Our homes are going to be incredibly important for us Solos during this winter lockdown and throughout the coming winter. Regardless of the colder weather and shorter days, we can do plenty to make the most of our time at home and keep mind, body and spirit busy and flourishing.
When thinking about ideal activities that we can do, I thought I would ask a solo friend for her favourite tried and tested activities that she uses to keep herself busy during her time at home.
My friend Gale is an interesting lady. Not only is she a happy singleton, but she is also a charity support worker that helps individuals to get back on their feet and back into the community. She has a wealth of experience and positivity to offer, so I thought she would be a good person to turn to for suggestions.
Here are her suggestions for helping us to keep busy during the lockdown:
Keep a regular routine
Keeping a routine is essential during the lockdown. You shouldn’t stay in your pyjamas every day as this can act as a barrier to the real world. You are less likely to take your bins outside to be collected while wearing your pyjamas, and it is easier to change your mind about going for a walk outdoors on a sunny day while still in your sleepwear.
Instead, you should get up, have a wash and get dressed in some comfortable clothes suitable for chilly outdoor weather. Have your breakfast and head out into the winter sunshine for a healthy dose of Vitamin D, which is excellent for our health and good mood-booster too!
Make the most of your outdoor time
Give yourself a fun and positive project during the lockdown and if possible, combine it with your outdoor time to make the best use of it. For example, why not take pictures of anything interesting and beautiful you come across while out walking.
You can take photos of anything you fancy, like eye-catching birds, flowers, trees, and the beautiful scenery you spots on your walks. You can download the FreePrints app and make a scrapbook of your very best photographs.
You can get up to 500 free prints with service so it is something you can do with little to no financial cost to you during the lockdown, which can be helpful at a time where we may all be pinching the pennies.
Scrolling through your scrapbook can make you feel happy and uplifted, and as it will be a work in progress throughout the lockdown, you will have plenty of scope and opportunity to carry on growing your photography skills and expanding your scrapbook over the winter.
More ‘keeping busy’ tips at home during lockdown
While we must get out of doors and reconnect with nature as much as possible during the lockdown, we still face many hours spent indoors. Here are more top tips for keeping busy in our home during winter lockdowns.
Keep up with household chores: Keeping your home neat, tidy and clean will help to burn up some time but more importantly will lift your mood and give you a sense of achievement.
So, you know that cleaning task you have been putting off until you have more time? Well, now is your chance. Cleaning your home might not sound like an inspiring thing to do, but it is undoubtedly productive!
Learn a new skill: Why not try your hand at something you haven’t tried before. Learning a new skill, such as sewing, for example, will keep you absorbed for hours and will give you something to show for your efforts.
If you want to look for a new skill to learn, there are plenty of free online courses in different subjects from academic to hobbies. Have a look at Free Courses Online, a site funded by the UK Government, if you would like to brush up on your skills or earn a free qualification during the lockdown.
Plant some seeds: Even if you live in a flat with no garden space, you can take up planting seeds that you can enjoy nurturing and watch grow. You could grow attractive houseplants, take cuttings and pot them on.
As you grow more plants, you can then gift them to family, friends and neighbours, which will give you a great sense of achievement and your efforts will bring some positivity to your recipients. Your kind gift will help to raise their spirits and give them a lovely plant to nurture and continue to grow.
Taking care of pets: Pets can be invaluable during the lockdown. If you have a furry friend that you love snuggling and playing with every day, they can provide you with great companionship. Whether they are feathered, scaley or furry and cute, spending time with them can make you laugh.
Laugher, as we know, is a great tonic and mood booster, and the endorphins released through laughter can keep us feeling good for many hours.
Cook for yourself every day: Cooking food every day from scratch is something we may not usually have much time for when we are busy with work. Now is the time to go back to basics and hone your cooking skills.
Set yourself a challenge at least once per week to cook something that you have never tried before. Let’s face it, many recipes can look long-winded and complicated, but now we have the time available to take on the challenge to create a truly fantastic meal that we would never have the time to make under normal circumstances.
Have a TV routine: Watching TV may seem inevitable during the lockdown, but you can make it more interesting by creating your own TV schedule made up of programmes that you like. Mix it up, so you have shows that keep you informed of what’s going on in the world, but also include things that make you laugh.
Having a TV routine can bring a bit of normality to your life, but try to avoid watching endless hours of news that can bring your mood down. Instead, make sure you watch something that makes you laugh out loud. If you haven’t seen it before, try watching Goggle Box. It will make you laugh so much!
Stay connected: Stay connected with others by joining some online groups for a daily dose of chat and company. This can be great for your mental health. There are Facebook groups such as Isolation Inn that have been set up, especially for people wanting to connect and share their thoughts, feelings and actions during the lockdown.
Keep in contact with your family and friends. Phone or video chat with someone different every day. Don’t forget to join Super Solos Living Alone Community and Solo Dining and a Table For One Facebook groups to share great conversation with other like-minded Solos.
For those working from home
One last great tip, for those working from home through the next lockdown. Don’t set up a home office that forces you to sit down for many hours per day. This isn’t good for your back or general health.
Instead, set up a standing work desk in your kitchen or corner of a room to keep you on your feet and constantly moving around. If you can divert your calls to your mobile phone, each time you take a call, make a point of walking around your home for the duration of the call.
Doing this will help you to keep mobile and will be a lot better for your back. Staying active in this way will make you physically tired at the end of the day, which makes it easier for you to fall asleep.
Remember that this isn’t forever. We are all in this together, and we should look forward to the spring where the nights start to draw out, and the weather begins to get warmer.
With thanks to Gale Bowstead for her valuable contribution to this piece.