If you find yourself with more time on your hands than you usually have thanks to never-ending stay-at-home orders, this can be a good opportunity to learn how to slow down, to enjoy a new hobby, or learn a new skill.
Not sure where to start? There are tons of online classes out there for pretty much everything you can think of, plus many gyms and yoga studios and the like have temporarily migrated all their classes to the web. Here are just options to keep you mentally (and/or physically) in shape while social distancing.
Coursera offers online courses in a wide variety of topics relating to business, language, math, health sciences, web development, and more. They work in partnership with accredited universities and big-name companies, like IBM, Johns Hopkins University, and NYU, and offer certificate and masters programs in addition to courses to get your feet wet in a new topic that interests you.
In addition to learning about algorithms, financial markets, nutrition, and entrepreneurship, you can also take classes like a Google-developed certificate program that will get you ready for an entry-level job in IT.
Want to learn how to be a funnier writer, become a pro at makeup, or be an investigative journalist?
Celebrities and best-selling authors, journalists, politicians, successful entrepreneurs, and musicians all teach courses on MasterClass, which you can access for $180 per year. You can learn about entrepreneurship from Sara Blakely, who became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire after launching Spanx, humor writing from bestseller David Sedaris, creative writing from Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, and production and beatmaking from Timbaland, among dozens of other courses.
Outdoorsy and super-active people have an extra hard time being told to stay inside at all costs. AIM Adventure U—run by the same company that owns magazines like Backpacker, Climbing, SKI, and Yoga Journal—offers online courses to help you smash your outdoor goals while training inside your own home, like yoga for skiers. They also offer classes to help you strengthen your body to defend against potential injury, learn to tie knots, learn how to identify and gather non-toxic plants out on the trail, and repair your own gear. Many of the classes cost $100 or less.
The best way to learn a new language is simple: practice. Practice even if you think you sound stupid, even if you know you’re making tons of mistakes, and even when it’s hard and exhausting.
If you’ve found yourself with a few spare hours to kill every day, start a new language with Rosetta Stone. They offer monthly subscriptions as well as a lifetime subscription to all the language classes they offer for $199 total. Languages include Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Portuguese, Swedish, Mandarin, Hebrew, and many more. You can either start from zero or, if you have some foundation in a language, start in a place that’s more aligned with your level.
Want to do some more passive language-learning when your brain needs a break from active exercises? I’ve found that watching Spanish Netflix shows from Spain and Mexico has vastly improved my language comprehension and vocabulary. Over the past two years, I’ve made a concerted effort to watch shows in Spanish with Spanish subtitles, rewinding when I miss a detail and taking the time to translate words I don’t know. Now I live in Mexico City and so I practice constantly as part of my daily life, and I have no doubt that consuming Spanish media exponentially improved my comprehension in between trips to Latin America.
Lynda.com, now part of LinkedIn, offers access to thousands of online courses to teach you everything from photography basics to advanced photoshop skills, graphic design, the basic tenets of starting a freelance business of any kind, and several different coding languages.
Lynda offers a free one-month trial to anyone who wants to give it a shot, then memberships start at $20/month from there. Cash-strapped but still in need of building your skillset? Some major libraries subscribe to Lynda.com, so check the website for your local branch before you sign up.
Need to stay active? Many gyms and yoga studios, as well as individual instructors, have pivoted to online-only courses to keep their students mentally and physically well while they’re not allowed to go into studios. If you have a local studio you can support, check their website first! Small businesses need our support more than ever right now as it’s unclear when they can reopen.
If you’re new to yoga or don’t have a local studio to work with, don’t worry—there are still options for you. Core Power Yoga, which has studios across the country, has made a handful of classes available for free on their website, and they’re also live-streaming free classes several times a day on YouTube. Gaia also offers yoga and meditation classes on-demand for $12 or less per month.