Isolation can be tedious, especially when you think you should be out exercising like the rest of the suburb but really – look at the weather. Grey skies, a bit of drizzle – there’s no chance that laundry will be on the line this week.

So, when you’re past the point of Netflix and you’re sick of hanging out with Nigella and Gordon in the kitchen, what else is there to do?

Here are five places to keep the mind active while you’re in lockdown:

Harvard University Free Online Courses

Offering over sixty free courses, Harvard University has the resources to teach you while you’re at home. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at game development, learn about the principles of architecture, or explore Shakespeare’s Othello in greater detail – there’s a free course for you. Most courses run for at least four weeks, offer video tutorials, and are self-paced. You also receive a certificate at the end of your course!


All this time you’ve been using your laptop for Netflix and Disney Plus, you could’ve been using it for free e-books. That’s right, Kindle is now allowing you to download their free app to your phone, laptop, iPad or other device in order to enable readers to self-isolate in peace with a good book. And what better time than now to start reading everything you’ve been putting off for so long? No excuses – it’s time to download, put the kettle on, and settle down with a good e-book.

Massey University Free Courses – Toro Mai

Massey University are currently offering two free online courses in Te Reo Maori and Tikanga Maori. Each course takes approximately ten hours each, and is full of multimedia, interactive activities to completely immerse you in the Maori learning experience. Although neither of these courses are accredited, having completed them will look great on your CV and provide you with a sound knowledge of basic Te Reo and Maori culture – something that employers are always looking out for.


Podcasting is a fantastic way to listen to some of the best minds and academics across the globe from your living room. From Pulitzer Prize winning authors, Kiwi musicians, British Podcast Award winners and film buffs, there is a podcast – or podcast series – to suit everyone. Most are free, or incredibly cheap, and can be played through your smartphone or laptop. While you’re gardening, washing up or just relaxing on the sofa, take some time to listen to a good podcast – you’re bound to become addicted.

Learn to Surf – Barefoot Surf Tutorials

We know that at Level Four there is absolutely no way you can head to the beach to ride those waves – and maybe you’ve never even paddled on a board before. But, from the comfort of your own home, and with the help of Vimeo, you can learn all there is to know about surfing from your living room (just move the sofa out of the way first). From the very beginnings of learning to surf, your correct board type, how to paddle and push up, right through until you’re basically a living-room pro, the Barefoot Surf tutorials take you through each step until you’re ready to plunge into the water. And after isolation who knows, you might feel the waves calling you – a trip to Raglan anyone?


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