By now, most of us have discovered that self isolation can get boring, lonely and frustrating. Worry not, we’ve rounded up some of the UAE’s top social media accounts that are doing their best to keep us entertained, fit, healthy and, most importantly, sane during the Covid-19 pandemic. Best of all, they’re doing it for free!
Radio host and all-round mummy extraordinaire Helen Farmer is doing her bit for tired parents across the Emirates (and beyond) with her free storytelling for kids on IGTV. Tune in every morning at 9am (along with her two young daughters) and expect favorites like Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith.
Twinkle Tots Dubai
Prevented from hosting their regular roster of toddler sensory and development workshops, Twinkle Tots Dubai is using their Instagram page to give parents daily ideas for activities to do with their kids. Sidewalk chalk games, shadow drawing and many ways to have fun with clothespins are among their ideas.
Working from home is made that bit easier with the perfect music playlist. Drawdeck, the UAE’s leading wall art specialists, are posting free #stayhome playlists on Spotify every other day to keep the monotony and loneliness of working alone at bay. Check their Instagram stories for updates on new guest playlists and while you’re there, look up their free ‘wash your hands’ digital prints – they’re even throwing in complimentary customization.
The independently owned pub on The Palm has moved their quiz night online to Facebook Live. Tune in every Monday for general knowledge madness (the gatherings have drawn 150 people) and enjoy massive discounts on food orders during quiz time. There’s also live music and DJ sets during the week.
This period of uncertainty can bring up anxious feelings for many of us, including those who haven’t suffered anxiety in the past. Be Psychology Center updates their Instagram regularly with helpful, free advice videos from psychologist and founder Reem Shaheen, adding in Covid-19-specific infographics to help you through.
The owner and chief choreographer at Yalla Dance Studio is keeping everyone on their feet with his free online Bollywood dance classes every Saturday. Use the rest of the week to check out Sarthak’s library of (at times comical) dance routines to popular Indian and English language tunes.
With more time at home it could be the chance to take up some cooking lessons and Dubai’s popular Chef Izu Ani has some simple and healthy recipes at hand. Join the head of the eateries Izu Brasserie & Bakery, The Lighthouse, Fika and Aya on Instagram stories as he guides viewers through the process in real time. He’s encouraging people to share their versions of his dishes and there are prizes for the best efforts. Want even more recipes? Check out @gasmark6 for pizzas, sweet treats and more.
Lucky Voice Dubai
If you’re missing a bit of karaoke in your life, look no further than Lucky Voice Dubai’s Insta stories, where a whole host of UAE residents are giving their vocal cords some exercise. The challenge is to sing while washing your hands, then post your video and tag @Luckyvoicedubai. Use the #luckyscrubchallenge and tag three friends to take on the challenge next. Pitch perfect means prizes!
Wouldn’t it be great to go partying? Well now you can (kind of) do just that with DJ Meg (Megatronic) from the comfort of your home for one of her live DJ sets. Get your feet moving by joining her on her Twitch channel as she moves her way through some amazing tunes. Want someone to dance with? Disco Dan might be your man. We’ve gone outside the UAE for this one because he deserves the shout out. Watch him dancing on his own in his living room every single night and join in on Facebook Live!
Ricardo and Nadine
Trainers and spiritual warriors Ricardo Vargas and Nadine du Toit have been teaching nightly fitness classes on the joint Instagram account they recently introduced. The nightly sessions are at 7.30pm. As Vargas explained recently on the account, although they can’t work right now, they are still doing their bit “to uplift humanity. That’s all we can do right now.”
The gym is just one of many fitness establishments and personal trainers that are offering free online training – and boy are we desperate for it! Check out their Instagram for HIIT, Yoga and partner workouts. Other local fitness heroes providing free training sessions include: Underdog Boxn, Fit Squad DXB, The Hot House Yoga, Pilates Academy Dubai and K08 Dubai.
Devinder Bains is journalist of 20 years, working as a writer and editor on some of the biggest national magazines, newspapers and online publications in the UK and the Middle East. She specialises in women’s empowerment, fashion, race, culture and travel, and as a qualified personal trainer and nutrition coach, she is an expert in health and fitness. She splits her time between freelance writing and running Fit Squad DXB – Dubai’s largest personal training and wellness company.