I made a list of things I might want to do, and pretty soon it grew into something I figured might be useful to share with friends. Here you go!
Chilling out when the stress gets to be too much:
- My husband Greg got me hooked on this wildly charming YouTube channel called Doggie Corgi. Every video is just peaceful music and an animation of a corgi having a day with his friends. There’s an Instagram, too. This one is my favorite:
- I use the Calm app almost daily. There are stories to fall asleep to, meditations, and music. It’s wonderful. A lot of their stuff is free right now.
- Another app I love is Insight Timer – if you dig bells with your meditation, I think this app has the best tones (and intervals!).
- A great resource if you just want something on the screen, is the 4k Relaxation channel on YouTube. I actually use these often, when my anxiety gets bad. One of my go-to’s is Pacific Northwest Coastal Oregon. If you use the search bar for the channel, and put in “hike”, you will get a list of virtual hikes. This might sound strange, but it’s incredibly peaceful. Try it. You might think that nothing can beat a real hike, and you’re right, real hikes are the best. But this is a surprisingly awesome alternative when you’re stuck at home.
- Greg also sent me this YouTube video of Joe Hisaishi conducting a symphony (and choir) performing all the music he’s written for Studio Gibli movies. It’s beautiful.
- I like this video – it’s a river where you can see and hear the fish moving around.
Going places without going places:
- Check out the YouTube channel 4k Urban Life. They have gorgeous videos of places all over the world! Just pick a place and put it on the screen.
- There is also amazing scenic drives.
- Take a virtual tour of a museum. Here’s twelve you can start with.
- My friend Llyra shared this YouTube live feed of the cherry blossoms blooming at the University of Washington campus.
- I’m the geography dork who still loves Google Earth.
- You can watch bald eagles do their thing all day.
Books & eBooks:
- Among the many options for buying books online (I imagine you don’t need a list of those), there’s also downloading all the classics for free at Project Gutenberg.
- Don’t forget your local public library, which likely still has online services working. You can login to your account using your library card number, and download books using Libby.
- If you have an eBook reader (Kindle, Kobo, Nook, etc.) and want to learn more about expanding your ebook horizons, check out Mobile Read Forums. Lots of great information about buying, using, and troubleshooting different types of eBook readers.
- My favorite app for managing my hoarder’s collection of eBooks is Calibre. You can use Calibre to reformat Kindle books so that they’ll work on other types of readers, which is really helpful if you have a big Kindle library but want to use something like a Kobo (I love my Kobo Forma).
- Open Culture has a long list of free eBooks.
- Most people know that Audible exists; it’s Amazon’s audio book company. Many people don’t know that Libro.fm exists, a different company where you get to choose a favorite independent bookstore, and all your audio book purchases through libro.fm benefit your chosen store. The Libro.fm app is very similar to Audible’s app, I love it. It’s worth noting that I’ve had excellent customer service from both companies.
- My favorite audio book so far has been As You Wish, by Cary Elwes. It’s a memoir of his time shooting The Princess Bride, and his stories are funny and heartwarming. If you want other ideas, you can do Google searches for things like, “Best Audio Books of 2019”, etc, and that will give you a jumping off point to all kinds of “Best of” lists. There’s a lot out there.
- My go-to’s for comfort in difficult times are Alan Watts and Pema Chödrön. Pema’s books are read by her, I really love Getting Unstuck. Many of Watt’s titles are recordings of lectures. My favorite book of his is The Wisdom of Insecurity, but my favorite Audible title from him is Out of Your Mind.
- You can find out more about Great Courses on their website, but the idea is that they’re supposed to be college-level courses that anyone can take. Years ago they used to be pretty expensive, but you can find the lectures from many Great Courses on Audible. I’ve found all the ones I’ve tried to be well made and interesting. A particularly good one is Writing Creative Nonfiction.
- You can find tons of free audio books that are in the public domain at LibriVox. My good friend Clarica can read you something!
- Open Culture has a list of 1,000 free audio books.
- I imagine most of you iOS users (Apple products like iPads and iPhones) know about iTunes U, an app that connects you to free courses. Lots of interesting things to take!
- I just discovered that on Amazon Prime there is a Great Courses channel, and I decided to do the free trial. The one I’m watching right now is How to Draw, and I’m enjoying it. The channel is $7.99/month after the free trial period.
- Kahn Academy is known for helping students learn math, but there are lots of other courses you may not know about. Economics, history, and astronomy & cosmology, to name a few!
- Open Culture has a huge list of 1,500 free online courses from universities. I’ve never clicked through to any of these, but the list has dozens of titles I want to check out.
- Craftsy has become Bluprint, and while I’m not a huge fan of their new layout, the content is still great. I have thoroughly enjoyed my Craftsy/Bluprint classes.
- I really enjoy Skillshare. Bluprint classes are better edited more polished, but Skillshare has a huge range of teachers, and many of their classes are much shorter in length making them easier to get through.
- I’ve had several friends tell me how much they enjoyed their Coursera courses.
- Do you know who your representatives are in the local, state, and national governments? No? Find out here.
- You could learn a new accent. Here’s how to fake a British accent.
- Got a ukulele, irish whistle, ocarina, or guitar sitting around? No? Just me? Any instrument you have at home, I can almost guarantee you that there is a YouTube video that will teach you to play it.
- Play a card game. Here are the rules to all your favorite games.
- Make a zine.
- Make a mug cake. They’re easy and tasty.
- Check out playlists on Spotify (or your favorite music service) for different decades. Try listening to the year’s hits from when you were a little kid. How many do you remember?
- It’s a good time to weed the garden.
- Clean out your inbox.
- I recently discovered that there are old Jane Fonda exercise videos on YouTube. This has been fun.