The new mantra for the times is “Flatten the curve.” For most of us, doing our part has meant staying at home to self-quarantine, but figuring out how to stay occupied and entertained when you’re home for days at a time can be a challenge.
You’re certainly not alone if you’re struggling with it. “‘How to foster togetherness and brainstorm ways to come together during these uncertain times’ was the No. 1 question we received during a virtual coffee chat we recently hosted,” says Laura Alexander Wittig, CEO and founder of Brightly, a media and community platform that focuses on conscious consumerism.
Looking for ways to get creative with what was once your regular routine? Here are some quarantine activities for when everything is closed and you just want to keep doing the things you love.
GETTING YOUR WORKOUT IN
One of the best ways to stay healthy and boost your immune system is to remain active, but that can be hard when gyms are closed and workout classes are cancelled.
Luckily, many fitness companies are stepping up and offering some of your favorite workouts online. Gyms like Crunch, for instance, are offering their members free access to its Crunch Live online classes. Other popular workout companies are sharing their studio experiences on YouTube. Orangetheory is posting a new 30-minute workout each day, and 305 Fitness is hosting cardio dance classes twice a day. Peloton is offering new users free access to its app for 90 days (note that many of the classes only require a mat if you don’t own the brand’s bike or treadmill). And if you don’t have a favorite workout, there are plenty of free fitness apps to get you started.
Of course, you can still take advantage of exercising outdoors to get some fresh air and release stress-reducing endorphins, as long as you’re vigilant about staying at least six feet away from others. Consider changing things up if you’re getting bored with your routine. For instance, if you live near a trail or nature path, consider going for a hike instead of a walk around the block to avoid a repetitive workout rut.
EATING AT YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT
Restaurant closures can take its toll on ardent foodies. And while extra time at home also means more time to tackle that recipe you’ve always wanted to try or doing more meal prep, sometimes you just want that professionally cooked meal you’re used to having.
In the fight to stay in business, many restaurants across the country are stepping up their takeout or delivery efforts, including those that typically don't provide these services. So for those nights when you’re not in the mood to cook, check to see whether that neighborhood spot where you normally dine in will offer takeout, delivery or curbside pickup. Local media outlets are typically the way to go for the most up-to-date information, as some major cities including San Francisco and New York City have regularly updated lists of restaurant closings.
You can take your order a step further to make it mutually advantageous for you and the restaurant. “If you’re getting pizza from your favorite local spot, ask them if they would consider selling you raw ingredients as well, such as pizza dough and sauce,” Wittig says. “This will not only increase the order amount, which supports the business, but it also minimizes the times you have to leave your house for groceries.”
KEEPING UP WITH YOUR SOCIAL LIFE
We’re all feeling the effects of limited social interaction, and it’s particularly a challenge for people who live alone or have older loved ones they can’t visit right now. After all, humans are inherently social creatures, and social distancing is not the same as social isolation.
But just because your in-person book club, movie night or game night may be on hold for now doesn’t mean you can’t host those events virtually. And while FaceTime has become a regular fixture in our lives, you can get creative with how you use your video chat. For instance, while you’re likely using Zoom for work conference calls, you can also use it to host karaoke for your close friends, or even an extended circle of acquaintances. Other technologies are hopping on the communal viewing experience bandwagon as well, including Watch2gether and Instagram, which just launched a new feature that lets you watch video with others simultaneously.
If you had plans to see your favorite musical act in concert, many popular artists like John Legend and Coldplay have streamed live shows on social media for fans to enjoy from home. And with the new social distancing norms, you may even get to experience classical music that you would have had to travel to enjoy previously. Many orchestras and opera houses from around the world are live-streaming concerts for global fans.