As we are all asked to stay at home, we have put together a list of technologies that can help us manage our everyday lives.
Recent events have brought unprecedented changes to how we live our lives: the pace of our daily routines has changed, the outdoors have become a time-limited resource and work has shifted from the office to our dining tables, spare rooms or couches. Depending on our own individual situations, we might be feeling as if we’re losing our independence, are being isolated or even cut-off from the world.
Maintaining a sense of normality is just as important now as ever, if not more. And luckily, if you are online, the digital world means we can still connect with others and carry on with some of our routines. For example, just because you can’t go to your favourite café, doesn’t mean you can’t have a coffee with your friends. Why not take this opportunity to learn how to make an authentic cup of cappuccino using an online tutorial and then connect with your friends through a video chat platform?
Below are some potential resources and tools that you might want to use, based on our staff’s personal experiences. This list is neither exhaustive* nor endorsed by the ALLIANCE**, so we invite you to approach these tools with curiosity, an open mind and pragmatism. As always, make sure to check the terms and conditions for any tools or platforms, to ensure that they are safe to use and appropriate. Some tools might not be right for you, but are there any other similar ones you can find? Or maybe something we missed out? Let us know by tweeting us at @DHCscot.
Tools for home life
- Chores: Depending on your home situation, you might find yourself spending a lot more time in a smaller space with more people than you’re normally used to. Tempers can run high. So, it’s a good idea to try and keep the running of the household light-hearted and fun. This tool can help you divide tasks, but also reinforce good habits and encourages activities amongst your family members or housemates: Our Home (this link will take you away from our website).
- Cooking: With more time to spend at home, it’s the perfect time to learn new recipes and revisit old favourites. While Mob kitchen (this link will take you away from our website) can help you get inspired by new recipes, BBC Good Food (this link will take you away from our website) lets you explore recipes by ingredient or find recipes with five ingredients or less.
- Inventories: With the prospects of self isolation on the horizon, it’s good to know what you have in the fridge and the pantry. “If only there was an app to help track foods and Use By dates”, we were telling ourselves about a week ago while contemplating what to do with some tinned peaches 4 years out of date. Alas, there is an app for that: Out of Milk (this link will take you away from our website).
Tools for socialising and keeping in touch
- Watching Netflix together: Do you miss watching TV or films and then discussing them with your friends our family? Netflix has enabled a new feature that allows you to synchronise playback / pause, as well as use a chat function to discuss what’s happening: Netflix Party (this link will take you away from our website).
- Meet-ups with friends: Staying safe means that you can’t meet friends and family for catch–ups or games nights. However, there is a new, fun video chat platform that lets you throw your very own ‘house party’. You can arrange group chats and play games, such as ‘heads up’, through the House Party app (this link will take you away from our website).
- Pub quizzing: Do you love trivia games and miss your weekly quiz night at the pub? You can join Goose’s pub quizzes online every night at 7pm to get your daily pub quiz fix. Just go to the Gooses Quizzes website (this link will take you away from our website) to stream the quiz and join in!
- Playing board games: There is a free tool that allows you to play online board games with your friends and family. Try it out at the TableTopia website (this link will take you away from our website).
Tools for learning and personal development
- Language learning: Only 15min a day can help you learn a language. Why not try it for free using an app or online platform? Duolingo (this link will take you away from our website) offers a fun way to study a range of different languages, including fictional ones.
- Riddles: We all know how important it is to try and get some physical exercise these days, but what about our brains? Logic and mathematical riddles can help break the doom and gloom thought patterns and encourage ‘outside the box’ thinking. Try the TEdEd Riddles (this link will take you away from our website).
- Reading: If you love to read but have already made your way through the books on your shelves, try some of the free eBooks available from Project Gutenberg (this link will take you away from our website).
- Studying for kids: Do your children have to study from home? BBC bitesize (this link will take you away from our website) has some great interactive materials for children of all ages.
- Learning something new: Now that you have more spare time on your hands, why not learn a new skill? There are myriads of free online courses available from some amazing online platforms like EdX (this link will take you away from our website) or FutureLearn (this link will take you away from our website).
- Museum tours: Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t visit new places. Travel and Leisure have compiled a list of 12 museums (this link will take you away from our website) that are offering virtual tours that allow you to explore their exciting exhibitions.
Of course, we need to also consider those with less opportunity to contribute digitally. Can we use the time we now have together to share some of these tools within our own households, perhaps working together with younger and older relatives to widen our digital skills? And what can we do about those at risk of complete isolation? There is currently a programme of work being undertaken to look at potential solutions. Find out more at No One Left Behind in a Digital Scotland, where you can also express an interest if you want to be part of this work (this link will take you away from our website).
In our next article, we will put together a list of tools that you might want to use for your health and wellbeing specifically. Whether you are a carer, living with a long term condition or simply looking to better self manage during these uncertain times, we’ll try to provide some pointers and resources. If there is anything in particular that you are looking for, or if your organisation provides a digital service that people can access now, please get in touch with us at DHCscot@alliance-scotland.org.uk or on Twitter @DHCscot.
* There are already some great resources online that summarise useful work tools, exercise platforms or mental health resources. Check them out here:
- Best remote working tools (this link will take you away from our website)
- BBC Sport – Get inspired (this link will take you away from our website)
- Online mental health tools (this link will take you away from our website)
** Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed to provide potentially helpful information on staying connected and engaged during the COVID-19 lockdown. The selection of apps and tools is arbitrary, based on personal experiences and word of mouth, and intended to be used as a guide only. None of these apps are endorsed by the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland and the Terms and Conditions of each one should be checked before use.
Please note this information is accurate at the date of publication of this ALLIANCE opinion item, 3 April 2020.