1. Learn: Activities to generate joy
The NPR Joy Generator is a free resource created for those times when the world weighs heavy on you. Published online in late June by the American independent media organisation NPR, the Joy Generator offers a choice of activities that spark "small doses of daily delight" to shift focus away from your worries. The Web-based app can be used on laptops and smartphones, and is optimised for older children and adults.
Users can create poetry or visual art; experience nostalgia through soundscapes; or spend hours gazing at cute animal cams.
Every activity comes with introductions to the science behind why the activity makes you feel good.
Info: Go to NPR Joy Generator website
2. Play: Games designed for social impact
Games For Change supports the development of games for social impact. The free and paid games featured on the site run the gamut from trivia quizzes, where a correct answer ensures a donation to poorer communities; to immersive role-playing games meant to foster empathy for refugees or youth facing social challenges.
You can search for games by age-appropriateness, or by themes such as "empathy", "gender and social equality" or "technology".
My current favourite is Sky: Children Of Light, an immersive game for all ages created by thatgamecompany (the starter app is free). Players work together to uncover mysteries and save a fairy-tale-like world. In the process, they learn about conflict, healing and empathy.
Info: Check out Sky: Children Of Light and other games at this website.
3. Listen: History-themed ASMR videos
Whether or not you feel the tingles of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) on hearing whispers or crunching sounds, you will marvel at the cinematic ASMR experiences some YouTubers are offering for free online.
French YouTuber Diane, who goes only by the single name, runs the Moonlight Cottage ASMR channel, where she uploads history-themed ASMR videos.
Sometimes, she dresses as an apothecary or old-time pharmacist blending medicines; in others, she is an aristocratic lady dressing for a ball.
The YouTuber known as Atmosphere is another hit among fans of ASMR cinematic videos. Her adventures feature a blend of computer-generated imagery and human actors, and recreate the atmosphere of a haunted cabin or mysterious manor.
Info: Moonlight Cottage ASMR YouTube channel and Atmosphere's YouTube channel
4. Comfort Cooking: Chicken wings that taste like char siew
For a sticky twist on grilled chicken wings, try cooking them with a char siew marinade.
Since the marinade is big in both salty and sweet flavours, you do not have to steep the chicken wings in it overnight. Two or three hours of marinating will suffice.
I use Chinese rose wine as it helps to cut down on meaty odours and it lends a sweet perfume to the meat. I use a premium grade so one or two drops are enough - too much and the floral perfume gets overwhelming.