How to Beat the Wintertime COVID-19 Blues
The COVID-19 fuelled transition to living life online versus in person has been dramatic and lightning-fast. If you’d already transitioned to life online prior to COVID, things may not be all that different. But if you don’t normally spend much time online, it may be worth venturing into that realm so you can enjoy art exhibits, concerts, and maybe even do a little virtual travel.
To help you get through the winter blues, we’ve sourced a few points of interest that you may want to check out. And for those who still shy away from fully embracing the joys of the internet for fear of security risks, we’ve also included some tips for increasing your online security.
Check out these online activities:
Art galleries and shows
If viewing art has been a big part of your life, you can see some of the world’s finest art and museum collections from the comfort of your own home. While doing so, build a list of must-see-live venues and exhibits once travel becomes viable again. Online exhibits can include gallery walking tours, videos and slideshows, and provide information on various artists and their work.
Consider virtual visiting the Guggenheim, which features over 1,700 works by more than 625 artists. Their online collection presents a searchable database of selected artworks from the museum’s permanent collection.
For contemporary art lovers, The Broad, based in L.A., offers videos, curator talks, family workshops and online music, poetry and conversation. Watch the Light and Space video for a glorious look at their beautiful gallery building.
Combining art and history, the British Museum provides online access to almost four and a half million objects from around the world.
If supporting local or Canadian initiatives is your thing, check out the Canadian Museum Association’s list of museums and galleries across the country.
Although not “live” in the literal sense of the word, you can see some of the finest music in the world being played live from your computer screen. Both free and paid performances are available, and are a fraction of the cost of attending a live performance.
Choose from experiences like opera from the stars of the Met for $20 per concert, Bachtrack’s classical music from around the world, and if current music is what you are looking for, try Billboard to find out about upcoming concerts and events. Or, just Google your favourite music type and add the words “live online”. If you don’t care whether the music is actually live, YouTube, Spotify and iTunes have previously recorded live concerts of music from most genres.
If you want to dive in a bit deeper, try Internet Archives where you can find millions of audio files as well as free books, movies, software and more.
While virtual travel isn’t remotely the same as being there, the internet is packed with tours of the world. It may only satisfy some of your wanderlust, but what a great way to find out more about where you’d like to go next!
Thrillist has put together an impressive list of virtual travel options in the article, Armchair Experiences That Let You Explore the World From Your Living Room. Experience the Maldives, meander through some of the creepiest places in America or get an astronaut’s eye-view of earth. Their extensive list of options for exploring the world and beyond is virtually unlimited.
Staying safe in Cyberland
Don’t open fraudulent links
Online scammers are getting more sophisticated all the time. However, there are simple things you can do to make your online activities safer. Basic precautions include never responding to or clicking on links from suspicious looking emails or texts. If you do get an email asking you to click on a link or provide information, first check the sender’s email address to see if there are any anomalies like a misspelled company name. If the sender’s email address looks legit, also check the subject line or the text within the email as typos are common for scammers.
Even if the email seems fine, if a person or a company is asking you to click on a link and you’re not expecting that email, do not click on the link until you’ve confirmed with the company that they’ve sent it to you. Get the company phone number from their website, not from the email itself. Once you’ve deemed an email as a threat, delete it from your inbox and your trash.
Install operating systems and application upgrades
Upgrades are often developed to stay one step ahead of potential cyber threats and should be applied as soon as they become available.
Use a password manager
Most people use the same password for more than one website, so if even one of those accounts is compromised, hackers can easily get into your other accounts. Password manager tools generate and store complex passwords because the ones you think up are normally easy to compromise. They’re stored in a centralized encrypted online vault so that you don’t need to write them down. Consider using 1Password or LastPass.
Although the web has its downsides, the upsides can be endless. You can wake up in the morning and travel to another country before breakfast, and go to a world-class opera at the end of your day. Of course, these suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. Consider trying fitness classes, bridge games, shopping, learning to do just about anything and joining communities of people who are interested in the same things you are. And with all the extra money you’ll be saving from partaking in free or low-cost activities, you can get advice from your financial planner on what do to with it.
Terri Carson is a marketing and digital strategist, and a fan of life online. Find out more about her on LinkedIn.