The best thing you can do to flatten the curve and save lives during COVID-19 is to stay home. But even for the most introverted couch potato among us, staying at home can be a … challenge.
Thankfully, the world has opened up online like never before. Every day, we’re finding new ways to be together apart and get a little online stress relief whether that’s virtual parties, virtual museum tours, or livestreaming concerts from a musician’s home.
Here are 16 of our favorite free activities that prove you only need streaming access to create your own online Zen garden.
16 Free Online Stress Relief Options
Feeling stressed? Unwind and relax with these free tours, musicals, courses, and virtual trips.
Tour the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum has several virtual museum tours and educational programs available free. Once you’re done touring the museum, check out the official Twitter account, currently being run by Tim, the head of security. Tim is giving us insider information and loads of laughs, proving we really are all in this together.
Behind the scenes videos at the Dallas Zoo
The Dallas Zoo is providing up close and personal videos and educational sessions with all of their animals through the zoo’s official Twitter account. It is so popular with kids and adults several other zoos and aquariums have joined in using the Twitter hashtag: #BringTheZooToYou.
Netflix is joining your friends together to watch the same shows and movies at the same time. By watching through Netflix Party, you’ll get synced video play and a group chat because staying connected virtually is one of the best ways to get online stress relief right now.
Nightly Metropolitan Opera streams
The Metropolitan Opera, closed for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, is streaming full, free operas. A new opera starts at 7:30 p.m. EST and stays live for 23 hours. You can see the full schedule at The Metropolitan Opera's website.
The Public Broadcasting Station has loads of full documentaries available through their streaming app. Everything from Ken Burns’ newest release to nature documentaries are available with new options coming online regularly.
Tour the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
Another great virtual museum tour, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is open online. You can virtually walk the halls or use the map to head right to what you really want to see up close.
Tour the Winchester Mystery House
Touring a reputed haunted house may not spring to mind as an immediate answer to online stress relief but hear us out: The beloved tourist destination in San Jose, California, the Winchester Mystery House, is full of strange twists and turns, staircases to nowhere and other oddities you’d usually have to buy a ticket to see. Now, you can follow along virtually exploring places you’d probably miss as an in-person tourist.
Take the kids to NASA
NASA has created a massive virtual map of their Langley Research Center. Click around and you’ll get guided tours, videos on how each spot works and other great information.
Relive your favorite NFL games
Sure, live sports might be on hold for now, but you don’t have to hold out entirely. NFL Game Pass is giving complimentary access to anyone through the end of May. The pass includes full streaming access to NFL games between 2009 – 2019.
Explore The British Museum
Arguably one of the best museums in the world, The British Museum has provided a wealth of free education, videos and looks into the history of several continents. Their interactive map through time is one of the best we’ve seen available.
Watch live TV free
No cable subscription? No problem. Through the "Stay in and Sling!" initiative, cable streaming service provider, Sling, has made dozens of live programs available free. Programing varies including news, classic sitcoms like “3rd Rock from the Sun,” and family friendly shows. Sling is also available through streaming services like Roku, Amazon Firestick and Android devices.
Tour the National Parks
Possibly the ultimate staycation, through a partnership with Google Earth, you can now tour many of the nation’s best national parks for free. Big Bend National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Yellowstone Natural Park are just a few of the options.
Take a cooking course
Since we’re all finding ourselves cooking at home a lot, now is a great time to brush up on the basics or master a new skill. Milk Street Cooking School has made their entire online course section free through the end of April. Courses cover everything from knife sharpening techniques to master spices to cooking with what you have on hand.
Take in a Broadway show
Always wanted to see a Broadway musical actually on Broadway? Now is your chance. Broadway HD is offering a seven-day free trial that includes dozens of shows. Streaming is available on AppleTV, Amazon Firestick, Roku and Android devices as well so you can watch from your couch.
While you’re doing your part to stay home and slow the spread, take care of yourself, too. Take advantage of these online stress relief options and treat your mental health to a break.
Get in a quick home workout
While the idea of working out right now may not sound the most appealing, setting aside even just 20 minutes of your day to get your blood flowing can be a great stress relief tool during this time. Check out these 25+ free online fitness classes and workout plans here.
Never meditated before? Now’s the time to start!
If a sweaty home workout doesn’t sound like the best stress relief activity, try out meditating at home for free. Click here to read about the benefits of meditation and kick start your free 21-day meditation journey.