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8 productive activities to keep your mind active during self-isolation

Virtual Gurus blog post shows 8 productive activities to keep your mind active during self-isolation, including virtual gallery viewing.

Alexa Kowaltchuk

March 29, 2020

In this strange time in all of our lives, where many of us don’t even know what day of the week it is anymore, keeping our brains sharp and ourselves sane in self-isolation can be challenging. Make the best of the time you have in self-isolation with these 8 productive activities to keep your mind active.

Listen to a Podcast

If you’ve never listened to a podcast before, now’s your chance! There are an infinite number of podcasts available today for free. You are bound to find a podcast that suits your personal interests, whether it be business and technology, comedy, true crime, news and politics, or lifestyle and health. There is something for everyone.

Here are some of our top picks. The Daily by the New York Times keeps you plugged into what’s going on in the world, with a daily news segment condensed into 20 minutes. Stuff You Should Know by iHeartRadio is a podcast about anything and everything. Tune into this one if you want to learn some interesting, random facts to share at your next virtual dinner party. TED Talks Daily by TED covers absolutely everything under the sun by leaders and experts in their fields. You’ll feel like an absolute genius after listening to one of these.

If you want to discover more of our favourite podcasts, click here.

Take an Online Course

Whether you want to learn some new skills or subjects, or brush up on some old ones, keeping your skill set sharp and immersing yourself into new topics and fields is an incredibly constructive way to use your time. Who knows – building upon your skill set might even open up some new doors for you in your career or uncover some newfound passions and hobbies.

If you’re looking for courses to further your career as a virtual assistant, the Virtual Gurus Academy offers courses tailored specifically to this type of career development. These courses provide insight on a variety of topics related to virtual assistant work and are designed by experts in their fields who have personally worked as virtual assistants.

Learn more about some of our favourite Virtual Gurus Academy courses here.

If you’re looking for a broader range of subjects to explore, take a look at Udemy. Udemy is known for offering thousands of expert-led courses across various disciplines, including photography, personal development, and music.

Visit an Online Museum

8 Productive Activities to Keep Your Mind Active During Self-Isolation

There are hundreds of museums all over the world that are offering free, online visits through their galleries and exhibits. Travel to the Louvre right from your living room and see all of the incredible artworks up close and personal on your very own private tour. This might be your only chance to see the Mona Lisa without a sea of selfie sticks obstructing your view.

These are some other museums offering free, online tours:

  • Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
  • British Museum, London
  • Musée d’Orsay, Paris
  • Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver
  • Uffizi Gallery, Florence
  • National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
  • Rijks Museum, Amsterdam
  • Art Gallery Of Ontario, Toronto
  • MoMA, New York
  • National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul

Cook a New Meal Every Day

8 Productive Activities to Keep Your Mind Active During Self-Isolation

Time to pull out and wipe off those dusty cookbooks, and get creative in the kitchen! Whether you consider yourself the next Top Chef or are still reading the directions off the back of a mac and cheese box, this is a great time to refine your kitchen skills or to master how to not burn down your kitchen.

Cooking something new every day allows you to be creative and might even give you a new sense of pride and fulfillment. We are often so busy, that many of us simply do not cook anymore and rely on take-out. This is a great way to explore some new skills and learn how to cook up some delicious meals to show-off to your friends and family… virtually, of course.

Plant a Garden

8 Productive Activities to Keep Your Mind Active During Self-Isolation

Got a bit of extra space in your backyard or on your balcony? Get working on that green thumb and plant yourself a garden with some of your favourite herbs, fruits, and veggies. No idea what you’re doing? There are tons of resources online for how to create a garden that thrives in the climate that you live in. Having your own garden will also save you some trips to the grocery store and make social distancing even more effective. Start planning and order yourself some seeds – the planting season begins soon!

Learn a New Language

Our phones have made learning a new language as simple as checking our Instagram or Twitter every day. Although there are tons of apps available for learning new languages, our absolute favourite is Duolingo. Duolingo offers quick, daily learning exercises for over 30 languages, including: Spanish, French, and Chinese. It focuses on vocabulary, building sentence patterns, and basic communication skills. It is incredibly user-friendly, the curriculum is effective and well-organized, and its short lessons are designed for people with busy schedules.

Learn more about Duolingo here.

Watch Documentaries

8 Productive Activities to Keep Your Mind Active During Self-Isolation

If you are going to watch something on Netflix, why not learn something new while doing so? So, for your next movie night or day (who’s judging anymore?), pick something form the documentary category instead. There are hundreds of fascinating movies and mini tv series that cover everything from climate change, to World War II, to eating street food around the world, to controversial true crime stories. There is something for everyone – Netflix definitely makes sure of that.


It’s no secret that taking even 5 minutes out of your day to completely quiet your headspace, provides great benefits to your mental health. We are all undergoing a tremendous amount of change and stress right now. Practicing meditation is an incredible stress-reliever and controls anxiety. We all need a little self-love and care during this time, so allow yourself a few minutes out of your day to calm your mind.

If you need a little guidance for your meditation practice, take a look at some of these top-downloaded apps: Headspace, Calm, and Aura.

We are all feeling the effects of this unprecedented pandemic and are constantly learning how to adjust, cope, and live in self-isolation. We have so much time on our hands now, which is something many of us craved a mere few weeks ago. So, let’s use this time we had always wished for in a productive, constructive way. Let’s make the best of this crazy time in self-isolation with some of these productive activities to keep our minds active. Let us know what you’ve been doing to keep yourself productive in the comments below.

Alexa, Virtual Gurus

Alexa Kowaltchuk

Alexa is a social media and blogging guru with a severe case of the travel bug. For the last 3 years, she has been travelling across the world while working as a digital nomad. When not busy writing and creating content, she is out discovering new cheeses to add to her next cheese board.

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