As somebody who is supposed to be enthralled with the start of a new baseball season, the ending of March Madness, and the Champions League (man I miss sports), I can’t help but notice one of the biggest effects social distancing has had on me: boredom.
Between a lack of entertainment options and plenty of newfound time on our hands, we’ve reached a new era of free time.
So what do we do with this free time? Finally follow through with learning how to play the guitar? Learn how to cook? Well, guess what? Now, you’ve got time to learn something new.
Here are four ways to continue education and add a new skill to your repertoire:
1. Take a free course
Many platforms centered around helping workers expand their professional knowledge exist. With remote working on the rise, LinkedIn has released 16 courses for free about how to work from home successfully, both as a team and individually. For those struggling to make the transition from an office to home, these courses are a great first step.
If you’re looking for a course that’s more relevant to your field, Alison is a great resource that is ad-supported, meaning users can access their courses for free. From marketing to math, history to healthcare, this site covers just about every field imaginable and offers something for everybody.
There are even sites that offer courses for general self-improvement. With mental health becoming a vital part of our lives as we deal with isolation and loneliness, Yale is offering one of their most popular classes, The Science of Well-Being, on Coursera for no charge. Focused on bettering our understanding of happiness, it’s touted as a very successful course that makes a positive impact.
2. Catch-up on documentaries
Many of us have taken this time to catch up on movies and tv shows. There are so many great options out there we still might not have enough time to watch them all. Between binging the new season of Ozark and sitting down for the weekly premieres of Westworld, there are a lot of entertaining documentaries that double as education.
There are classics like Ken Burns’ Baseball available on PBS and newbies like Free Solo on Hulu and Disney Plus. Then there’s the wide array of options on Netflix, ranging from tales of an accountant standing trial for his role in World War II Germany to an inside look at one of today’s biggest music icons. If you prefer to learn by watching, there’s a documentary out there for you.
3. Learn a New Language
Although it might not seem like it, eventually this will pass and we’ll be allowed outside. And when that time comes, why limit your new-found freedom to your neighborhood? With so many great language-learning tools at our disposal, we can open ourselves to new cultures and conversations with people all over the world.
Of course, Duolingo has always been a great option for learning new languages, and for good reason, too, with compatibility on our phones and rewards to keep us motivated while being free. There are plenty of other paid options, such as Babbel and Rosetta Stone, if you’re willing to spend a couple of bucks.
Yeah, this one is a little out of left field, but studies have shown that there’s a correlation between working out and intelligence. Although the exact relationship is still a question mark, the working theory is that the pumping of blood helps oxygen reach your brain, giving you more energy to think, and making it easier for new neural connections to be made.
Furthermore, the release of endorphins during a workout has shown to help motivation, both while sweating and the moments following. If you’re having trouble getting off the couch and finding an educational outlet, doing something as simple as going for a walk can get you motivated to sit down at your laptop and get to work on whatever you please.
Although a lot of us feel alone, we’re all on this self-isolation journey together. Video chat friends and family, pick up a new hobby, or better yourself educationally and personally. And of course, wash your hands.
If you’re looking for more ways to get your happy on, check out our 3 Morale Boosters You Can Try Right Now!