So as the new reality of isolation and quarantine has finally kicked in, we're stuck inside trying to keep ourselves entertained and preoccupied. So much time, so little things to do. Right?

Wrong.

Our time in isolation needn't be boring, you just have to get creative. So stop twiddling your thumbs and checking the time, for I have compiled a list of the 15 best ways to spend your time in isolation to keep your brain and body preoccupied. You're welcome.


1. Learn a new language
Learning a new language has been made easy (and free) with Duolingo, an application that can be downloaded onto our phones and tablets so that we can learn on the go. As of April 2020, the app officially offers 35 fully developed language courses, ranging from Italian to Mandarin to Klingon.


2. Keep your brain calm
Did you know that consistent meditation has been linked to an improvement in heart health, blood pressure and memory? Additionally, some studies have even shown that it has the potential to slow down neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer's. Try giving it a shot for a few minutes a day. You have the time!


3. Stay connected
Who says you have to do isolation alone? With applications such as facetime, ZOOM, and Skype who all provide free video call services for pairs or large groups, you can easily host the #girlsnight you've been waiting for. Make some drinks, chuck on a Spotify playlist, and enjoy isolation together. 


4. Learn and upskill
Thanks to the internet, we are blessed with a plethora of training applications and resources at our fingertips that can keep our brains active and our resumes full. And what better time to make use of them all than now?
While I can't speak for everywhere else, the Victorian government have expanded the number of government-subsidised TAFE courses that can provide the relevant certificates in a variety of industries such as agriculture, aged care, allied health, education, and youth work.
If you only accept the best of the best, perhaps you'd prefer to check out one of the 450 short online (and FREE) courses on offer by Ivy League universities, including the likes of Harvard, Princeton and Yale. How cool is that?!
Or maybe you'd like further training in a specific skill or field? Not a worry. If your budget allows it, it might be a good idea to sign up to globally recognised online classes and courses with LinkedIn Learning, which offers training in areas such as business management, excel, and website development with WordPress.
Other online programs that showcase an impressive variety of courses include Girls Who Code, Upskilled, and MasterClass.


5. Take a tour
Times are evolving, and in order to keep up with the current crisis, public landmarks, national parks, and museums are taking to the internet to curb our hunger for travel. Virtual tours are becoming increasingly popular amongst some of the worlds busiest public tourist locations such as the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Louvre, Machu Picchu, or Melbourne's very own National Gallery of Victoria. The best part? Absolutely free, and no lines. 


6. Become a Masterchef
Ugh! Those Facebook photos of everyone cooking is so annoying! But damn, the food looks good. Maybe we should try it? Well if you do, I recommend tuning in to one of the hundred cooking tutorials on Instagram's IGTV feature. If you want my advice? Try searching up Massimo Bottura, an Italian chef/god who's restaurant in  Modena, Italy has been sitting in the top 5 at the World's Best 50 Restaurants Award since 2010.
Wanting a more personalised cooking experience? The Nonna we never had is now offering virtual (live) masterclasses to master the art of pasta making. Seriously, just take my money right now.
If none of those tickle your fancy, just do an old fashioned google search for any delicious meals or baked goods you have in mind. The world is your oyster.


7. Bob Ross who?
What do we love more than getting a little crafty? Doing it drunk. And thanks to companies such as Cork and Canvas or Cork and Chroma who’s popular studios based around Melbourne made this activity famous, we can still do this virtually! For a fee, they're offering the guided paint classes that we all know and love but from the comfort of our own homes.


8. Become a bookworm
Thanks to quarantine, many bookstores and online websites are offering discounts and even free shipping on many of our favourite books. And now that you have copious amounts of time at home, what better way to spend it than getting stuck into an enthralling novel?
Additionally, there is a wide range of Instagram accounts (I believe they're called Bookstagrams) that act as an online book club for you to become a part of. Find an account that suits you, and join the community in the comments section to discuss your thoughts and feelings about your latest read from the comfort of your own home. My top picks?


9. Podcast
Or maybe you’re not a big reader? Not a worry. Listening to a podcast is a great way to keep the mind occupied, and can be done in conjunction with another activity. The best part? They're absolutely free and there’s a genre for everyone. Whether it's true crime, celebrity and pop culture, or sports, you'll find something that grabs you.


10. Get fit
You’re probably sick of hearing about it by now (and seeing it on all your Instagram stories), but there’s a good reason why we’re all doing it! Sedentary behaviour and low levels of physical activity can negatively affect an individual's physical and mental health, and now that local gyms have been rendered dangerous and indoor quarantine has been put in place, it's important to find other alternatives to get your body moving.
Whilst searching the net for body weight/floor exercises is always a super easy option, why don't you take advantage of everything currently on offer!
Online fitness training program Keep It Cleaner (KIC) has launched a free virtual gym on their Facebook page that runs every Wednesday and Friday at 7am by owners Stephanie Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw.
In an effort to make fitness a daily habit, Nike has announced that its premium version of the Nike Training Club is now free, which boasts a library of over 185 workouts, ranging from intense body workouts to yoga.
Or you could watch one of the 2000 fitness tutorials available for free on ClassPass, an online fitness app that allows you to stream workouts from their partner studios around the world. Try your hand at HIIT, yoga, boxing, and more. All you have to do is sign up.
I will also be posting my own full-body fitness routine sometime in the following weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!


11. Spring clean
No need for us southern hemisphere gals to wait until September to begin our annual bout of spring cleaning. Take the time to go through your closet and get rid of all those items of clothing that you've convinced yourself that you'd wear but never did and donate them to your local thrift shop! Another idea? Declutter your shelves and belongings, dust a little, and completely tidy up and organise everything. Become the Marie Kondo that you’ve always wanted to be.


12. Give it an update
So we've talked about organising and cleaning your house. Now it's time for an update. Move the couch around, paint a wall, buy a new pot plant, and try your hand at Feng Shui. They say change is as good as a holiday, and now that the airports are closed, I guess this is the next best thing.


13. Work with a view
This one is for all of the essential workers out there that don't quite have the same view from their two-bedroom home in Werribee as they did in their office at work. Did you know that many of the world's public hot spots are offering live streams? Well if you didn't and now you're interested, try checking out the live feeds coming from the Trevi Fountain, San Diego Zoo, Palawan Island, and Sydney's Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It's the next best thing to working with a view.


14. Spoil yourself with a little TLC
Self-care is important! It improves productivity, manages stress, and gives our self-esteem the little boost it needs. What activities fall under the self-care umbrella? Anything that allows your mind and body to relax and make you feel good from the inside out. This can include an at-home manicure, a quick jog, or dancing around the house in your underwear. Need more ideas? Check out a post I wrote last year where I go into detail about my own self-care regime. 


15. Netflix and Chill
Or Stan and chill. Or Disney. Or you know what? Just get stuck into any movie or TV show on offer over on the various new streaming services that have been made available to us. Or better yet, download Netflix Party and enjoy watching it with some friends. Tiger King, anyone?


Or you know, you can do what I do and download the Sims4 for $15 and play for 12 hours straight. Your choice. 
- Loz 

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