Self-isolating at home needn’t be just mindless scrolling and boxset binge fatigue. Instead, try and think of it as a great opportunity to do all the things you say you want to do, but never have time for.
You could become fluent in Spanish or master the piano, finally learn how to code or swot up skills that may benefit your career and help you move into a new one… all without leaving the comfort (and SAFETY) of your own home.
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1. Become a linguist…
Learning a language seems to be FOREVER on our to-do list. We WILL finally be able to babble away in très chic Français on our next trip to Paris. We WILL *actually* be able to order something – anything – from a restaurant abroad, without sounding like a loud English tourist. Now is our chance to really delve into it.
There are some great apps out there, from Babbel to Duolingo, which make it super easy to learn a language on the go, with great vocab tests a click away in your pocket. But probably the best language courses out there are the beginner courses on Coursera and old favourite Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone is the ideal choice for home-learning at a time like this.
The award-winning course is perfectly suited to our current WFH life, and is designed to let you speak like a natural, perfect your pronunciation and learn from real-life conversations. You can even opt to have an actual online tutor for your course too. A three month specific language course is £16 a month and you can get 24 months of all languages for just £9 a month, which goes up to £19 with a tutor. Whilst a lot of apps are free, paying for the course is that real incentive you need to make sure you’re doing your (WF)homework!
2. Serenade your neighbours during self-isolation…
Remember that keyboard you bought when you were going through your thoughtful musician phase? Or maybe that guitar you got for your birthday but have literally never played? Now is the chance to test out that untapped potential and become the next Grammy-winning artist in the making. Right? There are some great online courses out there for almost all instruments, except the air guitar which, as we know, is pure natural-born talent.
The most fabulous? Fender. Yes, the cult guitar maker also offers online guitar courses which are genuinely brilliant. Their Fender Play app has online tutorials for electric, bass, acoustic guitar and ukulele and is super easy to follow, as well as featuring some of your favourite songs. Off you go then…your Grammy awaits.
3. Code your way to Silicon Valley…
If you’ve ever had a great idea for an app, a website or a genius life-hacking business idea, then one of the fundamental components might be to learn to code, to get to grips with the tech and the world of data security required. Enter PluralSight (previously known as Code School) stage left. They are one of the best online coding courses in the world and should be your first stop for all your tech learning and website development needs.
It helps you track skills, keep up to date with trends in the sector, and learn at your own pace according to your interests- personal or professional. You’ll be able to distinguish your java from your python in no time (nah, us neither).
Or, if data protection is your thing (and it’s one of the fastest growing job sectors so maybe it should be…) then you could sign up for Cyber Security Services; a fascinating online course that teaches you exactly what happens to those cookies you left on your browsing history; interesting for any budding tech nerds, indispensable for anyone thinking of it as a career.
4. Go back to school….
Why take one course when you could take several? After all, with an unprecedented amount of time on our hands, we may as well become super swots. But why have any ordinary teacher, when you could have a celebrity? For a monthly subscription fee of £14, you could be enrolled at Masterclass: the school you WISH you’d gone to, where acting is taught by Natalie Portman and Helen Mirren, cooking by Gordon Ramsay, fashion design is taught by Marc Jacobs, Margaret Atwood will teach you to write a bestseller and Anna Wintour will teach you how to be a good leader. It’s invaluable advice from those at the top of their field – plus nothing will get your kneading dough correctly like Gordon Ramsay shouting in your kitchen.
Or, if you *literally* want to feel like a student again, why not enrol at Udemy; which offers an impressive range of truly useful courses and video tutorials, all individually priced on a whole wide array of topics, from maths to Japanese. There’s even a lifestyle section with courses on photography, cooking, travel and makeup. Alternatively, there’s Coursea which offers courses in nutrition, animal health, languages, computer science, marketing and entrepreneurship. A school you can go to in your PJS. Amazing.
5. Become the next Banksy….
Ok sure, your mum kept all those great finger paintings of yours on the fridge for years, but maybe your artistic days need a bit of fine tuning. Many of the main art institutions offer great at home courses, including a rather swanky one at Sotheby’s and a great, practical course at London Art College. But, if you’ve always wanted your artistic streak to lead to a new career path, try E-Courses4You. This amazing e learning site has an impressive roster of hundreds of courses, but the creative design courses are some of the best for merging art and business. There are a whole variety of tutorials on everything from graphic design to photography, coupled with amazing advice on how to turn your passion into a career.
On that note, Virgin Experience Days have recently launched a four week online camera course for just £43 (total bargain) as well as an online cookery course with BBC’s Masterchef contestant Ann Hood. So good.
6. Learn to be a finance whizz…
Lockdown might be the perfect chance to finally get a hold on your personal finances and maybe even see if you could excel at them… Ahem, sorry for the spreadsheet pun. Financial Edge Training has just launched a free online excel course which not only gives you a better grasp of your own money matters, but also offers you a truly professional understanding of finance and investments too. The spreadsheet skills you learn will be so handy when you finally return to the office. Who knows? You could be a millionaire by the end of quarantine!*
*You may not be, just saying…
7. Live sustainably…
The one silver lining to come out of Coronavirus and global shutdown, is the positive effect it has had on climate change. Satellite images show a sharp reduction in air pollution in the UK, China and Italy among others, after these countries enforced lockdowns. So, if it’s got you thinking how best you too can do your bit for the environment, why not try apps like GoodGuide and Oroeco – educational tools on how to live life sustainably, reduce your carbon footprint and buy responsibly.
If you want to Marie Kondo your home without taking loads of stuff to the tip, enrol on this amazing online virtual home declutter course. Also, if supermarket stockpiling has you freaked out? Check out the amazing app Olio, which teaches you all you need to know about food waste and how to reduce it- as well as help others.