Quench your thirst for learning
For those in the workforce wanting to upskill, LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com) offers a month’s free trial to more than 14,000 courses for in-demand skills such as software development, data science and leadership. You can also train yourself on popular software applications such as Swift, Apple’s programming language, which allows you to build iPhone and iPad apps. If you’ve ever puzzled over spreadsheets, there are numerous courses on Excel and data analysis. After the free trial, subscriptions start at about $40 a month. General Assembly also offers a range of digital workshops, boot camps and short courses in everything from UX design and front-end web development to copy-writing and coding.
- Join a YouTube tutorial
Whether you want to learn to sing, improve your photography skills or make a table from scrap timber, there’s a YouTube tutorial for that.
- Take a free renovation class
Learn how to plan, design and style your dream home with a free online module through The Reno School, from mastering kitchens and bathrooms to nailing the basics of interior decorating.
Join the #zftuesday movement
Looking for a way to let go and dance it out? Join Torquay-based social media sensation and accidental Instagram dance superstar Kat John in a virtual dance off. Kat’s social-media driven zerofks movement has seen people across the globe letting go of their insecurities, stresses and anything else that’s holding them back. And it’s easy to join in. Simply video yourself dancing to your fave tunes, challenge your mates by tagging them, upload your video to your Instagram account or stories and tag @kat.john and #zftuesday. It’s a great way to free your mind and feel connected to your community while being physically isolated.
Start a vegie patch or herb garden
Whether you have a big backyard or just an apartment balcony, you can go green. As well as being enjoyable, the Victorian government’s Better Health Channel says gardening has many health benefits. It recommends growing edible plants, but that doesn’t mean just vegetables and fruits – flowers like carnations, honeysuckles and nasturtiums can add colour to your dinner plate too. Mix it up with home-grown herbs like rosemary, basil, chives, sage, mint, oregano, parsley and thyme.
Fix up the backyard
Being confined to the house doesn’t mean you have to stay inside. Health experts say you don’t need vitamin D supplements if you get enough sunlight – the natural source of this vitamin – by getting out in the garden. This is the ideal time to paint the fence, trim your hedges or do that paving you’ve been putting off for years.
Visit online museums and art galleries
While galleries and museums are closed to the public, you can still get your art and history fix online. The National Gallery of Victoria has gone all out to provide art lovers with online access to 90 per cent of the 75,000 works in its collection and is offering a virtual tour of the gallery. For kids and schools it has opened an NGV kids’ resources portal and schools can book virtual excursions or use online learning resources.
Check out the art at the Australian National Portrait Gallery
Art lovers may also like to visit The Australian National Portrait Gallery. Memorable paintings include Howard Arkley’s portrait of musician Nick Cave.
Explore the current collections at Museums Victoria
You can’t visit the museum in person right now but you can explore their collections, including an intricately carved 1847 Aboriginal shield and the Melbourne Museum’s star attraction since 1932, the magnificently taxidermied Phar Lap. You can also check out the best of the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks and Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the Museums Victoria website.
Spy on animals at the Royal Melbourne Zoo
Forget productivity. You can waste hours watching the animals at Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo. Zoos Victoria has set up live stream cameras around the grounds so, instead of background TV noise, why not let the zoos’ gorgeous baby snow leopard cubs, lazy lions or hungry giraffes keep you company all day, every day.
Put your thoughts on paper
Start writing a book
If you’ve been putting off writing that great novel that’s been germinating in your mind, this might be an opportunity to start. You don’t have to tap it out on your computer or scrawl it out long-hand, you can just tell your story to a smartphone using a dictation app like Otter, which both records and transcribes at the same time and starts with a free basic plan.
Refine your writing skills
For those scared of grammar and spelling, simply search for online writing groups and courses, which provide free resources including Daily Writing Tips.
If you want to learn from the experts there are numerous online creative writing tutorials, both free and paid, including one by author of the Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood.
Listen to podcasts
Let your ears do the walking and delve into the world of podcasts. There’s everything from great brain teasers like the All Aussie Mystery Hour where true crime buffs Josie and Mel present unsolved mysteries, to The Australia Institute explaining the nation’s economy and busting fiscal myths in everyday language. The Feedspot blog lists 50 top podcasts for Australians to follow this year with news and views from across the nation. Or check out these recommended sustainability podcasts, to help you up your green credentials from the comfort of your couch.
Binge-watch Ted Talks
American media organisation Ted Talks posts video talks by experts and thought leaders in education, business, science, tech and creativity. They’re distributed free online under the banner ‘ideas worth spreading’. The most popular talks to date include ‘How to speak so people want to listen’ and ‘How to make stress your best friend’.
Download a fitness app
Even if you don’t own a home gym or substantial equipment, there are many ways to improve your fitness at home. Simple strength exercises like squats, push-ups and lunges don’t need any equipment. If you don’t have weights, improvise and use two tins of canned food as weights. If you need guidance there are online resources and fitness apps including the Peloton app with a 90-day free trial. Flex, tone, stretch, strengthen and meditate while using a library of workouts using your phone, tablet, TV or web browser.
The Nike Training Club has free workouts as well as paid premium workouts and programs led by trainers. 8Fit has a 14-day free trial of its app with varied classes such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga, boxing, core and resistance band workouts. Or jump on board the global fitness phenomenon that is Adelaide-based fitness trainer Kayla Itsines’ BBG (Bikini Body Guide) community. Her Sweat app has hundreds of 28-minute workouts you can do from anywhere.
Work out with YouTube
Youtube comes to the rescue if you don’t want an app. Popsugar fitness has high-intensity workouts using dances such as Zumba, a 15-minute beginner’s workout without equipment, a five-minute thigh-sculpting class and a lot more that you can do at home. If you need to chill, YouTube brings you Yoga with Adriene, who has a 15-minute home meditation for relief from anxiety, along with yoga for beginners and yoga practices by duration, for physical conditions and weight loss. For more physically challenging exercise try Yoga with Tim, who posts a new vinyasa flow weekly and has a 30-day challenge to push you to the limits.