A Guide On How To Not Be Bored Out of Your Mind While Social Distancing

Social Distancing

By Jessica Swarner

March 19, 2020

Some people and places are offering ways to stay active and connected while social distancing. 

As events and social gathering spaces are shutting down in an effort to fight the spread of the coronavirus, people are hunkering down indoors to self-quarantine.

Staying at home as much as possible may at first sound like a blessing, but vegging out and binge watching Netflix will eventually get old.

Added pressures of the outbreak – telecommuting, online classes, additional caregiving, school closures, the list goes on – can also make staying home feel like never-ending work with no way to release tension.

Luckily, some people are offering ways to escape boredom and anxiety online. Here are some ideas for getting through this turbulent time without feeling like a total zombie.

Be Active, Be Calm

With more than two-thirds of Americans saying they are concerned they or a loved one will be infected with the coronavirus, anxiety is running high. Research has shown that regular physical activity and the ability to relax can help people manage anxious feelings.

It can be tough to get moving and stay level-headed while stuck at home, but luckily some businesses are offering ways to keep up both the physical and mental health of Arizonans. 

Gym chain Planet Fitness is offering free in-home workout videos on its Facebook page. The company live streams a new workout each night at 4 p.m. Arizona time and saves the recorded workouts to its page to be accessed at any time. Other chains offering free workouts include Blink Fitness, Orangetheory Fitness, and Gold’s Gym.  

While CorePower Yoga studios are closed, the company is offering a selection of free classes from its on-demand service online. The classes include yoga, cardio and strength workouts, and meditations to help during these stressful times.

Headspace is also offering a selection of guided meditations, sleep sessions, and workouts for free on its app. Currently, the company is offering its entire premium catalog to healthcare workers, many of whom are working overtime due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and K-12 teachers, who are trying to find ways to continue to educate while many schools are shut down.

Another app, Ten Percent Happier, is also offering free access to some meditations and motivational talks as well as premium subscriptions at no charge for healthcare workers.

Dance It Out

While exercise classes are well and good, dance can offer a creative outlet on top of calorie burn. 

To help with that, Debbie Allen, an Emmy-winning choreographer, is offering dance classes on Instagram Live each day at 1 p.m. as well as several classes geared toward kids.

For those who really want to sweat, 305 Fitness is offering free high-intensity cardio dance sessions on its YouTube page, including a “sexy” hip-hop class and a throwback ’90s party.

And for those individuals who’d rather just watch and enjoy the art of dance, a group of professional dancers are live streaming performances in their bedrooms Friday at 5 p.m. to raise money for artists affected by loss of work due to the pandemic. 

Dancing, like other forms of exercise, has been found to improve physical health and boost people’s moods

Cook a Good Meal

Cooking is another activity that’s been associated with better mental health. Some therapists even use it as tool for helping people cope with depression and anxiety.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, culinary pros are moving online to bring these benefits to those who need it.

Michelin-rated chef Massimo Bottura is offering free “Kitchen Quarantine” classes on his Instagram page each day at noon. Recipes he’s covered include a Japanese soup and an Italian cream sauce.

Additionally, Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Online Cooking School has opened a selection of its classes, including knife skills, baking, and Instant Pot techniques – free to the public. 

Huntington’s Kitchen, a community food center part of Marshall University in West Virginia, is live streaming classes on Facebook on Tuesdays and Thursdays this month at noon. Recipes covered have included chicken and dumplings and a chickpea and potato curry.

Enjoy Some Opera

Here’s something Netflix definitely doesn’t have – the Metropolitan Opera is now streaming free performances from its Live in HD series each night. Each show will begin at 4:30 p.m. and be on the site for 20 hours. 

 “We’d like to provide some grand opera solace to opera lovers in these extraordinarily difficult times,” Peter Gelb the Met’s general manager, said in a press release. “Every night, we’ll be offering a different complete operatic gem from our collection of HD presentations from the past 14 years.”

Travel to Famous Places – Virtually

For people who love to frequent museums, Google Arts & Culture is offering free virtual tours of thousands of them around the world. Some locations offer photos of their exhibits while others offer an actual street-view walk through of the museum. 

For more outdoorsy options, Yellowstone National Park and the Great Wall of China also offer virtual tours. 

And if it’s animals that spark an interest, the San Diego Zoo has live streams of some of its residents, including koalas, panda bears, and penguins. 

Whatever Arizonans decide to do to pass the time, remember the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying at least 6 feet apart from others and not gathering in groups larger than 10 people.


  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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