If you’re quarantined or self-isolating inside your home during this time of coronavirus uncertainty, it’s understandable if you’re feeling anxious, claustrophobic and pessimistic. But streaming platforms and businesses worldwide are stepping up their services, with the help of the internet. So the one emotion you don’t need to feel is boredom. Here are 10 free things to do at home to keep you going through this difficult time.
1. Stream live comedy
Having a proper laugh will do many of us some good right now! That’s where Comedy-centric streaming service NextUp comes in. It’s been described as “Edinburgh Fringe on demand”, and brings the work of notable (as well as up-and-coming) comics to audiences around the world. They recently launched a #HeckleTheVirus campaign to support and power live comedy during coronavirus. So far, they’ve been using the twitch livestreaming platform to make it happen.
How: Visit the NextUp Comedy website
Cost: NextUp is offering a free seven-day trial for new users and it’s £9.99 per month after that. It’s worth noting that you’ll automatically be charged a recurring monthly subscription fee after your trial unless you unsubscribe.
2. Get your culture fix via Marquee TV
Still keen to get your culture fix despite being stuck inside? Marquee TV is a dance/opera/theatre-centric streaming service. The platform allows you to watch acclaimed productions from venues like the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Opera House, the Donmar Warehouse and others. Performances are available to watch ad-free on any device. What’s more, there’s no charge within the trial period. We reckon it’s got to be one classiest free things to do at home.
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How: Visit the Marquee TV website
Cost: Your first 30 days are free and then it’s £8.99 per month. Your subscription automatically renews unless you cancel it on time.
3. Learn to bake with Bread Ahead
Bread Ahead, the bakery school and shop in Borough Market, is running free baking tutorials every day at 2 pm on their Instagram Live. They publish a schedule on their website in advance, which allows you to get hold of the necessary ingredients in time for the bake-along. Past classes have involved doughnuts, focaccia and cinnamon buns, and upcoming ones include Easter brioche (March 27) and bagels and pretzels (March 28). If you can put together the right ingredients, there are fewer more rewarding free things to do at home.
How: Visit Bread Ahead’s Instagram page at 2 pm every day
Cost: Free (minus ingredients)
4. Get an Ivy League qualification
If you fancy making your time at home as productive as possible, all eight Ivy League schools (Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania) are currently offering up to 450 free online courses. From The Science of Well-Being (Yale) to Introduction to German Opera (Dartmouth), there’s something to suit every esoteric taste.
How: Visit the Class Central website to choose your course
5. Keep your fitness up
Even if you’re stuck at home, it’s important to keep exercising, both for your physical and mental wellbeing. Fortunately, there are tonnes of gyms, personal trainers and exercise companies providing free online workouts and advice for training at home. One of the best of these is US gym club Planet Fitness. They’re offering “Home Work-Ins” streamed live on Facebook.
How: These “Home Work-Ins” are available to watch on the Planet Fitness Facebook page
6. Learn to meditate
It’s completely understandable if your anxiety is sky-high right now. The award-winning Calm app is a great mindfulness and meditation resource for beginners. The app walks you through all the basics to help you improve your focus, reduce stress and manage damaging thoughts.
How: Download the Calm app on your smartphone
Cost: Free for the first seven days, then £7.99 per month. Your free trial automatically carries over into an annual subscription unless it is cancelled before the trial period ends.
7. Be transported to other peoples’ hometowns
Since 2010, more than 160 playwrights from across the UK have written plays about the places that shaped them as part of a national project called COME TO WHERE I’M FROM. All these audio plays are now available for free. You can download the app from the App Store and GooglePlay. From Leeds to Liverpool, each play is unique and a perfect form of escapism if you’re feeling trapped within the confines of your home.
How: Download the COME TO WHERE I’M FROM app on your smartphone
8. Explore what it means to work from home
Are you now working from home for the foreseeable future? We recommend listening to the Is This Working? podcast, created by journalist Anna Codrea-Rado and writer Tiffany Philippo. Subjects range from advice on asking for a pay rise to dissecting office culture. So each week is relevant to anyone navigating the complex and confusing world of work—coronavirus or not. We particularly enjoyed recent bonus episode on working from home. It’s a topic that’s more applicable right now than ever before!
How: Is This Working? is available to listen to on ACast, iTunes and other podcast providers
9. Immerse yourself in an audiobook
The audiobook service Audible has stepped up for schoolkids (and adults) by providing hundreds of titles available to stream online for free. The varied collection features titles across six different languages. These include classics by authors like Beatrix Potter and A.A. Milne. The collection is aimed at children, with an emphasis on learning. But it will no doubt be a comfort to many during such challenging times.
How: All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet via the Audible website
10. Visit museums around the world
Discover artwork, collections and stories from all around the world, courtesy of the Google Cultural Institute. From the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York to Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico, there’s content from over 1200 leading museums and archive. It’s all available the institute’s amazing not-for-profit platform—Google Arts and Culture.
How: Visit artsandculture.google.com