Five uplifting ways to keep mind and body active during quarantine

— by Alexia Economou


Photo via New York Times

As Winston Churchill once said, ‘It is a shame to waste a good crisis.’ Self-isolation gives us time to step off the treadmill of life. Time to reflect on where your life is at the moment, assessing or re-assessing goals and dreams; or simply to try out something new. There can be unknown positives that are coming from this period of uncertainty – we are just unaware of them, yet. 

Here are five easy ways to make the best of this crisis. I hope that some will inspire you to keep both mind and body active, while at-home:


1. Turn quarantine into a right song and dance

By now I’m sure you have seen the Italians serenading their neighbours on their balconies, and music is indeed medicine, as the following examples show:

Virtual choirs are springing up all over with Choir!tine sessions that you can join from home. Gareth Malone has introduced an ‘at home’ choir – and Choir!Choir!Choir! recently hosted an Epic Love Song Social Distance Sing-Along on YouTube. The Sofa Singers host a free weekly online singing event and bring together hundreds of people in real time for 45 minutes of simultaneous singing.  Or join Livefulness Live a daily livestream led by a different performer every day aiming to break the world record for the number of people taking part in a singalong. 

Put on your most outrageous outfit and dance insanely around your living room – no one is literally, watching. Or join Michelle Obama, Oprah and hundreds of others at DJ D’Nice’s virtual #ClubQuarantine dance parties on Instagram Live. Debbie Allen the choreographer, producer and actor (Fame, Grey’s Anatomy) is offering a virtual dance class over on Instagram (there’s a feature about her in the New York Times). And the Royal Academy of Dance is sharing Silver Swans classes online for the over-55s.

Discover oldies but goodies by surveying the proliferation of Survival Playlists on Spotify.

Wash your hands with Gloria Gaynor and join the #iWillSurviveChallenge on TikTok @gloriagaynor. If you haven’t already heard Neil Diamond’s brilliant update of Sweet Caroline, it’s guaranteed to make you sing and cry. 


2. Get Creative

Creativity needs a little breathing space to flow, and there are plenty of creative types popping up all over social media to help get us through this down time. Margaret Atwood has recommended #molunchdoodles, the 1pm ET doodling tutorials of her friend Mo Willems, the Kennedy Centre’s Artist in Residence, or join the bullet journal brigade #bujo for all kinds of doodling inspiration. 

You can’t use the ‘no time’ excuse to avoid writing your grand memoir / novel / etc. Get started by joining a #WritingSprint on Twitter. Anyone can set up a challenge at an upcoming time and writers from around the world can author together-but-apart for the specified time allocated.

London Bakery Bread Ahead are running free live workshops at 2pm every day on Instagram Live – the schedule includes everything from hot cross buns to no-knead sourdough – and ingredients are listed on the website in advance.

While Pascal Anton, mentor on The BBC’s Big British Painting Challenge, is running live drawing and painting tutorials on his Youtube Channel.


3. Bucket-listing and Learning

Learn a new language through free sites like Babbel or Duolingo or learn to play a musical instrument now that you have the time.  

One of my favourites is the FTC (Flatten the Curve) Music Class. Learn to play the guitar from the band The Arkells on Instagram. 

Or why not expand your mind through a specially curated selection of TEDtalks. Just key in your interests and get emails of suitable (new) talks through TED Recommends.

4. Escape Through Stories

Have a book or two lying around that you have been meaning to read? A few magazines that you never got around to perusing? If you are stuck for material, Audible is offering free audiobooks during the quarantine period on Audible Stories.

This is not the time to amp-up your anxiety with dystopian epidemic novels: humour, adventure or a happy-ever-after romance is much better for escaping real life. Jael Richardson, founder and artistic director of the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) recommends Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, it’s not as dirty as sounds…

Quarantv-ing – as in quarantine tv, not Quaran TV –  has become a thing. Vanity Fair surveyed their readers for tips on the best binge-watching, if you don’t already have a list of your own. Or, partake in the explosion of cultural content being produced by stars and amateurs alike over social media. For example, the BBC is producing loads of new programming through their Culture in Quarantine programme, or as they claim, “we envisage a virtual festival of the arts … rooted in the experience of both voluntary and involuntary isolation.”


 5. Share the Love

My friend, a therapist, told me about a cabbie she saw, with a sign offering to help the elderly needing groceries, and said, ‘In order to find meaning in all of this, perhaps we will find a renewed sense of connection and be able to re-prioritise what is important in life as a result.’ Please continue to check in on the elderly, shop for the less able and share whatever you can with your neighbours in need. In a time of crisis, a little kindness goes a long way.


If you have more #Joyinthetimeofquarantine tips we would love to hear them.

We leave you with a few more heartwarming stories HERE. Stay safe.


Alexia Economou is a design and culture journalist, and regular TNMA contributor @thedesignfeedTW

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  As Winston Churchill once said, ‘It is a shame to waste a good crisis.’ Self-isolation gives us time to step off the treadmill of life.