Stay at home orders and government guidelines have become very familiar across the United Kingdom, but it’s important to try and stay as positive as possible during these difficult times. Keeping your mind and body active will help you stay physically healthy but can also help alleviate the mundanity and ill-feelings of lockdown. To help support your mental and physical health going forward, we’ve put together some great activity ideas for you to try.
1) Stay in touch with loved ones
Isolation and staying at home can make us all feel cut off from the rest of the world and our loved ones, but many technologies offer wonderful ways to stay in touch with those you hold dear. At this point in time, many of your friends and family are probably experiencing the same feelings and it’s important to remember that even a small thoughtful message can mean the world.
Reach out to old friends and ask how they’re doing. Reminiscence about old memories and look forward to a brighter future of making new ones. Arrange video calls or Skype/Zoom sessions with your family/friends to create a quiz or just chat about all the things you wish you could be doing. There are plenty of options available, so no matter which one you pick just make sure to remember that now is the time when holding people you value close is most important, no matter how far away they may be.
2) Send handwritten letters
When was the last time you received a handwritten letter from somebody? If you can answer “recently” then you know how good it felt to know someone had taken the time to write something (by hand) personally for you. Handwritten letters are rare and exciting and people love to receive them. Sure, emails and instant messages are faster than the speed of light but handwritten letters are a labour of love.
To those who receive the letters, it will make them feel valued and confirms the importance of your relationship. However, the benefits of handwritten letters are also plentiful for the sender. Messaging and emails are usually reactionary but handwriting something allows you to slow down and reflect. It can make you notice the small things you hadn’t thought of before and some research suggests it can actually improve mood.
3) Indulge in films and television
So many channels and so little to watch… now we know that just isn’t true! There have probably been plenty of occasions where you’ve offhandedly said “oh, I’ve been meaning to watch that” or “I want to watch it but I don’t have time…”; not to mention that if you have any streaming services they’ve probably got a build-up of shows and movies on your ‘to watch’ list. Two words for you if you haven’t got a series lined up: The Crown!
With the winter nights making evenings bleak and government guidelines leading us to stay in our homes, it could be time to stop pushing series and movies to the back burner and bring them to a big screen near you e.g. your television/laptop screen.
4) Lose yourself in a good book
Books are an incredible way to stimulate your brain and improve cognitive capabilities. Whether you’re an avid reader or an idle page-turner, nothing says escapism from your own sofa like burying your nose in a book and discovering a whole new world with exciting characters.
Things are difficult at the moment and being able to transport yourself for a few hours into the realms of fiction can provide tranquillity and knowledge while boosting your concentration levels, language abilities and reduce stress.
5) Keep active
Physical activity is good for the mind and body. There are limitations in place on outdoor exercise currently across England and Wales but you should still attempt to get some exercise in the fresh air once a day, even if it’s just around the park. It could also include a stroll to the local shop or a walk to a local nature reserve.
On top of walks outdoors, you can find great ways in your own home to keep your body healthy. Yoga and tai chi are fantastic ways to improve balance, posture, flexibility and strength and you don’t need any special equipment. You can find many tips for them both online. And if you don’t want some ‘organised’ exercise, why not put on your favourite songs and dance around the living room like no one’s watching?
These are challenging times but together we can make it through and look forward to a brighter and more ‘normal’ future. We hope you and your family/friends continue to stay safe.