After the Prime Minister’s announcement last night that the UK is going into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, I had this horrible sinking feeling in my gut. Social media is filled with despair and negativity and I don’t know about anyone else, but this really isn’t helping my mindset and I can’t help but worry that I’m going to go CrAzY!
If you’ve read my most recent blog posts or been following my Instagram, you’ll know that I came home from China nearly two weeks ago, and I’m therefore currently unemployed. Luckily I have been able to move in with my boyfriend’s family so I am safe and happy and I’m occupying myself with my online TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) course, so I haven’t quite got to the point of sitting around doing nothing (yet). I can’t imagine how stressful and frustrating it is for many people who are having to adapt to working from home, but we have to stay positive and work around these difficult times.
Now that we have been told we are only allowed out for absolutely essential things such as food shopping or visiting pharmacies, and exercise is still allowed but only limited to one walk/run/cycle per day – while trying to distance ourselves from others – things are only bound to get more difficult.
I’ve seen loads of mums on Instagram making activity jars for their kids to keep them occupied during this lockdown, and my sister, a primary school teacher, has also been posting videos on Youtube about how parents can help entertain their young ones while also helping to continue learning. With these in mind, I sat down with my journal and made a list of things (more grown up of course) that I can do while my boyfriend is out at work, to fight the boredom between my online course sessions.
Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve been catching up on my reading list! This was especially convenient while I was isolating for 6 weeks in China, as Netflix was a bit hit and miss and my VPN often played up. If anyone has a Kindle, check out all the new deals – they’ve got a load of new books on offer for just 99p! Books I’ve read recently and recommend are The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney (an AI psychological thriller), The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman, The Poison Bed by EC Fremantle (a historical murder mystery based on true events) and Quiet by Fearne Cotton.
NETFLIX AND CHILL
Of course, the easiest thing to do right now if you’re stuck at home is to stick the TV on and binge watch Netflix. I have enjoyed doing this (Amazon Prime have loads of amazing shows too!) but it makes me feel like a blob after a while so I’m trying to limit TV time to just the evenings. Shows I’ve recently watched and recommend are Outlander (on Prime), Final Space, The Good Place, The Game Changers, and The Sinner.
Why not relive your childhood and dig out an old game? I re-downloaded The Sims yesterday, which may or may not be a huge mistake BUT it’s fun and gives me something to look forward to after I’ve finished my work for the day.
Alternatively, get the family involved and dust off some board games or teach each other some new card games. I learned how to play poker last week using a jar of pennies and it was so much fun to put our phones away and just enjoy some old fashioned quality family time.
MOVE YOUR BODY
I find this one really hard as I struggle to motivate myself to work out at home, but now that gyms are closed and I can only go out for one walk a day I will be subscribing to some Youtube fitness playlists in an attempt to get the endorphins pumping. Even if I just get into a routine of doing 20 minutes of yoga each morning or something, I know it will do wonders for my mind and body and keep the positvity flowing. Some of my favourite Instagrammers have also been doing livestreams of their workouts, such as Zanna, Steph, Sarah and Melissa!
MAKE A MUSIC PLAYLIST
I’m listening to so much more music now that I’m working from home, so one thing I will be doing this week is making a new energising and motivating playlist to keep me going!
LEARN A NEW RECIPE
Last week I made two banana loaves and reignited my love of baking. This recipe in particular is one I’ve used for years and I love it because it prevents waste, using up old bananas. With the shortages in supermarkets at the moment, it’s inspired me to think of new recipes I could try to use up what’s left in the cupboards. I also love watching Elsa’s Insta stories and might try a few recipes from her cookbook The Global Vegan.
DO AN ONLINE COURSE
As I mentioned, I’m doing my TEFL course online at the moment. tefl.org currently have 50% off their 120 hour online course and FutureLearn also have a huge number of short courses for free! From history to languages to robotics, there’s so much available online! I’ve enrolled on a two week nutrition course which is available for up to 6 weeks, just because I’m interested and might as well explore and learn something new while I’m stuck at home.
CLEAN OR REDECORATE THE HOUSE
During this lockdown period, my boyfriend’s family have said they’re going to try to crack on with their renovations now that they have more time to get it sorted! Even if it’s just a spring clean, use this time to re-vamp your house – you never know how long you might be stuck inside those four walls!
MAKE A SCRAPBOOK OR JOURNAL
My 2020 was supposed to be a year of travelling and making amazing memories. Instead of getting down about how my year hasn’t gone to plan, I’m going to keep a journal and continue planning for the travels and adventures I want to have after all of this has blown over. A more creative option is to print out photos and make a scrapbook of last year’s holidays if you haven’t done so already, or of the holidays you hope to have next year!
FACETIME YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
It’s devastating for many people that we are unable to see our families at the moment, but that doesn’t mean we can’t call them and keep up to date with what’s going on in their household. Share your worries and advice, and just remember how lucky we are to have the ability to contact friends and family whenever we like.
There’s plenty more ideas for things you can do during this lockdown to prevent cabin fever and remain calm and positive. I’ve been inspired to focus on my mental health and reinforce my positive attitude by a number of people on Instagram, including the ones I mentioned above who are emphasising the importance of exercise at home, and also Mollie and Rochelle who have more meditation and mindset based advice for those who are anxious and stressed about the whole coronavirus situation.
Most important of all, please follow the government advice and regulations, not only to keep yourself out of harm’s way but to help those who are old, sick, or immunocompromised. Stay safe and happy everyone x