When it rains, it pours. Just as the country was getting to grips with the recent economic slump, Lebanese citizens have been urged to stay at home and self-quarantine, part of the global effort aimed at curbing the spread of the now infamous coronavirus disease. (For those of you who are curious about this subject, the Washington Post has a fascinating article that explains the effects of ‘social distancing’ on transmission, using simulations to show how it helps flatten the virus’ growth curve).

The lock-down has been officially scheduled to last until March 29. For a lot of us, this could easily turn into two weeks of unhealthy amounts of screen time, interspersed with restlessness, boredom, and creeping anxiety. But that simply doesn’t have to be so. With a little bit of motivation and commitment, you can transform this pandemic-imposed free time into a productive break courtesy of these local online services.

Enjoy personalized podcasts with Podio

Formerly known as Fallound, Podio offers unlimited podcast streaming completely free of charge. Simply install the app on your phone, sign up, select your interests, and have Podio curate some of the best podcasts from around the Middle East and North Africa for you.

Podio even allows you to schedule listening times and will personalize content and episodes accordingly, finding perfectly timed audio podcasts based on the time you set and your interests. You can even have it tailor content specifically for a commute by simply specifying your destination.

Get some legal work done with Lexyom

Entrepreneurs will agree that sorting legal matters is one of the more tedious parts of running a business. The silver lining though is that you can use the current downtime to get that work out of the way thanks to Lexyom.

Lexyom is a first of its kind, online legal platform crafted by “super lawyers, geeky developers and excellent executors”. Lexyom has gathered some of the best lawyers and law firms in the Arab world, including Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, and offers legal advice through online legal consultations and legal services. So if you need to review a contract, rework your corporate structure, or get ready to raise a new round, Lexycom offers tailor made plans specific to your needs. Prices are also disclosed in advance, putting you in control of your legal expenses as well.

Before we part…

Some updates are in order. On Saturday, data analysis published by The Economist showed that normal life is resuming in some Asian cities, with foot traffic in Hong Kong starting to return to standard levels last week. In Italy, one of the countries that are hardest hit by the virus, there is growing evidence suggesting that the shutdown that took effect on March 8 is already having an impact in slowing down the spread of the virus.

This is all to remind you that this crisis will inevitably pass, so hang on, stay safe for a little bit longer, and try to keep yourself productively busy.