Time to yourself

Battle boredom with our top ten suggestions on how to stay informed, entertained and educated during social isolation.
By Jess Teideman April 17, 2020 Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Quench your thirst for learning
Ever wanted to improve your photography skills, learn to knit a jumper, or build a television unit? There’s a YouTube tutorial for that. Or, you could try a MOOC (massive open online course). MOOCs are free courses offered by universities, colleges and other educational institutions from around the world, on subjects ranging from artificial intelligence to understanding modern sculpture. You can do a whole course or a single subject. Find out more at gooduniversitiesguide.com.au

Socially isolate, together
You may be physically isolated, but there’s no need to lose touch with friends and family. Been putting off calling your second cousin? Now might be the perfect time to re-connect. A phone call with a cuppa might be the highlight of someone’s day and keep any loneliness at bay. Got a smart phone? You can even see as well as talk to them using Skype and Facetime or you can use messaging services like WhatsApp and social media to keep in touch.

Go on a virtual tour 
While galleries and museums are closed to the public, you can still get your art and history fix online though several of our major institutions. Visit the Australian Museum’s Capturing Climate Change exhibition or spy on animals at the Royal Melbourne Zoo, take a wander through the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, or watch a live stream of MONA’s most intriguing exhibitions Tim – all from the comfort of your home.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Tackle that to be read pile
Find you never have the time to read a book? Now you have plenty. Pick up an old favourite and revisit its familiar pages or explore a book you’ve always wanted to read. Didn’t have time to stock up on new books to read before the lock-in? From free e-books to free book delivery, the internet has you covered. Search through hundreds of free titles on the Gutenburg e-book site or bag a bargain from online bookstores, Booktopia or QBD. Australian Geographic also has a great range of educational and photographic books for every age, check out our e-store.

Become a digital volunteer
If you’re struggling to find things with which to entertain yourself and you happen to be a natural history buff, we have the perfect activity for you, and it involves making a big contribution to science. Since 2011, the DigiVol Project – started by the Australian Museum and the Atlas of Living Australia – has been determined to digitise vast natural history collections with the help of volunteers. Online DigiVol volunteers are asked to transcribe specimen labels, notebooks, field data and even camera-trap images of Aussie animals. You can volunteer for as long (or as little) as you like.

Go Green
Being confined to the house doesn’t mean you have to stay inside, and gardening is known to have many health benefits. Start a veggie patch or herb garden. Get outside and tackle those yard tasks you’ve been putting off for years. If you’re limited to a balcony, keep your space versatile and uncluttered and using self-watering pots or make kitchen garden of herbs, or even a vertical wall garden to green up your space.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Netflix and chill
Like other streaming services such as Stan, Apple Tv or Disney+, Netflix is loaded with binge-worthy content. From documentaries to murder mysteries, the latest blockbusters, TV series, and family viewing – there is a streaming service suitable for everyone. Don’t want to pay? American media organisation ‘Ted Talks’ posts video talks by experts and thought leaders in education, business, science, tech and creativity. They’re distributed free online under the banner ‘ideas worth spreading’. 

Listen hear
Tune into your favourite podcasts – or discover them for the first time. We recommend Talking Australia, which features weekly intimate conversations with extraordinary Australians. Or, since you’re at home, why not experiment with creating your own podcast using a USB microphone and free recording software such as GarageBand. You can also attend live-stream concerts, and even the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Image credit: KerrysWorld / Shutterstock

Games night, and day, and night
Dust off the board games and battle yourself or a fellow at-home-self-isolator to some competitive fun. Become a property mogul in Monopoly, a wordsmith in Scrabble or detective in Cluedo. Why not create your own family board game, with its own set of rules and instructions? Not a fan of board games? You can always challenge yourself or family with a jigsaw puzzle or playing cards.

Get moving
Don’t forget that just moving is exercising, so embrace vacuuming and gardening, and any other physical activity you can do in your home, yard or on the balcony. De-clutter your home, wardrobe and digital space. Organise, tidy and file that important paperwork. Want something more challenging try online workouts and fitness apps. Flex, tone, stretch, strengthen and meditate while using a library of workouts using your phone, tablet, TV or web browser.