As governments around the world enforce strict social distancing measures, millions of people are retreating to the great indoors to help curb the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the internet is exploding with new, creative ways for people to connect and practice self-care in the safety of their homes.
From getting drunk with friends via Zoom to Netflix parties and stellar at-home workouts, here are some ways to stay fit, productive and happy at home in the days to come.
Bars and clubs might be closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a drink and party with your friends. With the help of technology, your nomikai (drinking party) is just one video call away.
- Host an online nomikai on Zoom or another video calling app, have your favorite drinks ready and invite your friends.
- Get competitive with House Party, a free-to-download app that lets you play games, like Heads Up and Trivia, with the people in your call.
Books and movies
Use this period to catch up on that book you never got around to reading (we all have one), or indulge in an all-day entertainment binge with some of our favorite films and shows.
- Check out our list of five (translated) Japanese novels to read in 2020, most of which are written by women, to learn about exciting works. Delve into our reading recommendations and book reviews for more.
- Audible Stories from Amazon offers free audiobooks for children and teens as schools remain closed in various countries. Categories range from “Little Listeners” to “Tween” and “Literary Classics.”
- We can’t forget the ultimate time passer — Netflix. Check out Mika Ninagawa’s new hit series “Followers” about the highs and lows of Insta-fame, or scroll through our Small Screen recommendations.
- Netflix Party makes the problem of synchronization over video calls a distant memory. The free Google Chrome extension includes a group chat feature and allows you to watch movies and shows with your friends.
- Check our updated film reviews for more ideas on what to watch.
Music and virtual concerts
Who says you can’t jam out alone or dance like you’re at a rave while at home? Here are some of our favorite playlists on Spotify, as well as upcoming livestream events and virtual shows.
- Listen to our #WFH playlist to stay focused on the job and beat the coronavirus blues with upbeat tracks on our new spring new me playlist. Read this article for more playlist recommendations.
- The Sydney Opera House has started broadcasting performances for your symphonic pleasures. Classic music lovers can also join an online quarantine soirée with the Budapest Festival Orchestra.
- NPR’s video series Tiny Desk Concerts is a goldmine for intimate musical performances. Recently featured artists include Rex Orange County and Harry Styles.
- James Corden’s new series #HomeFest features performances by artists, dancers and bands who film themselves in their own homes. The latest episode includes a music and dance performance by K-Pop group BTS.
- Check here for a list of past and upcoming livestream events in April hosted by Billboard Japan.
- Check The Social Distancing Festival for a livestreaming directory for all things music, art and dance-related. Also, keep a lookout for virtual performances via your favorite artist or band’s social media page.
Free online courses
Those with a passion for learning can take advantage of free online courses from various universities. Come out of this quarantine smarter than ever with courses ranging from contemporary Japanese culture to mathematics and personal development.
- Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from Tokyo University
- WasedaX: free online courses from Waseda University
- 450 Ivy League courses anyone can take for free
- Udemy online courses taught by experts
Heading to the gym might not be possible, but fitness fanatics can still work up a sweat at home with tutorials and various apps.
- Work out with Remi Ishizuka, a fitness blogger who teams up with her boyfriend to create live home workouts (around 40 minutes each) daily on Instagram TV.
- The Nike Training Club app allows you to stay active, and the premium version is currently free to all Nike members until further notice. Workouts range from 15 to 60 minutes, from yoga to high-intensity interval training.
- The free Nike Run Club app makes jogging exciting. Add friends to compete on who ran the longest or compete with runners around the world.
- Check this list of 15 workouts you can easily do at home from Buzzfeed.
Wellness and meditation
Manage your coronavirus anxiety and stay grounded with yoga and meditation.
— Headspace (@Headspace) April 2, 2020
- This “5-Minute Meditation You Can Do Anywhere” is a quick method to relaxation and mindfulness. Since it’s short, even those who don’t usually meditate can try it out.
- This 14-minute Office Break Yoga is great for those working from home and looking to get a quick stretch in between tasks.
- The Headspace App features guided meditations and other videos to help users become happier and more mindful. The app is now offering a free collection of meditation, sleep and movement exercises to help people through the pandemic.
Don’t forget mental health
A combination of self-isolation and general anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic can be difficult to cope with. While fear is an understandable reaction to the situation, it’s important to be mindful of your mental health.
- TELL Japan is an organization that provides support and counseling services to the international community in Japan. Services include free phone counseling, professional evaluations, therapy and community programs.
- Call a friend or family member. Nothing beats talking it out with your loved ones when you’re feeling down. Video calls via free apps like Zoom or Skype can make up for the quality time you’ve been missing.
- Switch off social media for a while. Staying up to date on current events is helpful, but an overdose of real-time information can actually make people more anxious.
- Just relax — you may feel stressed as the pandemic unfolds and working from home may make you feel unproductive. However, it’s also important to just relax, and be kind to yourself during this time.
Further useful links:
DV Soudan+ (provides support for victims of domestic abuse)