As the new reality of living through a pandemic sets in, people are searching to temper the deluge of medical information and intimidating headlines with quarantine entertainment.
While typical stress relief activities may be harder to orchestrate during a time of mass social distancing and sheltering in place, there are a number of ways to steer clear of coronavirus news and enjoy the time at home.
Between new Netflix series, mass gaming movements, and quarantine social media content, you can find small ways to make the most of social distancing.
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The novel coronavirus is no longer culturally novel — it’s been several weeks since schools and non-essential workplaces began to close down, and many are settling into what’s become a new normal of social distancing. In lieu of face-to-face contact, people around the world have developed new ways to stay connected and still have fun, even while adhering to public health guidelines.
From bingeing Netflix series like “Tiger King” to celebrating birthdays with family to getting really passionate about baking bread, we’ve compiled some suggestions on how to entertain yourself — and still hang out with your friends — while quarantined.
Meet up with your friends virtually while playing games together, whether it’s playing a board game like “Settlers of Catan” online or meeting up with pals in virtual worlds.
“Animal Crossing: New Horizons”/Nintendo
Virtual worlds provide a unique opportunity to hang out with your friends while still maintaining proper social distance. Recent release “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is a hot topic at the moment, with plenty of gamers causing mischief while visiting their friends’ islands via Nintendo Switch Online. Others are using the game to celebrate milestones, holding weddings and graduations within the game itself after they were canceled in the real world. Turning towards games like the nostalgia-laced “Club Penguin” can help relieve stress and mitigate anxiety while distancing as well.
It might be a good time to get into the Minecraft renaissance as well, or pick up teenage favorite Roblox — even if high schools aren’t actually planning to hold graduation ceremonies in the game.
Of course, you don’t have to focus on video games alone — Business Insider Associate Editor Juliana Kaplan played an online version of popular board game Settlers of Catan while chatting with friends over a Zoom call.
There are plenty of other games that you can play online as well, ranging from classics like UNO! or Monopoly to fun, vulgar games to play with friends like Cards Against Humanity to mobile games like “Mario Kart Tour.” Feel free to get back into classics like “Words With Friends” or “Scattergories” as well.
Quarantine also affords the perfect opportunity to get into cooking by putting pantry staples to good use and testing out more ambitious recipes.
Flickr/erin & camera
With many no longer commuting into work, there’s more time available to spend in the kitchen. Check out some tips from celebrity chefs on how to stock up your pantry and put it to good use, as well as this guide on how to leverage your pantry staples into a delicious pasta dish. If you’re feeling like learning a new skill, think about taking an online pasta-making class from an Italian grandma, and if you’re looking for more inspiration, tune in to this Michelin-starred chef’s nightly cooking streams.
If you’re looking for a way to cut down on one staple at the store, you can hop on the bread-making trend. Check out these baking hacks if you’re looking to up your bread — or cake, or cookie, or any other baked good — game. That being said, feel free to fall back to your trusty microwave as necessary, and use these tips to doll up a classic brownie mix dessert when you need something reliable.
Make efforts to stay connected with your friends using video chatting platforms to throw parties and just hang out.
While you can’t celebrate birthdays or throw parties in person, use video chatting platforms like Zoom or Google Hangouts to hang out with your friends in groups. Insider Digital culture reporter Kat Tenbarge put together a guide to hosting the perfect Zoom party while socially distancing, featuring tips on how to manage the conversation and even pick out the perfect background.
Of course, it’s still possible to meet people (via services like QuarantineChat) and even strike up romance while isolated. Digital culture fellow Hanna Lustig went through several lightning-fast dates on the fan-made Instagram “Love is Blind” spoof “Love is Quarantine,” but even if you can’t find a virtual dating show to join, there are plenty of other ways to date while maintaining distance.
Plenty of others are turning to services like Google Hangouts, which lets you video chat with friends using your Google account, and Houseparty, another video chatting app popular with teenagers that allows you to play games in-app, to connect with people.
As NYC healthcare workers battle the coronavirus, 2 top Mount Sinai execs are reportedly waiting out the crisis in their Florida vacation homes28 painfully repetitive photos of New Yorkers’ commutes show why many probably aren’t missing them right nowMeet Nintendo developer Katsuya Eguchi, who created Animal Crossing after being inspired by the loneliness of moving to a new city, making it the perfect social distancing companion
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