Covid-19: You’ve Got Your Time Back, so What to Do with It?

Covid-19: You’ve Got Your Time Back, so What to Do with It?

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Image of hand holding clock to demonstrate time passing

Last year, Somerset House launched an exhibition called 24/7 – dubbed “a wakeup call for our non-stop world”.  The exhibition ended on February 23rd and just five days later, the UK’s first official coronavirus case hit the headlines, setting in motion the steady contraction of modern-day life as we knew it. 

The exhibition’s wall of posters proclaiming slogans such as “Too much free time is a disaster”, “It’s not an illusion. Time is moving faster”, “Jet travel is kind of evil”, “When life becomes a line-up of tasks your sense of time begins to shrink”, “the future feels like homework” and “I want my time back” speak to the non-stop nature of modern-day life and its detrimental effect on our sense of time and purpose. It’s only been a few weeks since the UK started its lockdown, but these statements already seem to belong to a distant era, one that many will be considering if they want to return to in quite the same way. 

Now that the whole world finds itself in stasis, we have no choice but to concentrate on the here and now and settle into a slower rhythm than the constantly fluctuating world we are used to. Yes, I miss my friends and the prospect of future adventures, but I really have “got my time back” and feel a pressure lifted to fill up my diary with weekend plans and summer holidays and can instead focus on the here and now. 

So how to fill the time? Luckily, the internet is offering up a plethora of discounts, freebies and inventive ways to entertain us, just some of which can be explored below: 

Keep moving 

Down Dog – I’ve been spreading the word about this fantastic app long before lockdown but now it’s more useful than ever. This yoga practice app allows you to exercise from home and it’s now been made completely free until May 1st.

Alo Moves – Again due to Covid-19, Alo Moves have made many of their yoga and meditation practices with experts available for free, for two weeks at a time on YouTube. An app is also available. 

Cultural relief 

Mubi – Streaming service MUBI has opened up its library for three months for just £1 – the perfect way to get yourself through quarantine with festival-fresh cinema, forgotten classics and foreign-language films. 

Fleabag in the Theatre – This week, Phoebe Waller Bridge announced that her blockbuster live performance at the Wyndham’s theatre would become available on the Soho Theatre website and on Amazon Prime. The production will be available for a 48-hour download for £4, with the option to donate more. All proceeds will go towards charities including the National Emergencies Trust, NHS Charities Together and Acting for Others, which provides support to all theatre workers in times of need.

All ears

Audible have made many of their children’s stories available to download for free, meaning you can revisit the classics such as Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone and Alice and Wonderland.  

The High-Low with Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes is BACK – and not a moment too soon. Having been on a hiatus for Pandora’s maternity leave, the totally addictive duo has returned and I’m sure they’ll have a lot to say on our current situation. 

Desert Island Discs It’s a universally acknowledge truth that you cannot possibly be unhappy or stressed while listening to Desert Island Discs. From Bill Gates and JK Rowling to voices from the past, Desert Island Discs gives a rare insight into the lives of some of the world’s most inspiring people through the lens of music. While I’ve been missing my friends, the parallels between quarantine and desert island isolation has prompted me to replicate the format by interviewing some of my close friends to get to know them even better while we are apart. 

Keep learning

Ivy League learning Eight of America’s top universities, including Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania are offering 450 Ivy League courses online for free right now. Swot up on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies with Princeton, learn about Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Columbia University or even join Lessons from Ebola: Preventing the Next Pandemic with Harvard University. 


Drawing Cabaret Couture – Back in London, I was excited to start attending Drawing Cabaret Couture drop-in sessions that take place at The Wellington Club in London – now that these can no longer go ahead, organisers J’adore La Vie, are sending out packs of photographs to inspire your drawing, and can even offer one-to-one drawing tuition with some of their tutors. For £12 a month you will receive a stunning selection of 8×6 hand signed Cabaret and Couture editorial photographs to draw, paint and work from, featuring some iconic looks from the Cabaret and Couture duo J’adore La Vie. No pens? These dual-tip pens found here are perfect for the job. 

Private viewing 

Admittedly, I haven’t walked the virtual corridors of all of these galleries, but I’m very glad to know they are there for when I need an art fix. 

Discover more virtual wonders of the world from your bed over at Harper’s Bazaar including The Louvre, Versailles, The Royal Academy of Arts and the Vatican. 


Lichess – a free, online platform for chess where you can challenge friends or other members. Top tip: Have a physical chess board before you and replicate the moves on the screen so that you can read the board more easily.

Catan – If you know, you know. This board game has formed the backbone of many a camping trip and lazy Sunday afternoon with my friends and I’m interested to experiment with the online version of the game in a virtual game over Easter.   

Interesting thoughts

The Guardian ‘Tip of the iceberg’: is our destruction of nature responsible for Covid-19?

The FT: Yuval Noah Harari: the world after coronavirus | Free to read

The Guardian: How will the world emerge from the coronavirus 

About the Author

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