Confinement, social distancing, quarantine — whatever you call it, we’re all settling into this new normal, adapting as best we can. Many of us are as busy as ever, filling up our schedules with online meetings, happy hours and book clubs, creating a packed virtual social life. But when the novelty wears off, how can we make sure we continue to nourish our minds, bodies and spirits while staying home?
It’s important to acknowledge that many out there are struggling with anxiety, depression or difficult situations made worse by enforced isolation. If you are in that case, remember that help exists. Many of the professionals on Doctolib are offering video consultations. SOS Help and Domestic Violence Help Paris are there to lend a sympathetic ear and more if needed.
At INSPIRELLE, we’ve introduced a series of online events with our business partners to help our members and subscribers feel connected and stay active. Take a yoga class, participate in a guided meditation, learn more about champagne, nutrition or French pastry, and much, much more. Check out our EVENTS page or SUBSCRIBE to our newsletter to see what’s on offer in the coming days.
If you’re looking for even more ideas to entertain, educate and soothe you while juggling meals, work and childcare, here are some suggestions for apps and websites to help keep you sane and balanced.
Visit a museum
The site Open Culture has tons of free resources, including a list of 30 world-class museums offering virtual tours. In addition, many French museums, from the Musée d’Orsay to l’Orangerie to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs to the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, are providing a privileged glimpse of their exhibits online.
The Fondation Louis Vuitton is proposing three virtual rendez-vous per week: a masterclass, a concert and an exhibit. The museums of the city of Paris have their own exhibits and tours for you to explore, and kids 5 and up can check out the Centre Pompidou’s adorable video series explaining the basics of art and design.
Attend a performance
Live performances can be beyond the financial reach of many people, which is why it’s the perfect time to watch an opera or ballet streaming live for free. The Opera de Paris, the Metropolitan Opera and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater are all streaming live performances, while the Philharmonie de Paris is making new pre-recorded concerts available every day. If plays and musical are more your jam, Playbill has a list of shows, from “Sunday in the Park with George” to “Nicholas Nickelby,” available online and where you can watch them.
Watch a movie
In addition to streaming services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and the soon-to-launch Disney+, which is set to arrive in France on April 7, many other sites are offering ways to watch movies from the comfort of your living room. Sens Critique has an impressive list of classic and modern international films available for free, while the Internet Archive has a rich collection of classic movies you may have missed. If you want to use this time to take a deeper dive into the world of French cinema, the Cinémathèque Française is offering over 1000 videos and articles featuring filmmaking lessons and interviews with top directors, actors and technicians.
Discover a podcast
Whether you like had-hitting interviews, comedy or true crime, friends shooting the breeze or tightly scripted stories, the world of podcasts is waiting for you. Services like Apple Podcasts or Spotify are a good place to start looking for new shows or you could check out what’s on offer from established podcast networks like Earwolf, Maximum Fun, Crooked Media or Gimlet. Podcasts are sometime known as “narrowcasting” which means whatever your niche interest, whether knitting, linguistics or wrestling, there’s sure to be a podcast that feels made just for you.
Take a class
It’s not just kids who can be using this time at home to expand their knowledge base. Many universities offer MOOCs (massive open online courses) on everything from writing to coding to art history. Coursera and EdX offer a plethora of classes taught by professors from top universities, plus certificate courses and advanced degrees.
Khan Academy offers academic and test prep courses as well as suggested daily schedules for kids to help everyone keep learning online. Lifewire has a great list of the best free learning websites for kids while the Guardian has rounded up 20 learning apps for stir-crazy children. And for when you or your little ones need a break, check out an episode of children’s book author Mo Willems’ (“Elephant and Piggie”) Lunch Doodles series or Bon Appetit’s Back-to-Back Chef featuring celebrities and drag queens making dishes using only verbal instructions.
Read (or listen) to a book
In times like these, an engrossing book or lyrical poem can do a lot to lift your mood. The Poetry Foundation and the Academy of American Poets both offer a Poem-a-day newsletters. For those with a library card and a tablet or e-reader, books and audio books can be downloaded with apps like Overdrive and Libby.
The American Library in Paris is a treasure-trove of e-resources and digital events, including a virtual story hour and an upcoming book club. Take advantage of their new short-term membership to discover all they have to offer. In addition, Amazon’s audiobook arm, Audible, is now offering hundreds of audiobooks to stream free for all ages.
Move your body
Remember that New Year’s resolution to get in shape? Well, now’s your chance. In addition to popular YouTube channels like Yoga with Adriene or Fitness Blender, whose archives feature hundreds of free videos, live fitness classes abound on Facebook and Instagram these days. Just search for your favorite studios or instructors. If you prefer more customized workouts and a way to help you track your progress, Self magazine has a nice roundup of the latest fitness apps for iOS and Android.
Relax your mind
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and over scheduled with the realities of being inside all day, slowing things down and taking some time to go even further inward might be the answer. Mindfulness and meditation have been proven to help reduce stress and improve emotional health. O Magazine has a slideshow of the best meditation apps for adults while Common Sense Media has a tried-and-tested list of their favorite meditation apps for kids.
Who knows? maybe this crisis will be the opportunity for many of us to get into healthier habits, expand our minds and broaden our horizons – all without leaving the comfort of home.