BY: Yinka Okeowo
Even with the easing of the lockdown, it can be tough adapting to the new realities of being partially confined to your home.
Thanks to the digital world, there are many ways you can keep yourself entertained, get fitter, learn a new skill, and bond with your family. Here are 8 ways to get more stuff done with the free time you have now.
1. Yoga / exercise with the family
Yoga and exercise are very good ways to bond as a family. Both can help manage stress and build immunity to illness. You don’t have to start with serious exercise routines and super fancy acrobatic poses.
YouTube is home to tons of fun videos, whether you’re a yoga and fitness expert or just starting out. And – if you’re feeling competitive – set a timer using the Google Assistant and see which family member completes a particular routine within a set time.
You can also monitor your progress and track your fitness from your phone or smartwatch using Google Fit.
2. Catch up on your favourite music
Studies have shown that listening to music can be great for your health. Research shows that when you listen to music you like, your brain releases dopamine, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter that causes you to feel emotions like happiness, excitement and joy. Catch up with your favourite music videos on YouTube or stream your favourite songs on YouTube Music.
If you’re looking for new music to try, browse the various genres and playlists, or have a look at YouTube Music’s recommendations.
3. Stay in touch with friends
Stay connected with your friends using Google Hangouts. Beyond just text chats, you can easily have voice or video chats, one-on-one or in a group, to catch up on all that has been going on, or just hang out.
Isolating during the lockdown can be lonely and connecting to people helps reduce loneliness and increase your overall sense of happiness and wellbeing.
4. Create a schedule for the kids
Whether you are a parent working at home and/or looking after your children full-time, having some structure to the day can help keep them happy and out from under foot. Structuring their chores, school work and personal activities is simple with Google Calendar. Google Calendar lets you keep track of planned activities, set reminders so you get alerts and share calendars with other family members.
5. Capture and re-live your moments
Photos document your best memories. Right now, you are probably taking selfies or just capturing the mood with your mobile phone. With Google Photos, you are able to back up unlimited photos, saving space on your device.
Your saved photos can also be shared with friends and family using shared albums. That way, you can collaborate, organise and share moments that can be accessed in the future without being physically in touch.
You can also have fun with Google Photos by searching for pictures using emojis. A happy-face emoji will get you photos of people smiling while a birthday emoji will reveal photos related to birthdays.
6. Entertain the kids
Entertaining the kids at this time can be really demanding for parents with schools closed.
Fortunately, YouTube offers a way to help beat the boredom, and keep them learning. From Sesame Street, EVCL1, Ditty – Songs for kids, MarkAngelComedy to Akili and Me, there’s something for everyone. Plus there is the YouTube Kids app, which offers a more contained environment with more fun for kids to explore.
7. Keep a journal/ diary
Keeping a journal or diary as you observe the lockdown can actually be important for self-improvement as well as fun. Jot down important things that you would like to remember in the future.
Spend your time documenting your daily activities as well as what scares you, what interests you, what gives you hope or things to do when the lockdown is over.
Not to worry if you do not have a physical diary or journal right now, you can always download an online diary or journal from Google Play.
8. Play Games
Playing games can be a great way to relax and pass the time – and the Google Assistant can help. Simply ask your Assistant to show you some game options. You can play Dwarf Mine, Song Quiz, Akinator, Jeopardy and others. You can also play trivia quizzes, listen to jokes or basically just chat with your Assistant.