I know a lot of people are having nice weather and are probably lying out in the sunshine. However, the probability of that where I live (in the Scottish Highlands) is not a guarantee. On top of that even when there is nice weather there is a cold breeze. Which is what I am currently experiencing sitting out in my garden writing this – with a blanket wrapped around me.
I know when stuck inside for over two months you become lost for ideas on how to keep yourself busy, both inside and out. Therefore, I thought I’d be super nice and share my tips (I say ‘tips’, I more mean that I will divulge what I have been doing and probably what everyone else has – I’m hoping though that I have included something semi original).
At the start of lockdown I bought myself a paint by numbers. Which my brother calls the idiot way of painting. I must admit I can paint to some degree however that was a long time ago. Therefore I don’t want to sit down and hope that the outcome is something I like. So, instead, I bought this and it has been keeping me busy ever since. Don’t get me wrong it is still not finished but I think that is the beauty of it – it will last you the whole of lockdown!
*The paint by numbers took 3 weeks or so to arrive so if you want to order one I would do it as soon as possible*
If you don’t like the sound of a paint by numbers you can always grab a colouring book. I find this really therapeutic and is great to do both inside and out. You don’t need to do a traditional mandala one. I recently gifted one that featured scenes of the sea – a perfect reminder of where you can visit after lockdown.
If like me, you don’t consider yourself very good at sketching but enjoy it all the same, this is the perfect chance to brush up on your skills. This way there is no pressure and you can just sketch when you want to. I quite enjoy doing my one walk a day and taking the odd photo. That way when I get back I can try to replicate it as best as I can. Don’t worry, its not like there is an art teacher screaming down your neck, do it at your own pace and just enjoy it!
Find a Course
Something which I have started (and not yet finished) is a google course. They offer a few free ones but if you are willing to pay then they also have an expanse of different ones. I’ve started a course on The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing (free). It is a great thing to add to your CV plus engages your brain when uni is cancelled. They are all available here.
*It is worth looking at universities and other organisations to see if they also have courses available. Also check reviews and see what you get at the end of the course before signing up*
Get in the Kitchen
The above photo is a Yoghurt cake which I’m currently trying to improve. *Fingers crossed a recipe will be coming soon*
I know with the increase in banana breads being baked and people saying they will learn to cook that this is definitely a trend for lockdown. However, it is extremely useful. I used to hate baking but lockdown has managed to spark an enjoyment in it for me.
Baking for other people and trying different things has been calming, unless of course it goes terribly wrong.
If you are not a baker I highly recommend ordering a new cookbook, I bought this one by Jessica Elliot Dennison (who also owns a restaurant in Edinburgh).
Get Yourself a Book or an Audiobook
I know this is stating the obvious but I think a lot of people forget that reading is a really good way to relax and also improve your vocabulary/speech. Don’t put pressure on yourself to read a literary masterpiece (although I have a feeling all authors class their books as this). Just grab a book from your local supermarket and enjoy it. I recommend ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ which I just reviewed here.
On the other hand if reading isn’t your thing I recommend listening to an audiobook, especially before going to bed. I really enjoy Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter (although I’ve already read the books and watched the films numerous times, the story never gets old). Or you can access various actors *including Daniel Radcliffe* for free reading the first book here.
If reading books and Harry Potter aren’t your thing (I am disappointed) or you’ve already listened to it then I have a great alternative. Instead you can transport yourself to your childhood or listen to this audiobook with your kids. Taika Waititi has joined Road Dahl HQ to read James and The Giant Peach each Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a bunch of famous people joining him. You can find it here.
I recommend watching it in your own time rather than before bed as Taika brings a lot of fun to the video. He makes his own sound affects, and engages his famous guests who act brilliantly of course. Making it great for both adults and kids. It’s also for charity so I highly encourage you to donate if you can.
Writing is a great way to take whatever is bothering you out of your head. This way you can give your brain a rest and see what’s bothering you as actual words rather than information floating in your brain.
Conversely, creative writing is a great way to give you an escape. Planning your own world for your own characters can last a good while, giving you a much needed distraction. You can even just start by writing some prompts on your phone, no pressure. Make it fun, it doesn’t have to be the next Lord of The Rings.
Like I mentioned in my last post about lockdown, don’t feel bad if you don’t want to do any of these things. If this list puts you off, you’ve basically just read a pile of things I’ve started but not actually finished. So, don’t worry.
If you have any suggestions of what else I (or anyone else) can do to occupy themselves let me know below. Also, if you use any of my suggestions make sure to tag me on instagram (@Sophie_mcivor) and share it with your friends.