Last week, following the special Ministerial Briefing broadcast from Leo Varadkar announcing the closure of schools, we shared a list of 25 things to do at home while social distancing.
This week, following the news that schools and childcare facilities are to remain closed until the 19th of April, we have set ourselves the challenge of pulling together even more positive, creative, helpful, interesting and entertaining activities to keep you going over the coming weeks.
1. Go to a concert
RTÉ 2FM have teamed up with top artists to present a two-week-long live charity music event. Starting this Friday, March 27 at 7pm, listeners can tune into live performances on the participating artists' official live Instagram account.
Performances will then be broadcast live on RTÉ 2FM every evening for thirty minutes, encouraging people to make donations to support Childline and the ISPCC.
2. Go to a comedy gig
Dublin's Laughter Lounge is set to host an online comedy gig in aid of Laugh-odil Day on Friday, March 27th at 8:30pm. Featuring Giz a Laugh's Enya Martin, Danny O'Brien and Gar Murran, this show is bound to give you a giggle. Streaming the gig costs €5 and will go to the Irish Cancer Society.
3. Visit some wild animals
Getting a close up of some animal action is easier than you think, thanks to the wonderful world of live zoo cams. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can check out live zoo cams from around the world but we recommend you start with Dublin Zoo first. Not only do they have an incredible view of the African Savanna exhibit online but you can check out the penguins at feeding time.
4. Take a virtual tour of a museum
Thanks to Google Art & Culture, you can take a virtual tour of Glasnevin's Cemetery Museum, London's National History Muesum, the Australian National Surfing Museum, and New York's Guggenheim museum from the comfort of your couch.
Alternatively, you can download Smartify, the world's most downloaded museum app. The app shares stories behind paintings in some of the world's most famous venues including New York's Metropolitan Museum, The Tate in Britain and The Louvre in Paris.
5. Listen to the radio
Is there anything more wholesome than Irish radio? Speaking to you through the airways from their studios (or bedrooms, these days), the presenters of Ireland have a knack for bringing a sense of community and comradery to their listeners.
Whether you want to get the latest facts and figures from Sean O'Rourke; have a bit of a laugh with Doireann and Eoghan; or listen to some great tunes with Rick O'Shea or John Creedon, radio presenters make for great company during social-distancing.
Think of it as a live, interactive podcast...
In breaking news moments like this, there should be a type of podcast you can listen to in real time, easily accessible for free.— Jody Avirgan (@jodyavirgan) March 4, 2020
6. Do a deep clean
Did you know that spring cleaning can be good for your mental health? Psychologist Natasha Tiwari says that the "visual distraction of mess and clutter, combined with the inner eye's vision of a dirty environment, leads to a cognitive overload on the brain which will add up to anxiety and stress."
With this in mind, we're sharing some of our top cleaning tips for those nitty-gritty jobs around the house:
I'm going to spring clean my house over the next 4 weeks. Whose with me? #COVIDー19— The Duchess (@DuchessK2) March 24, 2020
7. Get dressed up
Despite being told repeatedly that employees should be getting up and dressed as normal while working from home, we're going to go ahead and guess that tracksuit bottoms have become a way of life for most Irish people.
If you're starting to feel a little lazy with your look, why not pick a day to dress up? Whether it's to have dinner with your family, an afternoon tea video call with your friends or just for your own enjoyment - dressing up can have a big impact on how you feel.
If you want some inspiration, Sonya Lennon is hosting 'Dress up Mondays' on Instagram where she will be showing off some of her fab outfits on a weekly basis. You can join in by using the hashtag #DressUpMonday
8. Mind your mind
With so much uncertainty in the world, and with so much talk of the coronavirus appearing in our daily newsfeeds, it's important to look after our mental health over the coming weeks.
Many therapists are available for sessions online or over the phone and there are even apps available for online counseling such as Better Help. Additionally, there are many apps designed to combat anxiety, reduce stress and assist in mindfulness, for example, MindShift, Calm, and HeadSpace.
If social-distancing is starting to take a toll on your romantic relationship (or lack thereof), think about reaching out to a relationship coach. Annie Lavin is giving lots of free advice on her Instagram page for both single people and those in relationships.
9. Paint a picture
Create a masterpiece at home with the help of an online painting class. If you're looking to develop your artistic skills, you can join online classes with PaintClub who will provide step by step instruction during 2-hour live sessions.
Alternatively, if you're just looking to have the craic, you can join comedian Kevin McGahern as he paints some weird and wonderful pieces. This week's challenge? Tune into Kevin's Instagram live this Friday at 7pm and paint your favourite barman/woman.
10. Take up yoga or pilates
Since we've been asked to spend more time at home, now is a great time to take up some indoor exercises such as yoga or pilates.
There are many benefits to both including improved flexibility, improved muscle tone, and better posture so now is the perfect time to start. An added bonus is that you can find plenty of online tutorials on YouTube, and we have plenty of yoga tips here.
11. Grow your own veg
Spring has most definitely sprung, and we are finally starting to see new life breakthrough in nature.
GIY have launched their Seeds the Day website which features the A-Z of growing your own food in your back garden or, indeed, your windowsill - just because you don't have a lot of space, doesn't mean you can't grow some fresh basil and thyme!
Don't forget to tune into the GIY team every Wednesday on RTÉ One at 7:30pm.
12. Volunteer your time
The coronavirus outbreak has led to significant staff absence from essential services for the homeless, people with disabilities and others in residential and care settings. You can help keep vital services open for Ireland's most vulnerable people by volunteering for Crisis Cover.
Services needed may include transport, cleaning, kitchen and food prep, reception and admin, care assistance and general admin. If you're interested in volunteering, click here.
Help keep the most vulnerable people in their homes, register as relief staff for homeless and disability services https://t.co/Arv44hO8kc | For more information visit https://t.co/8zxoamULZw and please share #crisiscover— Crisis Cover Initiative (@CrisisCoverIre) March 18, 2020
13. Get into tech
Tech Week is taking place from this Saturday, 28th March to Friday, 3rd April with the aim to educate and inform students, parents and the public about the variety and potential of studies and careers specifically in technology and in the wider STEM arena. Here are some of the activities to get involved with:
Tech Week Computational Thinking Challenge: A fun, free online problem-solving challenge where you can print a certificate with your score afterwards (ages 8-19 years).
Logical Number Sequences: Using logical reasoning to explain how simple algorithms work. Students explain the rule for a number sequence and predict which numbers come next. In doing so, they extend their knowledge of simple rule-based algorithms.
Scratch Programming: Scratch is a fun and interesting way to introduce software development to students, where they can create stories, games and animations to be shared worldwide. Scratch is a graphical programming language where you slot blocks of code together to build your program.
Glowing badge: Create wearable technology projects by following these projects from Coderdojo.
View She Started IT film: Five young women will stop at nothing to pursue their start-up dreams.
Accessibility map from Raspberry Pi: Students can learn how to add cool features like location and maps to an Android app.
Hour of Code for parents, tutorials for parents to get their children involved in coding.
Introduction to HTML with Khan Academy, learn html and how to make webpages.
14. Experiment with make-up
As part of RTÉ 2FM's #CreateDontContaminate campaign, Louise McSharry asked Ireland's aspiring MUAs to showcase their most experimental looks online. Search the hashtag on social media for some major inspiration or fall down a rabbit hole of YouTube videos to learn about some new techniques.
By the time this is over, you might actually know how to achieve matching eyeliner flicks. Just imagine it.
15. Do something new with your hair
For the time being, all our usual weekend events and summer plans have been canceled which means you have plenty of time to experiment with some new looks before showcasing them to the world.
Now, before you go and dye your whole heald pink or shave off the sides, please do your research.
You do not currently have access to a hairdresser to save you if things go wrong so rather than trying to turn your jet black hair blonde overnight, why not experiment with some heat-free hairstyles? Maybe a small trim if you're feeling confident.
If you have some waves to your hair, why not try out the curly girl method and see how much your hair changes over the coming weeks?