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While doing our part to maintain social distance and flatten the curve is critically important for our communities and loved ones, it doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun.  As we run out of favorite TV shows (or animated classics with the little ones) to rewatch, our team has been sharing different ways to spend our time while we stay inside. Here’s what we’re doing to keep the smiles going and spirits lifted during this unprecedented time.

Expanding Our Podcast Libraries

We all have our go-to TV shows and podcasts we love to come back to, but now is a great time to branch out and explore new content. For instance, lovers of “The Office” are finding the “Office Ladies” podcast, hosted by Jenna Fischer (Pam) and Angela Kinsey (Angela), to be a fun way to see the series through a new lens as they discuss each episode.

Podcasts in general are an awesome and versatile form of entertainment: They’re a great escape when you just want to close your eyes and listen, as well as the perfect background noise when tackling chores around the house or going for a walk. Some of our other favorites from around the Ally office include:

  • “TED Radio Hour”: To learn about the world through interviews with amazing thinkers, educators, and creators.
  • “How I Built This”: A deep dive into how some of the world’s best-known companies were created straight from the founders.
  • “Aubrey Marcus Podcast”: For discussions about life, finding purpose, and being the best humans we can be.
  • “Armchair Expert”: Dax Shepard (yes, the guy from “Parenthood” and “Punk’d”) gets honest and real with guests about the messiness and vulnerability of being human.
  • “The Daily”: A daily news update that’s only about 20 minutes and filled with fascinating stories told by journalists from The New York Times.
  • “The Dale Jr. Download”: To laugh and stay up to date with the latest and greatest in the world of motorsports with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
“John Krasinski’s series ‘Some Good News’ embodies the same heartwarming spirit we have at Ally! Warning: These videos may cause uncontrollable tears and ooey-gooey feelings.” – Nina Hassing

We’re also taking a break from our favorite reality TV shows to watch calming nature documentaries, like “Seven Worlds One Planet,” “The Aquarium,” “Savage Kingdom,” or “Blue Planet.” They’re fascinating and hugely informational, but also technically incredible, from the camera technology to the breathtaking shots of scenes from around the globe. Plus, we find they can be surprisingly relaxing after a long day.

Dance Parties With New Beats

Spotify’s library of playlists is never-ending. No matter what we’re up to, whether working or working out, there’s always something to listen to. Some of our favorites are premade playlists (like “Happy Beats,” “Confidence Boost,” or “Mood Booster”), and we also love checking out song collections from friends and our favorite artists, brands, and athletes, like Jimmie Johnson.

“I’m holding a dance party in the living room by myself (or outside even when the neighbors are out).” – Mariah Delecki

Even live music isn’t completely gone! Tons of bands and musicians have turned to Instagram’s livestream feature to perform concerts from their homes. It’s a fun way to feel connected to favorite artists and hear songs live that you might not get to otherwise. And to truly partake in a digital dance party, tune into DJ D-Nice’s “Club Quarantine” on Instagram Live — you probably won’t regret it.

Keeping the Kiddos Busy

As the weather gets nicer, we’re taking advantage of sunny days … especially as a way to keep the kids happy. Here are some ways we’re taking advantage of the outdoors:

  • Morning walks with the family: It’s an easy way to start the day with a little movement and lets everyone feel like they’ve gotten out of the house — both of which help with restlessness.
“Thankfully it’s spring, so the kids have been getting outside and playing in their fairy garden.” – Joel Bradbury
  • Sidewalk chalk: It’s an easy way to get creative and add some color to the neighborhood by decorating the sidewalks and your driveway.
  • Physically distant socializing in the neighborhood: Kids can stay connected to their community by writing chalk messages to each other, delivering letters to friends’ houses, or participating in neighborhood-wide scavenger hunts or I-Spy games.
“My neighborhood has a birthday list. Since kids can’t have a party right now, we use our neighborhood Facebook page to alert everyone. People drive by the child’s house and honk, walk by and sing ‘Happy Birthday,’ drop off cards, or do chalk art in their driveway.” – Gene King

And for not-so-nice weather, we’re finding ways to escape indoors. Many museums, as well as zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums, have kid-friendly virtual tours online. Children can explore, learn, and see some pretty incredible things all on screen (often for free!).

Other on-screen entertainment ideas that our parents at Ally love include Zoom playdates, Girl Scout virtual workshops on Facebook, drawing lessons from artists and illustrators on Instagram Live, and CAMP virtual parties.

And for more education-focused fun, we’ve helped our kids try:

Self-care and Community Care

During this time, we’ve pretty much unanimously decided that everyone gets a pass for changing their workout schedules, eating breakfast for dinner every night, or spending some extra time in bed. Nobody should feel pressure to suddenly become an expert in something new — but if you have some extra time and energy, putting it toward healthy practices and skills doesn’t hurt.

Here are some habits our teammates have been putting into practice:

  • Recording workouts in a fitness journal. Doing so can help you find what sort of exercises you enjoy most (running vs. yoga), which forms of working out make your body feel the best, and which times of day you have the most energy to work out. Plus, it can keep you motivated now and in the future.
  • Taking walks, whether it’s in the morning, during a lunch break, or after dinner. Moving around outside helps clear the mind, and long walks are a nice way to pass the time when the days feel long.
“We’re doing virtual happy hours! We use the app House Party, which has video and built-in games, like trivia. It’s so much fun!” – Katie Garcia
  • Trying out new recipes. It’s a fun way to sample a different cuisine, spend time together with the entire family — and eat delicious food. Check out Jimmie Johnson’s guacamole recipe.
  • Sleeping! It’s so important for your health. Although the day-to-day schedule is shaken up, maintaining a regular sleep routine can do wonders for mental and physical health. Aiming for eight hours (and trying to spend the hour or so before sleeping away from your phone) helps you feel fresh in the morning and ready to take on another day at home.

We’ve found that social distancing with family, kids, or alone can feel like a lot of work. Sometimes it seems like there are too many hours to fill and not enough activities to fill them. But with technology, we’re able to stay connected with our coworkers, our friends, and the wider global community. And with a little exploration, creativity, and especially suggestions from each other, we’re doing our best to make the most of social distancing and stay happy, active, and healthy.

How are you having fun while social distancing? Tell us in the comments below.