Social Distancing Activities

This is a page to help keep track of various things you can do to stay occupied whilst social distancing or self-isolating. These will include free activities as well as various offers that companies/ websites put on to help. We also have a page full of welfare advice with some health-based activities listed too.

If you come across anything that you think we should add, please email vp.ustinovgcr@durham.ac.uk. Thanks to Rayan Rachedi, Bryony Rogers, Diana Martinez-Trejo, Jess Craig, and others for their suggestions.

 

Hobbies

  • Free online art classes: Until March 31st, use discount code SELFCARE to get free  online arts classes brit.co/learn.
  • Fender Play https://www.fender.com/play, Fender is offering 3 months of free online guitar lessons
  • Fallen London: A free online text-based browser game at https://www.fallenlondon.com. It features a gothic world full of horror and mystery and contains many hours of content (spaced out with an action cooldown system).

Culture

 

  • Podcasts: some recommendations (courtesy of Jess Craig)
    • Radiotopia from PRX: https://www.radiotopia.fm/
      • 99% Invisible – ‘all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about’, largely about the unseen dimensions of architecture and design
      • Criminal – stories about crimes, handle thoughtfully and sensitively
      • Ear Hustle – a podcast about incarceration, which is partially recorded inside San Quentin State Prison
    • This American Life: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/These are the people that made Serial – Season 1 (which re-examines the evidence in a murder case and trial) is particularly gripping.
    • Exactly Right: https://www.exactlyrightmedia.com/
        • This Podcast Will Kill You – an epidemiology and ecology podcast
        • The Fall Line – examines cold cases among the marginalised communities of the Southeastern United States, hosted by a professor and a therapist
    • You can also browse your favourite platform out of Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Youtube (some people record video as well as audio), Stitcher (on the App Store and Google Play) to find more.
    • Fiction Podcasts (courtesy of Connor Armstrong). All are availabe through Spotify as well as other places.
      • Wolf 359: https://www.wolf359.fm/. Set on a space station, a crew of three deal with emergencies, search for aliens and try to work out why they were actually sent there.
      • Ars Paradoxica: https://www.whisperforge.org/arsparadoxica. Dr. Sally Grissom discovers time travel when she accidentally sends herself back to the 1940s. Stuck there, she is forced to make the best of things whilst dealing with shadowy government agencies and The Cold War.
      • DUST: https://podbay.fm/podcast/1482669176, a series of Sci-Fi short stories exploring how we deal with technology and what it means to be human.
      • Welcome to Night Vale: https://www.welcometonightvale.com/, a radio station in a small American town where the everyday life is bizarre. Featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.
      • The Bright Sessions: https://www.thebrightsessions.com/. A podcast following the therapy sessions of young people with special powers.
      • Victoricity: https://www.victoriocity.com/. A murder mystery comedy set in Even Greater London, a colossal city in a steampunk victorian world.

 

Exercise:

  • Team Durham is recommending the workouts video of coach Joe Wicks: every morning, you will find a 30min workout session on Joe’s YouTube channel. This is originally targeted at kids but suitable for everyone who would like to get some light exercise and you do not need any equipment! For more details, have a look here: https://www.thebodycoach.com/blog/pe-with-joe-1254.html
  • Free apps for yoga and physical activites: Until April 1st, through https://www.downdogapp.com/. Includes yoga, HIIT and barre

 

Mental Health

  • Lists of free mindfulness apps at can be found on articles here and for meditation, here. Some of these have paid-for options or advertisements but the articles explain what is free.
  • The Sanvello mental health app is currently free to help people improve their wellbeing during the outbreak.

 

Academic and Learning

FutureLearn offers hundreds of online courses taught by professionals from universities and specialist organisations, many of which are totally free! They cover a wide variety of interest areas and some take only a few hours to complete, while others might take a few hours over a period of a few weeks. Right now, you can even do a course on ‘COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus’ with London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Class Central is offering a collection of free online courses from the Ivy League Universities on a range of subjects! These look to be longer-term commitments than the Futurelearn courses, and require a few hours of work a week.

The Internet Archive in San Francisco has opened a digital collection of 1.4 million books which can be accessed anywhere in the world, until at least 30th June.

OpenCulture has all kinds of free resources in culture and education, including schooling resources (for exasperated home-schooling parents!), including films, eBooks, audio books and online courses.

  • Language learning:

There are lots of language apps you can download that will offer both free and premium (paid) services, such as Duolingo, Babbel, Mondly, and Memrise, and you can often find videos on YouTube too.

Duolingo has a series of podcasts to help improve listening and comprehension, but they are currently only available in French and Spanish: https://podcast.duolingo.com/

  • Fluent in 3 Months:

A website run by Benny Lewis, who believes in ‘language hacking’ to learn languages faster and easier. You can get some of the resources on his website for free, and some are paid: https://www.fluentin3months.com/

 

For Families/ Children