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Coronavirus: 10 Social Distancing activities that are actually fun

Gulf News logo Gulf News 24/03/2020 Yousra Zaki, Web Features Editor

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Dubai: We have reached a point in time where we have almost no legitimate excuse to leave the house, unless it’s for an emergency, a food stock up, or for work. If you do leave the house for any other reason, you might want to check yourself. Staying home doesn’t have to be depressing or cause you any sort of extreme boredom. This is actually THE time to do all of the thing that you never have time to do but really really want to do.

1. Video chat with friends

I know what you are thinking, but for the time being, a few video chat apps have actually been made available in the UAE to use for work meetings and to see and chat to friends. I tried it yesterday using both Zoom and Google Hangouts Meet, and it made a world of difference to my mood. Simply seeing your friends, their facial expressions and having a meal together over video chat really changes what quarantining alone feels like. Even though you can’t physically hang out, it comes very close.

Check out our list of apps you can use to communicate with the outside world while you're home.

2. Start a virtual book club

Two weeks in and many have kinda hit their Netflix capacity. The idea of a book club might sound a little bit “boring” for those who do not appreciate the wonder that is reading, but knowing that you and all your friends are reading the same book together is fun. Then discussing it together gives you something else to talk about rather than the usual “I’m so bored,” talks.

3. Do a virtual sweat sessions

Many gyms in the UAE are offering free online workouts twice to three times a day. Working out with friends actually increases your motivation to stick to the workouts and not to slack off when you start to feel tired with an exercise. Choose workouts together with your friends and start your morning off with a sweat session, or end the day with one. When more people join, you will feel more accountable.

4. Take a free online class together

At the moment, an online course provider Coursera is offering free online classes by thousands of top universities from all over the world. I recently signed up for and am watching lectures for a Yale University Psychology course called the “Science of Well Being.” A course that is slowly and actually changing my life. The course is designed to increase your happiness and build more productive habits. Something we ALL need right about now.

5. Tackle a new recipe of the day

Just like book club, why not improve your skills in the kitchen? Together with your friends or your family at home, learn how to make some interesting recipes together. Start off with the basics, like how to make a simple poached egg, then start to tackle the more complex stuff like an Eggplant Milanese or a killer chicken curry. Share your masterpiece with your friends on the group chat and everyone can vote on whose looks the best.

Check out our Recipe section for some great ideas

6. Virtual happy hour with friends

If reading and cooking isn’t your thing, why not enjoy some beverages with your friends after “work”. It’s just like you’re meeting at a local Dubai lounge or restaurant, but it’s in your living room wearing some seriously comfy clothes.

7. Take a virtual tour of Dubai’s museums

Halfway through the month of March, Dubai announced the closures of all their museums and cultural sites. If you are curious to explore a few of them, they have made virtual 360 tours available. From the comfort of your own home, you can now walk around Dubai’s most popular sites including the Deira Fish Market, Dubai’s Al Serkal Avenue and even the Green Planet. Perfect if you want to keep the kids busy.

8. YouTube tutorials

Learn how to play piano, do your own make up, cook a perfect steak or even a choreographed dance. This is your time to absorb new information and practice over and over again. You’ve got nothing but time anyways.

9. Do a group crossword puzzle

If you get the same newspaper delivered to your house as your friend or you all decide to order crosswords at home, then tackle them together every morning. Whether it’s over the phone or sharing your results once you are done.

10. Throw a Netflix Party

The app recently introduced a special feature called Netflix Party. It’s a Google Chrome extension that you need to download that will give you a new way to watch Netflix with your friends online. You guys can chat on a bar next to the screen and discuss things. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows. So if someone needs to use the bathroom, the video pauses for everyone, so you can stay in sync and have a movie night together without actually being together.

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