If you are anything like the average, socially-distancing American right now, your personal phone use and screen-time has probably gone up significantly in the past four weeks or so. We are fortunate to live in a time when technology can bring us closer and connect us with friends and family during this unprecedented time. But, more than that, we have technology at our fingertips to entertain us, teach us and sometimes, calm us down from all this uncertainty.
Here is a list of apps we found from CNN.com that may ease us through this rough patch and take our minds off the Coronavirus for a bit.
(Source: Scottie Andrew, CNN)
Stop, Breathe & Think
This meditation app, colored with cool blues and kind-eyed cartoon instructors, is designed to ease your mind the moment you open it. You start by checking in and evaluating your physical and emotional state. The app scrambles those results and spits out activities — guided breathing, brief meditations or, on occasion, a calming compilation of cat videos — based on your self-eval.
Those activities are categorized by feelings like compassion, grief, and equanimity, and they’re short enough to hold your attention but substantial enough to stave off anxiety. Let them wash over you like a wave of calm.
Playing with friends: Heads Up! on Houseparty
You may be familiar with Heads Up! (the Ellen DeGeneres-backed game that’s kind of like a reverse charades), and you may be familiar with Houseparty (the video calling app that mashes all your friends together on one screen). Here’s how to combine the two since we can’t be with friends in person.
First, download Houseparty. Click the die in the upper right corner. Heads Up! should appear in the drop-down column. Gather your friends, and voila!
Much has been made about Yale University’s “Happiness” course, available to non-Yale students now for free. Once you learn about the roots of joy, dig into the 2,000 classes available through the EdX app.
Think of a topic, any topic — they probably have a class for that, offered by one of more than 100 universities. You won’t earn a degree, but you will earn bragging rights for furthering your education while isolating.
Whatever you think about that little green owl mascot, this language-learning app is an engaging and colorful way to get smarter.
It’s structured like a game in that it’s image-heavy, fast-paced and it incentivizes you to keep going with ultimately inconsequential but briefly exciting rewards.
There are 35 languages to try, including fictional tongues like “Star Trek’s” Klingon and “Game of Thrones'” High Valyrian.
Project Foodie: Guided Cooking
Amateur cooks of the world looking to broaden their culinary horizons, Project Foodie hears you, and it knows you’re capable of more. That’s why it breaks down recipes step-by-step in a video, led by pro chefs. And unlike their TV counterparts, these cooks won’t skip a moment of prep. By the end, you’ll be blanching and julienne-ing better than they can.
The virtual equivalent of a cul-de-sac meet-up, Nextdoor connects you with neighbors you may’ve never met. It was fun and useful before the pandemic, but gone are the days when our only gripes were whose dog left a mess in the hallway or whose headlights were left on all night. Now, it’s essential to get to know your neighbors who may need your help or can offer you theirs. If nothing else, join for the odd request for a minister to officiate a cat wedding (just be wary of misinformation — like any social media, it’s an issue on Nextdoor, too).
For working out
It’s a pocket-sized personal trainer that’s all audio-based, so you won’t need to pull out your phone to see what comes next — just focus on the spoken instructions and your body. If you don’t know where to start, don’t sweat it (or do sweat it, ha) — the app picks out which exercises will work best for you.
If video-guided workouts are more your speed, Peloton offers a whole lot more than cycling. Watch the pros lead strength training classes, yoga, boot camps and cooldowns. It’s free for 30 days, too.
The app tracks your runs and measures your progress — and if you keep it up, you can earn rewards toward real-life training gear, too!
For silly, escapist fun
Seriously, you’re not on TikTok yet?
If you missed the boat on our dearly departed Vine, get on board with this bite-sized video platform. If dancing lipsyncers aren’t for you, filter them out — they’re not the only ones using the app.
TikTok is a platform for burgeoning comedians, wholesome families and sardonic activists — and somehow, there’s room for them all. Cardi B, Reese Witherspoon and the World Health Organization have all found a home on the app, too. So Scroll. Laugh. Learn about the global health crisis. Repeat.
Project B3 hopes that you are all taking the steps necessary to stay safe and healthy during this time. While we are fortunate to have technology at our fingertips, let’s not forget to connect with the world around us while still respecting the safer-at-home guidelines. Go for a walk in your neighborhood. Read an actual book. If you are in isolation with your family members, talk to them and communicate how you are feeling. Be sure to balance your screen time with real-life interaction with friends, family and try to get outside every day!