8 Apps to Make Self-Isolation a Little More Bearable
As awful as the world seems to be at the moment, if this whole thing has to happen, we’re lucky at least in one particular way: the Internet exists. Imagine if we could only communicate through letters. We like to romanticise the time of Jane Austen, but come on: if we’re going to do this, I’ll take 2020 with its modern medicine and its modern conveniences. Conveniences like these eight apps, for example.
One of my favourite things about DC is its vibrant food scene, and I’m really sad about missing out on that during this time of isolation. But with Caviar, I don’t have to!
Caviar is so named because it’s a cut above the rest, delivering from all kinds of upscale restaurants. One place even does cheese plates! When you live alone and have to cook all your meals yourself, it’s nice to have a treat from time to time. It’s even nicer if that treat can be even just slightly posh.
For some of us, journaling can help process our emotions — or be a useful source of inspiration for future writing we might do. For others, a daily habit of writing down one thing we are grateful for each day has become more necessary than ever. This app is a great place to record your thoughts, and you can set it to remind you to do that at the same time every day, too.
An app that delivers alcohol to our homes? Never has this been more important. And it took the arrival of this app into my Facebook ads for me to realise that my favourite wine, Josh Cabernet Sauvignon, comes in half-bottles, which is ideal for me because I live alone and slightly fear what might happen if I were to open an entire 700 ml bottle of it of an evening.
I listen to a lot of podcasts — but these days, many of them aren’t quite what I’m looking for. My usual staples are all focussed on the current news, and for the sake of my blood pressure it’s best that I minimise how much of that I listen to.
Enter Libro FM: an audiobook subscription that’s like Audible, but better, because instead of lining the pockets of Jeff Bezos it puts money in the pockets of independent bookshops, who really need it right now. So you can do good and distract yourself from the state of the world at the same time!
This app is designed for recording short videos of yourself and sharing it with your nearest and dearest. Nothing is public or online — it’s like sending a text rather than posting to Instagram Stories — so you can be as goofy and ridiculous or as raw and authentic as you like.
I think I may have heard this app mentioned a few times, but it’s taken until now for me to realise that being connected to my neighbours isn’t just nice; at times like this, it’s a necessity. Nextdoor asks for your address, then adds you to your local community, so you can give and take recommendations, start online book clubs, let each other know which store currently has toilet paper, and offer to buy groceries for someone who needs it.
On Wattpad, you can read thousands of books for free, and thousands more at minimal costs. You can interact with their authors, leave comments, and maybe even be part of shaping the story as it develops.
I’ve had this app for a hundred years, but it’s been dormant on my phone for much of that time. You can play this Scrabble-like word game with total strangers, or link it to Facebook so that you can play with people you know. You can send messages as well as play your words, too, and it’s such a great way to interact with others, and let someone know you’re thinking of them and missing their company.
What apps have you found that have made your world better these days?
Claire Handscombe is the author of Unscripted, a smart read about a young woman with a celebrity crush and a determined plan. She also wrote Conquering Babel: a Practical Guide to Learning a Language, and edited a book by and for fans of her favourite series, Walk With Us: How The West Wing Changed Our Lives.
Some links may be affiliate links, enabling the author to make a small commission when you click and use the apps mentioned.