Here Are 7 Ways to Kick the Quarantine Blues

By Valerie Osipov

Who says hiding away at home for 14 days straight has to be boring? Kick the quarantine blues with our stay-at-home guide to staying entertained. 

1. Get Cooking

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In the words of our favorite imaginary French chef, Anyone can cook. (Yes, we did just quote Ratatouille it is the Year of the Rat, after all.) 

Put your kitchen skills to the test. Craving some jiaozi or spicy Sichuan? Now is the perfect time to fall down a YouTube (er, Youku) hole to find the most delicious recipes to taste-test or get inspired by China food blogs. Check out some recipes from Veggie Mama, offering plenty of creative vegan dishes that are healthy and fuss-free to make. We smell a top chef in the making...

Had enough of cooking yourself? Take a break from the culinary action and watch others do the work for you with mouthwatering documentaries like CCTVs A Bite of China, Tencent-produced Breakfast in China or the more recent Flavorful Origins, a Netflix series spotlighting the regional cuisines of Chaoshan and Yunnan.

2. Discover New Music

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Bummed about all the canceled gigs? Download some of the most popular Chinese music-streaming apps, like QQ Music and Xiami, and rock out at home. (Though, we dont encourage blasting the volume to live-show levels and definitely wont take the blame for your angry neighbors filing noise complaints.) 

If youre looking for some cool China-based artists to listen to, dont miss our hand-picked monthly roundup of the latest and greatest album releases from around the country.

3. Learn the Language

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So, youve been in China for years now and have been saying that youd actually learn Mandarin if you had more time. Well, its a good thing this quarantine period means you have free time, and lots of it. Use it to take some online Chinese classes. 

Another good thing? Beijing-based language school Culture Yard is offering free online classes via WeChat for the next few weeks there are really no excuses. Send them a message on WeChat (Sammi-CultureYard) or email [email protected] to start learning the lingo. 

You can also download apps like Pleco and Duolingo for some more fun and free ways to enhance your language skills.

4. Listen to Podcasts

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Staying inside doesnt mean you cant stay in touch with the outside world. There are tons of China podcasts out there for your listening pleasure. Hear the latest news on Sinica or The Little Red Podcast, venture back in time with The China History Podcast, tune into the world of technology on China Tech Talk, laugh it off with Kung Fu Komedy, get cultured with NVoices and more. Fill the silence with the voices of informed and entertaining individuals endless knowledge awaits. 

5. Read Up

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Take this time to read, read and read some more. Dust off that copy of Cixin Lius The Three Body Problem (sci-fi just seems fitting right now) youve been meaning to pick up off your bookshelf, sit back with a nice cup of tea and melt away from all the quarantine craziness. Or go for an audio book: We recommend diving into the world of old-time crime in Paul Frenchs new Audible Original dubbed Murders of Old China

You can also discover China with these fascinating stories by Humans of China, a collection of interviews from around the country by Beijing-based photographer Cameron Hack. Follow the project on WeChat (CJHphotography) or Instagram (@officialhumansofchina).

6. Watch Some Flicks

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With cinemas closed and the latest releases postponed, take a moment to catch up on all those award-winning films you missed. Hit play on Chinese blockbusters like The Wandering Earth and Ne Zha or rewind with historical favorites like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Farewell My Concubine, all of which can be found on streaming sites like Tencent Video and iQiyi. 

Click here for our handy guide to Chinese streaming websites.

7. Plan a Dream Vacay

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Keyword here: plan. Okay, so maybe airlines are canceling a bunch of flights and halting operations to and from China, but hey, it wont last forever. And if youre like us, planning things might just be your idea of fun. Map out your dream vacation with the help of some our trusty guides, like this easy-breezy Vietnam getaway or any of our must-visit destinations around Asia. 

After all of this is over (hopefully sooner than some estimations predict), a little time to recharge on a beach will be well deserved and youll be ready to set off right away.

Stay in, stay safe and stay healthy!

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