With people staying home, both voluntarily and in government-enforced lockdowns, across the globe, there have plenty of media reports about how specific bits of technology are helping us relieve boredom, stress and connect to the outside world.
Apps like House Party, which offers live video streaming calls, have surged in popularity. Television and gaming subscriptions have also seen spikes in usage.
But simple pleasures are important, too; something summed up by the seeming rush for people to get their hands on the hottest of products – jigsaw puzzles. Retailers report that jigsaws are flying out of warehouses, and some have run out of stock. It’s interesting to consider just why this is the case, and we can only surmise that people are looking for activities that have long-term outcomes. As you might imagine, then, the popular jigsaws are the complicated ones.
Designers are even coming up with new creations like colourless puzzles, all with the intention of providing people with a project to work on for the coming weeks. If you want another reason to do a jigsaw, it’s worth noting that they are effectively brain training games that help with memory and cognitive well-being.
Boardgames getting plenty of love
Jigsaws are not alone as traditional games seeing a surge. Board games like Monopoly are also being located in attics, dusted off and brought out for the family to play. Indoor sports games like table tennis are also surging in popularity, with retailers struggling to meet demand.
Of course, simple pleasures and technology should not be viewed as mutually exclusive. One heart-warming thing we have seen recently is the raft of authors who have permitted their works to be accessible without licensing. Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, for example, has dropped all fees so teachers can live stream readings of the books to students. Other authors allowed actors to read their works on Twitter.
Indeed, Big Tech is pitching in with lots of free stuff. Amazon, Google and Microsoft have provided access to lots of educational resource materials, but there is also an uptick in the number of free audiobooks.
Sports events being relived by fans
Going back to games, you will find no end of different simple games online. Card games, like the poker and blackjack that you can normally enjoy at casino.com SA alongside the roulette and slots, have found a place in the home. You can play games with a physical deck of cards, for sure, but there are also free apps that connect people through streaming video. These allow for face to face contact necessary for serious poker players (no money is wagered) but also connect people with the outside world.
Professional sports are off the menu, but some media outlets have decided on some simple twists to give sports fans their fix. The Guardian, for instance, has been releasing live blogs on famous soccer matches, such as the 1999 Champions League Semi-Final between Manchester United and Juventus. The idea is the journalists treat the game as if it was happening live, and post the updates in real-time. A novel approach, but a simple one that keeps us harnessed to something we identify with strongly.
As time passes, there will undoubtedly be many more trends and ingenious solutions to alleviate the boredom of the lockdown. Establishing connections with others is important, as is pursuing activities with long-term goals and that keep children occupied. Above all, anything that can keep your spirits up and keep your mind active is a boon. After all, we still do not know when all of this will pass.