Whether you’re looking to hone a new skill, laugh your troubles away, or talk to someone who understands what you’re going through, there are lots of free or low-cost resources that can help make social distancing easier.
Remember that you don’t have to go through these unprecedented times alone. While we may all be staying distant right now, individuals and organizations from around Chicagoland have created new virtual resources and programs, so that we can all stay connected and take care of each other — while staying safe at home.
Here are some local and national resources to consider when you want to…
Talk to Someone
This is a stressful time for everyone — and there are many helpful resources out there that you can contact when you need to share your thoughts or reach out for help.
- In April, the Illinois Department of Human Services Mental Health Division launched a free emotional support text line for Illinois residents experiencing stress related to COVID-19. To access the ‘Call for Calm’ service, simply text “talk” to 552020.
- For senior citizens isolating at home or in an elder care facility, the Institute on Aging offers a Friendship Line, where older adults can get emotional support when they need it.
- On the national level, the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline provides round-the-clock crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural and human-caused disaster events.
- Right now, healthcare workers and other first responders may benefit from a helping hand of their own. The Code Green Campaign® offers a list of mental health and wellness resources for COVID-19 first responders.
- Want to stay connected, practice your writing skills, and brighten someone else’s day? Consider becoming a pen pal. There are many local resources and programs that make it easy to start writing to servicemembers, people in elder care facilities, or friendly individuals from around the world.
Starting to feel a bit of cabin fever? Fortunately, there are all sorts of creative ways to get up and get moving, without leaving the safety of home. Looking for virtual classes and fitness resources you can start using right now? Back in March, the YMCA of Metro Chicago launched “Y on the Go,” a collection of on-demand videos featuring activities, fitness classes, and tutorials for people of all ages.
Want to set a new fitness goal? The Chicago Area Runners Association offers “Social Distance Run” events. Plenty of Chicago-area gyms and exercise teachers are also hosting free lessons and workouts on Facebook and Instagram Live.
Looking for more online resources from local independent studios and fitness clubs? Here are a few guides to check out:
- “Where to Stream Fitness Classes Online,” from NBC Sports Chicago
- “How to Sweat, Stretch, and Breathe During Social Isolation,” from Chicago Magazine
- “Free Virtual Exercise Classes You Can Use While Quarantined,” from the Chicago Tribune
- “Chicago Gyms & Yoga Studios Livestreaming Classes,” from Do312
Learn Something New
Whether you’re looking to pick up a new hobby or keep the younger members of your household entertained while learning from home, there are countless ways to experience the best art and culture that Chicagoland has to offer.
- Museums and cultural institutions from around the area are serving up free online activities and virtual tours.
- Local art galleries and schools, including Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood, are offering free social media demonstrations and projects.
- Want to learn more about the animal kingdom? The Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, and Shedd Aquarium are all holding free live-streams on social media spotlighting the incredible animals in their care.
- Explore Chicagoland’s legendary architecture through live online events and virtual talks with experts, courtesy of Chicago Detours and the Chicago Architecture Center.
- Practice your storytelling skills with an online writing class from StoryStudio Chicago, or a virtual comedy workshop with The Second City.
- Expand your horizons with online lectures and events from the Chicago Humanities Festival, which is moving its most popular content online.
- Get in the rhythm and learn a new dance. You can find virtual dance classes from Chicagoland studios and teachers on the website Dancing Alone Together.
Focus on You
Self-care is incredibly important, particularly in these unpredictable times. Looking for a few ways to rest, relax, and recharge?
- Practice meditating. There are lots of free apps that offer mindfulness meditation exercises. During social distancing, Chicagoland-based organizations including Chill Chicago and Get Your Feelz On are offering free live meditation sessions and daily programs, including breathing exercises.
- Want to relax with a great movie? We’ve got a list of 20 flicks that can help you celebrate Chicagoland from home. Legendary spots like the Gene Siskel Film Center and Music Box Theatre are also offering virtual film screenings you can enjoy from home.
- Looking for a laugh? Many Chicagoland theaters — including Steppenwolf, the Goodman, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater — are offering online performances and free virtual resources. Enjoy magic online courtesy of the Chicago Magic Lounge, or discover your passion for arias with the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s digital resources.
Ready to bookmark even more live events and online activities? Choose Chicago has a great list of local streams and virtual events, available here.
Chicagoland, We’re By Your Side — No Matter What
This is the time to remember what’s truly important — health, family, and the bonds that tie us together. Whether it’s now serving as a school, office, playground, or simply a safe space, our home has never been more important. We know this is as well as anyone. At Baird & Warner, Chicagoland has been our home since 1855.
We are here for you, no matter what. We understand that you still have important real estate decisions to make, and our mission is to make achieving those goals easier. We will continue to provide the most updated information and guide you through this extraordinary time with a calm and steady hand. We know how resilient our Chicagoland community is — and we’re confident we’ll get through this together, stronger than ever.