iStock.com/Rossella De Berti
While some American women find themselves out of work with unexpected time on their hands, others have less time than ever as they work from home while homeschooling children. Either way, women are experiencing new levels of stress and anxiety during this national crisis.
Whether you need to fill the hours, or if you have only five minutes to spare, you can find an array of online self-care services to help alleviate anxiety and promote well-being. Some healers, teachers and wellness companies have made their services and content available for free online during the pandemic. Other apps and services were already free and have become even more useful now.
HealthyWomen has reviewed many of these services and hand-picked a list to help keep you calm during quarantine.
Beyond My Battle: COVID-19 Resource KitBeyond My Battle is a non-profit dedicated to supporting individuals with chronic illness and rare diseases by reducing their emotional, physician and financial stressors. Given this background, the organization is well-prepared to offer valuable insights and tools at this moment. Their COVID resource kit, which includes meditations, virtual support, and creative suggestions, may be helpful for anyone, but is especially relevant for high-risk individuals who may already be struggling with our health.
Sara Auster: Live soundbaths via Instagram
Soundhealer Sara Auster has been offering real-time soundbathing sessions via Instagram Live three times a week. If the disciplined nature of traditional meditation doesn't work for you, soundbaths may be a better fit. When I close my eyes and listen to the chimes, bells, and reverberating metal bowls that Auster plays, the sounds lead me to a soft and delicious place in my body and mind.
Tap-In Meditation: A daily live meditation app
Tap-in has been running daily live meditations sessions with different teachers for two years now. Always free, Tap-in is my go-to meditation resource. The sessions are short (10 minutes on weekdays and 20+ minutes on weekends,) and they happen every day at 3pm EST. Best of all, if you can get into a habit of dropping in for a few sessions a week, your body will begin to remember all by itself that 3pm is chill out time, resulting in a newly relaxed rhythm to your afternoons.
Headspace COVID-19 options
The popular meditation app, Headspace, is offering free subscriptions to health-care workers and educators during the crisis. Their COVID-19 page also provides short meditations on relevant topics, including “Feeling Overwhelmed” and “Walking at Home,” that are free now for anyone to access.
Abigail Rose Clarke: Guided somatic meditations
The pandemic reminds us how connected our bodies are to one another, and Abigail Rose Clarke’s somatic meditations are an opportunity to connect more deeply with our physical sensations. With her short guided movements, Clarke makes relaxation easy. Clarke has a long list of guided videos pinned to her Instagram profile and offers a free 20-minute guided meditation called the solace practice—simply sign up for her newsletter for a link.
D-Nice daily dance parties via Instagram Live
There is nothing quite like dancing it out to remember all the joy and energy we might feel “distanced” from right now. During the pandemic, musical artist Derek Jones, also known as D-Nice, has been offering daily dance parties from his living room in Los Angeles. Streamed live on Instagram, these DJ-ed sessions have taken off and were joined last week by celebrities and politicians such as Oprah, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Rihanna, Missy Elliot, Drake, Jennifer Lopez, and more. Watch D-Nice speak to Gayle King about the origination of his parties on CBS.
Social “Disdance” dance parties
If you want a more local way to get moving, social disdance offers “dance nights together, apart” via the virtual meeting software Zoom. Their aim is for groups of friends, family, or even whole neighborhoods to come together and dance it up. Check their Instagram for a how-to.
Thousands of yoga studios around the country have quickly made the move to all-digital offerings. Check in with your local studio via Instagram, phone, or their website to see what else might be available to you. If you don’t have a go-to local studio in your area, this national chain of studios, Core Power, has made some of their full class videos available for free. Core Power’s asana style is very active and upbeat. Expect to get sweaty while listening to pop music.
Peloton Free Trial: 90 days of free cardio
If yoga is not your thing, Peloton is offering 90 days free on their app. Peloton offers everything from guided workouts for biking, running, Pilates, strength training, and more. And no, you do not need to own a high-end treadmill or stationary bike to participate.
Sex & Relationships
Dipsea: Guided audio sessions to boost erotic wellness
Dipsea, an app offering audio erotica aimed at women, has made all of their guided content free until April 30th. If pandemic stress and cabin fever have conspired to suffocate your libido, try giving it some TLC with “self touch” and “self-love” sessions. Do them on your own or with a partner.
Dialup: Make new connections
Remember when we used to strike up conversations with people standing in line with us at a coffee shop? Quarantine Chat, created by the existing free service Dialup, aims to recreate these types of “serendipitous” connections via phone. It’s free to sign up, and you will be paired randomly with someone else who is stuck at home and ready for an interesting and supportive conversation.
Reading and Learning
If you need a new read, require supplementary material for your kids’ home-study curriculum, or ust desperately miss browsing in the bookstore, Haymarket Books is giving away 10 free ebooks, including titles like “Freedom Is a Constant Struggle” by Angela Davis. AK Press, another social justice publisher, has dropped the price of all ebooks to just $1.99. As they say on their website: “Times are uncertain. Ebooks are cheap.” Librivox, as always, offers free audio recordings of books in the public domain. Their catalog includes classics like “Little Women” and “Anne of Green Gables.”
If you’re like me and learning something new keeps you present, now is a great time to register for an online course. Free online courses in a range of subjects are available from elearning platforms like Coursera, Edx, Skillshare, and Future Learn. If you want a course with extra prestige, check out this list of free courses from the eight Ivy League colleges.
Looking for more free self-care strategies? NPR has a great list of fun things that are now free here.
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