The last few weeks have left many of us feeling enervated and lonely. Humans are social beings, so isolation is proving challenging. But to help protect others around you, staying home is the safest thing you can do during this unsettling period, so continue social-distancing and fight boredom with the 7 ideas below.
1. Reach out to your local community
Social media has its flaws, but in times of uncertainty social networks have provided a place of encouragement for friends and family to connect. From apps such as NextDoor to recent crazes like TikTok, there's a host of networking sites that will allow you to socialise. Create or search for groups in your local area and use the opportunity to chat, share updates, and meet new friends. Use LinkedIn to engage with like-minded individuals on a business level, or Instagram to join hashtagged trends. Remember, always network with caution to stay safe online.
2. Video calls
Online applications such as Zoom and WhatsApp have enabled groups to come together and socialise via video. Reach out to friends, neighbours, colleagues and host a virtual pub quiz, book club, or coffee and a catch-up. And no-one is expecting you to get a big group together, just the two of you works perfectly fine. It is vital to stay connected during this time.
3. Podcasts and audiobooks
From thrillers to fairytales, or fitness to comedy, there's an array of podcasts and audiobooks available on the web. Catching up with housework, relaxing on the sofa, or watering the plants can all be made more entertaining by listening to a podcast or audiobook. Children enjoy storytelling too, and if you're looking for something engaging then our Pick a Story
app is a great way to inspire their imagination. Pick a Story is free to download, with no ads, and features childhood classics read aloud alongside charming visuals, leaving you free to put the dinner on or catch-up with friends in a video call.
4. Home workouts and meditation
Now's a good time to re-install that app and continue the 'yoga every morning' new years resolution you put on hold. OK, so the reality of doing it isn't always possible. No one is expecting you to become a fitness buff during this isolation period. But to preserve your body and mind, it's worth making use of your 'once a day' allowance of exercise by simply walking around the block if you can, staying at a safe distance from others. When back at home, there's an abundance of equipment-free workouts and meditation exercises available on YouTube, various apps, from a local gym's webpage, and even on the NHS website.
5. Learn a language
With more free time on your hands, why not learn a language? Fluentu
lists plenty of free online resources to progress in a new language. The phrases you picked up on the year 8 French trip have only ever gotten you so far abroad, so perhaps look to improve your skill using one of the listed digital tools.
6. Online games
If you're thinking 'but I'm not a gamer', know that you don't have to be an expert or part of any specific network to find exciting games online. You could try a virtual board game with a friend, find an online puzzle to preoccupy your time or invest in a new game for your PC or console. Gaming is a form of escape while being both challenged and entertained. And with many online games, there's a social factor too. We've been playing Jackbox Party Pack
in teams, and also skribbl.io
which is a free, multiplayer drawing and guessing game. Just ensure to pay attention to who you're playing with and monitor your screen time!
7. Seek help and advice
Despite a sense of strength and solidarity spreading across the nation, you may still feel worried and alone. There are many charities and local authorities offering advice, online mentoring, and guidance for those who need it, such as The Salvation Army, NSPCC, and Home Start. You can get involved too - Mind
is asking for carers and parents to contribute to their online blog, and Age UK
(like many others) is providing online training as they seek volunteers. Or how about donating the money you would have spent on your morning commute or coffee to your chosen charity?
Explore these different online activities to spare yourself from boredom. And tackle loneliness by engaging with local communities and foundations. Don't be afraid to suggest a group call with others, join an online gaming team, or set yourself a workout challenge each day. We need activities to keep motivated during this time. If you've started home working, explore our 7 Top Tips for Working From Home
to help adjust to your new 'office' environment.