The sudden instruction to remain at home may have sounded like a treat to many a mere few months ago. But now, it is part of a collective nightmare the entire world is experiencing. To a lucky few, it has so far only meant completing their work from home while receiving their regular income. To students it has meant total uncertainty and braving the new world of full-time online learning. To many unlucky ones, it has meant either loss of employment, or no change at all as they continue to go to work under circumstances that present a risk to their lives and the lives of the people they live with and meet.
This disruptive reality has created a conversation around the different ways in which people can cope with the inability to leave their homes freely, socialize to a healthy degree, and do their jobs normally. The daily habits that once filled our lives are no longer available or strongly advised against.
And yet, life must somehow go on, even in the confines of homes and the absence of family, friends, and sometimes work and education.
While it may not be easy to cope with the uncertainty of the situation, maintaining one’s mental and physical health, and filling one’s time with activities that can distract from or alleviate the worries that come with living through a global pandemic, is healthy or possibly even necessary.
For the benefit of our readers stuck at home, Egyptian Streets has compiled a list of things you can do from home or in isolation to cope with the current restrictive reality. Most of the suggestions below are activities you can do for free and are accessible in Egypt, though the majority of them require a computer or smart device and internet access.
While it is difficult to maintain your regular rate of productivity in the current climate, some may see a silver lining in the extra time at home: an opportunity to gain or build on skills.
1. Learn a new language
Whether your job requires you to communicate with co-workers and clients abroad, you love to travel, or you’ve simply always dreamed of learning a language you love the sound of, there are many reasons why an opportunity to learn a new language could be an enticing propsition. The internet now offers a variety of applications as well as websites that offer language classes and resources, often free of charge. The most popular and highly-rated applications for this purpose are DuoLingo, and Babbel, and Rosetta Stone, and among the many popular websites are Open Culture, Mango, Busuu, and Learn a Language.
2. Take an online course
Aside from languages, there are many skills, sciences, and subjects that can help you develop yourself and reach your full personal, professional, and academic potential. If you have such ambitions, there are many highly recommended platforms that provide free online courses in a wide range of subjects ranging from geometry, to digital marketing, to sociology, and much more. The most popular websites for this purpose are Coursera and edX, both of them platforms that gather free online courses offered by universities around the world for free. Another successful and recommended platform that offers free online courses is Khan Academy, which started out as a place to learn school-level mathematics, but has since widened its range of courses and levels of study.
3. Take up an art or a craft
Handicrafts and artistic hobbies are an excellent outlet to those with creative tendencies, and often to those prone to anxiety. Knitting, crochet, origami, jewellery-making, embroidery, painting, sketching, and scrapbooking are all examples of arts and crafts whose materials are relatively easy to find and can be learned through YouTube tutorials available to anyone with internet access. One of the advantages of arts and crafts is that they can often be done while watching a film or listening to music, audiobooks, or podcasts.
4. Reflect on your career path
The pace of some workplaces has slowed since COVID-19 precautions have caused operations to be stopped, suspended, or cancelled. This has given many the opportunity to pick up neglected thought processes and reflect on forgotten plans. This can provide a chance to consider one’s professional life, whether one is satisfied with their position, their workplace, their field, and their performance. Being swept up in the day-to-day tasks of work can be a hindrance to considering your professional future, and the lockdown can allow you the brain space to make up for that.
5. Pick up a healthy habit…
…or kick an unhealthy one. If you’re not in the habit of drinking enough water or having breakfast in the morning, being at home can give you the space and time to start doing that. If you’re a heavy smoker or are far too reliant on unhealthy energy drinks, you have the chance to take yourself off these habits while you’re in the comfort of your home.
While self-development is a priority to many, and they are able to make use of their time at home, others may still be overwhelmed by the pressures of work or the worries caused by the global pandemic. Finding the right kind of entertainment can be the way to go for many of those people.
6. Chip away at your movie and TV watch-lists
Have you constantly been hearing about the new season of Money Heist? Did the news reach you that Community is now on Netflix? Did you miss a good show last Ramadan that you’ve been hoping to find the time to catch up on? Perhaps now you have a chance to chip away at the undoubtedly long list of films and TV series you’ve had a hankering to watch.
7. Get into podcasts
Essentially the new version of radio, listening to podcasts is a great way to pass the time, and it can be the perfect accompaniment to doing house chores, doing arts and crafts, or even falling asleep. Streaming podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Stitcher or most other available podcast players is free, and the variety of available topics is practically endless: news, learning, mental health, comedy, general knowledge, economics, fictional stories, and much more.
8. Virtually attend or visit parks, zoos, cultural events and museums
Since countries began to impose stay-at-home orders, the internet has been flooded with news of cultural entities providing free online tours and views for everyone stuck in self-isolation. Whether for the entertainment of your children or for your own, you can visit remote tourist destinations, museums, touristic sites, national parks, and zoos without leaving your couch.
9. Pick up books you’ve always wanted to read
The to-read lists of bookworms get longer and longer during busy times of being out and about. But whether your shelves are stocked with volumes you have been dying to dive into, or you’re a reading novice and want to start getting into the habit, you can use this time to pick up the books you’ve been thinking of reading but haven’t had the time. Bonus if you manage to get the e-Book versions of them so you don’t have to leave the house to buy a hard copy.
10. Get to know new genres of music
The daily grind often leads us to turn to familiar music that doesn’t take us out of our comfort zone. But from home, you can begin to explore new albums or genres you haven’t had the chance to explore so far. Using YouTube, music streaming services such as Anghami and Spotify, you can find new music you’ve never had the chance to listen to before. You can also take extra time to discover and support small local bands or musicians from your area, and create a list of gigs you’d like to go to when all this is over.
Stay tuned to our pages to see Part 2: Physical Health, Mental Health, and Relaxation and Part 3: Families & Relationships and Catching Up.