There’s a supposed old Chinese curse that says: “May you live in interesting times.” The times are indeed interesting, as many have had to thoroughly change their daily routines and accustom to spending a lot more time at home. At AVP, we’ve all worked remotely since Friday the 13th (coincidence? I think yes) and all our teaching has gone online during this week.
The internet is already full of good tips on how to work from home. GroupM had a nice, compact list on their Linkedin, Reaktor shared a great post in their blog about choosing the right tools and boosting community spirit and Mårten Mickos wrote a good article especially aimed for leaders but useful for everyone.
However, many people in quarantine or self-isolation might end up staying home for weeks. That’s a lot of time spent on your own, especially for those who live alone. Luckily, spring is around the corner and it’s still ok to go for a walk or a run — but that might not be the case forever if more drastic measures such as a curfew take place. Besides, if you’re feeling ill it might be a good idea to just stay indoors.
That’s why we wanted to share some tips on how to use online tools not only for working, but also for socializing and doing something fun. There’s more to life than just work, and that’s no less true in these interesting times.
Watch a movie together
Everyone and their mom’s got Netflix or similar, and what’s better than watching a movie or binging a series together with friends? Choose your flick, open Google Hangouts, Zoom (available for Aalto students and staff here) or any video chat service that supports group chats, sync your watches and hit play at the same time. You could also use Netflix’s own Party feature, but it only provides a group chat without video. We recommend choosing a movie you don’t have to follow super closely, so you’re not annoyed if and when people chat at the same time. The best part? Everyone gets the best place on the sofa.
Put together an exercise or meditation group
Even if you can’t go to the gym for some time, you don’t have to get out of shape. With a bunch of friends, you can host a circuit training session online. Get in your training gear, open a video group chat and take turns showing an exercise everyone then performs. For example, the first person can do a warmup drill, the second showcase their best push-up variations, the third lead an intense ab-workout and so on. If this sounds too strenuous, one of you can also do a guided yoga or even meditation session. Remember, if you’re feeling even a little bit sick, focus on resting and leave working out for later!
Host a cooking competition
With extra time on your hands, why not use some of it and those hands to cook something nice for yourself? And while you’re at it, you can always make it a competition with friends. As a group, choose certain ingredients you can use (for instance bread, tomato sauce and toilet paper seem to be popular now), and a deadline for a finished dish. When time’s up, everyone posts a picture of their food to the group chat. After everyone’s pictures are in, you’ll vote for the best-looking portion. If you want to vote anonymously, at least Telegram supports anonymous polls. The winner can for example choose the next ingredients. Sharing the best recipes is also highly recommended!
Play a game
There are a ton of online games available you can play with your friends, from simple browser-based two-player games to massive (but sometimes costly) downloadable multiplayer games available for example in Steam. Alternatively, you could set up a video chat and try and make some games usually played face-to-face work over video. Card games such as Blackjack where one person is the dealer could work nicely, or — by modifying the rules slightly — also games such as Alias, if everyone has a set available at home. Since life at the moment can be stressful enough as it is, we recommend passing on Monopoly.
Chat in a virtual communal living room
If you’re used to spending a lot of time with friends or family but now can’t, you could consider a virtual communal living room. Choose a service such as Discord or any other that works for you, create a chat room, share the link and then just leave it on. People can come and go, have a short chat, a cup of coffee or a long conversation. This works especially well if you have a big group of people, such as an association, and not everyone needs to be best friends. Pro tip: if you’re using Google Hangouts Meet and speak Finnish, turn on automatic captions for extra hilarity.
We all need to make adjustments in our daily lives, but there’s no reason not to try to make the best out of what we’ve got. If you have any other tips or ideas for not getting the cabin fever while avoiding getting or spreading the regular fever, let us know in our social media! Stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane.