It has been over a month since the entire world went into a lockdown situation faced with an unseen enemy. Life without travel, office work, going out for movies, dining at a restaurant, going to school, or stepping out for walks is what the present-day situation offers all over the world since Covid-19 struck. As a result, many of you have been spiraling into emotional distress, depression and frustration. Day-to-day functioning itself is no less than a challenge. However, thanks to technology and the virtual mediums available to you, it is easier to stay connected and be productive within the confines of your home. Here is how you can leverage the myriad virtual platforms available in constructive ways.
- Video chat platforms
One of the most important things that you must be missing in today’s time of self-quarantine and social distancing is meeting their family and friends. Never had anybody imagined a day where you would be confined to their homes on account of a viral infection affecting not just a neighborhood but the entire world! In fact today, many of you are stuck in far-flung places away from your loved ones, unable to get back to your homes due to the lockdown, leaving you and your family and friends worried. However, you can easily leverage popular video chat platforms like
Video chatting is a new way to link up with people. All you need is a smart device like a laptop, smartphone, or tablet; a good internet connection; and a microphone and speakers. With this equipment in place, you simply need to download the app of your choice, create an account, and start video chatting with whomever you want. This unique experience of video chatting is not just restricted to known people. You can use it to connect with other like-minded individuals as well, who might be unfamiliar with you. Since many of you might be getting bored staying home, why not use video chat platforms to forge new bonds, create new associations, and indulge in interesting conversations. Some video chat platforms like Camfrog also have public chat rooms options wherein you can connect with multiple people simultaneously. These chat rooms are a great medium to have interesting discussions with a large group of friends or family members, or to meet new people. You can also share exciting videos, audio messages, and snippets of documents.
- Gaming apps
The spread of the life-threatening COVID-19 has shifted lives online for millions who are finding solace in virtual entertainment and communication. As a result, apps and services like Roblox, where users can build and play games, or Microsoft-owned game platform Mixer and chat app Discord, are finding a surge in user numbers. On these platforms, people can interact and chat while playing games together or working out a crossword puzzle. In fact, it is estimated that the online gaming market will touch $1.1billion by 2021, according to Google-KPMG.
These gaming apps are not only a way to pass the time but also a way to connect with people, as they host many users from different parts of the world coming together to play. With social distancing becoming the new normal, these gaming-related services are a place for community life. Browse the plethora of gaming apps available online, read their reviews, and download them for some fun activity with your friends and family.
- Travel through the virtual world
Travel enthusiasts are some of the worst affected by the lockdown and a complete ban on travel. But fret not, the virtual world has something quite life-like in store for you through the online virtual world Second Life. Download the app and become a resident of the Second Life, where you create virtual representations of yourself, called avatars, and then interact with places, objects, and other avatars. You can explore the entire world known as the Grid, meet the residents from other places, socialize, and participate in different activities.
This virtual world is an excellent way to explore the world in today’s time of quarantine as you are not bound by any restrictions of time, place, or money. You can at least attain visual happiness through a virtual medium and make good use of your time at home.
- Online educational platforms
Online educational programs have been gaining traction in the last few years, but now with COVID-19 banging on everyone’s door, virtual education has become compulsory for many. With schools shut, there are more than 1.5 billion children at home with only online courses or educational platforms to help them with their studies. In fact, many educational institutions have started online courses, while some educational technology firms are giving out free classes to help counteract the sudden closure of schools. A lot of platforms like Coursera and Udemy are offering courses for free or at discounted prices in order to get more people to join.
These platforms not only offer core subject material but also have hobby/interest courses like photography, music, videography, dance, and more. You can enroll your children and join in them yourself. If you have time, consider making hobby lessons a family activity you do together. It will be a great learning experience and at the same time an excellent way to bond as a family.
- Online dating apps
With no real life dating possible right now, the online dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, Grindr, are getting more users. They are great visual means of finding people and striking up a conversation with them. So, if you are alone and in search of a partner or want to indulge in casual dating, get on one of these dating sites. You can message, video chat, and even do voice calls. Ensure that the sites that you enroll in are secure and trustworthy— you don’t want your information stolen. Do a thorough search and seek reviews before enrolling in any of them. It is time to start your romance in pixels. Get on any of the popular dating apps and you never know who you might find.
- Attending events virtually
You might have never had the time to attend an event or workshop due to your busy work schedule, but now that there are no flights to catch for an out of town meeting or office deadlines to meet, give it a try! With fewer social family commitments to fulfill, take time out from the chaos of the world and do the things that you have wished for a long time. There is a lot of activity going on online. Companies are holding webinars, workshops and talks for people. From talks on coronavirus to hair-cutting lessons, painting workshops, and discussions on how to keep physically fit and emotionally strong in these times, a lot is happening. All you need to do is put in your interest on the internet and be ready to absorb the information you will receive.
- Skill learning through e-tutorials
It’s time to learn something new during this pandemic, and thanks to technology there is no need to step out of your home to do that. With e-classes started by online educators, you can learn many different types of skills. From refurbishing old clothes into something fashionable to playing an instrument, taking on photography, or even learning a new language, you have it all! Some of these classes are free, while others are available at discounted prices. So just punch in your requirement, and you will get a list of skills that you can acquire in quarantine. However, do good research and read reviews before deciding on the course as many courses promise more than they deliver.
- Exercising with your e-guru
If you’re sick of sitting at home and putting on weight because your regular walk/run in the park or gym visit is not possible, why not join a workout regime online? There are numerous apps that you can download with different workout regimes. Some of them are free, while others have a nominal fee to support the platform and instructors.
Those of you who like to pump weights can check out some hardcore workouts with a virtual instructor to guide you through the sessions. Those who enjoy dance as part of their exercise regime can enroll in Zumba classes or even join a salsa community to practice footwork and technique. If you don’t want to download apps and pay up for them, there are simple workout plans available on YouTube, too. Just type in the form of exercise you would like, and you will be amazed at the choices that come up.
- Hone your culinary skills
Cooking is a great stress reliever for many people, and with a lot of time on your hands now that you are at home 24/7, why not try out some different cuisines? There are plenty of videos going around social media with people sharing what they have been cooking along with the recipes. You could check out those on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, among other platforms.
If you want to get into some serious cooking, there are many cooking platforms with chefs of high repute sharing their recipes. Plan out a dinner date for you and your partner this weekend, and cook some delectable cuisine with the help of recipes available online. You can even make it a Sunday family activity and involve your children, too. Once the cooking is done, plan a picnic in your backyard or living room with all the tasty food onboard and spend some quality time as a family.
- Movies and exciting series available online
Another great pastime is watching shows or movies with your family, an activity you may not have indulged in the past due to the chaotic lives and busy social commitments we typically have.
Take time out and use it to watch all those old flicks you could never complete or start a new series that is trending. Get reviews from friends and family on the best show of late, and binge some entertainment. With phenomenal internet speeds and excellent online content available, it should not be a problem to find a suitable film or show. Netflix, Hotstar, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO are some of the trending online entertainment platforms with movies and series of different genres. These are paid subscriptions but are well worth every penny. From sci-fiction to horror, murder mystery, comedy to drama – they have it all! If you’re not looking to subscribe, check out YouTube for some awesome free series. Plan a theatre night for you and your family with beverages, popcorn, and a great movie, and you will surely have a lot of fun.
In the times of coronavirus, with people forced into lockdown or quarantine, there’s an increased risk for mental health issues. This reinforces the need to stay connected to friends and family through virtual modes and find productive ways to stay engaged with different activities. These virtual mediums are a blessing as they serve to help people function as normally as they can. Not only do they help in keeping in touch with loved ones, but they also offer myriad forms of entertainment and education. It is important to leverage these platforms and gain productively in these times of self-quarantine and social distancing.