7 ways Canadians are turning to YouTube to cope while social distancing

Jamie Gargatsougias, Gina Shalavi / April 2020

In a global moment that feels uncharted and unfamiliar, people are turning to online video to adapt, cope, and find community. Across content genres, YouTube creators are offering handy advice to help their audiences adjust to changes in daily life #WithMe and fostering human connection to help us all move forward together.

In Canada, these are the seven types of video content we’ve seen audiences gravitate toward during the coronavirus situation.

Work-from-home essentials

As an increasing number of adults find themselves working from home, creators are sharing tips and tricks on how to do it effectively. From troubleshooting poor internet connections to equipment and organization hacks to sharing creative ways for remote team collaboration, their advice is resonating. Ipsos research from April 16 to 19 shows more than half of Canadians used video to communicate with family and friends online.1

Study with me

Students are adapting to a new reality too, as school closures have forced at-home learning and a rise in virtual classrooms. For companionship and motivation, students are leaning into “study with me” videos, a trend that originally gained momentum in 2019. Since January, global views of videos containing “study with me” in the title are over 50% higher compared to the same period last year.2 And in recent weeks, social distancing has given rise to a creator-led #WithMe campaign, offering entertainment and companionship across a range of interests. Whether you are looking for encouragement, a study buddy, or simply to be in the company of others, these videos deliver hours of uninterrupted companionship for people of all ages.

Meal preparation

Cooking every meal at home may seem daunting, but it’s the new reality for people who are preparing for extended time at home. Fortunately, YouTubers are putting a fresh spin on cooking for yourself with simple recipes to prove that even the most functional food can be tasty and fun. Looking for inspiration, people around the world are watching videos related to recipes and cooking at a rate over 45% higher this year than the same period last year.3 As they gear up for what may be a long haul, these videos help them get organized and equipped to manage in-home dining. Right now in Canada, people prefer convenience and indulgence. There has been an increase in search interest for “Easy Recipes4 and for “Yummy Recipes” in the last 90 days.5

Stress reduction

Between the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, its widespread impact, and abrupt changes to everyday life, recent weeks and months have given us a lot to worry about. Many are turning to online video for help in coping with anxiety and stress. Within the genre, we see people leaning on everything from the expected — meditation and yoga — to the unexpected — aquarium videos and autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) content. So far this year, global views of meditation-related videos alone are over 35% higher than the same period in 2019.6

In-home fitness

Those who regularly hit the gym or studio for a stress release are now finding ways to work out at home with the help of YouTube creators. Since mid-March, YouTube search interest in 'Home Workout' in Canada has spiked.7 With more than 8,000 channels, YouTube’s fitness community spans all sorts of specialties, from high-intensity cardio to dance and beyond. Global daily uploads of videos with “work out at home” in the title increased over 55% after March 10, compared to the previous daily average this year,8 suggesting that even in these challenging times, people across the globe are tuning in to maintain their workout schedules.

Online games

Canadian consumers are turning to YouTube to stay connected, have fun and find a convenient escape. Gaming appears to fit that need well. In Canada, YouTube search interest in gaming and video games has increased since Mid-March.9 YouTube search interest for multiplayer games10 has also been rising, showing Canadians are interested in playing online games together.


With gardening season upon us, and many of us spending our time at home, more Canadians are embracing their green thumb and turning to videos about gardening. YouTube search interest for gardening has been on the rise since the beginning of April,11 including increased interest in building raised gardening bed12 and a spike in vegetable seeds.13 Looks like we might be seeing some more flowers and vegetable gardens springing up in yards across Canada this summer.

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