Although there is important work still being done by medical personnel, truckers, and all essential workers, many of us find ourselves with a much different job – staying home. And while that sounds like a terribly easy job – especially for those of us with stable internet and plenty of food – it can start to be a challenge after a while. Luckily for us, there has never been a better time to be stuck safely in our homes. Even if we don’t want to spend a dime on entertainment. Here are some great ways to stay entertained in isolation.
Watch for Free
There are plenty of very bored entertainers without work right now, making free content for you to enjoy. You just have to look for it. Check out Instagram Live videos (which you can now watch on your desktop instead of your phone, without annoying comments covering your screen) of your favourite celebrities. I find Chrissy Teigen particularly entertaining but do a little exploring and you will find there is a wealth of unique content online to enjoy. Whether you like cooking (I cannot recommend Massimo Bottura, America’s Test Kitchen, NYT Cooking, and Bon Appetit enough), or Hip Hop (you HAVE to watch the battles), there is something for you on Instagram right now.
Amazon Prime Video
Although Amazon Prime Video does cost money, you can get a 30-day trial for free, and there is free content for kids to watch, even without a subscription, here.
Disney+ also has a free 7-day trial, but…that sounds like a nightmare in the making (“Here children, have access to great content, which will be taken from you in one week’s time. Probably without conflict or tears. I assume. Because I don’t understand children.”)
If you aren’t too fussed with quality or full seasons, you can often find full episodes of your favourite older shows on YouTube. Sometimes even movies. Just search “full episodes” and the name of the show. If you are learning another language, watching episodes of children’s shows in that language can be a great way to supplement your work.
Here, your absolute best option to stay entertained in isolation for free (or almost free – pay for your membership if you can) is reading or audiobooks from your fantastic local library. No, you can’t go into the branches, but much of their content is available online.
You can check out an overview of the resources they have here.
Once you install the OverDrive (or other) app, you can access e-books and audiobooks that can be – temporarily – downloaded onto your device. Some of the popular content has a waiting list, but once you get into the habit of always having some stuff on hold, you will have a pretty regular stream of amazing content available.
I love podcasts. I am not much of a music person, so podcasts (or audiobooks) are my constant companion while I cook, clean, or go for walks or jogs. There are many great podcasts available for every taste, but some ideas to get you started:
- Alberta politics: Daveberta
- Most popular Canadian podcast: CANADALAND
- My personal favourite: You’re Wrong About
- Pop Culture: Keep It! (another of my personal faves)
- Science: Quirks and Quarks (a classic!)
- Living on the land: Canadian Outdoor Survival Podcast
Play Online Games
If you don’t live with people who are into boardgames, first off – I’m sorry. That must be awful. Boardgames are what sustain me. But there are ways to create a weekly game with friends who don’t live with you. There are some apps that sometimes go on sale (or become free), but two of my favourite games are also available online for free.
This is a complex game, so I recommend watching YouTube tutorials beforehand. The interface is also a bit of a challenge at first, but once you figure it out, you will have hours of frustrating farming fun!
This is one of the most popular games out there, and for good reason. Kids can play, yet adults still find it fun, which is incredible. There are lots of games available on Board Game Arena, but SushiGo! is by far the best one.
If you have the time, taking a course in a subject you’ve always been curious about is a great way to spend your isolation. You can access courses for free from some of the best educational institutions in North America here.
If you want your education to be a little bit more experiential, you can tour some of the greatest zoos, aquariums, galleries and museums virtually right now, whether they are Canadian or international.
If your biggest challenge right now is keeping yourself entertained in isolation, consider yourself lucky. Staying home is incredibly important, and while it doesn’t make you a hero, it does make you part of the solution. Plus, with all this great entertainment at your fingertips, what is there to complain about?