For most of us who are always too busy to spend time working on our hobbies, COVID-19 has afforded us some time to ourselves during isolation and, since we don’t know when this global pandemic will come to an end, we now have no excuse not to work on that personal project. So, until that day comes when it’s finally safe to go out again, here are five things you can do to kill time productively and grow as an individual:
1. Take the ‘a book a week challenge’
They say reading is like travel, allowing you to exit your own life for a bit, and to come back with a renewed, even inspired, perspective (Laurie Helgoe, American Psychologist); and if you’ve been making excuses about having time to read, now is finally the time to give up on it!
Reading can give you the much-deserved respite from the constraint of the four walls of your home, allowing your mind the freedom to wander off into many exciting realms — expanding your vocabulary in the process! If you don’t have books on your shelves at home, you can always download free e-books from websites such as BookBub, Open Culture and Manybooks.net. Granted, not all the books featured are bestsellers, but the good news is that you now finally have time to sift through the entire collection.
2. Get strong and centred with yoga
If you haven’t already, take this period of self-isolation as an opportunity to be more self-aware and wellness-focused, starting with practising yoga from the comfort of your living room. Don’t let the complex poses and movements you see on social media intimidate you. You actually begin the yoga journey with simple stretches and relaxing breathing exercises. Even if having a nimble and strong physique aren’t your aspirations, yoga can teach you how to stay centred and nurture mindfulness.
You can give yoga a try by following 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, which involves 20-30 minutes of simple daily yoga practice for 30 days. You can also download the Daily Burn Yoga app offers a variety of classes in different intensity levels, ranging from beginner to expert, and from relaxing to sweat-inducing.
3. Take a tour — virtually!
Whet your appetite for post-quarantine travels by taking a tour around the world — without leaving your couch! Have you ever wanted to see the Alps up close? Hike Machu Picchu? Stroll through Barcelona? You can do all that without worrying about spreading disease through virtual tours — consider one of these virtual day trips you can now take online.
Thanks to technology, you can also spend the night — or day — at a museum! Explore Egyptian relics at the Louvre, the famous spiral staircase at the Guggenheim, and the masterpieces at the Van Gogh Museum — all at the comfort of your home. Canada’s Aga Khan Museum is now offering immersive 3-D tours. And, thanks to Google’s Arts & Culture project, the ROM’s Blue Whale exhibit, as well as hundreds more around the world, can all be viewed crowd-free from your home.
4. Get educated with free courses
Empower your mind with limitless knowledge by signing up for free online courses by some of the world’s most distinguished higher learning institutions, such as Harvard University, MIT and Berkely University California. If anything, this self-isolation season will give you all the time you need to smarten up and be more marketable for the increasingly competitive job market.
5. Enjoy free live shows and concerts
Ottawa’s National Arts Centre launched Canada Performs as a way to showcase artists from across the country during self-isolation. Catch live shows day and night featuring musicians, authors, comedians, and more. You can also catch a laugh with free interactive improv performances from Second City. Or, The Play Thing offers live performances of Canadian plays.
You can also attend free virtual concerts, featuring artists like Miley Cyrus, Diplo and Dillon Francis while on quarantine. All you need to do is stay at home!