The pandemic has changed the world forever, in the way in which we value certain things – and realise that some others don’t matter. So while past times like indulging in fast fashion fell by the wayside as we were hanging out in our homes, others, like the joy of long board gaming sessions, came and they came to stay. While vaccine rollouts give hope of some sort of normality returning to the world, things will never quite be the same.
Here are the activities that we got hooked on during Covid times that continue to shape the future of our spare time.
1. Netflix and hold the chill
According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies in their publication, Families in Australia Survey: Life during COVID-19, the most popular activity that Aussies spent more time doing was – not surprisingly – watching TV and movies. 51% of survey respondents indicated they’d spent more time glued to TVs (or other viewing devices) as compared to pre-Covid times,
Across free-to-air, free online catch-up services, and paid subscription services such as Netflix, the rates of viewership all rose across Covid.
This shouldn’t be surprising, given the massive online chatter surrounding such shows as Tiger King, The Queen’s Gambit, etc. If you didn’t catch up on the latest and greatest in binge-worthy TV, you’d risk being out of the loop on your next Zoom catch up with friends and family.
2. Cooking up a storm
With a lot more time on our hands, we decided that we had plenty of it to dedicate to cooking and baking. While previously, UberEats was a big convenience, being stuck inside all day meant coming up with new things to do, which for a lot of people meant honing their cooking skills. For some of the younger generations, it meant taking up in the kitchen properly for the first time.
We started off with the easy stuff, like banana bread, moving on to making our own kombucha, and then creating dishes like spicy curries with all the sides. It has been all about experimenting as we explored tastes, textures, and our own talents. For some, it was even a flurry of purchases – like an air fryer, a sandwich press, or a waffle iron.
What Covid did to many of us was give us the confidence to try new things in the kitchen, and this is something that we will keep with us for the rest of our lives – whipping it out perhaps not as often, but whenever we’re feeling explorative.
3. Online gambling
Thought Jen next door was just working on her 2000 piece puzzles every night? You might be wrong there. Online gambling has seen a big upswing in 2020 not just from people who might gamble elsewhere regularly but from those who are bored looking for a little fun. With sports shut down around the world – and so sports betting was off the table in terms of online gambling – it has been online casino operators that have seen the bulk of traffic.
While the casino games you can download in the Apple or Google app stores only let you play for tokens, not real money, there are places online you can go to do real gambling – and Aussies found their way to them. The offshore Australian casino operators capitalized on Covid times by offering alluring bonuses which moved thousands of players online.
And while gambling online doesn’t have quite the same feel as gambling in person, it sure is more convenient and almost as fun.
4. Crypto trading
Did you download Coinbase during Covid? Bought into Bitcoin? Read up on Ethereum? Tried to figure out just what exactly a blockchain is? Crypto trading certainly saw a big influx of activity over the course of Covid, along with regular trading too. If you were part of the GameStop movement from WallStreetBets over at Reddit, you’re probably smiling to yourself right now.
The rise in easy-to-use apps for crypto and day trading has meant that now everyone is able to get in on the action and try and make some money on the markets. While trading was once an activity of the elite, now anyone with a brain, some time, and a few extra dollars can give it a spin.
Day trading, whether it’s crypto, the stock market, or Fiat currencies, always has a large degree of risk involved, however, it can also be very lucrative if you know what you’re doing – and fun.
5. Artistic pursuits
Even if you’re not creative or artistic, it’s likely that you tried out some form of art-making over the course of Covid. All of a sudden, people were sharing their amazing drawings, paintings, songs, macrame, clay sculptures, and digital arts with the world. Given the chance to try out new things, we did.
For some people, this has continued as they pursue a deeper interest in an artistic pursuit they stumbled across during 2020. For others still, it may have been the first steps in what may go on to be a career at some point. When we’re making things, we’re expressing ourselves, and we all had a lot of feelings to express given the circumstances!