Table of Contents
Why I’m Writing This Post
A few weeks back, I thought everything would be alright, that our world was prepared to deal with such a situation in an efficient and timely manner.
I wasn’t worried at all.
With the exponential spread of the virus and all subsequent lockdowns, quarantine and self-isolations measures in place now, I understand the gravity of the situation, accepted that I was wrong, and take COVID-19 very seriously. And I understand that it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
At first I felt like the Coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 to be exact wasn’t something affecting me personally. I fought off all worries and anxious moments until I couldn’t do it anymore.
I’m worried and scared. I’m worried about my family, especially my mum, I’m worried about my friends and their families. I’m worried because we’re trapped in our own apartment, feeling like outlaws when leaving once a week for grocery shopping. I’m worried about the global economy and how this shitty situation affects the poorest people the most.
I understand that I can’t exclude myself, that I’m not a passive bystander to some tragic accident. I’m as much a part of this stressful time as anyone else around the globe and am doing the bare minimum of my bit by #stayingathome like (hopefully) billions of other people.
The reason I’m writing this post is that I feel helpless and anxious but these feelings won’t help anyone. Researching and writing are two things I’m good at. So the least I can do I figured to hopefully help a few people (and myself) is to put my strengths to work and to provide a list of resources on how to improve the limiting and isolating situation of being quarantined.
Human Nature During a Crisis
Every day I try to fight the creeping anxiety and crippling fear by following an ancient Stoic principle: You don’t control what happens, you only control how you respond.
I try to respond by seeking out positivity. What I love observing right now is that despite social distancing and quarantine measures around the world many people grow closer to their communities, and it’s heartwarming to see, how a lot of people go out of their way to help others who are more vulnerable e.g. doing grocery shopping for senior neighbors.
Although I’m critical of the intrusion of tech into our private lives in general, I’m grateful for the innovations that help us staying connected with our loved ones despite physical distancing.
Unfortunately, difficult times also bring out the true (ugly) colors aka some pretty despicable behavior in others (yes, I’m looking at the evil person who sells toilet paper and hand sanitizers on eBay for a trillion dollars :/) and it makes me sick.
But I believe in Karma… And what goes around comes around, I’m sure of that.
Why Does it Help to #Stayathome?
As an introvert, I’m someone who’s comfortable being by herself (another factor is that I grew up as an only child and love spending time with myself and a good stack of books).
But I understand that it’s different for other people. It’s hard to be alone with one’s thoughts and feelings. It’s hard because self-reflection isn’t an easy thing to do and most people avoid it.
It’s also hard to not be allowed to go out, sit in a café or mingle with friends at a bar – to be restrained in one’s personal freedom.
It might look like a classic moral dilemma situation but when we look at it from a bigger perspective, it’s really not. It’s a small short-term sacrifice for the greater good in the long-term.
Cutting back a bit on one’s personal freedom will benefit so many others and – most importantly – it will save countless lives. It’ll help flatten the curve and will put less stress on our healthcare systems.
Feel free to show this graph to people around you who have a hard time understanding this, don’t care about it and still meet up with friends privately.
Apparently many teens and young adults care much less since the virus only seems to affect the elderly. If you know any, please ask them if they don’t care about their grandparents (or parents!) and start an open and honest conversation with them. Maybe this helps to open their eyes.
One thing that helps me every day to stay sane (kind of) are two WhatsApp groups where I chat with my closest friends who live in other parts of the world. We talk about how COVID-19 is affecting everyone’s life but we also exchange messages about mundane stuff, share funny memes and try to see the good bits and pieces (e.g. finding calm outside of stressful work environments, spending more time with families, having better air quality…).
How to Use This Post
I put together a list with useful resources, information and ideas on how to deal with the COVID-19 lockdown situation, be it all by yourself or with your family and loved ones around, which you’ll find below.
This blog post is a work in progress, so if you have more resources or ideas, please let me know and I will add them. Feel free to share the list with your community and let’s help each other out (from afar) as much as we can!
This post is quite long (almost 6,000 words!) so use the table of contents (you’ll find it at the beginning of the post) to jump to the section that interests you the most.
Essential COVID-19 Information
Trustworthy COVID-19 Sources
First of all, it’s important to stay informed (although I think reading the news once or twice a day is enough). If you struggle finding useful and trustworthy information about COVID-19, make sure to check out the following:
- World Health Organization COVID-19 Updates
- Our World in Data – COVID-19 Statistics and Research by the University of Oxford
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control COVID-19 Updates
- Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Global Cases Map/Dashboard
- Coronovirus explained & what to do (Video that explains the situation to children and adults in an easy to understand way)
- AMA (ask me anything) with Bill Gates in the subreddit r/coronavirus on reddit about his opinion on the Coronavirus and its consequences. Here’s the transcript on Bill Gates’ homepage, if you don’t want to scroll through 11K + comments on reddit. Why listen to him? Watch his TED Talk “The next outbreak? We’re not ready” from 2015 (!!!) where he predicted the situation we’re in now.
- Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance – What the Next 18 Months Can Look Like, if Leaders Buy Us Time (Medium post)
Share these links with your family and friends please, and stop spreading unverified messages, conspiracy theory videos, rumors and hoaxes via social platforms.
I know that most of the people who do that mean well when forwarding strange chain messages via WhatsApp, so instead of helping potentially dangerous information to spread, let’s use this good intention and help to share the information of people/doctors/real experts/virologists who spent their whole lives studying viruses and pandemics and who really know what they’re talking about.
I know that it’s hard to find trustworthy sources nowadays when anybody can spread shitty information in a blink of an eye. But it’s also never been easier to do some quick fact checking online to uncover said shitty information before hitting “forward to all”.
So please do your part, try to find reliable information, do proper research and due diligence, and stop sharing stuff that’s not from reputable sources.
Important Everyday Routines We All Should Follow Right Now
- Good Hygiene Etiquette. We all know what to do: Wash your hands frequently with soap and sing happy birthday TWICE (in your head lol): Here’s a video that shows you how to properly wash your hands. Don’t touch your face, especially your mouth, nose or eyes. Don’t sneeze or cough in other people’s faces (no shit!) but in your elbow instead. I hope that these super basic hygiene routines will remain in people’s heads long after this is over.
- Help others if you can. Do your senior neighbors’ grocery shopping or any other errands for them. Take their dog out for a walk. Share the pallet of toilet paper you bought with them. Consider gifting some of the hundreds of cans in your pantry to your local soup kitchen. Keep your distance from others – I heard waving is still ok though 🙂
- When talking about keeping one’s distance: I really hope this also will be something burned into people’s heads and will keep people from overstepping personal boundaries or invading personal space without asking.
- Spread kindness when and wherever you can. A simple smile can make someone else’s day.
- Stay connected with your loved ones via skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp – or simply call like back in the days you know 🙂
- Try to seek out positivity whenever possible especially on social media. Two accounts I love following on instagram that share positive news every day are @tanksgoodnews (here’s also his website) and @upworthy.
- Avoid binging on the news. It’s enough to check the news once per day for example in the morning. I avoid doing it in the evening because it messes with my head and makes it much harder to fall asleep.
- Give back. Consider supporting a charity if you can. Charity Navigator has compiled a list with charities that support communities affected by the Coronavirus outbreak around the world. Another list by the New York Times: How You Can Help Victims of the Coronavirus Pandemic. And one article by goop: How to Support Kids, Seniors, and Vulnerable Communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
What to do During Quarantine: Resources & Ideas
Productivity & Working From Home
Although not much has changed for me personally in my everyday life (I work from home 95% of the time and barely leave our apartment – trust me, it’s not as sad as it sounds lol), I know that for many of you, life turned upside down all of a sudden.
Maybe you have to work remotely although you’ve never done that before, and the situation overwhelms you. What about your productivity? How to focus in your home environment? So many distractions are just a click away?
And if you got kids, it must be even tougher. Since everybody is at home now 24/7, you have to figure out how to balance everyone’s schedule with yours.
To help you a bit along the way, you’ll find a summary with my personal tips on how to work from home successfully, a great selection of focus playlists that help you to concentrate, followed by additional great articles about working from home from around the web.
WFH Basics: 8 Easy yet Lifesaving Tips
I’ve been working from home since spring 2017, so this situation is not new to me. But I know that it’s hard at first to focus with so many familiar distractions around you (why not watch Netflix all day long right?), so here are my go-to tips to work from home successfully:
- Have a dedicated work area. If you don’t have a separate room, find a corner in your living room, where you can set up your work space. Make it look nice, put some flowers there, anything that motivates you to spend time at your new desk.
- Ergonomics: Make sure your work space supports your body. Sit at a table and not on the couch (at least not the full day – I’m guilty of this as well). Have your screen at the right eye level to support your neck and avoid back pain. Use a laptop stand and external keyboard and mouse if you don’t have an external display. Protect your wrists by sitting at a good height. Check this video for a more detailed explanation: Computer Desk Setup Ergonomics
- Use noise-cancelling headphones. My husband and me work from different rooms and we have noisy neighbors with VERY loud kids (which we could hear screaming and yelling at their parents way before COVID-19 existed). The only way I get writing done is with my headphones on. Otherwise I would have to listen to my husband’s endless work calls and our neighbors’ kids (despite thick walls and shut doors) all day long. I’m still using my Bose QC 25 headphones (and they do an awesome job!) but there are many other great and newer options on the market.
- Set up a routine and stick to it. I work out in the morning (yes even during self-isolation), have breakfast and coffee, and then start the work day. This is my preferred method to structure my day. Now, I read that some people put on make-up and work clothes. If this is something you think might help you, go for it. I don’t do that, because I don’t want to waste my precious make-up and because I prefer sweatpants over tight and uncomfortable jeans. You do you.
- Depending on your living situation, talk about boundaries. With your family, with your significant other, with your roommates, and with your pets 😉
- Stand up every hour or so and stretch. If you can, go outside for a walk during lunch or in the afternoon. I know, some countries don’t allow that anymore, so do whatever is still permitted as long as you move your body every now and then.
- Put your (private) phone in silent mode and switch on concentration mode (or whatever the mode is called where potentially distracting apps are disabled). Also use the screen time function to monitor and limit where you spend the most time on your phone. It helps to prevent any social media rabbit holes and wasting time when you could be productive instead.
- If you have kids, I linked to resources on how to manage family live and working from home in the next section.
The above is my current home office setup. Usually, I work from a separate room with a “real” office setup meaning an office chair, wide office desk, big external screen etc.. Since I’m a nice person, I let my husband work in that room at the moment because he needs the larger screen much more than I do and it would have been a real nightmare to relocate that screen.
Depending on how long we’ll be working in our newly founded co-working space, we might alternate between workstations, let’s see.
WFH Music & Playlists to Focus (Spotify)
Additional WFH Online Resources
If you want to learn even more about working from home and see how others managed the switch from struggling to being productive and thriving, here are some good resources from around the www.
- 8 Tips To Make Working From Home Work For You (NPR Article)
- The Art Of Working Remotely: How To Ensure Productivity (Forbes Article)
- 9 Creative Ways to Stay Connected to Your Coworkers When You’re All Working From Home (The Muse Article)
- Working from home? 4 tips for staying productive (Think with Google Article)
- Your Coronavirus Work-From-Home Wellness Plan (Medium Article)
Family Life During Quarantine
I don’t have kids yet, but despite my lack of experience, I imagine that this – work, family, significant other, kids, pets, all under the same roof all the time – either leads to even more love and deep connection or has the potential of becoming a real clusterfuck – and I’m sure will put a few relationships to the test.
Families who never homeschooled their kids before have to that now – I cannot even fathom how hard this must be.
So here are resources either researched online or shared in one of my remote working Slack channels between seasoned work from home parents, homeschooling pros, and absolute newbies. Maybe you’ll find something new and suitable for your family!
Working from Home with Kids
- 5 tips for effectively working from home during the coronavirus outbreak, when you have kids (CNBC Article)
- Figuring Out Work and Family in the Age of Coronavirus – An honest discussion between two journalists with children about their new circumstances working from home (NYT In Her Words)
- 9 Screen-free Sanity Savers The Key To Working At Home With Kids (Solutions For The Working Homeschool Mom)
Learning & Homeschooling Resources
- Home-Schooling Tweens and Teens During Coronavirus Closings (NYT Article by Nir Eyal)
- Working and learning online during a pandemic (Pearson Learning Resources Site)
- 20+ Awesome Educational Tech Resources for Kids (Mommy knows tech post)
Fun Stuff & Creative Ideas
- Stuck at Home? These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch (Parents Mag Article)
- 25 Things to do with your kiddos when stuck at home (Arts and craft ideas from “A beautiful Mess”)
- Disneyland may be closed but you can now take a stunning virtual tour with these videos (UpWorthy)
- Take a virtual tour through NASA’s Space Center Houston with its free app!
- Travel the globe with your family using Google’s Art and Culture from the comfort of your couch. There are tons of virtual tours to choose from to visit all major landmarks and even national parks around the world.
- Let your kiddos watch live footage from zoos and farms around the world (here’s a long list by Insider). Body care company Beekman 1802 set up their live cam in their baby goat nursery – and I cannot stop watching the cuteness!
- Audible Stories: Free Audio Titles for Kids during School Closures
- Shows kids can watch while they’re out of school that you won’t feel bad about (CNN Article)
Leisure Time During Quarantine
Sports: How to Stay Fit While Self-Isolating
This seems to be one of those things that is the hardest to accomplish for the majority of people – and I can totally relate! I try to hit the gym 3 to 4 times a week, which isn’t possible anymore now at the moment. Ugh (yes it makes total sense, but I can still be annoyed about it right). Also it’s not allowed to exercise outside currently so running is out of the picture.
What I did is the following: I amended my gym workouts and replaced every exercise that either required heavy weights or stationary equipment by similar bodyweight exercises or alternatives using a resistance band.
The change was much easier than I thought and my workouts are still challenging despite the unusual environment (our living room).
Useful Equipment For At-Home Workouts
This is a selection of products, that make working out at home much easier. You don’t need all of them. The most important thing is your body and the willingness to put in the work. Depending on the kind of workouts you usually do, some of the below listed items will help to bring the gym feeling to your home.
The more advanced you are, the more stuff you will probably own already. If your normal workout needs heavy weights (like mine do) then it makes sense to invest in a pair of high quality adjustable dumbbells. I don’t own any yet, but if this situation has a longer timeframe than I initially expected, I will definitely get a pair.
Another important factor is storage space in your apartment: Most of us don’t have the space to store an Olympic barbell including weights and a bench in our apartments, so I didn’t list these (awesome and pricey) products. Also, most bulky gym items don’t make for great decor, unfortunately.
Last but not least: Please do proper research before buying anything pricey and/or complex. See if you get good support from the seller and if all your questions get answered. It would suck to get hurt by (low-quality?) equipment.
Note: I use the items marked with an asterisk.
- A gym mat or yoga mat*
- A skipping rope*
- One (or more) resistance bands*
- Push-up handles*
- Pull-up bar to install in doorframe
- Living room furniture e.g. chairs*
- An array of weights, dumbbells or kettlebells
- Your smartphone to track your workouts*
- Useful apps:
My At-Home Workout Routines
Below are my current workout routines which I adjusted to be at-home friendly to give you an idea and maybe some inspiration. Take a look and feel free to pick and choose what works for you, make it yours.
My entire workouts including warm-up (I have two different workouts, one for the upper and one for the lower body that I alternate every other day) never last longer than 30 minutes.
- To warm up, I do some gentle stretching. Then I do 10 mins of skipping using the Tabata Timer: 40 sec skipping, 20 sec pause.
- Lower Body Workout:
– 3 Sets of Squats w/ Resistance Band – 10 Reps
– 3 Sets of Deadlifts w/ Resistance Band – 10 Reps
– 2 Sets of Bulgarian Split Squats using a Chair – 10 Reps per Side
– 2 Sets of Lunge/Kick Combination – 10 Reps per Side
- Upper Body Workout:
– 3 Sets of Bent Over Row w/ Resistance Band – 10 Reps
– 3 Sets of Front Raise w/ Resistance Band – 5 Reps
– 3 Sets of Hammer Curls w/ Resistance Band – 10 Reps
– 2 Sets of Push-ups w/ Handles – 5 Reps
– 3 Sets of Burpees – 10 Reps
At least once per week I do yoga for about 15 to 30 minutes depending on what I’m focusing on (lately more on the stretching and less on the intensity). Check out my yoga beginner friendly compilation playlist on Youtube to try for yourself!
Free At-Home Workouts From Around the Web
- Chris Hemsworth is offering a 6-week trial on his fitness and health app Centr right now. I haven’t tried it so far, but I believe it is definitely worth taking a look.
- Adidas Runtastic is offering a free 90-day premium membership with all their workouts unlocked!
- Arnold Schwarzenegger put a simple yet challenging workout routine on his Youtube channel, which you can find here: Stay at home, Stay Fit. Almost no equipment required!
- I’m a big fan of the NerdFitness blog and here’s their at home workout routines for you to follow: The 7 Best At-Home Workout Routines – The Ultimate Guide for Training Without a Gym.
- The 12 Best At-Home Workouts You Can Do Without Any Equipment by Self.com.
- Most EFFECTIVE Bodyweight Home Workout by Chris Heria. This dude is seriously jacked so I guess he knows what he’s talking about lol. It’s a video on his Youtube channel and about 30 minutes long.
- More free access to online workouts: Influential Fitness Instructors Are Flexing New Muscles as Gyms Shutter Amid Coronavirus (TIME Magazine Article)
Mindful Resources to Beat Quarantine Anxiety
- Tiny Habits Expert Help with Coronavirus Challenges: I’m a big fan of BJ Fogg, author of Tiny Habits and professor at Stanford (Human Behavior Design Lab). His team members and him are now offering free access to live sessions and their replays on different topics like “How to stay upbeat on lockdown”, “Strengthening your immune system”, and “Creating positivity during challenging times”. Check out the link and sign up for whichever session you like.
- MindBodyGreen offers a couple of their classes free of cost for example “Meditation for Anxiety” or “28 Days to Yoga Bliss”.
- Follow the hashtag #MuseumMomentofZen for calming and relaxing images and short videos from all kinds of museums around the world. Here’s the link to the Twitter Hashtag and here the Instagram counterpart. One of my favorites is the post by The Broad Museum in LA that shared the infinity mirror installation by Yayoi Kusama – I was lucky enough to experience it for a whole 45 secs a few years back in Singapore (thanks to the recommendation of a good friend of mine) and it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
- The Greater Good Science Institute Center at UC Berkeley shares a lot of articles on how to deal with this difficult situation. They also have many free exercises around mindfulness.
- My Meditation Video Compilation for Beginners Playlist on Youtube
- My Yoga for Beginners Playlist on Youtube
- Learn how to journal (it helps with starting your self-reflection journey – an article by The Cut)
- My Ultimate Guide to Starting a Self-Care Routine because this is the time where self-care is more important than ever.
- Do a short therapeutical fast for 3 to 5 days, where you only consume water, veggie broth and some juices. Please do your proper research on this topic before starting. Learn everything about the Buchinger Method here and read Chapter 4 to learn more about the methodology. If you’ve never fasted before, I recommend doing only 3 days of pure fasting max. I’m not a fan of water fasting and I’m also against fasting purely for weight loss reasons. When I did my first therapeutic fast using the Buchinger method, I felt amazing and full of energy. I could feel how my body used this time to get a break from the burden of digesting (heavy) meals and I slept like a baby. Here’s a good experience report from someone who visited a dedicated fasting hotel.
Creative Things to do During Quarantine
- Start a new hobby. Learn that language which you bought 5 books about (that would be Arabic for me haha). Learn a new skill, you always wanted to (how about coding for example? Codecademy offers a 30-day challenge for free and has many free coding courses in general).
- Learn how to play the guitar with Fender. Fender offers 3 months free access to their online classes because of the current situation. I bought a guitar about 2 years ago but never found the time to learn more than a few chords, so I might as well try it now.
- Read all the unread books you have at home (I’m at around 20 unread titles) or reread the ones you loved the most.
- Declutter your home and do a good spring clean. There’s really no better time than now. Watch Marie Kondo’s Netflix series to get inspired and motivated and then use her Spring Cleaning Checklist to get started.
- Fix your wardrobe and your home. Time to sew buttons back on, clean those sneakers and heels, and patch up your beloved jeans. I have tons of empty picture frames that wait to be hung on the wall, so that’s going to be one of my home improvement projects.
- Start a crafts project! Find a ton of inspiration on home decor and crafts blog “A beautiful mess” and a ton of free arts courses like watercoloring or photography for instagram here: Stay Creative: All Brit + Co Online Classes Are Free! I will try to finally make our wedding scrapbook, renew the table top of our dining table and knit the second sock of my cozy stay-at-home socks.
- If you wanna start learning how to knit, check out Wool and the Gang: They have a lot of easy to follow videos for knitting basics and free knitting patterns. I love their thick and chunky Crazy Sexy Wool Yarn and made a beanie in one evening using one ball of the color Mustard Sally 🙂
- Owning a 1,000 pieces jigsaw puzzle? Go and finally do it!
- Do trivia game rounds with your friends using zoom, skype or any similar video conferencing service. Now that zoom is finally available in the UAE (for the time being at least), I will try and schedule one myself with my friends 🙂
- Check out this post with a few more unusual ideas: Here’s How We Cope When We’re Stressed: Ideas From NPR’s Arts Desk (NPR Article on how to distract yourself with some quite unusual content!)
- Start cooking! Something needs to happen with all the cans and pantry items you bought in bulk, right?! Check out the following recipes for easy to scale meals so you can feed just yourself if you live alone or your whole family:
- Easy & Healthy Plant-based Lasagne Recipe (from yours truly)
- Black Bean Buddha Bowl with Gingery Lemon Tahini Sauce (Minimalist Baker)
- 58 Easy Bean, Lentils and Rice Recipes (Minimalist Baker – very pantry items friendly list of quick and yum recipes)
- Vegan Butter Chickpeas (Dennis the Prescott)
- Start Dating virtually! I loved the idea behind this article: Love Is Quarantine, and Your Apartment Is the Pod (NYT Article about how two guys use the “Love is Blind” TV series idea to match strangers for blind phone dates)
What to Listen to During Quarantine
Entertaining and Informative Podcasts
- The Tim Ferriss Show
- Girls Gotta Eat
- Stuff You Should Know
- The Guilty Feminist
- TED Talks Daily
- Happier with Gretchen Rubin
- The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Ears Edition
- Broken Record
- Popcast by the NYT
Another thing I love listening to are audiobooks, both fiction and non-fiction, and I highly recommend audible.com. Apart from the usual audiobook edition, they also have dedicated studios where they produce their “Audible Original” titles, which are like cinema material for your ears (different voice actors, background sounds and beautiful soundtracks etc. to get your imagination going!) and these are amazing!
Audible also started an initiative with free stories available in 6 different languages for kids that can be streamed on most devices. Find Audible Stories here: https://stories.audible.com/start-listen
And if you have a Spotify subscription, also use the search function there. I found MANY audiobooks within the app. It depends on your location and their licensing deals. A few audiobooks, that I could listen to while in Germany, are not available in the UAE for example (same app, same subscription – this also happens with Netflix and other streaming services).
What to Watch During Quarantine
Most of you know, I’m a huge movie, series and documentary fan, so here’s a list with some of my favorite ones (most of them on Netflix) in no particular order to watch alone or with your kids.
Insightful Documentaries and Docu Series
- The Defiant Ones: A mini series about the lives and origins of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, and the story behind the sale of their company Beats by Dr. Dre. It’s really a behind the scenes of the music business and its development, the hustle, entrepreneurship, creativity, and very interesting and insightful no matter if you like hip-hop or not.
- Pandemic – How to prevent an outbreak: Watched that one in a matter of days. It’s weird and a little scary, that this documentary was launched mid-January 2020. I highly recommend watching it, because it explains a whole lot about Coronoviruses in general (like SARS and MERS) as well as why and how viruses like these spread.
- Babies: A Netflix Original mini series about one of the greatest miracles of life! The series follows the story of babies in their first year, their growth, their development and how much they learn. Very uplifting and I can’t help it, I always tear up when birth stories are shared 😀
- Broken, Rotten, and Dirty Money: Three documentary series from the same team. All look behind the scene of either public persons who try to uphold a flawless facade or industries that try to hide the often ugly truth and real cost of their products on the planet from the consumer.
- Abstract – The Art of Design: Super insightful series about the variety of the design industry. Each episode focuses on one person, her/his industry, and how she/he influenced, shaped or pushed their design industry into a new direction. My favorite episodes are about architect Bjarke Ingels, graphic designer Paula Scher, photographer Platon, and costume designer Ruth Carter.
- Explained: Easy to digest 20 minutes episodes about kind of everything. There’s now a few sub-series where certain topics like the mind or sexuality are discussed in greater detail, which are also absolutely binge-worthy!
- Night on Earth: A fascinating nature docu series where ultra-sensitive cameras were used to catch animals in their natural habitat around the world – at night. It’s calming, you’ll learn new things about the earth, and witness many beautiful and stunning shots, everything from the comfort of your couch.
Binge-worthy Series and Movies
- Locke & Key: After the death of their father and husband, a family moves across states to their inherited (late dad’s childhood) house that seems to have a secret and might possibly be haunted. The children find magical keys and quickly realize their powers. Yes, please watch it if you’re into fantasy meets modern world stories! Despite its dark vibe, the series is not too scary (I’m not into scary nor horror movies) and I loved the soundtrack!
- Sex Education: Hilarious series based in the UK about a teen boy giving sex advice to his classmates (for money lol) although being barely experienced. I loved that Netflix made it a very diverse cast with a lot of unknown faces (and they’re so talented). Can’t wait for the next season!
- The Good Place: This one probably doesn’t need an introduction. I’m still waiting for the last season to be released so please don’t send any spoilers my way lol.
- Jane, the Virgin: I’ve been a long-time fan of this telenovela style rom-com series and FINALLY the last season will drop on Netflix end of March (at least in my region), so you all know where to find me lol.
- The Spy: First time I’ve seen Sacha Baron Cohen in a serious role and I gotta say he did an excellent job. This limited series is about the Israeli spy Eli Cohen who went deep undercover for Mossad in Iran. It’s based on a true story and absolutely gripping. I sat on the edge of the couch for most of the time watching this limited series.
- Murder Mystery: The thing is: I adore Jennifer Anniston! And I love a good whodunit story, so this is one of the best combinations for me ever lol. A couple (Jennifer Anniston and Adam Sandler) in their marriage rut finally goes on their 15 year late honeymoon trip to Europe and gets caught up in the murder of a super rich patriarch, which happens on a super yacht. (Netflix Original)
- Sherlock: Ok, I’m going to admit something now: I’m a sucker for Sherlock Holmes stories, have probably watched all series adaptions and movies – and listened to all audiobooks (at least the German ones on Spotify) more than once. My absolute favorite TV adaption is the one from BBC with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. The original stories are modernized and sometimes recreated into complete new story arcs – and Benedict Cumberbatch is the best pick imho as Sherlock so far! Each episode is quite long (more like movie length) so it’s not that easy to binge through the whole series… maybe this is more something to watch every other day.
- The Witcher: I haven’t read the books nor have I played the games so it took me a bit to like this series. What I am a fan of though is well-done fantasy production and intricate story, so if you’re the same, you’ll like this series for sure. And yes, it’s definitely binge-material with a great soundtrack!
- The Crown: A fantastic series about the British Monarchy starting off with the childhood of Queen Elizabeth II. We’ll never know how accurate the details of the Royals’ private lives are depicted (which is absolutely fine by me), but this series taught me a lot about the British Monarchy, about history and how the British Political System works. Apart from that, the production quality is mind-blowing and I really like the way first Claire Foy and later on Olivia Colman portray The Queen.
- High Seas (Alta Mar): This is a Spanish crime mystery series based in the 1940’s. Two sisters embark on a trip from Spain to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on a luxurious ship. During this trip, mysterious deaths happen and the two sisters go on a journey to unveil some dirty secrets of people they loved and trusted. I binged this series while on a flight (remember that time when travel was something normal?) and loved everything about it! Another great factor was that it improved my Spanish vocabulary a lot 🙂
- The Alienist: Also a great detective style story based in New York beginning of the 1900’s. A very diverse group (a criminal psychoanalyst, the newly appointed police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt, a police secretary and a NYT illustrator) set out to bring a serial killer haunting the poorest of the poorest in New York to justice. Gripping and definitely something easy to binge through!
My hope is that we can find the positive bits and pieces, the little rays of sunshine, in our everyday lives no matter how dire the situation will get.
I hope families find the space to cherish their new found togetherness and play time with their kids.
I hope we can be grateful for the sudden halt and stillness in our lives and learn to enjoy the slower pace of each day.
I hope we will put that time to good use by learning a new language, finishing the half-forgotten crafts project, reading the growing stack of books, writing that novel, mastering a new skill.
I hope we will take the opportunity for personal growth, self-reflection and introspection no matter how challenging this is.
And I hope we can be there for one another, strangers and friends alike, sharing a smile and a few kind words with a wave through a little screen as well as from opposite sides of the street.
How do you spend your time in self-isolation? Do you have any projects that you can finally finish? I know a lot of you have kids, how will you spend your new found family time?
How are you coping? Share your story with me, write me an email and tell me how you’re dealing with this unusual situation. I’d love to start a conversation.
Stay safe (and at home) ♥️