The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it a sudden pause to the lives we had been leading earlier: heading to work, eating out at restaurants, going on trips, or watching movies with friends. Instead, we’ve been confined to our homes for the past few months to practice social distancing and keep ourselves safe from contracting or spreading the virus.
These measures are not in vain, of course. In the coming months, social distancing is going to be critical to flattening the curve. To adapt to this new normal, several of the essential services that we used to step out for, such as work, or school, or grocery shopping now have online options. However, us being social beings, it’s safe to say we are missing the more social or entertaining experiences too.
As we eagerly look forward to the day we can safely go outside and indulge in these experiences again, we can do the next best thing in the meantime: bring these experiences home. The technology today has made it possible for us to connect with each other remotely and thus bridge the distance. Here are 5 ways in which you can use technology to recreate outside experiences, at home:
Movie Streaming Parties
Heading to the movies seems to be a plan that will be on the backburner for quite some time now, but for those wanting to watch a movie with friends, there’s still a way out. There are several streaming tools that allow multiple people to watch the same movie simultaneously.
The most popular one is the very rightly-named Netflix Party. It’s a free Chrome extension that you can share with your friends having Netflix accounts so you can all watch the movie at the same time.
These tools automatically sync video playback so that everyone is watching the same bit, along with real-time group chat (message/voice/video) options. All you need are some snacks to go with the movie, and you’re set. What’s more, you can even use it to watch sports matches together.
A key highlight of night-outs on the weekend used to be the karaoke, it was the one place where even bathroom singers could shine. Worry not, you can still plan a fun karaoke night with your friends even if you all are miles apart in quarantine. Quaraoke, as the Wired calls it.
All you got to do is make use of one of the streaming options mentioned above, or any video conferencing tool for that matter, and create a playlist of karaoke videos if needed.
There are also various karaoke apps available, such as Smule and Singa, that can let you collaborate with others online and sing together to songs of your choice. And don’t just go vanilla with the karaoke, you can even make it a theme night, throw on some party wear and probably make your toothbrush your pretend microphone. The whole point, after all, is to have fun.
Virtual Fitness Classes
Finding the motivation to get up and move about can be hard while being indoors for long, however that is exactly what makes exercise all the more important. We need to get adequate exercise to look after our physical health and give our bodies a break from all the sitting around. And although you cannot visit gyms for a while, you can easily get a good workout from the comfort of your own home.
There are hundreds of workouts that you can follow on Youtube depending on your preference, all you need to do is search. There are also several apps that offer personalized fitness workouts, yoga classes and nutritional advice, such as Cult.fit and Daily Yoga among others.
If exercising alone sounds boring, the streaming extensions can come to your rescue again. Find a workout or Zumba routine you like, share the link with your friends and get going at it together. This way, even on days you feel like backing out, you have your friends to motivate you.
Have a Game Night
Recreate the old-school game nights with your friends with the help of video-chat or apps. You could organize a quiz or trivia night with friends or family on video call by picking questions from QuizzoQuestions or Trivia Questions Now. For the ones wanting to test their drawing or imagination skills, you could play multi-player Pictionary online with the help of websites such as Sketchful, Skribbl and Drawize. There are also dedicated apps for the card or board games we all love, such as Ludo, Uno and Monopoly. The House Party app simulates a house party in principle by letting you connect with your friends through video chat, meet their friends too, and play various fun games at the same time.
Travelling to new places, visiting museums and famous monuments used to be something we all loved to indulge in. Although this does not seem to be very feasible in the near future, you can still have a virtual tour of these to brighten your days as you social distance at home. Google Arts and Culture offers a 3-D virtual journey of some of the most breathtaking museums and famous sites of the world. Experience how it feels to walk through those giant corridors and gaze at all the exhibits, right from your couch.
Skyline Webcams lets us have a live view of famous landmarks and cityscapes across the world. You can have a look at what’s going at any point in time with these webcams that have been set up at popular destinations such as the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, a beach in Maldives or even the watering hole in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park.
This list is just the tip of the iceberg, there are scores of other things that you can leverage technology to make the best of this time, such as learning new skills or pursuing hobbies. While many of these are just substitutes and may not be as enjoyable as the real experience, this is the best we can do to look after ourselves and stay connected with each other until we put the pandemic behind us.