Tag Archives: lockdown

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

25 TV shows I’ve binge watched during lockdown

I don’t think I would have got through lockdown without Netflix. It’s kept me reasonably sane and fairly occupied since March. As soon as the boy is in bed, I like to tuck myself up for the evening and have a couple of hours watching TV on my iPad. After a couple of months, I decided to make a list of what I’ve binge watched, and here it is.

I’m an absolute horror for binge watching and if I’ve got the time, I can happily binge watch a whole series in an evening. For this reason, I’m constantly looking for new shows to devour.

I first got Netflix when The Last Kingdom moved from the BBC to Netflix, and I’ve been an avid consumer of on demand TV ever since. I’ve discovered some absolutely brilliant series on Netflix, but I probably watch an equal amount of programmes on iPlayer too.

25 TV shows I’ve binge watched during lockdown

Apparently during lockdown, TV programmes about the countryside, nature and farming have been really popular. As you can see from my list, I’ve also been losing myself of an evening by virtually popping down the farm and herding some sheep.

Here are 25 shows which I’ve binge watched during lockdown…

A Letter to the King – Netflix
After Life – Netflix
All Creatures Great and Small – My5 Channel 5
Anne with an E – Netflix
Bonding – Netflix
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – 4OD
Dead to Me – Netflix
Derry Girls – Netflix
Fresh Meat – Netflix
Ghosts – BBC iPlayer
GLOW – Netflix
Grace & Frankie – Netflix
Island Medics – BBC iPlayer
Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing – BBC iPlayer
New Girl – Netflix
Our Yorkshire Farm – My5 Channel 5
Peaky Blinders – Netflix
Pose – Netflix
The Last Kingdom – Netflix
The Trip (and The Trip to Italy) – Netflix
The Umbrella Academy – Netflix
Turn Up Charlie – Netflix
Unorthodox – Netflix
Virgin River – Netflix
Young Offenders – BBC iPlayer

What TV shows you’ve binge watched during lockdown? Would you recommend them? Please let me know in the comments, I’d love some new suggestions.

25 TV shows I’ve binge watched during lockdown

Fun Lockdown Crafts to do with Viking

AD – We were sent a box of crafts by Viking and invited to join a special Zoom lockdown crafts workshop hosted by them.

At the start of lockdown things seemed easier, we were more disciplined at home and we could happily sit down and do school work or an activity for a few hours at a time. But as spring turned into summer, our focus drifted and we are down to doing the bare minimum each day. Even our own lockdown crafts have run out of steam and at best we just sit and draw or paint. We needed an intervention. Thankfully this came from stationers Viking who invited us to join them for a zoom crafting session with Jane a pro crafter at Tea & Crafting.

Lockdown Crafts with Viking

A few days before the session we received a big box full of everything we would need and excitement started to build. We were going to make chocolate bubble wrap bars, a toilet roll fire breathing dragon and moving feet packing tape. It was a serious job to stop my boy scoffing the chocolate ahead of time, but I managed to hide most of it before he spotted it!

We joined a large number of other craft-eager families for the Saturday morning lockdown crafts session. It was scheduled to be an hour long, which is a good length of time to keep kids’ attention. Alongside all the craft kit we needed, Viking had kindly sent some cleaning products and hand sanitiser to help us keep our crafting area clean, especially as we were going to be using food.

We began by making the chocolate bubble wrap, which was probably our favourite thing we made, I think we will be looking at doing this with other textures, because it really is so effective!

Lockdown Crafts with Viking

Chocolate Bubble Wrap

  1. As we’ll be touching food products you should wash your hands with soap – or use some hand sanitiser.
  2. Clean your working area thoroughly.
  3. Cut a small piece of bubble wrap about A4 size and just give it a quick wash and dry it.
  4. Crumble about 3-4 chocolate bars into a small bowl using your fingers.
  5. Wash your hands so they’re not sticky and covered in chocolate.
  6. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 30 second increments. Ensure you stir after each 30 second blast, so you can evenly distribute the heat and help it melt quicker. This took me about 90 seconds, but yours may take more or less time.
  7. Pour the melted chocolate onto the bubble wrap and then spread it over evenly with a spatula or knife, making sure it’s not too thinly spread.
  8. Pop it into the fridge for about 30 minutes to set.
  9. Whilst the chocolate is setting clean your working area again wiping away any spilt chocolate etc.
  10. After it’s set, peel back the bubble wrap from the chocolate and be amazed at your homemade chocolate bubble wrap.

The chocolate bubble wrap really looked like honeycomb or something, we sprinkled it with some decorations, then broke it into chunks and ate it.

Lockdown Crafts with Viking

Fire Breathing Dragon

  1. Clean your working area and wash your hands or use some hand sanitiser before starting.
  2. Take a sheet of A4 paper. Measure how high your toilet roll tube is and then cut a strip of paper along the long side of the A4 using that measurement.
  3. Spread glue over your toilet roll holder and then glue your paper to the toilet roll tube and cut where the paper overlaps. Trim off any edges that overlap the opening if needed.
  4. Add eyes and a nose to your dragon’s body, do this by using a Sharpie to draw the eyes and then draw a little square under your eye. This square will fold back and be glued down so that the dragon eyes stay upright. Do the same for the nose and glue the eyes and nose down.
  5. Cut tissue paper into strips no longer than about 10cm in length and about a finger’s width. Glue the strips to the top (this would be where the dragon eyes and nose are placed) and bottom of the inside of the toilet roll tube. There’s no need to add tissue paper to the sides of the toilet roll, at this point it’s fine if the tissue paper overlaps.
  6. Hold your dragon at an angle in front of you and breathe into the toilet roll tube – you’ll see the tissue paper fire breath come to life!

Lockdown Crafts with Viking

As you can see, we used white tissue paper, so the boy said it was an ice dragon. Use red, orange or yellow tissue paper to make it look more like fire!

Parcel Tape Feet

  1. Cut a straw in half and tape it (using the parcel tape) to the inside of the parcel tape roll; making sure the straws stick out of the edge of the tape on opposite sides (i.e. left and right) and that they are placed on opposite ends (i.e. top and bottom) inside the parcel tape roll.  You only need a finger’s width of straw coming out of the tube so trim off any excess.
  2. Remove the cotton wool from the cotton buds on both ends. If you’re using a kebab stick, there’s no need to trim at all.
  3. Take a sheet of A4 paper and fold it half. Then trace around your child’s foot or get siblings to help each other to do this. Cut two little feet out of the paper.
  4. Place your feet (ensuring it’s a left and right foot side by side); and tape the cotton bud to the inside of each foot (using image as a guide).
  5. Slot the cotton buds into the straw, roll the parcel tape and watch your feet walk!

Lockdown Crafts with Viking

The activities were great fun to do. The session overran by half an hour; but my son was really engaged, and I really enjoyed having someone else lead our craft activities. The chance to do something different together was one we’ve not really had during lockdown. I think Zoom lockdown crafts are a fantastic idea. We would love to do something like this again, perhaps with friends over the summer holidays.

If you’re interested in more craft activities, you can find all of my crafts here.