Staying sane during quarantine with The Beacon staff

By Brie Haro | March 31, 2020 9:25pm

Quarantine getting you down? Try some specialized recommendations straight from The Beacon staff to keep your mind engaged.

Media Credit: Jennifer Ng / The Beacon

As classes have moved online and communities have shut down, you might have found it difficult to keep busy while under quarantine. No fear, for The Beacon staff is here. We have shared how we have been trying to keep sane and have recommendations ranging from shows to crafts.  

Although it's tempting to fall into the same wormhole of "Parks and Recreation" that you have been for years, try a show that you've never seen before to keep your mind active.

by Jennifer Ng / The Beacon

Shows to Binge

Streaming sites will no doubt see an influx of users as many turn to Netflix, Hulu and other video streaming sites to kill off their boredom.

Beacon Editor-in-Chief Claire Desmarais has been able to watch and listen to some new shows 

that weren’t always on her radar which include “Abstract,” Vox’s “Explained” and “Street Food.” 

“While staying at home, I’ve been trying to watch shows or listen to podcasts that aren’t mind numbing,” Desmarais said about her time under quarantine. “Instead of binge watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ for the fifth time, I’ve started watching some of the Netflix original series that can teach me about something I haven’t heard before.”

‘Abstract’: The Art of Design: This documentary series follows many different designers throughout their process and art flow. Available on Netflix.

Vox’s ‘Explained’: This docu-series by Netflix and Vox explains different subject matters within 20 minute episodes. Subjects range from the overuse of exclamation points to the female orgasm. Available on Netflix. 

Street Food’: In this series, you will be taken on a cultural journey seeing how dishes from Asia are created and where the flavors are derived from, opening your eyes and taste buds to a whole new world. Warning: You might become peckish after viewing. Available on Netflix. 

Sports editor Kyle Garcia recommended shows “Mindhunter,” “You” and “Devs,” that all follow a similar true crime and thriller plot line and can offer a more dramatic look into your binging preferences.  

‘Mindhunter’: This true crime series follows the FBI's serial crime unit through two agents who are tasked to interview suspects for open cases. Available on Netflix. 

‘You’: Lead Penn Badgley said he hopes the audience is equally intrigued and scared in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. The show, obtained from the book, follows through the lense of a man who is obsessed with an idea of the girl he is interested in. It is hauntingly intriguing while you wonder if our social norms within relationships are too obsessive within itself. Available on Netflix.

‘DEVS’: The science fiction thriller follows a computer engineer and her investigation within the company she works for and suspects a link to why her boyfriend suddenly disappeared. This show will toy on your psyche while trying to figure out all of the links and connections within the plot. Available on Hulu. 

If dramatic shows aren’t your cup of tea, Opinion Editor Dora Totoian recommended turning to Larry David’s series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” 

“Larry David will make you feel grateful you are in social isolation and not interacting with people,” Totoian said. “It is an extraordinary cringey, awkward brand of humor, but nobody validates awkwardness and pessimism more than Larry.”

Her favorite episodes include, “The Christ Nail” (Season 5), “The Rat Dog” (Season 6), “Palestinian Chicken” (Season 8). Available on Amazon Prime. 

NPR's podcast "Life Kit" teaches its users all they need to know about, well, life, in 20 minute increments.

by Jennifer Ng / The Beacon


Podcasts have seen an enormous surge in popularity in recent years. It seems to be something that our staffers have enjoyed as well.

Other than her show recommendations, Desmarais recommended the podcast “Life Kit.”

“I’ve also been doing a mix of news podcasts and also fun podcasts, so I don’t just spend all day hearing or reading about the coronavirus, ” Desmarais said.  

‘Life Kit’: This podcast is here to help humans, well, become better humans.  “Life Kit” talks to experts about all the skills needed in our everyday life, whether it’s dealing with sleep, house work, parenting or money.  They have even released podcasts pertaining on how to keep your life running amidst the coronavirus chaos.  

‘Science Vs Gimlet’: The host, Australian science journalist, Wendy Zuckerman, hones in on what is fact versus fad within each episode of this podcast.  The content, while heavily focused on COVID-19 at the moment, takes a peek at almost everything, ranging from the election to sharks, and even topics like aliens or UFOs.  

Desmarais is not the only staff member brushing up on podcasts — Community Engagement Editor Ally Weberg also has been listening to some of her favorite shows. 

‘Kwik Brain with Jim Kwik’: Jim Kwick is all about learning to the best of your abilities within his podcast episodes and aims to help his audience as well by giving tips on how to become a better learner and find your own “superpowers.”

“Jim had a brain injury when he was a kid and one of his teachers called him ‘The kid with the broken brain,’” Weberg said. “He didn’t let his teacher’s comment bring him down, he researched a ton and eventually started his own podcast detailing how to improve brain power.”

It’s that kind of determination that can help a lot of students especially with the circumstances we are under. Jim’s podcast ranges anywhere from productivity to memorization and has over one hundred episodes to help.  

It may have been a while since you cracked a book that wasn't required required reading. This quarantine, try a recommendation from Sports editor Kyle Garcia.

by Jennifer Ng / The Beacon


While most have turned to podcasts and shows during quarantine, Garcia has also picked up a few books to help pass the time.  

“I’ve also read a ton of books during quarantine too which has been nice so that I don’t stare at my phone or other screens all day,” Garcia said.  

His book recommendations are:

‘They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us’ by Hanif Abdurraqib: This book is a collection of essays with commentary on pop culture and society as a whole.  He writes about instances that have happened in his life that have affected him and many others.  

‘Nonviolence’ by Mark Kurlansky: Nonviolence is talked about not just as a state of mind but a powerful course of action that has occurred throughout history and not just in recent times.  

‘One Long River of Song’ by Brian Doyle: Usually a collection of spiritual essays doesn’t sound too appealing. However, Doyle believes in the religion of everyday things. If you are looking for a pick me up within the quarantine lifestyle, this book might be for you.  

Drag yourself off of the couch and get your blood pumping with an at-home workout.

by Jennifer Ng / The Beacon


News reporter Mia Werner has also been staying mindful these past couple of weeks by getting yoga instruction by Yoga with Adrienne.  

“She does 20 to 30 minute yoga session videos for anything from back pain to loneliness,” Werner said of the videos. “It’s a great way to get some fresh air and break up the monotony of studying inside all day. And it’s good for mental health too!”

Reporter Austin De Dios is also staying active by continuing to work out during the same times he would have gone to the gym.  

“I’ve got some exercise equipment at home, so I’ve just been using that!” De Dios said.  

It’s always important to keep active and can be especially hard during this time, but there are many at home workouts available on youtube that can prove to be helpful.    

While some reporters get active, photographer Lisa Erenstein is getting creative by planning on doing some art projects.  

She hopes to create a collage from old magazines and newspapers that are lying around the house or create some paintings. 

“Those are things that I really love but never have/find the time for anymore,” Erenstein said.  

We always seem to have excuses to not start something, whether it’s cleaning around the house or reading that book your grandma gave you on one of your birthdays. Now you can stay safe and stay sane by starting a new podcast or book you may not have started otherwise.  

Brie Haro is a Reporter for The Beacon and can be reached at