Things That Matter

Going Stir Crazy In Quarantine? Then These Awesome Virtual Tours Will Help You Escape Without Ever Leaving Your House

Ok, so we’re all basically still under stay-at-home orders – meaning the rest of the world is pretty much off limits to us all right now. But thankfully we do have access to the World Wide Web, right?

Sure, there’s no shortage of TV shows to binge watch and virtual chat rooms to fill every one of our vacant moments – but why not take a little trip outside your home thanks to the help of some super cool tech? Basically everyone from your local state park to world-renowned museums has been able to provide virtual tours for anyone with high-speed internet to enjoy for a while now. 

So, give your mind and eyes something new and stimulating to feast on with these round-the-world virtual tours.

Take A Visit To Virtual Disneyland

OK, so yea it’s true. Disney announced that their parks would remain closed through the end of 2020. However, you can go on some of the rides virtually. So you might not get that ‘stomach in your throat, feel like I’m gonna throw up’ feeling from a virtual spin on Space Mountain but if you’re a Disney fan – this trip down memory lane is so worth it.

Revisit iconic rides like Space Mountain and Splash Mountain through the thrilling lense of a maverick visitor who broke the rules and recorded their whole ride.The real gems here are the slow, kid-friendly, and well-lit rides like It’s A Small World or Snow White’s Scary Adventure. We find that the closer they are to our childhood interests, the better they are to revisit.

Travel Back In Time On A Virtual Tour Of Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul

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Which Frida Kahlo fan hasn’t dreamed of visiting her Casa Azul in Mexico City? Now transformed into a museum, it is a must-visit spot in the Mexican capital and you can visit without even having change out of your PJs.

Yet again, the magic of Google brings the museum of your living room, bedroom, patio – where ever you wanna be.

Get Close And Personal With Animals From Around The World

Credit: San Diego Zoo

With what may be the most live cam options, the San Diego Zoo lets you switch between koalas, polar bears, and tigers in one sitting – oh my! The National Aquarium is also getting in on the virtual action. You can walk through tropical waters to the icy tundra in this floor-by-floor tour of the famous, Baltimore-based aquarium.

Fly With NASA Into Outer Space

Credit: ExoPlanet Travel Bureau / NASA

With the global pandemic having many of us thinking about our futures here on Earth, now is as good a a time as ever to think about life outside Earth. NASA launched a tour on desktop, but if you want to experience the tour in its greatest form, use a smartphone and download Google Expeditions for an augmented reality trip to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center.

But if you rather get into deep space then check out this 360 YouTube experience. And if you want colorful stars and planets, check out the Exoplanet Travel Bureau.

Take A Virtual Hike Through America’s Stunning National Parks

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Google has been super busy Gathering images and photos from basically every corner on Earth – and I’m not exaggerating. They’ve partnered with the National Park Service to follow park rangers through numerous national parks across the U.S – meaning you can hike in Alaska’s glaciers or Hawaii’s volcanoes.

For a Google-free walk among the trees, the National Parks Service has a very robust virtual tour of Yellowstone National Park: the park has nine webcams strewn about, one of which has a Livestream feed.

Check Out Digital Collections From Thousands Of Museums

Google Arts & Culture is a great resource for any art fan (with limited access to art with over 2,500 museums) and it’s especially handy for those of us under lockdown, unable to visit our favorite museum.

They’ve got collections everywhere from Mexico City’s ‘Day of the Dead’ celebration to Brazil’s Museu Nacional. So grab a drink, a sketchbook, and get ‘walking’ those museum halls.

Travel To Far-Off Lands To Inspire Your Future Real-World Travel Plans

Credit: Google

Major tourist attractions like Peru’s Machu Picchu, Brazil’s Christ The Redeemer statue, and Mexico’s Chichén Itzá are all accessible from in-depth online tours.

You can also take a virtual hike on the Great Wall of China or visit the the Pyramids of Giza.

Get A Virtual View Of Real Street Art

Credit: Red Bull Street Art

Tons of groups have used Google Earth to create walking tours in every corner of the globe. For street art fans, Google Street View has been magic. These virtual walking tours are for art lovers, travel lovers, and for those who can’t exactly hit the pavement right now. This one from Bogota is especially cool.

Stalk The World With 24-Hour Live Streams

Credit: EarthCam

Do you want to know what exactly is going on in Times Square, right this second? Wouldn’t it be nice to stream a panoramic view of Paris during the workday?

You can watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle in real-time. You can also watch over Time Square any time with this live feed or watch ships pass through the Panama Canal with this one.

Latino Homes Are Experiencing The Highest Rate Of The Worst COVID-19 Symptoms

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Latino Homes Are Experiencing The Highest Rate Of The Worst COVID-19 Symptoms

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COVID-19 is still a threat to the U.S. The country is experiencing a sudden spike two weeks after Americans defied social distancing rules and gathered in mass for Memorial Day. Latino households are experiencing a higher number of cases with severe symptoms and the rising cases are troubling the community.

Latino households are experiencing some of the worst COVID-19 cases.

A new analysis from USA Today found that Latino households are experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms at higher rates. According to a study of more than 1.6 million people, Latinos, by and large, said they have experienced the symptoms tied to COVID-19. These symptoms include difficulty breathing, loss of taste, and coughing.

“Data is now emerging that matches the reality that we’re seeing,” Clarissa Martínez de Castro, deputy vice president of UnidosUS, told USA Today. “There are lots of factors at play, but among the biggest is the overrepresentation of Latinos in front-line jobs that don’t allow working from home.”

This a trend that health experts have seen within Latino communities in major cities.

Latino and Black communities have been devastated by COVID-19. The communities have been disproportionately affected by the virus with death rates higher than the population statistics in various states. Fears of discrimination and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests have prevented Latinos from seeking medical care long before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Public charge was just the latest thing,” Dr. Daniel Correa, a neurologist at Montefiore Medical Center, told NBC News. “There was already a lot of apprehension in the community before the pandemic. We were seeing concerns regarding public services, and in health care we were already seeing a decrease in public visits.”

These statistics come along the backdrop of Latinos facing the steepest financial and employment impact of any other group.

Latino households have faced the most job losses of any other demographic in the U.S. because of COVID-19. The job losses have compounded problems for the Latino community as DACA recipients and undocumented people are not eligible for federal government aid, despite paying billions in taxes.

According to Unidos US, 5.3 million out of 27.8 million Latinos in the U.S. are out of work giving Latinos the highest unemployment rate. Unemployment within the Latino community is 18.9 percent. The current national unemployment rate is 13.3 after the U.S. added 2.5 million jobs in May as states reopen.

The current job numbers are being celebrated by the Trump administration as a signal that the pandemic economic toll is ending. However, the current unemployment rate is higher than any point since the Great Depression and most jobs added are part-time jobs. The large portion of part-time employment has left some skeptical about the stability of the economic recovery.

READ: Covid-19 Cases Surge In Meat-Processing Plants As COVID-19 Spreads In Rural America

Working From Home Can Impact Your Mental Health, Here’s How To Stay Sane And Healthy

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Working From Home Can Impact Your Mental Health, Here’s How To Stay Sane And Healthy

Kathleen Demayo / Getty Stock

A recent survey shows that thirty-five percent of workers who telecommute said their mental health had deteriorated as a result of doing so amid the coronavirus lockdown. As someone who has gone from working in a social, fun-filled, compassionate office space, I can consider myself part of that 35%.

Although working from home (for those privileged enough to do so) is a necessity for our safety and that of the community – it definitely presents some unique challenges.

Yes, the benefits are many: avoiding transit problems and the stress of commuting; sidestepping office politics; adopting a flexible schedule that allows for chores and errands to be incorporated into the work day; more time with family and pets; and a break on keeping up a business wardrobe and other appearance-related expenses.

But there’s a dark side. It’s an arrangement that fosters isolation and disconnection, two conditions that feed the greedy depression monster.

Here are some excellent tips for taking care of your mental health during these unprecedented times.

Break up your workday

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Some common challenges when working from home during the pandemic is the lack of stimulation and connection to people you used to see regularly. This can become a bit confusing, so it’s great to try to break up the schedule.

One of the best tips for working from home that I’ve discovered is breaking up the work day with movement. This can be a quick burst of movement (like jumping jacks, or lifting kettle bells) or some lower impact movement like a walk. I’m also a huge fan of taking a mid-afternoon break (longer than your typical 30-minute lunch break) to go on a long walk or run errands.

Get a routine and stick to it

Routine is essential, and it’s even more important when structure is missing.

Sticking to a routine does not mean that you have to abide by the old standard 9-5 office hours, and only take downtime in the evening. It simply means that you have a system for waking up on time, getting ready, feeling confident and getting your work done in a timely manner. 

When you do this regularly enough, it will feel more natural over time, and you won’t have to think about it so much. For me, this has meant taking my dogs out on a walk to get a coffee in the morning and then coming home and getting to work – it’s like creating my own little commute.

Stay connected

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Remember to keep up with friends and family, even if that can only be done through a Zoom or FaceTime call. Text someone you care about, and when restrictions are lifted in your area, try to make plans as regularly as you feel comfortable.

Connection is key, and it can be challenging when you don’t leave your home for long stretches of time.

It’s also helpful to join platforms of people doing similar work as you and interacting with them throughout the day. Or you can join an online book club or participate in volunteer work – having this sort of obligation will go a long way in helping you show up when you don’t feel great.

Incorporate wellness activities into your day

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One of the biggest perks of working from home is that you get to do things you might not be able to if you’re in an office all day.

I’ve been doing 20 minute walks around my neighborhood while listening to music. This moves the energy in the body and allow us to to have a shift in consciousness, which is so important when you’ve been isolated in front of a computer screen.

Another way to experience new energy in the body is to pause from work, find a comfortable place to sit, and then do deep belly breaths. This involves taking one deep breath in, and then focus on the exhale. You’ll notice your shoulders will relax, and your body will feel lighter.

Learn how to detach

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It’s so important when working from home that you keep your work and personal lives and actual physical areas totally separate. For many, it may not be possible to create an actual separate office space but you can create workspaces outside of your most “lived in” spaces. That’s what matters most.

There is a risk that working hours will get longer if the boundaries between work and personal life become blurred. It is necessary to establish a rigid system in which work can be carried out in a planned manner, such as by setting working hours and the timing of contact with supervisors.

No matter what you do, remember that working from home is yet another “new normal” to get used to — and the sooner you adapt to what makes you most productive, healthy, and mentally well, the better.