Ah yes, here we go again. Lockdown 3 and it looks like we’re gonna be in this one for a while. And even once this lockdown does finally end, you just know there are still going to be tiers and restrictions *sighs*. Remember back in March when we thought this was going to last 3 weeks? LOL nope and that first covid lockdown is nearly at its one year anniversary. Not good.
Oh how we’d all just wish everything was back to normal, but if we want that to happen, I guess we do need ANOTHER lockdown (and fingers crossed this is the last.) So with that being said, I’ve come up with a list of ways to keep yourself sane during these hard times of loneliness and isolation which have helped me through all lockdowns and tier restrictions.
1. Stay Connected
During these times of isolation and social distancing, I sometimes forget that we’re LITERALLY in a pandemic and cannot leave the house, but I still feel as if I’m being very anti-social. My inner introverted self is saying YES stay in bed…..but my extroverted self is crying and craves social interaction. Luckily enough, I have ways in which I can please both my introverted AND extroverted self:
- Zoom Calls: get you and all your pals/family set for a zoom call all at the same time. Do quizzes, play games and chat just like you would at the pub or out and about! Some of my favourite games to play over zoom are Among Us, an phone app game trying to find out who the imposter is, Psych, which if you’ve played any of the Jackbox TV games, its like a phone version of that, and All Bad Cards, which is basically cards against humanity online! You can host a quiz by making it on PowerPoint and simply sharing your screen for the rest of your zoom call to see.
- Reach out to your friends and family: don’t be afraid to reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in a while. Drop them a message, send them a Snapchat or even organise a catch up call just to see if they’re okay. Everyone is coping with lockdown in different ways and sometimes all it takes is a message just to cheer someone up and make their day.
- Get on socials: Fully aware that if your choice is to stay off socials for your mental well being and safety, that is a-okay. But if you’re all good with being on socials then GET POSTING AND SCROLLING. Nothing is better than seeing other people in the same situation and how they are coping with it. I definitely gave in last year and downloaded TikTok (sorry Vine, RIP) but ohmygod I could sit scrolling on that app all day long, with no guilt knowing I have absolutely nothing better to do. And why not create you own? Post on your Insta/Snap story more and keep yourself occupied telling people what your up to!
What’s better then living vicariously through pixels on a screen? I deffo would not call myself a “gamer” in any way and will not be doing a Twitch stream any time soon, but honestly, games have been a vital part in getting myself through lockdowns. It a great form of escapism and makes those hours FLY BY if you get fully invested in them. Here are some of my tips to get into gaming over lockdown:
- Pick you console/platform: a week before March lockdown, I suddenly got the most RANDOM urge to buy an Xbox. My boyfriend has one and so do a lot of my friends, so I knew that when we went into lockdown I’d have those people to play online with, so definitely keep that into consideration when picking what console to buy. Xbox and Playstation’s also have the ability to play DVD/Blu Ray discs and can download streaming apps like Netflix, Disney+ etc, which was an absolute lifesaver for me to quickly switch from playing games to then watching films. If you dont want to splash the cash on and brand new console, I bought mine second hand online through CeX for only £150, delivery was so quick and it was in perfect condition. Then for Christmas this year, I was gifted a Nintendo Switch which I have wanted for SO LONG. Being a Nintendo girl from birth (still cannot beat Matt the Mii at boxing) I knew there was a lot of games I wanted to play on there. My switch is now like my third arm and is currently getting me through lockdown 3.
- Choose your games: There were ALOT of games that got me through lockdown but here are my top picks.
- Sims 4: I played this game heavily for the first two weeks, using the motherlode cheat and basically fully building my dream house and creating the better version of myself. I did eventually get bored of it, but I do put that down to the fact I cheated with the money hack and didn’t play properly, so maybe if you buy Sims, don’t cheat if you want it to last.
- Minecraft: Ohmygod this game actually became my life for a good few months. I was paying for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate which I really recommend subscribing to if you have or thinking about getting an Xbox. You pay £1 a month for the first 3 months and then it goes up to £11 a month, but it includes Xbox Live and you get loadssss of games practically for free, Minecraft being one of them. You bet I built a whole god damn kingdom on there, with my house having a hot tub, about 20 different horses and made a big Tesco, Greggs and Wetherspoons just to make it feel less like lockdown. I recommend playing in survivor mode, as it means you have to find materials and craft them yourself, making the game play a lot more interesting than creative mode. You an also invite friends into your world through Xbox live, it was honestly so much fun and for a long time was the closest thing to seeing my boyfriend.
- Golf with Friends: I’d only really recommend getting this game to play if you have friends to play online with, as on its own its a boring golf game. BUT with friends all on an Xbox party together, playing this game was SO FUNNY. You basically are all playing Golf together on these crazy looking mini golf courses, but you all play at the same time! And if you knock your friend over, its hilarious seeing there ball go in completely the wrong direction. It can be quite glitchy but I think it makes the game funnier and some of the courses on there are MENTAL. At the time, I downloaded it through Xbox game pass which was a big bonus for me but if you haven’t got game pass, you can purchase it through the store.
- Animal Crossing New Horizons: leaving the best till last is of course the latest Animal Crossing game, New Horizons, which is only available on Nintendo Switch/Lite. It came out just at the right time during the first week of lockdown 1 and is honestly the perfect game to play when you have nothing to do, as you can spend HOURS on it. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have a switch during this time (if I did you bet my island would be 5 star by now) and was saving up for one. THANK THE LORDS I was surprised at Christmas by my boyfriends family who gifted me one and my mum on top got me a bunch of games, which included Animal Crossing (eternally grateful). You get to design your own island and meet a bunch of residents, including lots of characters from the original Animal Crossing universe. I’ve only been playing it for a month and I’m already obsessed so if you have a switch, GO BUY THIS GAME.
If gaming is your thing or you think it could be your thing, give it a go and do not feel guilty about living a second life through pixels, we all could do with some escapism right now.
3. Exercise and Working Out
Ew yeah I know. Gyms are shut, its freezing cold outside but you’re fed up with looking like a potato 95% of the time. Gyms being shut has definitely taken a tole on a lot of peoples physical and mental health, including my own, as I feel the gym is really a good place for me to go where I know I can work on myself. But, like most things in a life last year, we all had to compromise and use what little we had at home, without breaking the bank.
- Replicating gym weights from home: For me, the hardest part of this all was not having access to heavy weights which I would use for my leg days. Lockdown happened so suddenly that I didn’t have the time or money to buy the weights I would need to use in order to copy my workouts at the gym. But, like I said, I had to compromise and make my own weights using what I had at home. The best tip I have for this is to find any old rucksack that you dont use anymore, and just fill it with heavy household things and any gym weights you have, to make it one big weight. This was a complete lifesaver for me and although it wasn’t nearly half the weight I’d use at the gym, it was enough to work for me and I just increased my reps to make up for the missing weight. The other plus side of the rucksack method is that you can add or take away weight really easily by simply adding more stuff in or taking things out, just make sure none of these household objects are fragile or can cause you any harm.
- Finding your workout space: We all hate it when the gym is packed full of people and you feel like you have no personal space to workout…..yeah this kinda happened at home too. When you live in a small house, with everyone in it either working from home or on furlough, I found it very hard to find a space big enough to workout in, but not the same space everybody would be living and working in i.e. the living room for example. Of course, if you have a big ass house or live on your own, you wont have this problem and you can skip ahead to the next point. But when you do have a small house with multiple people living in it, the key to getting around this for me was timing and setting a plan for when you wanted to workout, just like planning to go gym. I would ask other family members when there lunch is or when they plan to be doing something like housework or going for walks. In this time, I’d have the room to myself where I felt more confident and have more space, without feeling like I was in anyone’s way or felt like I was being watched. Of course if you are are unable to do this you can find another free room, like your bedroom, but I think its important to have a workout space separate from the room you can be lazy and relax in, to get your head in a better headspace for exercise.
- Get that cardio in: when you have no social plans, no job to go to or nothing exciting happening in your life, its very easy just to slump around all day and watch Netflix. Which is fine btw, that literally takes up half my life at the moment, but I do think it’s important to keep your body moving. Get yourself some running shoes and get out there, and who knows, you might surprise yourself at how much you enjoy running. If running isn’t your thing, just a simple walk round the block is all you need to clear your mind, even doing housework gets those steps in!
4. Start a New TV Show
There is honestly no better time then now to start that TV series you just haven’t had the time to get around watching…and now you have no excuses not to! Get a good streaming service, most popular being Netflix, and find something you’ll get hooked to. I LOVE TV shows and much prefer them to films, so I really am the perfect person to give advice on what to watch, and here are some of the few TV shows that kept me sane through lockdown (there’s a lot and couldn’t write about them all so please read through the honourable mentions!).
- Breaking Bad: if you haven’t watched Breaking Bad by now, you must live under a rock, but saying this my mum only just started watching this ICONIC TV series last year during lockdown 1. And she loved it. I dont know a single person that hates Breaking Bad? To summarise, a chemistry teacher is diagnosed with terminal cancer and worries about how he will pay for his medical bills and how he will still provide for his family after his passing. He joins up with one of his ex students to cook and sell meth…but it gets verrry messy. Probably one of the most well written, bingeable shows out there and not one to be missed.
- Game of Thrones: AH HERE WE GO. If you know me, you 10000% knew that this was going to be on the list, being my favourite show of all time. IM NOT going to blabber on because, honestly, I would take up the whole storage on my web hosting. All I’m going to say is that its great but confusing for first time watchers, as there is a lot of characters, houses and kings that all you do sit there watching it, going “eh?”. BUT once you get your head around who is who, the complexity of the story line and how they executed it onto screen is just WOW. Disclaimer though: its definitely 18+ only, contains a lot of gore, sex, full nudity, bad language and upsetting scenes that include rape. So just keep that in mind before watching!
- The Office US: “Its Britney bitch” ahh another iconic tv series I have watched 100 times over. With most episodes only being 20mins long, its a great easy watch if you dont want anything too complex but still with a good plot and characters.
- Homeland: Ooo so I had tired watching this years ago but stumbled across it again over lockdown, and ohmygod did them first 2 seasons have me on the edge of my seat! You follow a CIA agent that believes an American marine, who has been held captive for years and named a hero on return, has actually been turned. It’s so thrilling and has you stuck to the screen. After season 2 I did stop watching it as season 3 didn’t really appeal to me, but I’ve been told to keep watching!
- The Mandalorian: This is the way. If you are a Star Wars fan, this is an absolute MUST watch for your list. Set after the empire has fallen and following a Mandalorian bounty hunter that comes across a mysterious child, or “baby yoda” as you may of seen or heard of. If I say any more it will give away spoilers!
- Some other honourable mentions include: Orange Is The New Black, You, Ratched, The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Friday Night Dinner, Black Mirror, Tiger King, Don’t f**k with Cats, The Crown
5. Cleaning and Decorating
I feel like in everyone’s home, there’s always something you can be doing to make small or big improvements, and there’s no time like the present to do so. When it comes to cleaning, I just know you have that cupboard in your kitchen that welcomes you with an avalanche as soon as you open the door. Or the windows haven’t been as clear as they used to be. Your oven door, can you even see the food that is cooking in there anymore? Well lets hinch away guys and gals and do a little spring clean. A tidy house is a tidy mind, but can also be very therapeutic once you get into it. Over lockdown I think we all discovered the miracle cleaning cream Pink Stuff, which was made famous on TikTok and what an absolute lifesaver it is! I wouldn’t be surprised if it could fix a broken bone, its that good (me exaggerating obviously, do not expect it to fix bones lol) but damn the oven has never looked cleaner.
And maybe there’s a room in your home that is starting to look a little dull? The colour isn’t quite right or the arrangement of furniture just isn’t working. Why not give yourself a decorating project to give you some sense of achievement during these troubling times. I suggest either going on TikTok or Pinterest to get some genius design ideas that you would never see in any DIY magazine or store. Like, for example, if the tiles in your kitchen/bathroom just look lifeless, get yourself a coloured grout pen and make them old tiles POP! A simple change like that which would take a couple of hours can complete change the look and feel of the room. Go round your home and see if you can see anything you could clean or revamp!
6. Baking and Cooking
I think everyone at some point during lockdown 1 attempted the banana bread trend, but why stop there? Get out your bedroom, off the couch and give the kitchen a try. Change up the food on your plate and actually enjoy what you eat and have the pleasure in knowing you made it from scratch. We all want to go out to a fancy restaurant now and again and just have someone make all the food for us, but oh guess what? They’re shut. And if you can’t be asked to cook, your only option is a takeaway. Which I must admit I love a good Chinese or Dominoes pizza, but after a while the cost of these luxuries can really add up and eat away at your bank account. Instead, try making your own takeaway, or a “fake-away”, at home! Like freshly cooked pizza for example. Yes it might turn out looking like its been flung around by a 5 year old and not the most appealing, but it tastes good right? And it only cost you less then a fiver for the ingredients compared to your £20 Dominoes one. Give it a go and you might surprise yourself at how good you are at cooking your own food from scratch.
If you really wanna shake things up, why not try going vegetarian or vegan for while? You never know, it might drastically change your health concerns, like acne or dry skin for example. My boyfriend decided to go vegetarian for a few months through lockdown and noticed how much better he felt in himself when he didn’t consume meat products, like feeling less bloated and more energetic. He has now gone back to eating meat but mainly only at weekends and special events, like Christmas and birthdays. Being flexitarian is still such a big lifestyle change and does make a huge impact on your health and the climate for the better, why not try making some plant based swaps next time you have a meal.
You can also try just making some nice snacks and treats to nibble on whilst your lounging around watching all them tv shows I recommended you watch. I came up with a protein pancake recipe as a healthy alternative dessert to have when you get them sugar cravings, but you dont have to make healthy food all the time. Don’t be so hard on yourself and try baking the fattest cake you’ve ever made, just because you can. No-bake recipes, like cheese cakes or trifles, are perfect for people who dont feel confident enough using ovens to do baking or simply dont have the right equipment to do so. A simple putting together of the ingredients and whacking it in the fridge for a few hours is all you need to do. Yes, me and my boyfriend tried making a lotus cheesecake, and yes, it looked awful and didn’t even remotely look like cheese cake and more like a flat biscuit with an off colour cream cheese topping, but MY GOD did it taste like heaven. All I’m saying is you dont have to have anything particularly exciting or complex in mind when deciding you want to get working in the kitchen more, even if its making a simple fry up, its getting you out of bed and having your mind focused on something else other than the pandemic (and the result of that is nice, tasty food, so, win win).
7. Try Something New
Finally, with all this spare time on your hands, why not try something you never thought you could do or maybe something you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time? Last year over lockdown, I stared two new things, one of them being the blog you’re reading right now which I’ve had the idea of creating since I was 18. WHY it took me this long to get my lazy self to actually create the bog I just dont know, but here we are and I couldn’t be happier. The other was starting to go yoga classes which is something I’ve wanted to try for a while, and in many ways it’s helped my physical and mental health through these tough times. Why not think of something that’s always been in the back of your mind to do and give it a go!
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And there you have it! My advice on how to keep yourself sane during yet another lockdown. Lets hope this is the last and we can all get back to normal life in the near future.
If you’re struggling with you mental health, do not be afraid to reach out. I will link some useful help lines here with contacts and help lines wherever you are in the world
Stay safe and see you on the blog!