‘We’re living in strange times’ and ‘this is unprecedented’ have fast become the key phrases of 2020.
Life has changed for most people. While our NHS and key workers are battling to keep us safe and alive, the rest of us are scrambling to make sense of this new reality. We may be ‘all in this together’,but things are not equal, so if you’re one of the lucky ones who is safe at home with the luxury of time to fill, we’ve pulled together some ideas for keeping boredom at bay.
Filling time with practical activities is a good way to keep busy and also helps reduce feelings of anxiety that creep in.
Join one of the local support groups that have sprung up to help those in your community who are unable to get out for essentials or are facing isolation alone. Pick up groceries for a neighbour, collect prescriptions or deliver for a food bank. Communication is key right now, keep in touch with those who are alone – have a chat on the phone, send an email, or go old-school and write a letter.
Now is the time to tackle the cupboard of doom or drawer of despair.Choose one space to clear out each day, a kitchen cupboard, bathroom cabinet, or bedroom drawer and take the opportunity to have a good clear-out.
Support Local Businesses
Many small businesses have switched to online ordering and delivery to survive the pandemic. Check social media and see which butchers,bakers and greengrocers are available in your area and buy from them to avoid the supermarket queues.
As we’ve just moved into a new tax year, if you’re self-employed get your accounts completed because once everything gets going again, you will hopefully be too busy.
Guidelines stipulate we can shop for essential goods only, but tools and materials to fix things around the house are included. Make a list of things to tackle; the loose door handle, the drooping cupboard door or wonky drawers and work through them. Whatever tasks you carry out,do them safely.
If you’re fortunate to have a garden or outside space, make the most of it and get it ready for them warm weather. Clean decking, weed flower beds, cut the grass and get rid of the weeds or plant some seeds to grow your own food.
If part of your normal routine is going to the gym, you need to find ways to maintain or improve fitness levels at home.
If you’re able to, go outdoors to exercise. Go for a walk and enjoy the cleaner air, take on the Couch to 5K challenge, or a family bike ride. Indoors, look for classes you can follow online such as yoga,aerobics, or Zumba, or dig out the exercise bike you once bought with good intentions and put it to use.
Being in good physical shape with a healthy immune system is more important than ever. Eat well, boost vitamin D levels by spending some time in the sun, de-stress as best you can and if you’re a smoker, now would be a good time to kick the habit for good.
Without the rush of normal life, use the time to pamper yourself –moisturise everything, relax with a face mask or deep condition your hair. Give yourself a manicure or pedicure ready for summer.
Disruption to a normal way of living leads to an emotional response. You may feel anxious, overwhelmed or upset, unable to concentrate or sleep properly. All these responses are perfectly normal and when we accept that, we can find ways to manage it.
Meditation triggers the brain’s relaxation response, reducing stress and anxiety. If you’ve never tried it before, download an app or search YouTube and try one of the guided meditations available.
Whether you’re in isolation alone or with family, it’s important to keep in touch with family and friends. If you can, make the most of video calling and group chats so you can see who you’re talking to.
It’s easy to focus on what we’ve lost in this current situation and the reality of being ‘locked down’ or stuck at home, but mindset and the language we use is critical. What have you gained from this? More time to spend with family now that you’re not rushing around or working long hours, time to cook or read, an appreciation of neighbours and what is really important in life. Those of us who are lucky to be safe at home have been given a chance to breathe and be thankful for what we have.
Creativity is a personal thing and how you express yours will depend on your talents, abilities and emotional health. There are no rules.
Get creative in the kitchen by learning cooking new dishes or finding inventive ways to make a meal out of the random things you have left in the cupboard. Pick a night each week and go ‘around the world’by choosing cuisine from different countries.
Get the kids involved and release your inner child with a crafting session at the kitchen table – paint, glue, make stuffed toys or start a scrap book. Supplies can be ordered online for delivery so knit, crochet, make soap - check YouTube for tutorials and try something new.
Now is a great time to write that book you’ve always talked about, a short story or start a blog. Write a journal to document what’s happening, your thoughts and feelings, and plans for the future.
Stay connected with younger family members by reading stories and sending them a recording, or why not encourage older relatives to share stories from their lifetime and capture their experiences.
It’s easy to get dragged down listening to the news, so finding something enjoyable to distract you for a while is crucial.
Turnoff the news and check out what’s available on the various channels and streaming services. Pick a new release or an old favourite and escape for a while. If concentration is an issue, check online for short films, web series or comedy sketches for a quick fix.
With board games, consoles, and mobile apps there are thousands of games available to play alone, with a partner or as a family. Have fun by setting up a messenger chat and play Facebook games as a group or join one of the online gaming hubs like Jackbox.tv. Why not host your own quiz via a video calling app and get your friends involved?
There’s no quicker way to escape reality than to dive into a book. Download the Kindle app to your mobile device and discover something new or read your favourites again – Harry Potter read-a-thon anyone?
Listen to your favourite albums, pick up a forgotten instrument or learn howto sing. Get the family involved or hook up with friends online and have a karaoke night. Dance like nobody’s watching to your favourite song or look for a tutorial to learn some new moves. Checkout TikTok and learn the routines, or watch others mastering them.
Feeling pressured to learn new skills, be creative, or pound the streets when you’re still adjusting to how things are can add additional stress.It’s okay to do nothing but stay safe. And wash your hands.