Two Girls Working Out at Home

How To Keep Yourself Entertained During Quarantine

In times of global pandemics, it’s important to remember to do things to keep your mind occupied and distracted from the constant updates and statements about a rapidly spreading virus. Binge-watching your favorite shows and taking on some new hobbies are just two general examples of ways you can keep yourself busy during times of quarantine, so what should you try today?

Thanks to the many art and cultural institutions throughout the world, you can bring the likes of museums, Broadway plays, theatrical productions, and opera performances, right into your living room. Google’s Arts and Culture Department has collaborated with over 500 of the world’s most famous museums to offer virtual tours and lessons on some of the most famous artwork in history. 

In addition, Broadway has its own streaming service, and BBC is offering a digital “Culture in quarantine festival” for fans of all things theater and dance. The Metropolitan Opera is also streaming exclusive versions of some of its most famous performances every night. 

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Another great way to keep yourself occupied, while also feeling like you’re doing something to benefit your physical health, is doing an in-home workout routine. There are plenty of free options covering a multitude of types of exercise on YouTube. Not only will you ensure that you’re keeping your body running to the best of its ability, but exercise also is a great mood-booster, especially when you’re stuck inside. 

Along those same lines, taking an online yoga or meditation course, or simply going on YouTube for free, will also improve your physical health while improving your mental well-being as well. The overall goal of keeping yourself entertained when quarantined and distanced from the outside world, is to do things that are enriching for your mind, body, and soul. 

You don’t want to simply sit in front of the TV and distract yourself with mindless reality shows all day, although that’s not the worst option, you want to do things that will keep you from being in your head too often throughout the day. 

The more time you spend just thinking, the more likely it is that you’ll get trapped in an endless stream of consciousness about all things COVID-19/pandemic related. While it’s important to stay informed, it’s just as important to completely separate yourself from that narrative that we’re constantly hearing about at all hours of the day. 

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Some local entertainers are taking to their community Facebook groups to host online dinner parties, happy hours, hangouts, or even concerts. Just because we can’t all physically spend time with our distanced friends and family, living in a time of advanced technology gives us that ability. We have endless access and communication to whoever we want to talk to, whenever we want to, so might as well take advantage of it. 

“Join us tonight from wherever you are! Social distancing is good for the world right now, but still hard on us as individuals — emotionally, mentally and even physically. So let’s stay connected and, for the love of Pete, let’s keep making music!!” wrote New Jersey local singer Meghan Carey on her artist Facebook page before performing a virtual concert on Saturday.

Finally, make sure you’re going outside and getting some fresh air at least once a day. Just because you need to be socially distancing yourself from others, doesn’t mean you can’t go on a solo walk around town, assuming there’s natural spaces for you to go. Many national parks and services around the US are waiving their fees to encourage people to go for more walks while keeping a safe distance around other people. 

Fresh air is good for your physical and mental health, so like anything, just make sure you’re maintaining those two important aspects over anything. It can be easy to get trapped in a binge-watching marathon but that won’t be good for your mind or body in the long run, so get outside, do some yoga, and take a deep breath, we’re going to get through this.

Mental Health

FOBO: Are You suffering From The Latest Mental Health Issue?

Mental health is a big issue that affects one in four people around the world and since the advent of social media, conditions such as anxiety and panic attacks are increasing.

Sometimes it can seem as if everyone else on social media is having a better life than you. Whether they are showing off their home, what they wear, what they look like – which thanks to the abundance of filters available usually is not what they look like normally – or showing us the latest event they have attended.

Which can lead to users developing FOBO – or ‘fear of better options’. Similar to FOMO – Fear of Missing Out – FOBO can affect anyone who has had difficulties making the easiest of decisions. The thought of having to make that vital decision can bring you out in a sweat, make you feel nauseous and generally feel like if you choose the wrong option, you could be missing out on something even better.

Although FOBO sounds like a new thing invented for the “have it all” younger generations, it is in fact something that has been around forever, it is just that now there is a name for it!

Let’s think about it. Each day we have to make thousands of decisions from the mundane things such as what to have for breakfast, whether to watch the latest episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians or catch a movie, to the more important decisions including should I change my job or should I move homes.

The idea that more choices gives us more freedom can be challenged. For example, Netflix currently has 5863 different TV shows and movies showing and the choices at your local coffee shop can be mind blowing – especially with the new seasonal ranges.

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Yet even with all these choices, if you find yourself undecided or unsure many will accuse you of sitting on the fence, a phrase guaranteed to annoy someone making a decision, but it could just be that you are dealing with FOBO.

Patrick McGinnis, a US venture capitalist, created the term – he is also responsible for FOMO – and claims those affected by FOBO experience a feeling of being overwhelmed by the potential of what their decision could lead to, even if the end result is not certain. This in turn leads to the sufferer tending to stay away from commitment, or to some extent, committing then canceling before the decision can be carried out.

According to McGinnis, this type of behavior is not new but reflects our basic need of wanting the best of everything.

“Our ancestors a million years ago were programmed to wait for the best because it meant they were more likely to succeed. However, our ability to compare both options and ourselves via technology and social media has accelerated this tendency, sometimes escalating to crippling levels.”

Unlike FOMO which can affect anyone, FOBO seems to only affect those that have a higher income than most as “the richer you are, the more powerful you are, the more options you have. That’s when you start to feel it.”

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With the ever increasing number of choices given to us we should be happier, however research clearly indicates having so many options can lead us to be dissatisfied with our decision due to “decision fatigue.” A condition created when trying to work through all the choices on offer.

So maybe we should be presented with fewer options. A recent study tested the buying habits of customers with a store offering samples of jam, with either six or 24 being offered every other day. Surprisingly, out of those who were offered a choice of only six, 30% bought some jam, while out of those that were offered 24 choices only 3% spent any money. A clear indication that too much choice can be too overwhelming.

Unlike FOMO, which can sometimes improve our lives as we choose to do something we may not have tried before, FOBO can be more “destructive” as the principal fear seems to be the “fear of letting go.”

McGinnis comments “in order to choose something you must let go of another thing and it’s the fear of having to mourn the road untaken. So we would rather not decide at all and keep our options open.”

But do not worry, there are several ways you can overcome FOBO. McGinnis has several suggestions:

“For everyday things, I do what I call ‘Ask the Watch’. I whittle something down to two options and then assign each item to a side of my watch. Then I look down and see where the second hand is at that moment. Decision made. It sounds silly, but if you try it – asking the universe – you will thank me. For the big things, I try to think like a venture capitalist. I write everything down on the topic – pros, cons, etc – and I read it out loud. That process is basically like writing an investment memo for a VC investment, but in this case the investment is of your time, money, energy, etc.”


Netflix Testing Feature That Would Allow Users To Watch Content Faster

Netflix is currently testing out software that would allow users to change the speed of videos in the future. The feature would be exactly like the one that can be found on all YouTube videos, in which you can change the speed of the video to be either slightly slower, in case the audio is too fast, or slightly quicker, to get through the video faster. With this ability, Netflix users would be able to take binge watching to an entirely new level. 

The news first dropped on site known as “Android Police” which is a media publication that reports on all things technology. Android Police made the announcement after receiving this official statement from a Netflix spokesperson:

We’re always experimenting with new ways to help members use Netflix. This test makes it possible to vary the speed at which people watch shows on their mobiles. As with any test, it may not become a permanent feature on Netflix.”

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In the specific testing, Netflix allows users to either slow down playback to 0.5x or 0.75x, or speed it up to 1.25x or 1.5x. Since this feature is in its experimental phase, Netflix really hasn’t discussed it as a possibility to the public quite yet, but that hasn’t stopped the internet from taking the little information they have and running with it. Specifically, Judd Apatow took to Twitter to share with his 2.4 million followers his negative thoughts on this new feature when he responded to a user who said the new feature wouldn’t change much about the actual viewing experience. 

“No. That’s not how it works.  Distributors don’t get to change the way the content is presented.  Doing so is a breaking of trust and won’t be tolerated by the people who provide it.  Let the people who don’t care put it in their contracts that they don’t care. Most all do.”

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Apatow also went on to tweet at Netflix directly, threatening to call every director and show creator “on earth” to fight them on this decision. His tweets caused a huge online debate to ensue creating a sort of generation gap between those for the feature, and those against it. Millennials and Generation Zers more often didn’t see an issue with the feature, as it allows them to binge through their favorite shows and movies quicker, and move onto the next one. However, the other end which is more heavily favored by boomers and generation Xers who grew up with some of the most iconic films of all time, thinks that it’s wrong and Hollywood creators work hard to create their art and intend for it to be viewed as they made it. Speeding through gaps of silence, scenic transitions and general dialogue changes the entire cinematic purpose. 

There’s solid arguments on both ends of this case. In a world where streaming services are making cable television obsolete, internet users are being constantly bombarded with new entertainment content to absorb; speed-watching would allow for a more “efficient” way to get through all of it. 

However, the cultural implications behind needing to speed through an endless stream of television and movies are much larger than just a debate over a Netflix feature. Do you really need to watch a movie slightly quicker to get through it? Can you really not bare to sit down for one hour to watch an episode of your new favorite show instead of speeding through it in 40 minutes? Entertainment is meant to do just that, entertain. Are we really being entertained if our main focus is to get through the content instead of actually enjoying it?

Regardless, even if Netflix does make this an official feature, users can go the rest of their lives without even touching it, while others most likely will. It just comes down to which side of the debate your on.