If you’re like me and can only binge-watch that many hours of Netflix a day, give your mind another kind of ‘high’ with 10 stimulating alternatives. You might even walk out of the circuit breaker with a new skill or two. And yes, they’re free! Thanks, but no thanks, to COVID-19.
1. Go to Harvard
High SAT score or not, everyone’s getting an Ivy League certificate these days. Well, a ‘verified certificate’ upon course completion anyway. The most prestigious universities – Harvard, Yale, Princeton and more – are offering online courses for free! From Roman mythology to classical music, viral marketing to cryptocurrency technologies, choose from hundreds of subjects.
For your tech fix, General Assembly is now offering Free Fridays. Join peers from around the world at their most popular workshops – coding, data, UX design – online and for free.
2. Rock and roll
Amped Guitar from Amped Guitar on Vimeo.
More than any brain training app, musical training can improve long-term memory and increase resilience to age-related hearing loss – yet nine of ten people quit learning the guitar within the first year.
Enter the Amped Guitar Learning app, an augmented reality-powered app that listens as you play and directs you through an interactive and motivating game play. The app offers new users 3 months premium for free, so dust off the abandoned guitar and strum your way to rockstar status.
Psst, just remember to cancel anytime during the subscription so you don’t get charged.
3. Kayak in comfort
Travel the world in the comfort of your couch (and FBT shorts). Kayak through Alaskan icebergs and fly over an active volcano in Hawaii with virtual National Park tours. Head over to Google’s Art and Culture website to experience the great outdoors in all 360-degree glory.
4. Happy camping with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
COVID-19’s biggest game of the lockdown is available for free on your mobile phone. Decorate your own campsite in the tranquility of nature and help fellow animals. Don’t underestimate the cuteness overload though, Nintendo is breaking records with average daily installs growing almost sevenfold. The big brother version (Animal Crossing: New Horizons) is fast-powering the Switch console’s worldwide sell-out. Nintendo will sell more than its estimate of 19.5 million consoles this fiscal year, according to Business Week.
5. Listen to music for your soul
When you’re taking a break from BTS’ past concerts on livestream, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra will have you feeling the spirit of serenity in all its moods – melancholic, nostalgic, bittersweet, peaceful. Don’t forget to leave them a virtual applause on their YouTube video.
6. Get some exercise therapy
From Blackpink cardio workouts to 30-day fat burn programs, you won’t be filling Instagram with self-deprecating before/after memes of your quarantine 15, the 15-pound weight gain phenomenon going viral on social media. While COVID weight probably isn’t worth panicking over (we already had enough of panic buying), some feel-good endorphins wouldn’t hurt. Mood: Unstoppable.
For more equipment-free workout regimes, try these at home.
7. Admire mind-blowing art
Go on a cinematic journey through the world’s second largest museum, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. With 45 galleries, 588 masterpieces, and live performances shot on an iPhone 11 Pro in one take, this 5 hr 19 min 28 second video is a work of art in itself.
8. Watch HBO shows without a subscription
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Can’t find ‘Silicon Valley’ or ‘The Sopranos’ on Netflix? HBO’s got you figured out. They’re joining the coronapocalypse fight with #StayHomeBoxOffice movies, TV shows and documentaries you can watch, even without a HBO subscription.
9. Stay in touch, send virtual hugs
Tune in to your creative side with a little help from Canva’s design templates. Create Instagram Bingos and chic e-cards you can send to friends. With two weeks into the circuit breaker, a little surprise goes a long way in making a friend’s day.
10. Give in to TikTok
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TikTok is currently the third most-downloaded non-game app of the year, after WhatsApp and Messenger. With its 15-second format, unpolished meme appeal and unapologetically quirky content, it seems anyone can be a #stayhome content creator. Grab some friends and take on a trending hashtag. You might not get 41 million followers like fifteen-year-old dance queen Charli D’Amelio, but you’ll have a good laugh, we promise.
As much as the pandemic has put a wrench in our plans, we can’t help but smile at the way the world is coming together to make staying home a little better. With 10 actually useful freebies, we’re making new plans. What say you?
We’re spending more time in our homes than ever before, and we have cool tips and tricks to stay productive, connected, and positive. Lockdown or not, we’ve got you covered with our Stay Home Guide — tap to read more.