8 Apps to Make Self-Isolation a Little More Bearable

Social distancing is rough. Maybe these will help.

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Photo by Rob Hampson on Unsplash


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!

Day One

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.

Libro FM

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.

Marco Polo

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.

Words With Friends

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.

Editor of WALK WITH US: How the West Wing Changed Our Lives; author of the novel UNSCRIPTED and of CONQUERING BABEL: a Practical Guide to Learning a Language.

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