Keeping busy during social isolation

At the time of writing, we are in lockdown in the UK (and many parts of the world) due to the rapid spread of the Coronavirus, Covid-19.  These are strange, scary times for all of us, and unless they are a key worker most people are spending much more time at home.  In fact, some people are confined to their home for 12 weeks, due to being classed as vulnerable, either due to their age or an underlying health condition.  Some people are able to continue their job by working from home (which presents its’ own challenges, I can tell you!), but many more are not working, because they are unable to do their job from home, or their job has disappeared – and many of these are not being paid. 

For me, being an introvert with extrovert tendencies, spending more time at home is not a huge challenge.  There are piles of books to be read, projects to be completed, YouTube videos to watch, housework and gardening to be done etc etc.  However, I have found that without giving myself a framework for the day, that I end up scrolling through social media and either getting more anxious, or more angry about the situation.  Neither of which are helpful. 

I need a structured plan – and a list, you know I love lists! – of what I want to achieve during the day – and I want to use this extra enforced time at home as an opportunity to get ahead on some things, to be more creative, and to spend time connecting with loved ones.  There are general headings, and I’ve come up with some ideas within each one, which you may find helpful – or it may prompt you to come up with your own headings and lists of things that are meaningful to you.  And I may well follow this up with another post with even more stuff on there (told you spending more time at home wasn’t a huge challenge for me!).  So here we go – loose headings and then some specifics on things that I plan to do – with links to resources where I have them and can testify to their worth.

Mind

Yoga – I was in two minds whether this would be better posted under body, but I really feel that more than anything, yoga is excellent for calming the mind, and keeping (or getting) you centred.  I don’t think anyone is better at ‘home yoga’ than Yoga with Adriene And it’s totally FREE!

Art – I have long wanted to be more creative, and when I found out about #DrawWithRob by Rob Biddulph I was hooked.  Simple art (aimed at children, but, you know…).  Rob draws, then you draw, then by the end of it you have a pretty decent looking piece of artwork.  I am so proud of my Gregosaurus!

Drawing of a stegosaurus

‘Gregosaurus’ by me from #DrawWithRob

Reading – I love reading (blog post to come), especially self development books, and I do have a huge pile of ‘to be read’ titles.  I can recommend self development books like ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin and ‘The Happiness Equation’ by Neil Pasricha (there isn’t a theme here, honest!), and for fiction I don’t think you can beat Liane Moriarty and Harlan Coben.

While you are distancing yourself physically from other people, it is so important to remain connected to them, and people are using all sorts of ways to do this.  A quick message to see how they are and let them know you are thinking about them is great, but nothing beats that face to face contact.  If you and your loved ones have iPhones, then FaceTime is a good option.  Alternatively, Whatsapp does video messaging, and both FaceTime and Whatsapp can be used for group video chats (but there are limits – e.g. with FaceTime everyone has to have an iPhone 6s or later and OS 12.1.4, and with Whatsapp you can only have up to 4 participants).  Skype and Zoom are good alternatives, and there is also an app called House Party which lots of people are signing up for (although I don’t yet have experience of using it).  I would suggest scheduling regular chats with your friends and family, as then you have something to look forward to – and it’s also in your diary already.  You could do many things online that you previously did in person – for example, drinks and nibbles girly get togethers, book club, watching along with the same tv programme or film – there are even online pub quizzes you can join in with!

Body

hen you are based at home you don’t realise how much ‘exercise’ you get everyday when you’re in the office by walking round the building, going to the coffee shop or the printer or your lunchtime walk.  So it’s vital to build exercise into your daily routine.  As already mentioned, yoga is good, but I like to mix it up a bit with a more energetic workout such as HIIT or kettlebells.  Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach is fantastic, and he has been putting on daily PE sessions for the children not in school due to closures.  Fitness Blender have a huge variety of different exercises on YouTube, and I also like BodyFit by Amy

Also – a daily walk does wonders for your body and your mind – keeping within the appropriate government and social distancing guidelines.

View of houses and trees

One of the views on my daily walk

Home and garden care

As well as having a daily housework routine (based on The Organised Mum Method, I plan to do a number of ‘maintenance’ tasks over the next few weeks/months.  These include the following:

  • Clean oven
  • Clean dishwasher
  • Clean washing machine and tumble drier
  • Descale shower screens
  • Touch up paintwork in high traffic areas
  • Sort out the crap under the bed!
  • Clean light fittings
  • Power wash the patio
  • Plant summer bedding plants (once the risk of frost has gone – about May)
  • Sort out the shed
  • Sort out the garage
  • Clean the upvc window sills, doors and frames

Projects

I also have a number of non-housework tasks, more like ongoing projects or one off tasks that I’d like to get to grips with:

  • Continue to work on this blog
  • Review my finances (budget, investments, pension)
  • Review current subscriptions, utilities etc to see if I can save any money or cancel any (MoneySavingExpert is great for resources on this)
  • Sort out digital photo drives and clear down phone media files
  • Sort out physical photos and refresh my photo frame contents
  • Come up with a list of new recipes to try, including using up what’s in your cupboard and freezer – Jack Monroe is excellent for this
  • Family tree research (my niece and sister have done quite a lot on this already)

Creativity

Drawing along with Rob (see above) is one thing I will definitely do more of, but I’d also like to do something ‘crafty’ like card-making.  I have quite a stock of materials because I buy these things, but then I’m too scared to do anything with them in case I make a mistake..)so I’m definitely going to try my hand at that.

I’m also interested in photography, and would love to learn more about taking great photos – so I’m going to take some classes on Skillshare, which is an online learning platform.  You can get 2 months free access to Skillshare to see if you like it.  If you try and by chance you don’t like it, remember to cancel your subscription before you are charged (not like me…but I’ve actually got great benefit from it!).

So there you are – my current list of things to occupy me during the extended social distancing period.  Of course, there’s also Netflix, Now TV, Amazon Prime video, Disney+, DVDs (remember them?!) and good old YouTube.  I might do more posts, with recommendations as to what I enjoy or have enjoyed watching on these channels.

I think the key is to get up, showered and dressed every day, to do a variety of things (for your mind, your body and your home) and to get outside every day if you can and if that’s appropriate for you.  Try to keep to a routine – and keep that routine different at the weekend so the days don’t just merge into one another.

Stay well, stay safe but most of all – Stay At Home!!