Self-isolation might make it harder to see friends but it doesn't have to be boring.

Here's a huge (and we mean huge) list of ideas and resources to help you pass away the time.

Online quizzes

Online quizzes were one of the first activities to become popular when life moved online in response to COVID-19 earlier this year. And it's no surprise, as they are great fun to play with your mates. Here are three of the best:

Don't forget that NTSU host online quizzes and all kinds of free online events and activities for you to enjoy. See what's coming up and get involved here.

Visit a virtual zoo

There are two types of people in the world; people who love animals and people really love animals. If you're missing your pets, or just need a cute animal fix, fill your boots here. Because who doesn't want to watch a live panda cam, or a penguin cam, or a tiger cam?

Get into cooking

Healthy, tasty food does wonders for your wellbeing, and cooking is a terrific life skill to develop. Now might just be the time to brush up on your kitchen knowledge and get a decent repertoire of recipes under your belt. Here are a couple of websites that will help you unleash your inner Jamie Oliver/Nigella/Gordon Ramsay:

Home workouts

Exercise is super-important for staying healthy. Your options are limited while you are self-isolating but all is not lost. Here are the best YouTube home workout channels to help you stay fit while access to space and equipment are restricted:

  • Yoga with Adriene: the GOAT home workout YouTube channel with over 8 million subscribers and guest appearances from a cute dog
  • Calisthenic Movement: bodyweight exercises with short, detailed, how to's
  • The Fitness Marshall: fun cardio dance workouts to popular tunes (helpful for improving your TikTok game as well as getting fit)
  • The Body Coach TV: free home workouts for all levels from Joe Wicks

Learn a new language

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way,” says Psycholinguist Frank Smith. Why not open some doors with these language learning apps while you are self-isolating?

Listen to podcasts

Are podcasts the most awesome thing ever? Possibly. No matter how obscure your interests are, you can probably find a podcast about them. Plus, you can listen to them with your eyes closed or while doing other things to give yourself a screen-break. Here are some suggestions from your Exec Team:

In case those don't whet your appetite, here are the best of the Best Of lists:

Watch a TV series

An obvious suggestion, but this might be the best time to commit to watching the series you have always wanted to see in full. Some recommendations from your Exec Team:

Need some more inspiration? Here are The Guardian's 100 best TV shows of the 21st Century, including classics like The SopranosThe Wire, and Breaking Bad.

Watch a film

What better way to spend a couple of hours than to get absorbed in a film? Your Exec Team are big film watchers and came up with this huge list of suggestions to get you started:

Erin Brockovich | Hitch | Knocked Up | Emperor’s New Groove | Cool Runnings | Marriage Story | Revolutionary Road | When Harry Met Sally | Yes Man | 50/50 | American Beauty | American History X | American Pyscho | Avatar | Being John Malkovich | Birdman | Boyz N The Hood | Changeling | Children Of Men | Dallas Buyers Club | Darkest Hour | Friends With Benefits | Flight | Gladiator | Gone Girl | Goodfellas | Inception | Lion | Lone Survivor | Prisoners | Nightcrawler | No Country For Old Men | Rush | Scarface | Shutter Island | Spotlight | The Green Mile | The Hurt Locker | The King’s Speech | The Lincoln Lawyer | The Martian | The Perks of Being a Wallflower | The Pianist | The Revenant | The Theory of Everything | The Truman Show | Training Day | Uncut Gems | Warrior | Wolf of Wall Street | Rocketman | Eddie the Eagle | The Intern | Bridesmaids | Just Go With It | Uncut Gems | Spider-Man Homecoming | Da 5 Bloods | SuperBad | La La Land

Dig into a documentary

There are so many good documentaries, it's hard to know where to begin, though Man on Wire is arguably the GOAT documentary film (you had us at no safety net!). Here are a bunch of Best Of lists you can explore:


Meditation is a great way to deal with stress and improve your focus. It's also one of the most common behaviours among the world's most successful people, so it's not all woo-woo. If you're not sure how to get started, these apps all offer simple guided meditations to help you find your way to a zen place:

Read a book

Don't spend isolation starting at a screen. Unplug and pick up a book; it can be like stepping into another world. Here are some suggestions from your Exec Team:

Want more page-turners? These lists should keep you going for a while:

Start a blog

If you fancy starting a blog, here are the best sites for building a blog, reaching an audience, and improving your writing skills:

Level up your TikTok game

  • Mirhan TV - this dance tutorial channel will help you crush it on TikTok.


Take a break from being online by gaming unplugged. There are so many board games out there that you don't need to stick to old favourites like Monopoly. Check out Boardgamegeek's top 100 games for lots of alternative ideas.

Alternatively, if you sign up to Boardgame Arena, you can play boardgames against people online on all your devices for free. There are over 200 games you can play and millions of people to play against, so you should always be able to find an opponent for your favourite game. 

Connect with other students

We know opportunities for socialising are limited at the moment, but you can still stay connected to the NTU student community and find out about online activities by joining our Trent Students Facebook group.

Support & Advice

If you are self-isolating, see our advice page for what you need to do.

If you want to speak to somebody about getting support during self-isolation, contact our Information & Advice team, or sign up to one of our online Let's Talk wellbeing sessions.


Hopefully, that little lot will keep you going for a while.