How To Avoid Going Stir-Crazy During Self-Quarantine

A living room with a fireplace.

Social distancing and shelter-in-place measures have been extended throughout the country and across the world. While these measures are imperative, our boredom stemming from being cooped up at home seems to be increasing exponentially as well. The good news? There are plenty of things we used to do "out there" that, with a bit of creativity, we can still do inside. From exploring art galleries to virtual workouts, here are seven ideas to keep busy while staying safe.

Virtual Workouts

Peloton Home WorkoutPeloton is now offering a 90-day free trial of their app. Photo: Peloton.

Aching to try a workout from a buzzy fitness studio (or a new, rather pricey app)? Good news: now is the time to check out some celeb-approved studios and fitness programs from the privacy of your own home, since many are featuring exclusive deals during self-quarantine. The inarguably fit Chris Hemsworth is offering a 6-week free trial for his workout, nutrition, and mental wellness app, Centr, to help people get (and stay) in shape during their time at home. Peloton is offering a 90-day free trial for their app, which streams yoga, Pilates, and high intensity interval training workouts. While you can't experience their infrared sauna from home, the much-loved NYC yoga studio Sky Ting has a 7-day free trial for Sky Ting TV, which features livestreams of their coveted classes. Another NYC studio that lives up to its hype, Taryn Toomey’s fitness and spiritual experience The Class, is offering a 14-day free trial of their digital studio. And for those obsessed with core conditioning, [solidcore] is providing their amped-up Pilates workouts via Zoom (bonus: they just announced that those who book 3 Zoom classes will receive a 4th one free).

Nature Studies

Bryce Canyon Park UtahTour Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah from your couch. Photo: Frances Gunn.

Haven’t gotten around to seeing the Northern Lights yet? has a 24/7 livecam of the sky above Churchill in Manitoba, which features some of Canada’s most reliably striking displays of this natural phenomenon. If you're more into safaris, has a livecam overlooking a watering hole at the Tembe Elephant Park in Emangusi, South Africa. And if you've recently watched Netflix's insane-yet-addictive Tiger King, the Big Cat Rescue livecams will help keep the magic alive after you devour the series' final episode. Google’s Arts & Culture website also features some exceptional virtual national park tours. Choose to view the Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, and you'll see amazing red and orange rock formations known as hoodoos from the perspective of a horseback ride through the park's gorgeous, Star Wars- esque landscape. While you typically need to book a sea plane to visit the Dry Tortugas National Park, located 70 miles off the coast of Key West, Google’s tour allows you to experience the park (which includes the world’s third largest coral reef and a 1907 shipwreck) from the comfort of your sofa.

Under The Stars

lyrid meteor showerCatch the Lyrid Meteor Shower on April 21st. Photo: NASA archives, 2018.

If all this nature exploration inspires you (and you happen to be blessed with a backyard), consider setting up your own mini campground. Fire up the grill, toast marshmallows, pitch your tent, and don’t forget to set up your telescope (April is a key month for stargazing, with a supermoon on the 7th and 8th and the Lyrid meteor shower on the 21st and 22nd). If a full camping experience isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps setting up your own backyard drive-in is more your speed. Just grab your projector, a crisp white sheet to project on, some bean bags and blankets, and voila: you’ve got the makings for a perfect evening of movie-watching under the stars.

Insider Art

Uffizi Gallery Florence ItalyVirtually explore the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. Photo: Google Arts & Culture.

Google Arts & Culture's website has become the unofficial cultural director of self-quarantine. Take an afternoon off to virtually tour Versailles Palace in France, the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, the Getty in Los Angeles, the Museu de Arte de Sao Paolo in Brazil, or the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. If you’re a fan of contemporary art, David Zwirner has opened up its digital viewing room to host a dozen smaller New York-based galleries (including 47 Canal and Essex Street) through the month of April.

Home Cooking 

Borough Market LondonTake an Instagram Live cooking class with Borough Market, London. Photo: Borough Market.

With free time to spare, novice chefs are endeavoring to master the fine art of making homemade pastas and sourdough breads. London’s 1,000-year-old Borough Market is helping foodies to step up their game via tutorials and Instagram Live cooking classes, the schedule of which can be found by joining their Borough Market Facebook page. 3-Michelin star chef Massimo Bottura (of Modena’s Osteria Francescana) is also offering free cooking classes via Instagram Live, letting viewers in on the secret to perfecto tortellini en brodo and risotto cacio e pepe. When you get tired of cooking up Michelin-quality cuisine, support your local restaurants in this difficult time by ordering in—you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find coveted culinary establishments like Carbone in New York, Elizabeth in Chicago, Ju-Ni in San Francisco, and Vespertine in Los Angeles, are now offering take out for the first time.

Learn Something New

Yale Science of Well BeingYale's popular "The Science of Well-Being" class is now on Coursera. Photo: Brooke Cagle.

If you've always been curious about coding, pick from the 300+ courses available at Treehouse. If you're learning a new language, Netflix now allows you to augment an online language class with Language Learning with Netflix, an extension available through the Google Chrome web store that lets you access a catalogue of foreign films with subtitles in two languages. And if you’re yearning to be happier, Yale’s much-loved “happiness course” (officially known as The Science of Well-Being, a class designed to engage students with challenges that enhance their well-being) is newly available at Coursera.

Go Out While Staying In

Marie's Crisis in New York is staying open as a virtual piano bar. Photo: TimeoutNew York's West Village staple Marie's Crisis has transformed into a virtual piano bar. Photo: Timeout.

Looking for Friday night club options while indoors? World-famous DJs like Black Coffee (who is raising funds for healthcare workers in South Africa) and NYC’s dance clubs (including House of Yes and Nowadays) are featuring live sets via Instagram, Facebook and Zoom, so if you’re homebound in the city or elsewhere, you can still release tension and commune with your neighbors on the virtual dance floor. Not to be outdone, a new online club called Quarantee is hosting parties on Zoom with all the usual trappings of an exclusive NYC nightclub: there’s a doorman who checks that you’ve paid the $10 cover charge and posh attire for attendees is expected as a way to keep up “the vibe.” If you want to chase your troubles away at a piano bar, New York’s West Village institution Marie's Crisis is now accepting all applicants to its private Facebook page “Marie’s Group” (adding a whopping 10,000 new members last week). All you need to do to be part of the nightly festivities is apply to join the group. Once you join, you'll be treated to the bar's talented performers live-streaming Sondheim classics, which definitely helps make quarantine a bit less dreary. Sets start at 4 p.m. and you can Venmo at tip to your favorite artists.

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