All right, I admit it. I am not an uber-creative Pinterest mom, and I have certainly felt the impact of Washington’s stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. Social distancing guidelines remain in effect through May 4th, leaving us Washingtonians adapting our work-from-home routines for school, work, and well, life.
If you’re like me, your new normal is nothing like your old one, and it is challenging to juggle business and family matters without feeling a tinge of claustrophobia. I’ve scoured the web for engaging, innovative ideas to balance my family’s Stay Home Stay Healthy initiative without feeling like we’re under house arrest.
This post outlines a list of resources I’ve found helpful while planning personal and family entertainment, education, and, most importantly, mental relaxation.
Virtual Museum Tours
While we’re not presently able to step foot into museums, a few well-known ones have posted their collections online for us to enjoy!
- British Museum in London
- Guggenheim Museum, New York
- National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
- Musée d’Orsay, Paris
- National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
- Pergamon Museum, Berlin
- Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
- Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
- J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
- Uffizi Gallery, Italy
- Museu de Arte, São Paulo
- National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
- The Louvre, Paris
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Online Concerts and Shows
Musicians and performers galore! Performers are some of the hardest hit by closures of venues and cancellations of festivals; however, there is a flip side. That is, many musicians have taken their talents right to your living room, offering free or low-cost concerts that viewers can stream online. Here are a few ways to enjoy a night at the opera or your favorite folk singer without changing out of your pajamas or leaving your couch.
Cook Something New
Everyone’s kitchen is getting extra love these days, which can be stressful when your culinary skills are subpar. I’m still waiting for my skills to reach Food Network status. Until then, practice makes perfect as they say. Learning new recipes and techniques is a great way to ameliorate just how much you miss your favorite eatery. Here are some resources for improving your chef capabilities.
Working Out, Not Missing Out
Finding the motivation to exercise is hard when your new gym is your old guest room. BUT remember, physical exercise zaps anxiety, improves mood, boosts brain health, and helps you sleep. Here are some resources to inspire you to keep moving!
- Take an online YMCA Class with more than 60 to choose from. Free sign up!
- The Peloton App free trial has been extended to 90 days, and no, you don’t need the bike!
- CrossFit has a number of free beginner workouts on their website.
- Planet Fitness is doing a daily live stream on Facebook at 6 PM Central. These are also available on demand on their YouTube channel.
- If you have a back yard or porch, get some fresh air!
Virtual Field Trips
How about visiting the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium, not tired yet? Then head over to the Great Wall of China before lunch. Virtual field trips are a great way to explore the World’s far between gems and spark the explorer’s spirit. My family is planning a Yellowstone trip post COVID after being inspired by a video tour of Old Faithful.
Get Lost… in a Good Book
How about escaping reality without involving Netflix or Hulu? It doesn’t get any better than steeping your favorite tea, wrapping up in a warm blanket, and turning the pages of a good book. Though libraries and bookstores are closed, other options exist that can get you that literary fix.
One of the most common things to see on social media these days is pictures of computer screens during virtual meetings or social hours. Social distancing does not mean social exile. With modern technology, it’s easy to stay connected to family and friends. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Facetime –all offer free video or voice calls.
- Have an online cocktail party with friends or family using Facebook Live or Google Hangouts. Zoom is not just for business these days.
Get Into a New Podcast
You can find a podcast about almost any subject. There is something for everyone – and I’m sure there is a chatroom or two where you can connect with fellow listeners to discuss the episodes. Below are a few Podcasts that piqued my interest, leading with cooking, of course!
True Crime and Scandals
Entertainment & Lifestyle
- Risk – A podcast where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public.
- This American Life – Journalistic storytelling with a new themed episode every week.
- The Moth Radio Hour – One of storytelling’s most loved Podcasts, often recorded live.
- Snap Judgement – Snap Judgement, like This American Life and The Moth, shares dynamic short stories with the addition of a great musical score.
Binge Watch Something New
Netflix and Amazon Prime have boosted their list of titles recently. Have you already watched all of their shows? Don’t panic. I have too. Below is a list of other viewing platforms you can try out.
- PlutoTV is always free and has 250+ of free channels to choose from. This has an App for Android or Apple devices, as well as working on your smart TV.
- XUMO is a free (ad-supported) service with 200 channels of movies, TV shows and kids’ entertainment.
- Sundance Now has a 30-day free trial with the code SUNDANCENOW30. This service offers thrillers, True Crime, and Dramas.
- Shudder has a 30-day free trial with the code SHUTIN. Shudder specializes in horror movies and thrillers.
- UMC has a 30-day free trial with the code UMCFREE30. UMC has the best in Black film and TV.
- Acorn TV has a a 30-day free trial with the code FREE30 and is full of British and Australian TV shows
- Crunchyroll has a 14-day free trial and access to Anime
- Philo is a cable alternative that has a 7-day free trial then it’s $20/month for 59+ channels.
- Sling TV is another Cable alternative and has two packages available
- IMDb TV is an ad-supported movie streaming services
Educational Activities for Kids
Distance learning was not on the parent duties list when my husband and I decided to have children. Finding educational activities for our boys outside of their school’s lessons is no easy feat, and I continually worry about their increased amount of screen-time. Thankfully, not all screen-time is bad screen-time. Here are a few educational activities to keep kiddos’ synapses firing and free you from screen-time guilt.
Have Fun With the Kids
Are you running out of creative ideas for the kids? I’ve got you covered! Below are three easy, activating things you can do with your children that are sure to keep them occupied for hours.
Food Delivery and Local Businesses
The stay-at-home orders have been especially hard on our local restaurants. Here are a few delivery options for when you and your kitchen need a break.
- The Spokesman Review published a full list of Spokane restaurants offering delivery or curbside pickup.
- Instacart lets you shop online and order from 15 different stores including Hen House, Target, Price Chopper, Costco and Sprouts.
- Prime Now delivers from WholeFoods.
- Uber Eats is currently offering $0 delivery fees on all orders. Uber Eats is a convenient way to order food, but you can save money by ordering directly from restaurants.
- The Rocket Market has curbside pick-up and converted its bistro case to contactless. Reach in and grab your own soup or salad!
- Imperfect Foods is a food delivery service that services the Spokane area. Not only do they deliver produce and pantry-staples every week (or every other week), but they reduce food waste and support food banks in the process.
- Pantry Fuel is a local business whose culinary team creates new healthy meals each week, then delivers them fresh and ready-to-heat-and-eat.
Be sure that your well-being is on your maintenance list. We must take good care of ourselves to better support those we love. Whether you need a break from being at home or the dispiriting news cycle, it is essential you take some time for YOU. Mindfulness guru Jon Kabat-Zinn, says “You should meditate for at least 15 minutes each day. Unless, of course, you don’t have the time, then you should meditate for 30.” We all need mental breaks. Below are a few options to help you relax and recharge.
I hope this helps! Stay healthy and well!