Being shut in can drive people crazy.  Much of the world is or will be under some degree of quarantine, lockdown, shelter in place or social distancing.  Communicating only remotely and in ways that are often sterile and without interaction. In places like Wuhan China, where the various undoubtedly originated, to Italy people sing out the windows as a community.  In the US, and likely other places,  singing out the window in New York only gets you a F bomb . Like something out of an 80’s Eddie Murphy movie.   Watching Netflix, YouTube or other services can get old.  Here are a few things you can do online which are not work, are more personal and interactive than text, and which many who would read a science blog may have never tried. 

  • An Online Dance Party. Friday April 3RD A Live streamed DJ set “ESCAPE the CORONA” Live Stream VR DJ SET Fundraiser VR Party to fight against COVID-19 All Proceeds go to UNICEF 6 PM - 3 AM EST.  A VR headset is not required.  Turn down the lights, stand up from your computer, and dance away your cares for a while.  This one is free though the DJ’s are trying to raise donations for UNICEF.
  • Online Exercise Classes. Generally, these cost money but not all of them require any special equipment.  The infamous Peloton does not just mean an exercise bike but can even be done with just an app.  This one does cost money but as of this writing they are running a promotion for a 90 day free trial of the Peloton app
  • Interactive online Gaming. Especially if you never have tried it before. Much of this is not for children or teens and so might appeal to those 21 and up. There are many options.
    • Play Board Games Online. Can’t get up and move and don’t have anyone with you to play board games with? There are numerous services for playing online board games and tabletop games which offer text based real time interaction. Pogo offers many games such as scrabble, dominoes, and Monopoly a personal favorite of mine, and is FREE.  Hasbro has a good Monopoly app which allows for play with friends on social media. Tabletopia  has a selection of over 800 more niche games as well.  Try something different!
    • Grand Theft Auto Online: Want to have the experience of driving a million dollar supercar, do some gambling in a casino, fly a fighter jet around a city, visit night spots from night clubs to a strip joint, engage in gun running, smuggling, or counterfeiting?  Do all without breaking any actual laws? Maybe you just want to drive around because you miss it.  Try Grand Theft Auto V Online.  You will need to have an Xbox one, Play Station 4, or Gaming PC.  It is not free to play.   This game is a realistic enough simulation of a city based on Lost Angeles, California.   There are so many things to do in this game that you will never run out of things to do.    Especially if you try to explore all of them. It is the real world without consequences.  $30 US on the Steam Store for PC .
  • Zoom Party: Many people would socialize with their work colleagues.  Set up a personal Zoom account on your personal computer and invite your coworkers to have a beer, wine or whatever they like to drink or eat.  Just have a nice social chat.  Make it clear to everyone this is personal time to just hang out.  Like being at the bar around the corner so HR can buzz off.  Better yet invite them to hang out too.    One of the things many of us can miss are the many little informal interactions.  Online meetings, that are not work relate, need not be all formal.   It is key that you keep this as separate from work as possible.  Just as you should if you hang out with work friends at that bar around the corner.   If anyone you know is likely to expect “professionalism” even if you are at the bar around the corner, or a restaurant across town, don’t invite them.  We’re all at home and don’t need that kind of stress.

So, there you have it a few things to do online that are not the usual, that are interactive, and which may for a moment make you forget you can’t leave the house but for the essentials.   We may be doing this for a while people.  Might as well enjoy it.