In times of great hardship, it is often the little acts of kindness that make a world of difference. This has never been more true than right now, when self-isolation mean that many of the usual ways we let off steam or find some respite are no longer accessible options.
Thankfully, communal challenges really do seem to bring out the very best in human nature, and I could fill a short novel with all the great things being done by celebrities and non-celebrities alike to keep us all going in these tough times. From exercise classes, to live-streamed Bongos Bingo and comedy nights, self-isolation is proving that you really don’t need to leave your living room to have fun. Here are a few of those unlikely quarantine heroes for you to check out!
1. Everyone’s new favourite pub quiz host is Jay Flynn, whose Virtual Pub Quiz attracted more than 300,000 viewers across its Facebook and YouTube livestreams. “I thought I would get 30-40 people from Darwen playing’, says a bemused Jay. Jay plans to make the event a weekly occurrence – so check back on Thursday for the latest instalment, or check out past quizzes on his YouTube channel.
2. DJ EZ ran an impressive 24-hour long Boiler Room #StayHomeWithDJEZ isolation set, which has reached well over a million listeners all over the world. The set was in conjunction with My Kind Deed, a not-for-profit ‘kindness spreading’ initiative, and can be re-watched for free on DJ EZ’s Facebook page.
3. Joe Wicks has been running daily 30 minute ‘PE Classes’ on his The Body Coach TV YouTube channel. The quick workouts require no equipment and can be done (like Joe) in the comfort of your own living room. He has also started some senior-specific workouts – with his 10 minute instalments aimed at older generations isolating at home also reaching hundreds of thousands of viewers within hours of upload.
4. Writer and mental health activist Scarlett Curtis has been doing free book giveaways on her Instagram page. As her job entails being sent lots of free reading material, she has sent out over 300 so far – to whoever is quickest to fill out a Google form – so if you fancy a new read and can’t make it to Waterstones, keep an eye on her Instagram feed for more potential giveaways.
5. Jamie Oliver is running daily cooking tutorials on his YouTube channel. Homemade with bread, pasta and pizza already having featured on the menu. You might want to hit the shops quickly though; if the empty baking section shelves at my local supermarkets are anything to go by – everyone’s having the same idea!
6. London-based bakery Bread Ahead are also hosting Instagram-live baking tutorials every day of April at 2pm. The month’s line-up can be found on their website – if Hot Cross Buns on the 12th and Cinnamon Buns on the 19th don’t take your fancy, something else on the list almost certainly will.
7. The Stand Comedy Club have been live-streaming Saturday Night comedy gigs from their empty venue in Edinburgh. The show features short stand-up routines recorded by various comedians from their living rooms – including Frankie Boyle and Daniel Sloss who featured last Saturday. If you can get over the awkward silences while the comics wait for their invisible audience to laugh, it’s definitely worth a try.
8. Hyde Park Picture House are offering 500 people free 3-month subscription of MUBI, showcasing an awesome hand-picked selection of indie films. A new film is added each day and can be watched for 30 days afterwards.
9. Bongos Bingo are running a bingo livestream on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8pm-10pm (11pm on Saturdays). Play along with the quizzes, karaoke and bingo and be in with a chance of winning lots of exciting prizes from an inflatable unicorn to a karaoke machine. Viewing is free but donations for the NHS are encouraged. The livestream can be found on the Bongos Bingo Twitch account.
10. The #MuseumFromHome hashtag has taken off across the world – with New York’s Guggenheim, The British Museum in London and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum among some of the many international institutions now offering virtual tours of their premises. Why not make it a Zoom date and take a friend along with you too? TimeOut has collated a helpful list of links you can find by clicking here.
The digital age certainly offers a welcome softening of the blow of isolation boredom and the sheer number of people that are currently out there trying to make life a little bit easier for everyone else is truly heartening. If you can get through the whole list in a week then that’s awesome. But equally, if all you can manage today is 3 meals, a short walk and another multiple-season re-watch binge of The Office, then that’s great too!
Even though traditional FOMO might no longer be an issue – it’s a little harder to be afraid of missing out on social outings if there aren’t any -having all this free time can create a new kind of pressure. In unprecedented times such as these, being kind to yourself should always be your number one priority. Your productivity never defines your self-worth, and no virus or any amount of time in self-quarantine is going to change that.