Coronavirus Lockdown: What to Watch & Read

If you’re like the majority of us and are stuck at home for 2 weeks+ you may need some help to avoid going stir crazy, or just take your mind off of things.


TV / Movies
If you’re looking for mainstream TV and movies, some internet providers make streaming content free to their customers (see Xfinity Stream). If you’ve cut the cord from cable TV and your internet provider doesn’t offer something like this, the big 3 providers offer 30 day free trials for new customers. (*Previous customers with a different email address are also usually eligible for free trials…)

See this post for other providers offering 7 day free trails (Disney+, HBO, CBS All Access, Apple+, etc.)

If you don’t already have one or more of these streaming services, you could sign up for the trials back to back to extend your options for as long as possible. (Just don’t forget to cancel before the end of your trial if you don’t want to pay!)

Arts / Culture
If you already have one or more of these or you’re just looking for something a little more artistic / less mainstream, research your local hotspots for performing arts/artists to see if they’re streaming anything online. For example, a jazz club in my town is live-streaming a lot of their previously booked performances via Facebook live.

image of a jazz quintet
Source: YouTube, “Live @ the Dirty Dog – Straight Ahead”

The Metropolitan Opera has been streaming their performances for free. You’ve probably also seen that many major institutions around the world are offering “virtual museum tours.” These range from virtual tours of the spaces themselves to scrolling images of the items in their collections. Many zoos, aquariums and animal nurseries are also offering live feeds of their adorable occupants. (If you’re stuck at home with kids, put on a live feed of some penguins and play a game of narrating what you think the animals would be saying to each other.)

Educational / How To
You could also try to catch up on all those Ted Talks you’ve bookmarked to watch later… You don’t have a ton of those saved? Just me? Ok.

(After you’ve gotten through everything at your local public or institutional library. ♥)

Black and white image of potted plants
Source: CNN’s The Wisdom Project, “Inspirational quotes to get us through the coronavirus shutdown”

Inspirational / Funny
I’m a big fan of The Wisdom Project by David Allan. He just posted a timely piece on inspirational quotes that also includes references to a lot of good books, movies, shows and songs. I especially love the quote from Eddie Izzard, who, if you don’t already know, is a fantastic comedian. And who couldn’t use some laughs right now? (Here’s one of my favorite skits of his to get you started: Cake or Death. He’s also written a book, which I’m currently listening to him narrate–Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens.)

Feel Good Stories
If you’re like me and have signed up for a ton of newsletters despite knowing you probably won’t have time to read them, now might be the time to go through a few of the most recent and decide if they’re worth continuing to subscribe to. CNN’s The Good Stuff is one I like and am planning to keep, mostly for the feel-good stories, and partly because it only comes once a week.

If you’ve been too busy to catch up on your reading  now’s the time to get through that book (or 10) you’ve been wanting to read. Same goes for catching up on reading for professional development. Sometimes it feels like I’m too busy doing my job to spend time reading about how I could be doing it more efficiently, or with more compassion, or [fill in with whatever applies to you].


While this post focused on things to read and watch during the Coronavirus shutdown, I feel I can’t end it without also recommending some tunes to sample when you’re tired of reading and watching all of the stuff listed above. Check out the Coronavirus Awesome Mix 2020 on Spotify. (Not saying Coronavirus is awesome. But this playlist sort of is. Also Spotify (with ads) is free.)

If you’re more of a talk radio person, NPR is curating two podcast playlists to help you manage anxiety and stay informed.

NPR playlist of podcasts on Spotify
Source:, “Coronavirus Podcast Playlists: Manage Stress And Stay Informed”

Stay healthy!