Coping with COVID-19
Free Resources to Keep You From Going Stir Crazy During COVID-19
Here are all the free streaming services, chefs series, health, wellness, & productivity apps, tech courses, workouts, and concerts you need to help stay sane and survive the quarantine.
2020 has no chill. Except this..
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down, and a big huge Thank You goes to everyone at the front-lines: medical professionals, grocery store clerks, delivery drivers, transit and utility workers — along with so many others — who have been selflessly getting up everyday to make sure we have everything we need.
In light of these unprecedented times, many businesses and organizations have decided to make their content more accessible to those who are responsibly social distancing. Whether you’re finding yourself curious, cash-strapped or a mix of both, now is the time to dive into these free services and skills to entertain yourself, stimulate growth, and maybe even fuel your side hustle.
To avoid going stir-crazy and assist in making the most of your quarantine time, here’s a curated list of what’s available for free.
I’m updating this post regularly, so check back often for new additions. In the meantime: Stay safe, stay healthy and stay home.
A wealth of virtual tools are now available to support mental health and relaxation.
- The Sanvello app is granting all premium access for free in an effort to provide on-demand help with reducing stress and anxiety. It includes daily mood tracking, guided journeys of relevant cognitive-behavioral strategies, coping tools for specific concerns and virtual peer support.
- Ten Percent Happier presents the Coronavirus Sanity Guide: a webpage with guided meditations, podcasts, and talks focused on managing COVID-19 related stress and anxiety. Meditations include: grounding for coronavirus responders, relaxation, self-compassion, and finding ease. Talks include: hand-washing mindfully, releasing fear, and caring for others during the time of coronavirus.
- Headspace is offering free meditations, sleep content, workouts, and other tools under the Explore tab in the “Weathering the Storm” category within its app. They also launched a landing page designed with New Yorkers in mind as a result of a partnership with NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which includes various meditations for adults and children; you can access it here.
- This share is for enthusiasts with high stress jobs. One can only color so many intricate flowers and mandala affirmations in an attempt to tame tension before one feels like coloring… Bad Bunny.
- #ColorOurCollections (an initiative on part of the New York Academy of Medicine) brings us free coloring sheets and books based on materials in collections from museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions around the world.
Spark your creativity.
- If there’s ever a time to pick up a new hobby, now may be it. Skillshare is offering a free two-month Premium account promotion in partnership with Bombay Sapphire. Classes range from Calligraphy to web development.
Recommended: Productivity Masterclass — Create a Custom System that Works
- Nikon’s mission has always been to empower creators. Now they’re doing so by helping us stay inspired, engaged, and growing by providing all of their photography courses free until the end of April.
Recommended: The Art of Making Music Videos
- You can finally make your rock star dreams come true with the help of Fender! The guitar manufacturing giant announced 3 months of free guitar, ukulele and bass lessons to the first 100,000 at Fender Play.
Recommended: Nirvana — Come As You Are
- New York’s MoMA wants to keep art lovers inspired by offering a series of nine free online art courses. Topics include: contemporary and modern art, fashion, and abstract post-war paintings.
- The Guggenheim Museum just released over 200 books about modern art. You can read them online or download them in PDF or ePub formats, free of charge at the Internet Archive.
Recommended: Picasso and the War Years, 1937–1945
- Go to the museum alone or with your entire family without leaving the couch. Google’s Arts & Culture collection can take you on virtual tours of over 2500 museums around the world, from Japan’s Nagoya City Art Museum to Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
Recommended: Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Take a trip to The Vatican Museum with this virtual tour featuring Raphael’s Rooms, the Sistine Chapel and the New Wing.
Want to try a new recipe?
- Ghetto Gastro launched their Instagram series “Gastronomical Cribs.” The genius chefs behind the cooking collective take us on a tour of their friends (and our favorite chef celebrities) homes, gardens and kitchens as they share cooking demos and self-care practices. Their guests from the last two weeks of lockdown include SALT, FAT, ACID, HEAT’s Samin Nosrat, Naomi Campbell, and Kelis.
- Milk Street Online Cooking School is offering its entire line of online cooking classes available for free through April 30.
- Even if you can’t cook, wouldn’t you want to learn how to from a Michelin star chef? Massimo Bottura launched his Instagram cooking series dubbed “Kitchen Quarantine.” It airs live on his IG page daily at 11:30AM PST. So far, he’s covered osso buco, curry, hummus, and burgers.
- Massimo isn’t the only chef who has opened up his home-kitchen into a virtual classroom for our benefit. Christina Tosi, the sweet-toothed mastermind behind Milk Bar, launched a daily “Baking Club” series via Instagram. She shares an ingredient list one night, then leads a class using those ingredients at 11AM PST the next day via IG Live.
How organizations are trying to make our sheltered lives easier:
Socializing is an essential human need, so while the world practices social-distancing, is it important to fill that void in some way. Whether it be by FaceTime calls, Zoom meetings, or simply finding a way to be a bit more social while zoning out in front of a screen.
- Netflix Party: a Google Chrome extension allows you to chat, play, and pause Netflix simultaneously with friends and family remotely.
- Penguin Random House created a temporary online license, to give teachers, librarians and booksellers permission to create story time and read-aloud videos and live events, using their books.
Entertainment quaran-deals. Stream, listen, and play for free:
- HBO made 500 hours of programming available to those without subscriptions starting on Friday, April 3. These programs include nine original series, 10 docuseries and documentaries, and 20 Warner Bros. theatrical releases, including: Ballers, Sopranos, Veep, Sucker Punch, and The Case Against Adnan Syed.
- For those who subscribe to Showtime before May 3, you will find the first months subscription fee waived entirely. Series include Billions and Homeland.
- AMC launched the “We’re With You” initiative, making hours of popular programming (including The Walking Dead and Killing Eve) available on-demand in spaces across AMC, BBC America, IFC, and Sundance TV.
- It’s not Rick & Morty, but Adult Swim released the entire Samurai Jack series free to stream.
- Stream CBS All Access for free until April 23 with the code “GIFT”
- SiriusXM is offering free access to its full lineup of over 300 channels until May 15.
- Be sure to check your favorite artists’ social media platforms for updates on how they are taking this time to bring music and entertainment to their fans in alternative ways. For example, Diplo launched “Corona World Tour,” where he live streams DJ sets (via YouTube, Twitch, and Instagram) from his home five nights per week for the duration of COVID-19 shelter-in-place practices in the U.S.
- The World Health Organization and Global Citizen launched a series of online concerts called, “Together, At Home: Solidarity Sessions.” Check Global Citizen’s IG story for the daily schedule of performances. Chris Martin, John Legend, Charlie Puth, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello and Common are some of the artists who have done Instagram Lives as part of the series thus far.
- NPR started a living document updated daily of live video and audio concerts to watch during the shutdown. The list includes live streams from artists and productions around the globe including the Metropolitan Opera, Questlove, and Melissa Etheridge.
- As the famous adage goes: the show must go on. National Theatre Live in London is broadcasting a play every Thursday on its YouTube channel, at 11AM PST. The first production which aired last week was Richard Bean’s “One Man, Two Guvnors,” starring James Corden, this week featured an adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre.” Catch Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” next week.
- If you have a printer, ink in the printer, and some paper — then you can take full advantage of the print-&-play versions of these great games: Cards Against Humanity — Family Edition, Dixit, Spot It, Braintopia, Concept, and Catan to name a few.
Start your business.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has several courses from legal requirements to Business Plan 101 on its website designed to help beginners and established business owners.
Level up your tech skills.
- Pluralsight is among the world’s best online training platforms for in-demand technical skills, and they have made their entire library (of 7,000 courses) free for the month of April. #freeAPRIL
Recommended: Python for Data Analysts
- Udemy created a collection of over 250 of their highest rated & enrolled courses for free! These range from personal growth & wellness to productivity and essential tech skills.
Recommended: Amazon Web Services — Zero to Hero
Learn Mindfulness Meditation for a Calmer and Clearer Mind
- Coursera is offering 100+ courses free until May 31. Many of them are taught by Ivy league schools and tech companies like Google and Amazon. You can even earn a certificate of completion (which is usually kept behind a paywall) to spruce up your LinkedIn profile. The free courses span many categories, including mental health and well-being, career development, cloud technology, and public safety. Learn more.
Recommended: Think Again I: How to Understand Arguments from Duke University
- Google-owned Qwiklabs platform offers self-paced exercises for learning everything about Google Cloud, G Suite and Amazon Web Services. Unlike other video courses where you only watch screencasts, Qwiklabs offers you practical hands-on training so you can actually log into the console and follow along. Free for one month. Learn more.
Recommended: Cloud Healthcare API
- MOZ Academy offers free SEO training using the code “wegotthis” — valid until May 31.
Recommended: SEO Fundamentals
- freeCodeCamp is basically an open source community that helps you learn how to code. Start with the basics: HTML and CSS, then learn the programming language of your choice. They offer free coding certifications and career improvement resources so you can sharpen your professional skills at this time.
Keep your mind sharp and boost your mental performance.
- Reading is a time machine; fall in and transport yourself away with Scribd. They have offered their entire catalog of ebooks, magazines and audiobooks free for 30 days.
- Audible made a big selection of streaming audiobooks available at no charge for children and teens. You’ll find the likes of Winnie-the-Pooh, Anne of Green Gables, and even some modern titles like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. They also released the first Harry Potter book in 6 different languages.
- YouTube launched a micro portal — Learn@Home — that curates the best YouTube channels for learning science and math for children of all ages.
- Learn a new language. You can do this — you can finally take your French to another level. And now you have these learning websites and apps at your fingertips:
- Duolingo is an award-winning language learning platform that allows you to choose your own path, unlock rewards, and learn multiple languages at once. Fun!
- With HelloTalk you’re killing two birds with one stone; learn the language by chatting with native speakers.
- Take a shot at turning your tot into a polyglot with Rosetta Stone. They are offering 3 months of free language for students.
To support those forced to join the office exodus, many universities are offering free access to their courses. Stars are aligned — you have free time and a wealth of the world’s best knowledge bases accessible to you from home. Let’s make it productive!
- Class Central is offering nearly 500 free Ivy League courses on its website. When else will you get a chance to learn Computer Science through Harvard’s largest on-campus course, CS50? From the pragmatic and analytical (brush up on Moral Foundations of Politics from Yale), to the utterly esoteric (Handel’s Messiah and Baroque Oratorio), you’ll wow your friends and family on those virtual hangouts with your newfound knowledge.
- Yale is also offering its “most popular class ever” free through Coursera. The Science of Well-Being covers misconceptions about happiness, how we can overcome our biases, and how to put strategies into practice.
- Taught at M.I.T. over a month-long period, Becoming the Next Bill Nye was designed to teach its students video production techniques that would help them to convey their passions for science, technology, engineering, and math. You can now find the syllabus and all materials for that course on MIT’s OpenCourseWare site. This includes the video lectures and class assignments. Or, if you prefer, you can get the video lectures straight from this YouTube playlist.
- Let’s face it: you’re at home, the weather is nice, and the ground is fertile. Now is the perfect time to start a garden and grow your very own food. Oregon State University is offering a free vegetable gardening course through the end of April where you’ll learn how to select the best site for a garden, prepare soil, plant vegetables properly and more.
Release some “indoorphins.”
Go on, unleash that natural high; our mind and body are connected after all. Luckily, plenty of gyms and fitness studios are offering free workouts that you can stream while you’re at home social distancing.
- Curious about the Peloton hype but don’t have an indoor bike? They are dishing out 90 day trials of their class app for free to new users. It’s worth checking out even if you don’t like spinning. Options include yoga, bodyweight cardio routines, dance, strength training, and meditation.
- Barry’s Bootcamp is streaming 20 minute equipment-free Full Body workouts on their Instagram Live, and saving the workouts to their IGTV the next day. Here’s a sample with Barry’s CEO, Joey Gonzalez.
- Join UFC Gym for daily HIIT and conditioning workouts on IG Live. Simply check out the schedule, then tap on their Instagram Live story at the listed time.
- Check out in-app and on-demand workouts from Gold’s Gym. Free until the end of May.
- CorePower Yoga is offering free access to a handful of workout videos that are worth repeating every time you feel tense while social distancing (aka every day) via its On Demand hub. The brand also has Instagram Live videos on occasion.
- Home “Work-Ins” with Planet Fitness & the occasional celebrity guest stream live daily at 4PM PST.
- For the early birds: Blink is offering live-stream workouts at 5AM PST each day. The workouts incorporate common home items like laundry detergent for weights, and trainers provide tips to commenters in real time.
- The YMCA launched a new online community program called YMCA 360. It allows people to stay active even when they can’t visit the Y with classes like Boot Camp, Barre, Yoga and low impact programs for seniors.
The list of resources to tap into during the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow: including phone carriers waiving fees, credit card issuers lowering monthly payments, and mental health professionals offering free sessions. Check back tomorrow if you or someone you know is in need of emergency assistance &/or helpful resources for Coping with COVID-19; including families, POC, small businesses, and anyone with an outgrown manicure! 💅
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