Tag Archives: Covid-19

50 ways to stay sane during lockdown

At New Year, Manchester was put into Tier 4, which is effectively lockdown. The tree lights were still twinkling from Christmas and the reality of a snow filled, largely housebound January hadn’t hit me yet. Three days into 2021, I’m starting to worry that a month or more of staying in, being sensible and sitting on my hands might drive me a bit loopy. How am I going to stay sane during lockdown, or Tier 4, or whatever we call it in the future?

50 ways to stay sane during lockdown

50 ways to stay sane during lockdown

  1. Mask up and get out for your daily dose of government mandated exercise.
  2. Keep in touch with friends, ok so we are Zoomed out, but message, text or call the people who give you joy.
  3. Plan your days properly, make sure you have something to do each day. Have a purpose and something to look forward to.
  4. It’s almost spring, so now is the time to spring clean. Polish those windows, scrub that grout. It’s not exciting, but it’s something to do.
  5. Likewise, declutter. Empty the wardrobe and have a good sort out.
  6. Laugh. Watch a comedy DVD. My go to is Greg Davies, he makes me howl.
  7. DIY is also a good thing to turn your attention to. Put those shelves up, fix that broken curtain rail, bleed your radiators.
  8. Download some mediation apps and practice some self care. Learning to find peace in your own company can be a godsend.
  9. Challenge yourself to do an act of kindness each day, or a couple a week. Spreading kindness helps.
  10. Have regular board game nights, take it in turns to choose and maybe make a trophy for the winner.
  11. Learn something new. Online learning isn’t just for kids, have a look at the Open University, FutureLearn or similar, there’s bound to be something to tickle your fancy.
  12. Keep positive. It’s hard to stay sane during lockdown, but if you challenge yourself to come up with three good things each day, then write them down, it helps to look back and remember it’s not all bad.
  13. Menu plan. It’s not an exciting thing, but if you plan your meals for the next month it makes you feel more organised and gives you tasty things to look forward to.
  14. Read a book, set yourself a goal and maybe read a book a week.
  15. Plan future fun things. Life is always better for me when I have things to look forward to. Plan some holidays and days out, you might not be able to book it yet, but planning is half the fun. Where will you stay, where will you eat, what would you like to see and do?
  16. Have regular family film nights, get popcorn and take it in turns to choose the film.
  17. Find an online exercise class and make yourself do it, daily, weekly, whatever.
  18. Your favourite restaurant is closed, so why not cook your favourite dish from their menu and dress up like you’re going out.
  19. Start a journal to explore your feelings about lockdown and other life things.
  20. Learn to bake bread/banana bread/whatever cake you like.
  21. Joint an online art class. A friend of mine has taught herself to paint (exceptionally well) during lockdown.
  22. Write. It’s said that everyone has a book in them, if you’re stuck at home during lockdown, now might be the time to bash out a bestseller or begin a journal.
  23. Buy some puzzle books and take up mental agility. An occupied brain is one which is less likely to flap about the misery of lockdown.
  24. Discover new podcasts.
  25. Go for a walk somewhere (local and) new. Walking around the same place gets very boring very quickly.
  26. Learn some sign language. Just a few words can help you communicate with others who cannot speak or hear.
  27. Plan a vegetable garden, it’s winter now, but now is the time to decide what you want to grow and eat in your garden. Pour over seed catalogues and get planning.
  28. Take your dog for a walk, if you don’t have one, borrow a dog from someone you know.
  29. Have a home spa day, pamper yourself with a face mask and a nice bath, and all the things you miss, like a manicure.
  30. Make sure you’re getting your five a day by trying new fruit. Ever had a lychee or dragonfruit? How’s the chance to give new things a try.
  31. Embrace mindfulness, do some adult colouring or do some crafts to keep your occupied.
  32. Listen to some music you’ve not heard for ages. Maybe pick a year and listen to some of the bestselling albums from then. Discover new music or just rediscover some classics you used to love.
  33. Take family portraits. You don’t need a fancy camera, your phone will do, but why not play about with different styles of photos of your family. If you don’t want to take photos, you could always try painting portraits of your nearest and dearest.
  34. Meditate or pray, find ways to feed your spiritual side.
  35. Do a jigsaw puzzle, make it a challenging one.
  36. Listen to an audiobook. You can often download them from your local library.
  37. Feed the birds. If you’ve got a garden or access to some outside space, fill your bird feeders up and enjoy watching the resulting wildlife.
  38. Binge a new TV series or two.
  39. Do some life admin. Now is the time to change energy supplier, find cheaper car insurance, write your will or whatever you’ve been meaning to do for a while.
  40. Set up a home disco night with optional karaoke if you have the technology.
  41. Write actual pen and paper letters to people and post them off.
  42. Get some sleep. Grab early nights and late mornings if you can, find a good sleep routine for you and do it every night.
  43. It’s been done to death, but a Zoom night with your friends can help. My craft club did an online craft night which worked well.
  44. Try laughter yoga. Yes it is bonkers, but it can really help you process built up emotions and you’ll have the best nights sleep after.
  45. Eat the frog. No not the actual frog, find the courage to do the thing you’ve been putting off forever. Now is the time.
  46. Submit your tax return. Yes, I know it’s not very exciting, but if you work for yourself then it is a practical and necessary use of your time. Sorry.
  47. Shop till you drop. Online and local is best, but there might be some January sale bargains to be had, and let’s face it, we all need new comfy clothes to lockdown in.
  48. Order a recipe box and try new recipes for meals you wouldn’t normally eat. Or try a new recipe each week. Expand your repertoire of tasty evening meals.
  49. Make time to really focus on spending time with the people in your household and talk with them and really listen. Share time and make it special for them too.
  50. Remember it’s ok to do nothing, if all you achieve at the end of this Covid nightmare is survival, then that’s a brilliant achievement. Well done. Don’t beat yourself up for not learning a new language or recreating the Taj Mahal in matchsticks.

What keeps you sane? I’d love to know your tips for how to stay sane during lockdown.

50 ways to stay sane during lockdown

How to keep a long distance relationship going during Covid-19

Long distance dating is hard. You don’t see each other very often, communication is strained by the distance and you can’t always be there when the other needs you. Throw in a global pandemic and a lockdown, and you’re trapped in a long-term, long distance dating nightmare.

I’d like to say that I have all the answers, and that the rigours of 2020 have made my long distance relationship thrive. If I did say that, I’d be lying. I would say that although this year has been hard, we’ve pulled together and found new ways of dating, despite the distance. And if a relationship, any relationship can survive Covid-19, then it’s got an awful lot going for it.

How to keep a long distance relationship going during Covid-19

Regular Video Chats
Being physically apart from one of the people who make you happiest is hard. Not being able to be held by them when you need a hug is hard. It is not the same, not by any stretch of the imagination; but regular video chats on WhatsApp, FaceTime or Zoom are really helpful. It can feel a bit pressured, to perform or be full of news, but if you’re isolating, chances are there is no news anyway. What we sometimes do is dial in for a video chat during our working from home working day. We just work and natter like colleagues would. That takes the pressure off and it’s also nice to have that bit of company for half an hour.

Remote TV dating evenings
I really enjoy these. We pick a film or TV series we are both interested in which is available on iPlayer (usually). We get online, press play at the same time and then watch together. It’s not the same as sharing a sofa and a bag of popcorn with your beloved; but it’s nice to have a shared experience and be able to react in real-time to something in the programme together. It really does help us feel closer when we have a TV date night.

Keep the postman busy
I’m a letter writer at heart, and even though you can text or DM all day long, it’s also nice to send or receive a letter, or some other token of affection. I think our mutual love language is small thoughtful gifts. He worries about me being cold, so gives me mittens and cosy hats. I like to send things which will cheer him up, or make him smile, so he gets daft things like a homemade Yorkshire Tea Advent calendar.

Kiss and make up
If your main form of communication is text or DM, then it’s easy for misunderstandings to occur. You can’t really sense a tone or if something is meant as a joke but lands badly. Fall outs happen and they are a normal part of relationships. It is easy to flounce off and it is important to take some time and have some space to calm down or realise it is probably a miscommunication. We fall out, we snap at each other. Lockdown is hard and it adds to the stress of being in a long distance relationship; but we are also pretty good at talking it through, saying sorry, explaining our position and why we felt that way.

Play games
We both love word games and I’ve been playing WordFeud for years. I introduced him to it at the start of lockdown and we’ve been playing together ever since. It’s just something we can both dip in and out of, something we can do together even though we are apart. Find a game you both enjoy and play it online.

20 Questions
This is something we have done on and off throughout lockdown. One of us would put together a list of questions and we would both answer them, like Mr and Mrs, but with 87 miles between us. It’s one way of getting to know each other a bit better. It’s also good for sparking other conversations, because it’s very easy to run out of general topics and small talk when all you do is sit at home and work. We really enjoyed doing the question and answer evenings. It was a fun way to get to know each other a bit more; we laughed together and were able to tell each other things we might have been too embarrassed to say to each other’s faces.

Send me a selfie
We miss each other quite a lot and although we are in very regular contact with each other, I miss his face and he misses mine. We are regular selfie senders. They don’t have to be all duck faced selfies, funny faces are our speciality; anything to make the other smile. We also share photos of our meals, or things we’ve seen on walks, just snippets of our day. Selfies and photos and the occasional video message help us keep a feeling of closeness despite the distance.

Being in a long distance relationship during lockdown is hard. I’m lucky that he is a very calm, level-headed man who is full of wise words and kind actions. He has endless patience with me and is nothing but supportive of me and the things I do. I asked him what advice he would give to people in long distance relationships during lockdown; he said “be aware that others have it worse but also be aware it’s hard”. See, I told you he was a wise one, and a keeper.

How to keep a long distance relationship going during Covid-19