So here we are again. At the beginning of another Lockdown that could see us through the rest of the winter months. It’s hard. Everyone is fed up and it feels like Coronavirus has been part of our lives for way too long. But lets try and stay positive. The vaccines are being rolled out now, and hopefully there really is light at the end of this very dark tunnel.
Last March I posted the following about keeping busy in isolation and/ or Lockdown and it seemed to be well received, so thought it might be an idea to repost with a few updates/new ideas. Again, if you have any super ideas of how to keep busy in these difficult times, please post them in the comments! Above all, try and keep calm. This WILL pass ☀️
1. Don’t watch the news constantly. This is likely to increase your anxiety. Limit yourself to an hour or so at the same time every day.
2. Think about starting yoga. I started Yoga just over a year ago, and I can’t tell you how helpful it has been in dealing with the stress and worry of the last 12 months.
3. Exercise at home. You don’t need special equipment or even DVD’s, there are literally millions of exercise videos on YouTube. Exercise will counteract the negative effects of confinement and just 20 minutes can lift your mood as well as reducing feelings of tension.
4. Have a clear out of your clothes/ books/record/makeup/ collection. Reorganise and declutter. It will distract you and hopefully on completion, give you a sense of achievement.
5. Read that stack of books you have been meaning to.
6. If you don’t like reading, download Audible and have your favourite books read to you.
7. Get upside down! Standing on your head and letting the blow flood to your brain is thought to lessen anxiety and calm your stress. Read about my experience here: Happiness is… Being Upside Down
8. Try some meditation. Sit quietly, breathe deeply and concentrate on relaxing. If you find it difficult to concentrate, there are some wonderful meditation apps available.
9. Write a poem or a song, a short story or start a blog.
10. Get out and do some gardening if that is an option for you. What about planning ahead to grow your own vegetables this year? If you prefer the indoors, (and it is pretty chilly at the moment), sort out your kitchen cupboards….Then share with friends the oldest item you found. I found a tin of custard in the back of my food cupboard that went out of date in 2008!!!
11. Dust off some board games that you stored away in the attic and have a games evening. Virtual games evenings and quizzes became a real hit in the last lockdown and again can provide a much needed distraction.
12. Have a spa day at home. Use hair masks and face packs. Do your nails and pamper yourself with whatever you have available. There are plenty of face masks and beauty treats you can make with household items.
13. Avoid spending all your time on social media. Anxious thoughts can be increased by the relentless barrage of people’s opinions. Especially those scaremongers who spread fear and worry.
14. Read some new blogs. Think outside the usual box and search for something different from your usual areas of interest. You will be amazed at what WordPress or Google can come up with!
15. Don’t start stockpiling food or goods, We got through last time without any major shortages and we can do it again. There is plenty for everyone if we remain calm and just buy what we need when we need it.
16. If you are feeling anxious check these posts out:
17. Watch some old films. I love black and white movies particularly, so I am going to catch up on those DVD’s I haven’t looked at for years.
18. Listen to music rather than have the news on constantly.
19. Structure and plan your days. It is really important to get up and go to bed at the same time as you would normally. Laying in bed all day is not going to lessen any anxiety you may be feeling.
20. Make sure that you shower, get dressed, clean your teeth and put nice clothes on every day. Use perfume/aftershave! Put your face in! It will all help you to keep a more positive outlook.
21. Dance! I had a disco in my lounge all on my own this morning dancing to Paradise By The Dashboard Light by Meatloaf and Weapon Of Choice by Fatboy Slim. It released lots of endorphins and I felt fantastic!
22. Try some art; painting, drawing or pottery. Creating focuses the mind and it’s feels great having achieved something.
23. Start or join an online book club.
24. Try not to overeat because you are bored. Plan your meals for the day ahead and stick to it.
25. Ring a friend. We are so used to emailing and texting, but hearing a voice on the phone is wonderful when you haven’t had any other human contact for a while.
26. Have some goals in place: Consider how you can use this time productively, such as learning a new skill or reading about a new topic.
27. If you are feeling anxious, download helpful apps like Calm or Headspace.
28. Open a window and take 10 deep breaths.
29. Write down 10 things you are grateful for. If you need help with this, read
30. Think about boosting your immune system and staying healthy. I was reading yesterday that the following can help boost immunity: Red peppers, garlic, spinach, ginger, yogurt, almonds, green tea and sunflower seeds.
31. if you are isolated with others, take some time out if you start to feel that arguments are likely to escalate. This post from last Christmas may help:
32. Check out Whats App or Zoom or any other video platform to beat the isolation blues. Swap going down the the pub for your laptop and a glass of wine!
33. Get ambitious with cooking and baking. Often we don’t have time to create culinary extravaganzas in our busy lives. If you are stuck at home for a period, maybe it’s a good time to channel your inner Gordon Ramsey!
34. Reframe your thoughts/perspective if you can. Think of this time as a great opportunity to get something done. Keep yourself busy!
35. Try not to catastrophize. Yes, it’s a frightening time. But we are all in this together. You are not alone. And now we have hope. Remember that all you can do is focus on what you can control. This situation will play itself out whatever you do or don’t do.
36. Send a small gift by post to anyone you think may be struggling. I have sent a few friends that I knew were having a particularly hard time little packages of bodycare goods and treats. Their reaction has been worth every penny I spent (which was very little.)
37. Get outside in some natural light where possible. Sunshine and fresh air will do you good. Even a walk around your neighborhood can make you feel better. Just be sure to avoid crowds, keep your distance from people you encounter, and obey restrictions in your area.
38. Be careful that you’re not using alcohol or other substances to deal with anxiety or depression. If you tend to overdo it, it may be a good idea to avoid for now.
39. Try and relax. When stress throws your nervous system out of balance, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can bring you back into a state of equilibrium. Regular practice delivers the greatest benefits, so see if you can set aside even a little time every day.
40. If you know people in your community who are isolated—particularly the elderly or disabled—you can still offer support. Perhaps an older neighbor needs help with groceries or fulfilling a prescription? You can leave packages on their doorstep to avoid direct contact. Or maybe they just need to hear a friendly, reassuring voice over the phone. Many local social media groups can help put you in touch with vulnerable people in your area.
41. If friends or loved ones are panicking, try to help them gain some perspective on the situation. Instead of scaremongering or sharing false rumors, refer them to reputable news sources. Being a positive, uplifting influence in these anxious times can help you feel better about your own situation too.
43. A lot more people are going to be using online sites such as eBay as they while away the hours at home. If you have some items that you longer want, put them up for auction and see if you can make some extra money.
44. Practice Mindfulness. Focusing your attention completely on something can draw your mind away from overwhelming anxious thoughts and give a keener sense of perspective.
45. If you have pets, spend time with them. Owning any pet is good for your heart. All animals can lower your stress level, but cats are particularly helpful at reducing the amount of anxiety you are feeling. Petting a cat has a positive calming effect. and their purring is thought to have therapeutic benefits.
46. I have started to think about what we can do around the house during this time, in terms of redecoration. There are certainly a couple of rooms that could do with a lick of paint.
47. Remember that there are positives to be found in any situation: There is most definitely a lesson learned for me personally about taking things for granted. The other positive to consider is the massive impact this situation will be having on our planet. No flights and vastly reduced transport will mean that the air will be cleaner than it has been for decades.
48. Have a sort out of all your old photos. I spent a whole day doing this and the time just flew!
50. If you are not coping well with lockdown, please tell someone. Do not be afraid to ask for help. There are online therapists available and The Samaritans can be called 24/7.
We are going to get through this and come out stronger and more resilient. Hopefully we will have a more grateful attitude and appreciate those things we have taken for granted for so long. In the meantime, stay calm and healthy and please comment/follow/ interact with this blog. I would love to hear your thoughts and tips for coping with any aspect of this situation. Remember that we are all going through this together. I know it may sometimes feel like it, but you are not alone ❤️