This is my personal Top 10 things to do during the lockdown period. I have geared it towards people who live alone, like me, in case anyone is finding it hard and is looking for new ideas, but hopefully this would work for people in other situations too.
Lockdown has affected us all in different ways. It can be challenging mentally. Aside from keeping yourself healthy and having some form of exercise (although that is also featured below), talking to people (also mentioned below), and of course working (from home if you are one who is able to do so), the following is a list of ideas prepared through talking to people and trying to continue a normal routine as much as possible. I thought I would share them even if some of it might be stating the obvious, as I found that having some sort of routine helped me greatly, and stopped me endlessly looking at the news or spiralling into negative thoughts!
- Online courses. I cannot recommend some of these enough. Currently some sites are offering discounts for a limited period of time, with some offers aimed clearly with the knowledge that more people are at home now most of the time. Sites that have some good courses include Reed.co.uk, Udemy.co.uk and Skillshare. This is a good time to continue learning a language that you may have given up on, or maybe try to learn a whole new skill that you may have wanted to do for a while! Fancy an online make up course? Or a car maintenance course? A fairly impressive range of choice is available.
- Baking. This can offer a productive way to spend time and is a chance to try out new recipes if you now have the time. There is also the obvious benefit of not having to share what you have baked (unless you want to, as long as you are following the government rules of course!). Personally I find it to have a cheering effect too. Days are always better with a bit of homemade cake!
- Read that book that you have left sitting on your shelf, or have started a few times, thought “this looks so good but I really need time to get into it properly because it is huge!” and then have abandoned regretfully. It could be War and Peace, or it could be that pesky Game of Thrones book three (that could be just me).
- Try out a new recipe. Bear with me here. There may be a recipe that you have seen and kept as something to try when you have a bit more time/energy. Trying new things and succeeding or learning from them if it doesn’t quite go right are great ways to build up confidence in one’s cooking skills. It could also be a good way of using up ingredients for which you have limited ideas. The main supermarkets, Asda in particular, have some good recipes online, or the BBC Good Food app is always pretty dependable. Otherwise Guardian online recipes have some rather exciting varieties to offer too, and access to all of those is free.
- Go for a walk, ideally somewhere green if possible! Fresh air helps to make one feel alert, and it also really does help to see the outside world at least once a day. Explore your local area and see if you can find a hidden green space that you never knew about before (I did!). If it is raining or cold, or you need to remain near your laptop, Youtube has a good choice of workouts available ranging from three minutes to over forty minutes long. There are some fun dance workouts on there which make the time pass quicker than on a treadmill! Personally I enjoyed the 10 minute dance workouts by “Movewithcolour.com” on youtube (they have recorded a few options, disco funk, old school, Britney bitch, classic 80s, and the instructor’s asides are amusing “Make sure no-one’s home when you do this move”).
- Continue watching the TV series that you have been meaning to watch, including those that you have recorded eight seasons of but only got up to the third episode due to social life constraints or similar. You’ll probably get a feeling of slightly smug satisfaction when you have completed a series! (also you can finally talk about it with other people).
- Keep in contact with people using facetime, whatsapp video call, and even the old-school way! Schedule in time to reach out to people and call them! We are lucky that technology can make us feel more in contact.
- Get some things booked in for the evenings, ideally at least three evenings per week. There is a great list of things on the Meetup website, for example, that has now gone online due to the new circumstances. There are guitar socials/jamming sessions, book clubs, quizzes, lectures, online raves…. There are also theatres that are now doing live streaming, including the National Theatre.
- Online speed dating? This may seem like an odd time to do this but some companies are offering this as an online experience with tickets sold at a reduced rate, for example dateinadash.com. Worth a try if you are so inclined and if other factors may normally stop you such as lack of time.
- If you are finding that you are noticing things that you are missing or not missing, or that you would like to change going forward, this might be a good time to jot them down in some sort of journal (even in your phone). When this passes (and it will), it could help you to reassess what is important to you in life and help you to make changes for the better.
This really helped me during the lockdown period and hopefully will continue to do so going forwards, I hope it can help a few others too!
See also my post on procrastination. https://ayeshahamid.co.uk/best-ways-to-put-off-doing-important-stuff