Following the government’s announcement of a road map to relieve lockdown measures, everyone is desperate to get out. However, we’re not quite there yet. Many places are still closed, so you may be wondering whether there is anything other than watching Netflix alone.
Here are some safe and fun options.
Stay Fit & Mindful
Rather than going to the gym, try some online sports, whether offered by the University or local clubs, or through YouTube videos like Joe Wicks. You could try anything, whether its dancing, fitness, martial arts or just walking with a friend, there is something you can try. This is well-known to have positive effects on your mental and physical well-being, as well as your studies, just see the UoM’s Six ways to wellbeing for ways to strengthen healthy habits.
There are also lots of calming ways to stay relaxed and mindful during stressful times, from herbal teas, to yoga, to meditation. You may be thinking “why would I want to try that?”. Well, these activities allow you to unwind and stretch after a hard day working as part of the ‘computer community’ that COVID-19 has generated. Without exercises, you may feel more stressed or find tensions and aches across your back or neck. As a result, it is a good idea to ensure you are physically exercising and keeping your brain as acrobatic as possible.
Watch an online gig or theatre show
Despite the lack of in-person socialisation, there is no need to miss out on theatre or concert performances this year. National Theatre live, Theatre Weekly, and lots of other companies have continued to release content. Other shows may be streamed from local venues too, so be sure to check out any productions close to you. In terms of concerts, there are more online opportunities than ever! Try Universe or Ticketmaster UK, YouTube livestreams and more.
There are also lots of singing societies (including UoM) you could join, some of which enable you to sing over the internet. If you’d prefer to sing with friends, then try singing in a zoom call with a friend, or write a song.
Write or make something
Whether you are a painter, illustrator, novelist, writer, or filmmaker, you could always try to create something challenging and fun. Join a club like TACS, collaborate, or do it alone, there are lots of ways to entertain yourself through the art of creativity. This is a great way to unwind at the end of a hard day.
Whilst volunteering is difficult this year, many charities and companies are still offering online volunteering experiences. For instance, the Zoological Society of London created a webcam identification system, where you volunteer to tag animals. Programmes like this are an invaluable way of spending time and helping others.
Online Book Clubs
Societies like The English Literature Society and Warped offer many opportunities to be involved in a variety of book clubs. From online readings, audiobooks and movie adaptations, you can access another world through literary wonders.
Listen to a podcast or further your knowledge
There are many podcasters that would love for you to give them a listen on the Fuse FM team. Additionally, there are educational, health, creative, and historical podcasts all over the web, ready for a like-minded student to listen to. Perhaps try ‘In Our Time’ or ‘You’re Dead To Me’ podcasts from the BBC. Alternatively, places like TED offer an interesting range of educational or leisurely riddles, lectures and investigations, for all interests.
If you would prefer something more specific, companies like FutureLearn offer free online classes which allow you to gain study skills, learn about a particular topic of interest and participate in an online community as you go through the tasks. You can even get a certificate from the course if you pay an added fee.
Whether you are tired of pasta bakes and ready meals, or you just want a new recipe, try out a new cuisine! You could try a takeaway, or cook your own food. Either way, it would be an interesting way to bring variety to your food palette. Websites like Delish and BBC Food are a good way to get started.
Play video games
Whilst not everyone has a gaming console, many phones offer a large variety of games. Head to the app store and there are games recommended for any age group or interest. UoM also has many gaming societies, for e-sport, video games, role-playing games, or board game fans. These are great to pass time, but just remember to take a break from the screen after a while.
Tour museums or art galleries
Thanks to modern technology, you have a database of culture and heritage at the tip of your fingers. You can ‘travel’ the world by visiting the largest museums and art galleries, and their online displays.
Why not create or join a debate club, where you can discuss ideas of social justice, regulations, and more. This is an especially good idea for people interested in political, journalistic or other outgoing careers.
Online cheese and wine nights
If it’s boozing that you miss, have a cheeky night in and join a club, or a group of friends, in a wine and cheese (or chocolate) night. Alternatively, for those avoiding alcohol, you could try a mocktail.
Join a new society
Whether you chose to get involved in societies that are educational, like language or culture societies, or you join clubs that allow you to simply have fun, you will definitely find a match within UoM for you, and if not, you can create your own society for other people to join.
Watch live webcams
Many zoos are now providing animal lovers with an intimate webcam experience with their animals. This is a fascinating way to get back to the zoo and see the world’s natural wildlife up close. Some examples of this include San Diego Zoo, Houston Zoo, or The Smithsonian’s National Zoo, but remember to have patience, animals have a mind of their own, so they might be off-camera at certain points of the day.
Try a new musical instrument
Whether you would like to rekindle your relationship with an instrument you abandoned as a child, or you just want to try something new, the practice of learning an instrument is a great way of spending your time and learning to develop as a musician. All you need is a bit of patience and dedication, and soon you will be a pro.
Remember, that despite the nearing end of lockdown, it is important to continue to cultivate your mind and take care of your body.