Social distancing need not be a weeks-long (if not months-long) sentence confining members of the USC community to the couch. Sitting indoors all day may make it easy to scroll through social media and binge-watch old TV shows, but spring is a season of growth and new beginnings; this is something that we should not give up to the coronavirus without a fight. Here are six things you can do to stay healthy and live your best lives during the statewide quarantine, all of which can be done from the comfort of home.
Now is the time to make some fitness goals … and then break them like it’s nobody’s business. Because California’s quarantine is currently set to end in balmy April, it might be tempting to set sights on a killer workout routine that promises visible results. Alas, aiming to finish grueling workouts seldom work out as planned. If you’re interested in moving your body and centering your mind, try “Yoga with Adriene” on Youtube. This channel offers a 30-day yoga practice featuring light grounding meditation as well as more challenging core exercises.
If you’re looking for a good old-fashioned cardio workout, head over to “Body Project” on Youtube. This channel features combined HIIT, cardio, yoga, resistance training and pilates workouts with an energetic instructor encouraging users at home. USC Student Affairs also features many beginner workouts on its Fitness page, with live “USC Trojan Fitness” workouts on Youtube scheduled throughout the week. Don’t have a mat? Use a towel!
E-library books, audiobooks and USC Libraries resources
There are many free library apps, most notably Libby, Hoopla and USC Libraries’ resources — all of which offer different reading experiences. The Libby app allows users to enter their local library card information and get access to local and worldwide collections. Libby functions much like a real library does and users must often join waitlists before they can read popular novels. Hoopla works in a similar way, but it cuts the waitlist and instead allows users to borrow ten items per month.
While most students use the USC Libraries catalog for research, few are aware that they have access to Kanopy, a streaming service focused primarily on collecting historical films and documentaries. Whatever your favorite genre, these online resources make it possible to enjoy a daring journey or partake in momentous historical events while sipping a steaming cup of tea.
Get creative with stews, soups and sweets
Now is the perfect time to break away from overdone and convenient dishes and to flex new recipes in the kitchen. For easy dinner recipes, check out Brit + Co for “30 Easy Crock-Pot Dinners You Can Prep in 20 Minutes or Less.” And for the vegan Trojans out there, try “One-Pot Vegan-Lentil Soup” from The Minimalist Baker, which makes four servings of savory potatoes, greens, lentils, carrots and celery fit for long nights at home.
If you’d rather skip to dessert, try a variation of easy-to-make Five Layer Bars. Crush two cups of graham crackers and a stick of melted butter in a pan to make a crust, then pour sweetened condensed milk, white and dark chocolate chips, coconut flakes and any additional toppings of your choice. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the toppings melt and the condensed milk bubbles golden brown. Cut into squares and chill for a decadent treat. The beauty of this classic recipe is that you can add nuts, dried fruit or flavored chocolate chips to make the recipe your own.
USC has many online resources for students looking for a supportive community, and the University has expanded its online group resources during this time of remote learning. Mindful USC is now offering online, weekly mindfulness workshops. On the Mindful USC app, users are asked about their current emotions and then suggested guided meditations to help ground their thoughts. While meditation is a private practice, this series of workshops helps members share their inner journeys with like-minded individuals. Mindful USC is unique in that it offers students this collaborative space to work through beginning and intermediate mediations, making the learning process flexible and enjoyable.
USC also offers students free access to Be Unlimited, a wellness training website that helps users build psychological fitness. Emotional intelligence, just like any muscle, needs a killer workout.
Visit a zoo or museum
Yes, you can visit museums while maintaining social distancing! Over 15 museums, including the Broad Museum in Los Angeles and the British Museum in London feature online collections. The London Museum’s “Museum of the World” module takes viewers through time as they click on select pieces to learn more about different cultures and their artistic past. History buffs can also create a free account on Khan Academy, which features hundreds of videos about art pieces from various time periods and creative eras.
And for animal lovers, head over to the San Diego Zoo webpage for habitat live cams — the Koala-cam is located in the perfect spot to watch these furry friends snuggle without a care in the world.
There are tons of opportunities for students to share their skills online. United Nations Volunteers and Smithsonian “volunpeers” can help translate and transcribe everything from instructional training guides to outdated Chinese currency. Good Samaritans can also help improve website function by troubleshooting and creating content for United Nations promotional videos and research campaigns about monthly rainfall data. Be My Eyes is a micro-volunteering app that helps connect vision impared users with volunteers who help them complete everyday tasks.
Crafty individuals can get busy at home learning how to knit clothing for Warm Up America, weave survival bracelets for Operation Gratitude or even make scratching boards for your local animal shelter using recycled cardboard. Whatever your capacity to help, there is something all individuals can do to make the world better without leaving the house.
With so many activities to fill the time in between Zoom meetings, you may decide working from home has more to offer than what first meets the eye. Members of the USC community can use this opportunity to explore ways to improve the world around them. Perhaps one of these will stick and become a hobby.