You’d have to have been living on the moon for the last month or so to not be aware that the whole of the UK, most of the world in fact, is living in the shadow of COVID-19. Our last blog gave you some hints on staying safe and keeping yourself protected from infection and now we’re going to give you some ideas to keep your mind and body busy.
There’s no doubt that for some people, self-isolating, keeping away from friends and family and restricting time out of the house is a real struggle.
If you are a sociable person who is used to spending at least part of every day with others, whether that’s at work or in a social setting, then being on your own could feel rather strange.
It’s important to note though that there is a huge difference between being alone and being lonely. One can feel incredibly lonely even when surrounded by masses of people yet be perfectly happy and content being alone for long periods of time.
Here’s a few ways to keep yourself busy whilst you are ‘living in lockdown’:
- Take some time to reassess your life – what’s working for you and what’s not? We’re not advocating you go into full on self-analysis mode but why not take this time as an opportunity for a spot of self-reflection?
- Re-connect with yourself – now some of you may be thinking that sounds a tad ‘woo woo’ but what we mean is just take a chance to enjoy being yourself! So many of us are guilty of wearing a mask as we go about our daily lives, we use them as a kind of protection and often hide our true selves behind them. Whilst you only have yourself to please why not drop the mask and allow yourself to be yourself? If that means dancing round the house in your undies whilst singing at the top of your voice – go for it, just make sure the neighbours can’t see!
- Commit to doing at least ONE thing per day that makes you happy – that could be something as simple as having your morning cuppa in the garden (or on your balcony if you’re in a flat) – or relaxing in a lovely bubble bath. If there’s something you wouldn’t usually do because it takes up too much time DO IT and enjoy it – don’t feel guilty about it.
- Learn something new - this could be the perfect time to learn a new skill. From crochet to cancan dancing, online classes are springing up all over – some are even free! Don’t restrict yourself to things you’ve done before, things you feel comfortable with – push outside of your comfort zone and try something new.
- Get Fit – you may be stuck in doors for a while so rummage through your DVD collection and dig out the exercise videos that somehow made their way to the bottom of the stack. Set aside a fixed time every day and hold yourself accountable for committing to exercise during that slot. If you haven’t got any videos, look online – YouTube is full of routines.
- Cook from scratch – when you are able to get out to shop (or can get a delivery slot for online shopping!) don’t buy up ready meals and snack foods, instead buy fresh ingredients and enjoy cooking delicious meals from scratch.Learn to enjoy the entire process of creating a meal. Ask friends and family what their favourite recipes are and add to your repertoire. Lots of supermarkets have recipe finders online, check them out and try cooking something different. Or perhaps hunt down old recipe books that have sat unloved and unused on your bookshelf for years.
- Read more – use the time to read a book (or books) you’ve always wanted to get stuck into but somehow never found enough space in your days. If you struggle with vision try audio books; Audible.com has made lots of content available for free during this current period, including Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. And if you’re missing reading stories to the grandchildren, point them in the direction of Audible too because there’s loads of children’s content – it won’t be you reading to them (more of that later) but you could arrange to listen along with them and have a chat on the phone later to talk about the book.http://www.openculture.com/freeaudiobooks is another source of free audio books that is worth checking out.
- Write a book! – here’s an idea, have a go at writing something yourself. It needn’t be fiction, perhaps you could record your memoirs for your kids and grandchildren.
- Get outside – fresh air is important, so try to spend a little time outside everyday if you can. At the very least open a window wide and let some clean air in…less traffic is meaning less pollution, a bit of a bonus for us all. If you have a garden, get out in it and tidy it up a little – gardening can be surprisingly good exercise and is very therapeutic.
- Keep in touch with loved ones – you may not be able to be in the same physical space as your friends and family but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep in contact with them. The miracles of modern technology mean that you can video call your relatives and have the pleasure of seeing them on your phone, computer or (if you have the knowhow!) your TV. Video calling technology isn’t as complicated as you may think, and a younger relation should be able to get you up and running relatively easily (remotely of course!). You could be reading the grandkids a bed-time story before you know it.
- Communicate - If you’re a technophobe, how about writing letters – a lost art which is long overdue a comeback. And, of course, there’s always the telephone!
- Reconnect with your neighbours - With more people at home than usual, now is the perfect time to reconnect with the people near to you, or even meet them for the first time. It’s perfectly possible to enjoy a natter over the garden fence or wall whilst remaining at a safe distance from each other. In fact, as this article shows, it’s even possible to throw a birthday celebration for a neighbour without setting foot in each other’s houses!
- Look on the bright side – this may seem a strangely obvious thing for us to say, but it is important to try to keep positive through all of this. The news channels tend to focus on negative things – the number of infections/deaths for example, whilst rarely reporting that many people have only a mild illness and most people recover fully. Avoid falling into the doom and gloom pit and instead choose to recognise that this, like everything, WILL pass. The planet itself is having a little rest and reboot as the number of cars, planes and operational factories is reduced – we should too.
The Queen said it beautifully the other night:
“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again”.