Coronavirus outbreak: Netflix, Udemy and other great ways to stay busy because your school is closed

By Nicole Moraleda

Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favourite activities. We have a few simple ways you can challenge your mind and body

By Nicole Moraleda |

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Sure, your school has set up an e-learning platform, and your parents are making sure you do your assignments, but football practice and evening tutorials are still out. Suddenly you’ve got all this time on your hands. We know it’s tempting to spend it lounging in your PJs, but why not take the opportunity to learn something new? Here are some ideas on how to make the most of your time at home.

Master a new skill

If you always complain that you’re too busy with schoolwork to be able to explore your real interests, now’s your chance. There are tons of short courses you can take without having to leave your bedroom.

Online learning platforms such as Coursera and edX offer classes taught by professionals from top universities. And if you complete a course, you’ll get a certificate that you can add to your CV. If you’re looking to improve your future job prospects, try one of LinkedIn Learning’s video courses, which are taught by experts from the world of business.

Meanwhile, creative types should check out Skillshare or Udemy. They offer everything from photography classes to creative writing courses, and the first few lessons are usually free, so you can get a feel for them before you commit.

A great escape

We bet you have several books on your shelf that you’ve never got around to reading. If you give them a chance, they can do a lot more than collect dust. Grab a fantasy novel and allow it to transport you to a world far away form your bedroom, or pick up a self-help book, such as Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, or Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, to learn how you can improve your life.

If you’ve already read all your books, you can go online and download some out-of-copyright classics. The websites www.classicreader.com and classic-literature.co.uk have many classic titles to choose from, including the complete works of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. If it’s classical Chinese literature you’re into, try zhongwen.com/gudian.htm. Or hey, why not use your free time to write your own novel?

Don't wait until your English is perfect, the best way to become a writer is to just start writing

Get moving

We’ve discussed lot of great ways to keep our minds sharp, but we mustn’t neglect our bodies. Luckily, there are plenty of workout videos on YouTube you can follow at home. If you want to push yourself, commit to a fitness challenge, such as doing 100 squats for 30 days, or work towards specific goal, such as being able to do the splits.

Check out YouTuber Cassey Ho’s Blogilates channel for a great 30 Days to Splits video. If you don’t like breaking into a sweat, the least you can do for your body is give it a good stretch. Start each morning by practising the 12-step Sun Salutation, otherwise known as Surya Namaskar. This yoga exercise will help release any tension in your body, increase blood circulation, and even boost your immunity (which we all need right now!).

Learn the steps with the Sun Salutation Flow for Beginners YouTube video by YogiApproved.com. Or copy this adorable unicorn. 

Netflix and learn

We’re not suggesting you spend the entire month bingeing Netflix shows, but there are definitely some films and series worth watching.

If you’re interested in studying film in the future, take advantage of Netflix’s library of award-winning films. You don’t want to be the only one who doesn’t get the Dead Poet’s Society reference when someone shouts “O Captain! My Captain!” in class. There are also many great foreign films (with English subtitles) that can help you learn a new language, and documentaries, like the one on Joshua Wong, that offer an insight into major historical or political events.

Quiz: How much do you know about Netflix?

If you’re looking for something lighter to watch, try an intelligent sitcom such as The Good Place, which packages complex philosophical theories in a fun way, or Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up series, which might even inspire you to declutter your room.

Listen in

If you already have lots of activities to keep you busy but need some mental stimulation to help you get them done, try tuning into an interesting podcast while you get ready in the morning, during your lunch break, or before you go to bed.

There is a huge catalogue of shows that tackle every topic under the sun, from pop culture (BingeMode) and conspiracy theories (look up the podcast of the same name), to career advice (Side Hustle School) and true crime stories (Crimetown). If you’re trying to learn a new language, LanguagePod101 can support you on your journey. Whatever you’re interested in, you can bet someone has made a podcast about it.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge