Not sure how to spend your time right now? Here we share just a few of the amazing ways to spend your time online

With the UK on lockdown, we’re having to get creative when it comes to entertaining ourselves and staying social. So far we’ve been impressed at some of the ways both performers and those in the leisure industry are adapting, taking their usual activities online.

Here at Happiful, many of us are also finding ourselves socialising more than usual thanks to video calling and apps like House Party. The ‘we’re in this together’ mentality is urging us to connect with others more than before, a side-effect we hope sticks around after the pandemic.

If you haven’t found your groove yet with life online, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at some of the fun activities and performances you can enjoy whilst staying home and staying safe.

1. Pub quizzes

Whether you were a regular at your local pub quiz before the coronavirus outbreak or you’ve never taken part in one before, virtual pub quizzes are fast becoming a go-to activity. You can easily download a quiz online and host your own using a group video call with your friends and family, or you can head along to a virtual pub to take part.

BrewDog are taking things a step further by opening an online bar on Friday 27 March at 6:00PM, complete with live beer-tastings, homebrew masterclasses, Q&As with team members, live comedy and music, and of course – virtual pub quizzes.

2. Miley Cyrus’ daily talk show on Instagram

Monday to Friday, Miley is inviting guests on her virtual talk show Bright Minded with the aim of ‘Connecting w/ special guests discussing how to stay LIT in dark times!’ Airing via Instagram live at 6:30 PM (GMT), so far Miley’s guests have included Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ronson, and Hilary Duff.

With special appearances from her pups and an amazing theme song, this is the kind of talk show we’re here for – set your alarms and enjoy.

3. Exercise classes

At the time of writing, in the UK we’re still allowed to go outside once a day for exercise. While many of us are taking advantage by going for walks, runs or cycling, it’s not appropriate for everyone to go outside; it’s nice to have the option of mixing it up with indoor workouts.  

Thankfully, the fitness industry is stepping up. Fitness instructor Despina Hapeshis tells us that even though most of her community aren’t tech savvy, they are figuring it out as they go and take classes online.

“It's making a huge impact. We get phenomenal comments from our ladies. It feels like we are all in this together - through these tough times. What it means is beyond words.

“We love the live sessions because we get to see each other from our living rooms! It's real and beautiful. These ladies that have become part of the incredible community at T4meFitness rely on the interaction with each other, and as instructors, we do too! We cannot pull through this crisis without each other and we are proud to be able to continue sharing positivity through our online sessions.”

Happiful writer Becky Wright tells us her usual fitness classes are what she’s missed the most since social distancing began.

“Thankfully, my instructor has decided to put some virtual classes on for us and we did our first class via zoom last night.

“I wasn't really sure what to expect: whether I would be able to put as much effort in as I would at the studio, whether I'd enjoy it as much, or whether it would be awkward. But it really was amazing and I felt just as invigorated as I do after a normal class.

“I'd also underestimated how much I'd missed the feeling of community – seeing all my friends on the stream, it was lovely to feel like we were all together again. I'd definitely recommend giving it a go! Get your friends on a stream and have someone be the fitness instructor for half an hour, you'll have a laugh and get the blood pumping!”

4. Patric Stewart reading a sonnet a day

For literary buffs out there, or just fans of Patric Stewart, you’re in for a treat. Every day on his Instagram, @sirpatstew, the legendary actor is reading a sonnet every day under the hashtag #asonnetaday. Each reading is no more than a couple of minutes long and his lilting voice is incredibly soothing.

So if you need a bedtime story or just a couple of moments of calm – you know where to go.

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5. Dance and theatre performances

Keeping our love for the arts alive, several theatre and dance performances are making the move to streaming digitally where possible. Sadler’s Wells, a creative organisation dedicated to dance, is launching its digital stage on Friday 27 March (World Theatre Day) at 7:30PM.

Streaming from their Facebook page, the organisation will be sharing performances and online workshops, including some specially adapted for younger children and older people.

Alistair Spalding, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Sadler’s Wells, said: “Sadler’s Wells has been a platform for artists for more than 300 years and we are determined to continue to bring you great dance even if our stages are dark. Our Digital Stage is open and in the coming weeks we will share dance you can enjoy wherever you are – from recordings of full performances to dance works made specifically for film and dance workshops you can take part in from home.”

To find more theatre productions taking place online, keep an eye on The Stage for rolling coverage of what’s coming up.

6. Live music

Music lovers around the world are uniting through the power of virtual gigs. With artists such as Chris Martin, Diplo, Christine and the Queens and Patti Smith taking to their social media platforms to provide live sessions for us all to enjoy.

After watching Chris Martin's recent online live performance, Eve Morris said “I liked how relaxed Chris was, it was nice to just see him jam out and have a good time. I feel that would keep people positive”.

Following the incredible reaction to their first virtual festival, Defected records will be hosting another this Friday 27 March kicking off at 1:00PM with a host of DJs. The experience may be different (and less sweaty), but it’s a beautiful way to show your support and connect with others.

7. LeVar Burton Reads live

If you’ve ever listened to his fantastic sleep story on the calm app, you’ll know how relaxing LeVar Burton’s voice is. His podcast, LeVar Burton Reads, sees him reading a story, helping you switch off from everyday life.

Keen to move his readings to a live format, LeVar has been struggling to cut through legal red tape to find stories in the public domain. Answering his (and our) prayers, author Neil Gaiman has given him blanket permission to use his books. Keep an eye on LeVar’s Twitter for updates.

8. Online baby sensory classes

Many parents rely on baby sensory classes to keep their little ones entertained, so it’s lovely to see some of these classes making the move online. Baby and toddler group franchise, WOW World Group is now delivering all of its sessions live online.

Parents have been able to virtually welcome each other and chat during rest breaks, while many older siblings now at home are joining in on the fun.

Child development expert and original Founder of Baby Sensory, Dr Lin Day says, “Parents really value having that hour to switch off and spend quality, stimulating time with their children and also socialising with likeminded people.  

“Having that support network becomes even more important right now as we battle to stay safe and keep our positivity and spirits high. We must remember that new parents are particularly vulnerable and susceptible to feelings of isolation and loneliness so anything we can do to stay connected with others really makes a difference to the mental health of so many.”

We’ve really only scratched the surface here, a little online digging will no doubt find lots more for you to get involved with. As always though, please don’t feel pressure to be ‘productive’ or have lots of fun at this time if that’s not the headspace you’re in.

While it’s beautiful to see ways we’re continuing to connect, we realise for some of us this time is incredibly difficult. Please take the time you need to do what you need right now and remember, your community is here for you whenever you feel ready.

If you think you’d benefit from talking to a professional, Counselling Directory lists over 11,000 online counsellors.