The stuck-at-home survival guide

The stuck-at-home survival guide

Look no further than the comfort of your couch, here are some ways to entertain yourself virtually during social distancing.
Published: March 25, 2020
The stuck at home survival guide

There has been a lot of talk in the last few weeks about how to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic: wash your hands, don’t touch your face, don’t lick anybody. But there has been less talk about how to stay sane — how to keep your brain and emotions healthy during a time of great uncertainty.

The unknown can be all consuming. So, try and balance your news watching and mind-numbing internet scrolling with some good for the soul entertainment. Remember that this global pause allows for new opportunities for growth and introspection, and there are plenty of ways to explore from the comfort and safety of your own home.

1. Read something new

Reading takes you to faraway places, like to a world outside of the residence you are currently sheltered in. And yes, you should read your class assignments during the coming weeks. But build some time into your daily routine to read something for pleasure. Or listen to an audiobook.

Libby is a free app that is compatible with all library cards. You can check out eBooks and audiobooks from your local library right on your phone or tablet. They even have books you may need to read for class, or a new title to listen to in the shower or while you exercise.

Also, just released a bunch of free titles for people stuck at home due to COVID-19 to listen to. You can find a full list and instructions here.

2. Work out

The last thing you probably want to do right now is exercise. But movement is healing, in any form. You don’t have to perform High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or lift weights at home in order to get the blood flowing and keep yourself active. There are plenty of free resources to encourage you on your healthy mind healthy body journey.

FitOn is a free app with full length work out classes. The class options range from barre and HIIT, to cardio dance, yoga, pilates and more. The classes are taught by professional trainers or celebrities. So, get your sweat on with Cassey Ho teaching Pilates, or feel a deep stretch led by Jonathan Van Ness from “Queer Eye.”

And if shorter workouts are your thing, use the YMCA’s free workout videos. Enjoy quick and easy instruction from kickboxing to tai chi in the comfort of your own home.

If possible, move your body outside. Fresh air is key. And sunlight is the best disinfectant. Take a walk, go for a jog, or just get some Vitamin D in your yard if your home location weather allows it.

3. Learn a new skill

The Newhouse CDC keeps reminding students that they are open virtually and available to students during this time. But this global pause is the perfect time to learn a new skill that you won’t be graded on. has recently been bought and converted into LinkedIn Learning, a skill building platform. You can participate in classes teaching you everything from Photoshop, to Microsoft Excel, to crisis communication. It is good exercise for your brain to learn something that does not directly affect your degree or career. Being a more well-rounded person is a bonus to having a well-rounded résumé.

If you are looking for some at home educational entertainment, try a Bill Nye the Science Guy at home demo. Run an experiment using elements already in your house and revisit your inner child.

Disney and Khan Academy have recently partnered for a make your own theme park interactive class titled Imagineering in a Box. Go behind the scenes with Disney’s Imagineers to see how they build the worlds, attractions and characters at your own speed.

4. Take in a Show

You can use this time to binge those Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or HBO Go shows you’ve been saving for ‘one day.’ But I’m talking about a different kind of show.

Say Les Misérables, Gypsy, Kinky Boots, Pirates of Penzance or Oklahoma? is offering a seven-day free trial for you to watch your favorite Broadway shows. You can sing along from the comfort of your couch here.

And if Broadway isn’t your thing, you can check out the opera. The Metropolitan Opera is streaming some of their greatest performances from the last 14 years each night. Each performance is available from 7:30 p.m. EST until 6:30 p.m. the following day.

5. Go on a house tour

It may sound strange to want to tour someone else’s house while you’re stuck in your own, but there are lots of interesting house tours available online.

Take a step back in time and tour Anne Frank’s House. Use this global pause to explore the Secret Annex where Anne Frank wrote her diary in hiding from the Nazis during WWII.

Then jump across the pond and explore the Queen’s house. Buckingham Palace has virtual tours of some of its most grandiose rooms, including the throne room.

And for those of you who love all things spooky, you can take a virtual tour of a haunted house. Enter here, if you dare.

6. Visit a museum

Museums are another great way to explore a new place and experience the humanity of other peoples. And lots of famous museums have exhibits online.

Let your inner child loose and visit the Boston Children’s Museum. Tour a construction zone, hair salon or grocery store through this virtual childhood world.

Celebrate Women’s History Month with the virtual exhibits of the National Women’s History Museum. Their exhibits range from women’s fashion, to women’s suffrage, to the Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII.

Check the Louvre off of your bucket list virtually as you tour the Egyptian Antiquities or view the remains of the Louvre’s Moat.

Thumb through the 49 online exhibits of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and enjoy learning about America’s First Space Walking Woman, or how John Glen suited up for his moon walk.

7. Check out a new place

Technology is amazing. Take this time to virtually explore somewhere in the great unknown.

Start with outer space. NASA made their media library free of charge and copyright free in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can watch hours of videos and look at images of stars, nebulas and galaxies far, far away.

And from outer space, travel under the sea with the Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams. You can watch jellyfish, sea otters, penguins and sharks in their habitats, and remember that there is still life in the world.

Google Earth will also take you on a virtual tour of the U.S. National Parks. See the great outdoors, across the country here.

And the Cincinnati Zoo is hosting a “home safari” via Facebook Live daily at 3 p.m. EDT. They are highlighting a different animal each day and the livestream includes an activity you can do from home.

8. Check in on an old place

In case you were missing a 24/7 view of Syracuse weather, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs has got you covered. With this link you can take a peek at the quad anytime.

Also, if you’re missing the downtown Syracuse night life, check out a live stream of Armory Square here.

9. Take care of yourself and others

Calm, a meditation app, has curated free features to help reduce anxiety through this time. The resources include sleep meditations, breathing exercises and calming music.

You can also use this time to check in on a neighbor, or a family member you haven’t talked to in a while. Social distancing doesn’t mean emotional distancing.

10. More fun things

Take a tour of Boston’s Freedom Trail or gaze at the Northern Lights. Look over the Tanzanian Victoria Falls or explore the depths of Iceland’s glaciers.

Once you’ve exhausted all of these resources: take a walk in your neighborhood. Call a friend. Paint your nails. Clean out a dresser drawer.

Oh, and wash your hands.