Stimulating your mind and keeping a routine are essential to our wellbeing. We thrive and feel happier when our time is filled and planned. That will look different for everyone. For some, it is filling in the time outside of working, or accessing some respite from looking after your children. For others, it may be an assessment of your needs after being stood down from work. This may mean looking to the future and achieving goals you have not yet had time for, or it may be about nurturing your mental health and taking time for yourself. Whatever it may be, there needs to be more to life than just TV and Netflix. Some common approaches to expand on this have included exercising, reading, or completing a puzzle. To make your schedule a little more interesting, I’ve listed some of my favourite ideas:
Visiting museums - Around the world museums have opened their doors with free virtual tours. I encourage you to google your favourites and see what they have. Some of mine are:
The NGV The Acropolis Museum in Greece, The Louvre in Paris, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Tate Modern in London, The MET in New York, the Hermitage museum in Russia, Prado Museum in Madrid, and the immersive museum TeamLab in Tokyo.
Entertainment - There are various services that offer free trials including Broadway HD, where you can access productions such as Cats (much better than the movie), and Swan Lake here, for 7 days, before they charge you. Of course, you have your typical streaming services such as Netflix, Stan, and Prime Video, to name a few. If you’re viewing pleasure is more focused on learning, documentary heaven is a great website to lose yourself in.
Travel - Sounds odd during lockdown times, but just as you can tour museums, you can tour some of the great landscapes of this world also. It’s not the same, I know. But we have to take what we can get. It’s a matter of sanity. You can head to the USA and get in touch with nature, without catching COVID-19 by clicking any of these links:
Self-improvement – Actively using your mind to improve your knowledge is an extremely rewarding process that will leave you with a great sense of achievement. Areas that may be of interest could be to learn a language. Duolingo is a free and easy place to start. For those of you who are feeling more dedicated, you can access native speakers for a reasonable fee via the website italki, where friendly citizens will share their knowledge and help you practice.
Cooking is a great skill to have, some may already be confident, whilst others may be heavily relying on delivery services for their food right now. Regardless of your skill set in the kitchen, there is always room for improvement. Some useful website to advance your skills include Allrecipes, Forks over Knives (for those who prefer a plant based diet), and if you’re really feeling confident, the Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana has created Kitchen Quarantine on instagram to guide you through some of his recipes.
Improving your creativity is always a fun activity. Faber Castell is offering art classes online. For other creative modalities, there is a wealth of knowledged shared on YouTube for whatever interests you, may that be pottery, mosaics, or painting.
If you’re considering study options to improve upon your skill set, Harvard University, Cornell University, Google online courses, and Coursea all offer legitimate courses for free, or at a low cost.
Relaxation – don’t forget to unwind and nurture yourself during this stressful time. This may be via having a bath, doing something that symbolises self care such as a face mask, taking a nap, or connecting with someone. One of my preferred ways to relax is via meditation. My preferred app for this is Insight Timer. Here you have endless options for guided meditations that offer a variety of lengths and purposes for your meditation needs.
Enjoy keeping busy!