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The Quad: Ways to stay connected, curb boredom during COVID-19 social distancing

(Bridgette Baron/Daily Bruin)

By Alexa Greco

April 6, 2020 6:10 pm

Tanning at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center, hanging with friends on Janss Steps or attending a gymnastics meet in Pauley Pavilion – the springtime activities that we’re used to at UCLA are now replaced by logging on to a Zoom meeting in your pajamas.

Whether they’re from California or across the globe, students will have to adjust to a new reality of social distancing and quarantining to help halt the spread of COVID-19. As the number of cases continues to rise and much of the world is going on lockdown, solitude may become a more salient problem for Bruins stuck inside.

If you’re missing friends, struggling to get along with family members or just want some company during the long days indoors, The Quad has compiled a guide to fending off feelings of loneliness and boredom during the quarantine.

To begin, enjoying live music from your favorite artists in real-time is now a possibility. On March 16, Coldplay performed a live concert on Instagram for the Together At Home:” WHO-Global Citizen Solidarity Sessions and John Legend quickly followed suit with his own live-stream concert the following day. Since then, the two have been joined by a host of artists including Hozier, H.E.R. and Charlie Puth.

All the performances can be found on its website, and the campaign will continue to collaborate with artists in the coming weeks. The virtual concerts can ease your fear of missing out as the originally scheduled Coachella weekend one arrives, and the best part – watching your favorite acts is free.

[Related: Professors reorganize, students adjust to first week of online classes]

If Bruins are itching to get creative, some famous illustrators are offering free online drawing classes. Carson Ellis, a children’s book illustrator, has a daily Quarantine Art Club through her Instagram account, while Jarrett J. Krosoczka, a picture book author and illustrator, has a similar program through his YouTube channel. Additionally, other authors and illustrators have chosen to do read alongs via social media to help pass the time.

A more active choice to combat boredom and cultivate a healthy quarantine lifestyle is to take an online workout class, which many fitness companies are offering for free. Students can unwind with some CorePower Yoga from its website featuring free, on-demand workouts, or ramp up the burn with daily videos from interval-training gym Orangetheory without paying the membership price tag.

In addition, CNBC compiled a comprehensive list of free exercises, from companies like Peloton and Daily Burn. These workouts could be done in the comfort of your own home, or even outside in a secluded patch of grass to get some fresh air.

Of course, art classes and workout sessions can’t quite replace the fun of hanging out with friends. An app many Bruins are already familiar with may present a solution – Not only can they use Zoom for online lectures and professional meetings, but they can also use it as a platform to connect with friends.

Spencer Weissman, a fourth-year sociology student, has enjoyed keeping up with his buddies using the app.

“One of the things I like to do to pass the time is watch obscure TV shows with my friends and then talk about it over Zoom afterward,” Weissman said.

In addition to video-calling platforms, there are a number of applications that allow lonely students to connect with friends in different ways.

One such application is called Psych!, which allows for a live, interactive game where players can anonymously answer questions, and the answers are then voted on by the other players.

Similarly, a website called PlayingCards.io offers an online version similar to the popular card game, Cards Against Humanity, which up to six people can play. Being able to play these games in real-time with friends can help diminish both loneliness and boredom.

Watching TV doesn’t have to be boring, either – streaming “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” has also become a lot more fun thanks to Netflix Party, which allows users to watch content live with a friend. For those without a Netflix subscription, Universal Pictures is releasing its films online during the quarantine.

[Related: The Quad: Sharing some good news amid the coronavirus pandemic]

In addition to the entertainment listed above, some students stress the importance of staying active and maintaining a schedule while stuck at home.

For third-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student Elana Weingord, a regular routine helps her get through the long days inside without getting cabin fever.

“I think the most important thing is keeping a routine,” Weingord said. “Make plans when you wake up in the morning, and always get dressed.”

Weingord also said the best part of traveling home to Santa Cruz for the start of spring quarter is the availability of nature, which allows her to spend time at the beach or on hikes. She said the fresh air helps her to feel less cooped up, and the exercise curbs her boredom.

While most hiking trails and beaches in Los Angeles are closed, neighborhood parks or walks in residential areas are still a great way to get fresh air. According to LA officials, these activities are fine as long as folks maintain their social distance.

Other students like Weissman, who is quarantined at his home in New York, find that focusing on classes has given them something more to do with their time. Weissman said he finds himself doing more schoolwork than usual just to keep himself busy.

Spending an indefinite amount of time in quarantine means finding unique and fun ways to stay stimulated. Video conferencing with friends will never feel like a substitute for a real hangout, but keeping ourselves and others safe during this time is paramount. Who knows – maybe you’ll find a newfound appreciation for yoga or a knack for baking cookies.

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Alexa Greco
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