“Socially distancing” is the thing we’re all doing now. So for much of the world, the effort of staying entertained is now happening largely online. With social distancing the norm in some parts of the world and full lockdowns in others, it’s uplifting to see all the efforts from both companies and individuals to bring life online in a really inclusive and fun way.
I’ve been seeing so many ideas and online events making the rounds, so I wanted to pick out some of the very best and bring them to you here. From educational events to opera live streams, there are some really special things happening online right now.
They might not cure your fear or confusion, and they won’t permanently stop you from getting restless if you’re quarantined. I think the important thing here, and the reason for the title “Feel OK,” is that we are trying. You don’t have to feel amazing all the time. All we can do is just hang on together and do our best, whatever that means to you.
Before we get started, a few suggestions on how to make the most of your online activities. The point of each of these is to allow you to enjoy your time in isolation as much as possible, and keep yourself happy. You would normally schedule time for a class, a tour, or a concert, right? I challenge you to maintain that idea when you get online
Treat each of these like an outing. Choose a theme- if you prefer museums, you could plan a tour across the world. Attending a virtual opera? Pour yourself a nice drink and relax. Each of these is an opportunity to make this time a little better, so it will be as good as you make it.
Study Swedish (of course)
I have to start with our personal favorite over here at Swedish for Professionals, and of obviously that’s our new online classes. When we started working from home, our first concern was how we could best support our community as they migrated online for work and school as well. Our new shorter, isolation-friendly courses begin soon, and you can sign up for Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced courses.
Visit the Zoo
The Cincinnati Zoo in the US is home to the world-famous Fiona the hippo, and they have launched “Home Safaris” via Facebook Live, each weekday at 3pm EDT. Each Home Safari is kid-friendly and will highlight one of the zoo’s residents for about 15-20 minutes. If you don’t have Facebook, they’re also posting each Safari on their website.
Gyms are perhaps the worst environments for social distancing, so naturally many of them are now closed. To help people stay active, some gyms and workout apps are providing free services. Peloton is offering a 90 day free trial of their app, which will give you access to tons of free classes. If you prefer something a little more chill, the Down Dog App is now free for everyone until April 1, and free for students and teachers until July.
Visit a Museum
Virtual Museum tours are now plentiful, thanks to Google’s Arts and Culture team reconstructing them online for us to visit. There are many to choose from, but we suggest starting with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Louvre in Paris, or the Vatican Museum. You can also switch up the idea of a museum experience by touring Banksy murals on Google Street View. If you have kids home from school, these are great opportunities to stand in for regular art and history classes.
Attend the Symphony, Opera, or Ballet
If you’re a fan of the Berlin Philharmonic, or if you’re simply bored and looking for a new experience, you can redeem a voucher for free access to their Concert Hall, a collection of live performances, until March 31st. For ballet lovers or opera enthusiasts, London’s Royal Opera House has a YouTube channel full of high quality videos from dance performances such as Swan Lake or Romeo and Juliet, and opera staples like Carmen.
Stream a Broadway Show
This paid subscription, Broadway HD usually comes with a 7 day free trial, but for now, new subscribers can have a whole month free. Broadway theatres are all closed now, but you can stream the shows on iOS, Apple TV, Android, Roku, and others.
Attend a Digital Festival
Some of the options on this list are simply backlogs of performances made more widely known and available due to the virus. If you are looking for a truly live, in-the-moment experience, check out the Social Distancing Festival. The festival is a collection of live performances all on one calendar, so you can check out the schedule for yourself and choose which events to stream simultaneously with others on lockdown all over the world.
What Are We Grateful For?
All of these ideas are fun, wholesome, and lighthearted, as they should be. But of course, we’re all here for a very serious reason. If the world weren’t currently ravaged by a pandemic, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here on a Saturday considering how to provide emotional care for an entire community of language learners, but here we are.
We recently began our remote workday with a question in one of our Slack channels- “What are you grateful for today?” I have tried to hold that question in my mind each day since then. I am grateful that I’m isolated with my partner and not alone. That, this week, my mother has been sick with “just the flu” and not a more dangerous virus. That my two Italian friends, one of whom hails from hard-hit Bergamo, are here in Sweden and not there.
And also for sunshine, that my favorite podcasters are still recording even while in isolation, and that I had enough butter in my fridge to make banana bread this week.
Some of you may have already encountered this virus, or will encounter it before this is all over. Through all of this, it will be so important to remember what we can be grateful for. I can speak for the whole SFP team when I say we would love to hear what you are grateful for, here or on our social media channels, where we are enjoying every interaction with our amazing community.
Lots of love from the whole team at Swedish for Professionals.