Cultivating Joy

Free Activities to Enjoy and Enhance Your Life While Physical Distancing (updated 4.28.20)

We understand that this difficult time can create challenges in our lives. Physical distancing does not mean social isolation! There are several ways to cultivate joy and enhance your everyday life so that you can continue to succeed in your studies, take a break, and lean into resilience. This carefully curated list provides options and resources to get through physical distancing, #AloneTogether.

Remember, all the ASEMS staff are here for you. Be safe, stay healthy, and cultivate joy!

QUICK NOTE: If you (or a loved one) is experiencing a crisis connected to COVID-19, 24/7 confidential and free help is available via SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline via text or phone.

Arts & Culture

The prolific composer Andrew Lloyd Webber brings one of his beloved musicals  (remember “Cats?”) to fans for 48 hours each Friday with The Shows Must Go On via YouTube.

Watch Broadway shows for free with a 7-day trial on Broadway.

Want to visit the Eiffel Tower between classes?  Google Arts & Culture provides many opportunities to virtually visit world-class art/culture locations like the Rele Arts Foundation (Nigeria), Museum of Modern Art (MoMA, NYC), MORBO (Peru), Museum of Islamic Art (Qatar), and the Anne Frank House (Netherlands), just to name a few of their extensive sites. 

NEW! Through May 10th, get your opera on with NYC’s Metropolitan Opera daily encore performances. PRO TIP: La Bohème with Luciano Pavarotti on Friday, May 8th.

Social Distancing Festival - live streams and virtual visits of dance, theater, opera, performance arts, all in one place.


Live Webcams! (Giraffes, jellyfish, and pandas, oh my!)

Georgia Aquarium has webcams of Beluga Whales, underwater Puffins and even Piranhas!

Giraffes, flamingos, and chimpanzees are a few you can glimpse at the Houston Zoo webcams. PRO TIP: Click the four-directional icon on the lower right-hand side, which allows you to navigate the webcam view. Be patient, the webcam will indicate how many people are ahead of you.

Want to chill with the penguins? Birds? Maybe jellyfishMonterey Bay Aquarium  has live cams of sea otters, sharks, and tropical fish, just to name a few, which are relaxing and sometimes even humorous.

NEW! The Smithsonian’s National Zoo hosts five webcams including the naked mole-rat and cheetah cubs (born April 8th!)

Check out the Live Panda Cam at Zoo Atlanta.



Hotel Congress has gone digital with exciting free programming called Club Congress TV. You’ll need a ticket beforehand, follow the instructions to reserve your spot. PRO TIP: Check out their Facebook page (@theclubcongress) for upcoming events.

C |NET issues a daily, comprehensive update of (mostly music) happenings: live and free. Want to dance in your living room to a DJ from France? They got you covered. PRO TIP: nightly (DJ) Diplo livestreams @ 7pm PT on YouTube or Twitch or Instagram.

NEW! For the next few weeks, two-time GRAMMY Award winner Melissa Etheridge invites you to a Facebook Live 30-minute, live sing-along at 3pm, PT.

Free digital releases and livestreams from the GRAMMY Museum’s Public Program, all throughout the month of April. 



HBO provides 500 hours of online content free beginning Friday, April 3 on HBO Now and HBO Go.

NEW! Focus Movie Mondays stream live on Facebook with past viewings including Pride & Prejudice and Mallrats.

NEW and TIME SENSITIVE! Did you miss La La Land? Friday night at your local movie theatre? Combine the two with Lionsgate LIVE! A Night At The Movies (only two more left!) with livestreams on select Fridays at 6pm PT/9pm ET on YouTube.

Question: Do you have a library card? Answer: you do, as a University of Arizona student you can access over 30,000 documentaries, classics, indie, and recent movies like Lady Bird and Moonlight at Kanopy.

SiriusXM provides free content through its app or here until May 15.

NEW! Happy Hour Across America, Sling TV’s initiative to encourage viewers to practice physical distancing and “Stay in & SLING,” brings their live TV streaming service during seven hours of primetime, 5pm-midnight (ET). PRO TIP: No credit card required!



The iconic Dolly Parton hosts a 10-week video series where she’ll read books to kids of all ages (that means you!) from the Imagination Library.

The University of Missouri Extension Program brings their Virtual St. Louis Storytelling Festival to you through Friday, May 1st. PRO TIP: There is even a collaborative event where you can take center stage!

Take Care of YOU – wellness offerings!

Active Minds is the nationwide, campus-based authority on mental health and college students. They have a number of resources on their website.

Campus Recreation, in partnership with Recreation Movement through May 31st offers a variety of live, free fitness classes, in addition to a variety of wellness programming from both campus and outside partners. PRO TIP: Pre-registration is required for some of the programming.

Care for your Coronavirus Anxiety - an online project of Shine and Mental Health America, research-backed and helpful tools for you—articles, meditations, access to mental health experts, anxiety screenings, and more.

NEW! CorePower Yoga is committed to stream two free classes daily (while their studios are closed during the pandemic) of Live Yoga Workouts on YouTube.

Headspace Meditation App is offering a collection (called Weathering the Storm) for free to all.

Matthew Johnson Harris, an Alvin Ailey Extension Core Instructor, choreographer and fitness expert, is temporarily offering his dance cardio class for free through YouTube Live (and Facebook Live) on Fridays at 6:30pm (ET). PRO TIP: Two left feet? No worries: his classes are user-friendly. Grab your water and stretch beforehand!

My Wellness Coach is a free app developed here at the University of Arizona through the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine.

The Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine offers online wellbeing courses for free until July 1st! In addition, they offer a plethora of short, healthy lifestyle videos including a meditation practice in under three minutes! PRO TIP: Check out the “Free Wellbeing Courses” link.

The YMCA, a nationwide non-profit organization is offering its health and fitness videos for free through its website YMCA 360. PRO TIP: Yoga and Tai Chi? Yes, please.

Virtual Tours: experience farms, museums, national parks and more!

Immerse yourself in a working Canadian Farm with a virtual farm and food tour at Farm & Food Care.

No need to fight the crowds to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, you’ve got your ticket right here.

Experience National Parks like never before, Google Earth brings you up close and personal. PRO TIP: hit the Voyager (helm) icon and explore even more!

The National Museum of Natural History, part of the Smithsonian, has dozens of virtual tours. PRO TIP: their virtual tours are next level with the use of a simulated WebVR (virtual reality) model.

Haven’t got your fill of the great outdoorsThe National Park Service offers free virtual tours of popular national parks.