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11 creative ways to survive the Coronavirus lockdown

We live in exceptional times. Meanwhile, we get to be heroes and save lives in the most millennial way possible: by staying at home and binge-watching Netflix!

But instead of starting my fourth rerun of Friends, I decided to make the most out of the lockdown situation.

Here are 11 ways how I will keep myself busy during the Coronavirus lockdown in Switzerland:

Visit a virtual museum

I usually only go to museums to impress intellectual guys. I’m really bad at symbolism; I have trouble understanding the anger portrayed by an artist through a red dot. And I tend to feel bad for not enjoying it as much as my dates - it makes me feel stupid.

This lockdown is the perfect opportunity to discover museums without the social pressure… Who knows, maybe I do like art, after all!

Colorful Museum Building

Virtually visit more than 500 museums, from the famed Musée D'Orsay in Paris to the MoMA in New York or our very own Kunsthaus Zürich.

"Marie Kondo" the apartment

As soon as I heard about the lockdown, I thought: “Oh, I’m going to clean the c**p out of my apartment!” I started on day 1, which means I am now facing a big pile of clothes in my living room.

I must admit, the Marie Kondo method is a bit overwhelming. But I did find the perfect activities to complement this radical approach of tidying up: I’m watching my fourth rerun of Friends while sipping on sparkling wine…

Marie Kondo and sparkling wine do spark joy - toudoum tish!

Watch YouTube tutorials and learn new skills

On YouTube, I am trying my best to step away from the Miss Mojo countdown, from “90 Day Fiancé” and from any clips involving roosters wearing pants.

Instead, I want to teach myself some new skills! If an Asian girl is able to make herself look like Johnny Depp, maybe I could learn how to make half-decent eyeliner wings?

Truly, whatever skills you always wanted to learn, they are right there on YouTube: from beatboxing to knitting or making your own soap.

Of course, you could up the ante by enrolling in a free class at an Ivy League university. And here is a gigantic master list of free online courses ranging from programming to leadership.

Throw a Netflix viewing party

Watching Netflix alone is a thing of the past. There is a new tweak which synchronizes the video playback among several viewers, and there is even a live group chat: Netflix Party.

While locked down in your tiny city apartment, you can now enjoy any movies or series with your friends. (There is a function to mute them without being rude.)

It’s like Netflix & Chill, but without the... chill. By the way: good luck picking a movie everyone agrees on!

Ride your bike (and give it some TLC)

My bike needs some tender love and care (just like this author!) It gets a little bit trickier to do bike maintenance with all the specialized stores being closed. First off, use a cloth or old T-shirt and some dish soap to wash down the frame.

It turns out that plain old soap is not just good against the Coronavirus, it is also perfect to clean your bike's chains.

How to clean your bicycle

After wiping down my bicycle, you will see me enjoying the sun on two wheels. Also, I will try my very best to get that infamous biker's tanning line...

Learn German - ja!

Here's the thing I never had time for while living in Switzerland: learning German.

A quick Google search brought up several free options to learn German, including FluentU. "Dann muss ich jetzt wohl Deutsch lernen..." And you should do it, too! Because once this whole lockdown situation is over, you might end up making a Swiss friend (probably won't).

Try balcony gardening

How about creating your own little oasis on your balcony or in your backyard?

I am personally going to give it a try - maybe for cucumbers, and definitely for tomatoes and strawberries. On the bright side, if I get lonely, I can talk to them (I heard it was good).

And no matter how crazy it gets in the supermarket, I will always have my own tomatoes... That’s when they are ripe in about three months. Here are ten tips to start a balcony garden.


Several times during this lockdown, you will feel on the edge of losing it.

The probability of this happening gets even higher if you have kids and/or a husband. I use the mobile app HeadSpace (they are offering a free module for the coronavirus crisis), but there are a lot of free alternatives on YouTube.

Mindfulness in Switzerland

Taking a moment to meditate is always beneficial when I feel overwhelmed by the Marie Kondo method - or when it’s time to pick a movie on Netflix.

Play video games with your friends

I have found this nifty service called airConsole. It connects your laptop to your mobile phone. This allows you to play games with your friends, from racing games to trivia and even Cards Against Humanity.

My advice: you need to do screen sharing for it to work better.

Enhance your cooking skills

The nationwide lockdown is a good reason to learn how to cook some new recipes. (Cooking will help me compensate for all the adult beverages I will be drinking while cleaning my apartment...)

I might even try one recipe from Claire of Gourmet Make from the Bon Apétit YouTube Channel. Even the Michelin starred Chef Massimo Bottura will give free cooking classes on his Instagram channel. As long as a dish looks good on Instagram, nobody cares if it is good in real life.

Bärlauch Wild Garlic(Photograph copyright Wikimedia Commons/Membeth)

During springtime, you can find Bärlauch, a wild garlic plant, in forests all around Switzerland. It can make a delicious and easy pesto: just wash and dry a handful of leaves, then chop them up together with pine seeds. Add some grated cheese such as Sbrinz plus a pinch of salt, and store everything in a glass filled with rape oil. Something to look for during your next walk in the forest.

Help out in the community

These days, several initiatives and support groups are emerging across Switzerland.

As a way of helping those in need, you can volunteer to do grocery shopping or pet sitting. There are also other ways of helping, depending on the group. Here are two Facebook groups for you to consider: Basel and Zürich. Here is a website for Zürich allowing you to request help or volunteer for others.

And most importantly, take a moment to check on your friends to make sure they are OK. If you need help, reach out. There are a lot of resources at your disposition.

In the coming week, I will be writing more articles about the lockdown and how to survive it. Please be safe and take care of yourself.

Remember: home is where you can touch your face without being scared!

What to do during the Coronavirus Lockdown in Switzerland

Vanessa Lépine

Vanessa is originally from Quebec, Canada. She has lived in Switzerland for a while and even knows how to speak in dialect. She's a comedian, too.

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Vanessa Lépine

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