On 23rd March, BoJo finally announced that the UK is enforcing more extensive social distancing measures to try and fight Covid-19: we’re effectively in lockdown. While this is a daunting prospect for our health, as well as just being very boring, there are loads of things you can do to combat this while staying healthy and productive.
Fight the Boredom
There are more things to get up to around the house than you might think:
• Try painting, drawing or colouring in.
• Do some baking (if you can find the ingredients).
• Have a movie day – revisit classics or try new things you’ve been meaning to watch.
• Spring clean and declutter.
• Hark back to your childhood and build a den.
• Learn some TikTok dances – you know you want to.
• Streamline your wardrobe (but don’t just chuck stuff in the bin).
• Try some new recipes.
• Learn the basics of a new language.
• Unfollow people on social media who don’t encourage positivity.
• Watch the Netflix series which has been on your list for months.
• Join some online pub quizzes for charity.
• Fix your sleep schedule.
• Learn a Beyoncé dance routine.
• Start a blog/podcast.
• Write a diary during lockdown to look back on.
• Dye or cut your hair if you’re feeling brave.
• Learn to do the splits.
• Try some nail art.
• Create your own ‘quarantini’ with whatever booze you’ve got in (although excessive drinking can weaken the immune system, so drink in moderation).
• Make a scrapbook/photo album with childhood memories.
• Learn some sign language.
• Try some creative writing or poetry.
• Listen to full albums rather than just singles.
• Have a dance party to your favourite tunes.
• Follow online workouts.
• Try upcycling/restyling old clothing items.
• Pick up a musical instrument.
• Try some free online courses on sites such as FutureLearn.
Getting some fresh air is super important as it can help relieve symptoms of anxiety, and induces the release of serotonin and melatonin:
• Do some yoga in the garden.
• Have a picnic in the garden.
• Vary the routes you take in your daily exercise slots.
• Go on a bike ride.
• Plant some sunflowers.
• Grow some plants on your windowsill.
Maintaining social contact with friends and family is going to be hugely important over the next weeks and months, so get creative with it:
• Call elderly relatives who are in isolation just for a chat.
• Communicate with friends online via Skype, Houseparty or Zoom.
• Use Netflix Party to have a remote movie night.
• Exchange music recommendations with friends.
• Try a book club – decide to read a book with someone and discuss it afterwards.
• Have a remote dinner party over a video call.
• Write letters and send cards to loved-ones.
• Commit to workout programmes with friends.
Unfortunately, lockdown doesn’t mean that uni work has been cancelled – those essays still need to get written:
• Get up at a set time every day to create a routine, and incorporate uni work into that.
• Work with your phone in a different room to stay concentrated.
• Look up educational videos on YouTube to help if you get stuck.
• Work together over Skype to stay motivated (only if you know you won’t just end up chatting.)
• Keep in contact with lecturers via email to make sure you know how to get the best results without access to on-campus resources.
• Use crosswords, quizzes, and books to keep your mind awake and ready to work.
Protect Your Mind
Almost as important as protecting against the virus itself is protecting our mental health during this uncertain time:
• Stick to a healthy sleep schedule.
• Meditate daily using resources like Headspace if you need a helping hand.
• Maintain a healthy diet as opposed to comfort eating
• Drink water regularly.
• Try and access online counselling if you need it.
• Keep your house tidy so it doesn’t become a chaotic or overwhelming space.
• Get your prescribed medication delivered to your house.
• Try breathing and mindfulness exercises if you are feeling panicked.
• Do not drink excessively as this can be damaging to your mental health.
• Open the windows to get enough fresh air and reduce feelings of claustrophobia.
• Find a ‘safe space’ in your house or garden where you can go if you feel at risk of having a panic attack.
• Receive ongoing support from therapists or healthcare professionals online.
• Don’t spend too much time checking the news or social media for updates on the virus as this can aggravate anxiety or compulsions, and only rely on reliable sources.