scream at the top of our lungs, complaining of boredom. Seriously?
What’s glaringly obvious is that people have forgotten how to enjoy free time. With many people now working from home, we increasingly report struggling with a lack of social activities.
This is an oxymoron, mind you, and admittedly the crisis discourse is somewhat to blame. The term “social distancing” has become a byword, while in truth it is physical distancing we’re dealing with here. Social activities don’t have to suffer in the “new normal” – rather the contrary. Ask gig workers and online communities how many people they have met in “real life” by means of online communication.
Keeping social lives alive and kicking in the future is actually pretty simple – you only need some creativity to get you started. The same goes for spending quality free time on your own. Here are a couple of ideas, but by all means, adjust them to your preferences.
1. Online Workout
Of late, there have been many ads advertising various workout routines – online. Yoga, 5-minute abs, weight-loss routines, etc. have been popping up at every virtual corner.
Have you tried some of them yet?
There are one-on-one classes, online courses, and virtual group workouts. A little something for everyone and suitable for both introverts and extroverts, too.
- Do Yoga with Me
- The Sculpt Society’s dance cardio classes
- Virtual Martial Arts Training, the first online martial arts online platform
- The Nike Training Club App
2. Stay Connected With People
While many of us keep in touch with colleagues on a daily basis due to obvious existential reasons, many people tend to forget that meetups with friends can be hosted in the same way.
Not to dive too deeply into the number of apps for online meetings and conferences (and there are indeed many of them!), let us just say that you can host pretty much any event online.
Regular expat meetings, for example, have moved to the virtual space and are as lively as they have ever been (if not livelier).
3. Enjoy a Video Game Night In
Not only nerds enjoy video games. Since we’re all staying at home (most of the time anyway), why not enjoy an online gaming session? This is a great way to stay connected with friends and family while enjoying some creative extra time. Let’s face it – how often do you get a chance to unwind and role play to your heart’s content?
Steam offers many great games.
4. A Night at the Museum
Did you know that many museums offer virtual tours? Did you know that many museums that normally don’t have them have opened their virtual doors to visitors from around the globe in these challenging times?
It’s funny, but this crisis has provided us with an opportunity to visit places we normally wouldn’t have sufficient resources to travel to. We know, it’s not the same thing – live- and virtual experience do differ – but still, it’s a great opportunity, isn’t it?
- The Louvre
- The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
- The British Museum
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- The Vatican Museums
5. Travel the World on Your Sofa
Yes, you read that right. Similar to museums, many world heritage sites now can be visited online. Remember we’re in the 4th industrial revolution where every place in the world is more accessible than ever.
Both local communities and industry giants have proposed numerous projects for everyone to enjoy – for free.
Take Google’s virtual tour of Angkor Wat as an example and you’ll see that sky’s the limit (but not for long). Imagine visiting ancient temples and strolling through primeval forests from your home! Well, you don’t have to imagine anymore. The lost temple of Beng Mealea, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm (popularized by the Tomb Raider franchise), and the Pink temple of Banteay Srei are only clicked away!
Look up your daily destinations!
- David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef
- Conservation International’s “Under The Canopy” Amazon Rainforest and river basin virtual tour
- Google’s virtual tour of Churchill (Canada), the Polar Bear Capital of the World
- The Acropolis virtual tour, courtesy of the Acropolis Restoration Service
- The Tikal (Guatemala) virtual tour
6. Throw a Party
Since the COVID-19 (which now has qualified for the 20 suffixes) pandemic has lasted for months already, many people have had to cancel their birthday plans. Well, not all of them.
Internet-savvy folks have had a great time celebrating online with their friends, but why not take the experience to the next level?
Why not, say, throw an online masquerade, a pajama- or a cosplay party? Imagine the possibilities!
An online cooking class hosted by that enthusiastic gourmet friend. Come now, we all know at least one such person!
7. Bring Your Pets Together Online
This might be a brilliant virtual “night out” for pet lovers. If you’re thinking dogs and cats, think again!
If you have friends who keep reptiles, snakes, or other exotic pets, their pets might get the chance to enjoy a virtual meetup with other pets they wouldn’t regularly get the opportunity to meet. For obvious reasons, people don’t take their snakes out and for even more obvious reasons, pairing snakes with parrots is not the brightest of ideas.
8. Host a Netflix Party
Movie lovers can now enjoy a whole new dimension of “home alone but still together” experience, thanks to the Netflix Party Chrome extension. As the name portends, it “synchronizes video playbacks and adds a group chat to your favorite Netflix shows,” according to the developer. The extension is free for everyone to enjoy, so why not give it a test run?
9. Play a Drinking Game
It’s incredible what crazy stuff people will unearth when bored or, in our case, locked at home! Obviously, parties never go out of fashion, be it outside, inside, or online, but the apps bringing the experience to new heights (and dimensions) are truly incredible.
If you miss your weekend nights out at a local pub, for example, you can now host it online and get properly drunk with the whole crew in the process. Check out the Drunk Pirate App! Simply brilliant!
10. Don’t Miss Your Favorite Performers’ Concert
The entertainment industry has taken a hard blow by the crisis, but thankfully they’re still getting on somehow. Online concert streams have become a common occurrence in the past couple of months. While many bands offer free live streams, don’t forget that these people have zero incomes. Consider donating, if you can! After all, you’d be paying for the ticket if the circumstances were different.
Still Think That the “New Normal” Is Terrible?
As you can see, there’s no lack of activities in the new normal. In fact, we’d argue that people have suddenly developed a keen interest in arts they never knew they had an inclination for before the pandemic. That is, by all accounts, a great thing and certainly visiting a world heritage site or a museum is a better idea than wasting time scrolling through your social media newsfeed.
Breathe, eat, drink, read a book, get drunk online, play a video game, watch a live stream, visit a world heritage site, throw a party … In short, enjoy life to the fullest from the comfort of your home!
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