The outbreak of coronavirus has left the world battling what’s been dubbed “the worst public health crisis of a generation” and now most of us are self-isolating to help do our bit to help contain the rapid spread.
Staying at home for an extended period initially seems great – you can catch up on your housework, tuck into some good books and finally binge on that Netflix series you’ve been meaning to watch.
But after a few days, being cooped up can become pretty lonely – especially if you don’t share your home with family or flatmates to provide some much-needed distraction from reading the news.
If you’re used to working in a busy office, meeting up with friends at the pub or indulging in your social hobbies, getting used to this new way of life can be challenging.
There’s lots of talk about the physical impact of coronavirus, but it can take a real toll on your mental health too.
Thankfully, technology means its easier than ever to stay connected with your community.
Here are some ideas that go beyond a simple video call…
1. Host a virtual pub quiz
Who says the weekly quiz can only happen in a bricks and mortar pub?
Zoom is a video conferencing app that lets you all appear and communicate on one screen.
Simply agree a time, send out the invites, ask one person to be the quizmaster and you’re good to go.
You could even give out an online voucher as the top prize to the winner.
2. Watch a film with friends
Netflix’s new Party feature makes watching a movie at home more like a cinema experience.
The new feature allows you to host long-distance movie nights, synchronising video playback and adding group chat to your favourite titles.
If one person pauses the film to go to the toilet, it pauses for everyone so you all continue to watch it at the same pace.
We suggest cracking open a couple of beers and pulling out some popcorn from your stockpile for a Godfather marathon.
3. Watch some live living room gigs
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Had a lot of fun playing songs for you again yesterday! I'll be back online livestreaming at 4pm PT today. Keep those requests and questions coming! Today’s show will be in benefit of University District Food Bank (udistrictfoodbank.org) based in Seattle. In addition to food, they are looking for folks to donate toiletries, diapers, baby formula and more. If you're able, please consider donating some of these items to help those in need!
If you’re gutted about this summer’s festivals being cancelled, lots of artists are planning to livestream DIY gigs direct to your living room, completely free of charge.
Some of our favourites include Death Cab For Cutie singer Ben Gibbard’s nightly acoustic sessions, Manchester music venue Jimmy’s isolation gigs and the Metropolitan Opera‘s daily encore presentations.
Who needs Glastonbury anyway?
4. Make some art
UK comic Noel Fielding brightened up our Twitter feeds when he announced he’d be hosting an art club amongst his fans – a really simple idea that you could easily enjoy with a group of friends.
The rules are simple: pick a theme, give people a deadline to paint, photograph and send in the submissions and then have a judge decide the best in show.
5. Live-stream a fitness class
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We miss our fit fam! Now, more than ever, it’s important to band together, support one another, keep our bodies moving, and stay connected. Tune in live @barrys twice tomorrow: once at 9am PDT as Barry’s CEO, Joey Gonzalez, and again at 12pm PDT as VP of Curriculum, Chris Hudson, lead us through 20 minute total body workouts. Bodyweight only. No equipment needed. 9am: Joey Gonzalez 12pm: Chris Hudson
Instagram and YouTube is crammed with free home workouts right now, with everything from fat-burning HIIT sessions to gentle yoga.
Many of the big gym chains are also streaming live workouts so you can still get the feeling of being in the gym, even if you’re at home.
Bring on the six pack.
6. Host some virtual drinks
Houseparty is a really fun app that lets you video conference with your mates. The real-time accessibility of the app makes it feel like you’re enjoying each other’s company as though you’re all in the same room.
The app also has loads of fun inbuilt games like trivia quizzes and pictionary to keep the banter flowing between rounds.
It’s just as good, if not better, than an evening at the local – and you’ll be saving loads of money in the process too.