If you’d told me six months ago we’d all be in lockdown right now I never would’ve believed you. I mean, it’s like something out of a crazy movie! Yet here we are.
I’ve been home alone in lockdown/quarantine for 12 days following doctor’s orders because I have a lung infection. And the doctor (understandably) doesn’t want me to go out at all in case it does turn out to be the dreaded coronavirus.
The antibiotics I was given seem to be working though, so I feel fairly confident it’s just a normal lung infection (yay). So it won’t be long until I’m back to my usual self jumping around doing handstands and cartwheels.
As I haven’t been allowed to see anyone for so long, I’ve had a lot of time to think…and binge-watch movies (but we’ll skim over that part). And I’ve already started planning the things I want to do while in lockdown as soon as I’ve fully recovered from this infection.
Our daily routines have changed massively for the foreseeable future. But if we change the way we look at things we can see them from another angle.
Many people are scared right now and I want you to know it’s ok to feel that way. It’s ok to experience emotions you haven’t felt before. This whole thing is unknown territory for all of us and we all process things differently.
But although the virus is scary, lockdown doesn’t have to be. The way I see it is this lockdown can either be a period of fear, frustration and panic, or it can be a period of transformation.
We certainly can’t control what’s going on, but we can try to control how we react to it and what we do with this time in isolation.
Let’s be honest – the NHS are under huge pressure right now trying to protect us, so the least we can do is stay at home to protect them. If you’re a member of the NHS staff, thank you for everything you do. Not just now, but always.
For the rest of us, let’s do our best to spend this time focusing on the things we CAN do rather than the things we CAN’T. Let’s train our minds to look for the positives.
A positive mindset can change your outlook on everything. I’m seeing this lockdown as an opportunity for us all to reassess what’s truly important in our lives – and that’s our health and the health of the people we love.
So I thought you guys might like a bit of inspiration for things you can do while you’re stuck at home…and how you can stay positive during lockdown:
1. Understand it’s ok to feel a bit lost
This had to be my first point. I mean, almost everyone who’s messaged me over the past few days has said this whole thing is freaking them out because of the uncertainty. Listen up – it’s ok to feel that way!
Any time we experience uncertainty in our lives it’s natural for us to want to figure out what’s happening and why…and to try to fix it. And for some people fixing it means buying a tonne of toilet rolls. Hmmm. Anyway…
During times of uncertainty we also naturally look for guidance. And let’s be honest – nobody can give the full guidance we want right now because nobody knows what’s going on.
But I’m doing my best to bring you some happiness and upbeat vibes so you can remain positive. If you follow my Instagram stories you’ll know I post silly memes and randomness all the time because I love making people smile.
At the moment you’re probably experiencing very changeable emotions. And I want you to know that’s normal. It’s ok to go from feeling like the whole world is crashing down to suddenly embracing your inner Buddhist monk.
We all spend our lives trying to avoid the painful moments, but it’s within those painful moments where true growth is found.
So feel what you need to feel, then let it go. Don’t let it consume you. Life is all about how you handle Plan B. So just allow yourself time to process your feelings.
Although lockdown is the result of something awful, the positive I’ve managed to squeeze out of this situation is that we’ve finally got loads of time to do the things we’ve always moaned about not having enough time for. Time to connect with what’s truly important to us. So let’s turn this negative into a positive.
Which leads very nicely onto how to prevent boredom…
2. Develop some kind of routine
I’m not a big fan of living the same life every day. But right now, having some kind of normality can help our mental health tremendously.
So set your alarm to get you up at the same time each day, fit in a workout and try to give yourself some kind of structure to your day. I know it’s tempting to treat this time like that wonderful week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but if you have some kind of structure to your day throughout lockdown you’ll be less likely to spend all of your time just staring at your phone and wondering what to do with your life.
And from experience, I know that giving yourself that little bit of structure will make you less likely to just keep looking for snacks in the kitchen. What is it about lockdown that just makes you want to eat ALL THE TIME?! I know it’s not just me!
3. Read that book you’ve had for years
This had to be high up on the list because I LOVE learning. So grab that book you’ve been meaning to read for years.
You know the one I’m talking about. The book you bought so long ago that you keep forgetting you even own it…and any time you’re having a tidy up you find it and think “I’ll start reading that tonight”. Well, tonight is that night.
I know the appeal of Instagram/Tik Tok/Pinterest can result in a whole evening spent scrolling. Believe me, for the past week while feeling unwell I’ve spent way more time than I’m comfortable admitting to on social media. But now I’m feeling a bit better I’ve started making my way through my books.
Let me know in the comments if there are any you’d recommend. We’re all going to have plenty of time to read after all!
4. Build a den
For possibly the first time in our adult lives, we’ve all got some more spare time. And who can honestly say they don’t miss the good old days of making a den out of bedsheets and just chilling in it for the day?!
Maybe you called it a blanket fort? Whatever you called it, make one. Then grab some snacks and either play a board game or watch a movie in it. Hell, sleep in it if you want.
Don’t neglect the importance of having fun…particularly right now! Play!
5. Reach out to family and friends
Social distancing doesn’t have to mean being emotionally distant. It doesn’t have to mean our relationships with family and friends suffer. Although f*ckboys might suffer a bit during lockdown because of the extra effort they’ll have to put in.
But seriously, reach out to loved ones. I wasn’t able to see my mum or son on Mother’s Day as I’ve been in quarantine. So I wrote a quiz for my family to all take part in that evening over FaceTime. We’re so lucky to have things like video calling, so let’s make the most of it.
But speaking as someone who hates being called most of the time, text before you call! Check that person is actually happy to be called. And if not, have a conversation through text.
Or if you love writing, find a pen pal. You don’t have to be alone. We’re all in this together.
6. Workout at home
You knew this one was coming, surely? I’m all about staying active for both body and mind…so this had to feature on the list.
As every gym has been forced to close, I’ve been thinking about which home workouts I’m going to do when I’ve fully recovered from this lung infection. And I’ve found loads online.
Some of these are things I’ve done before and some are new classes I’ve found while looking over the past few days:
- The Viking Method – Svava is a badass and I love her workouts! She mixes it up and always keeps things interesting. Every single one of her sessions can be done at home.
- The School of Calisthenics – I’ve become obsessed with calisthenics training over the past few years (handstands, pull ups, muscles ups, pistol squats, etc) and these online classes are awesome! Founders Jacko and Tim are the ones who first introduced me to the wonderful world of calisthenics and their Bodyweight Basics programme is currently free! So go take a look. If you fancy signing up for more of their online classes use code HAPPYHEALTHYNAT to get 20% off!
- Barry’s UK – These guys are providing a free workout every day through their Instagram live stories. It’s such a great HIIT session and all done within the coach’s home, so you can do it in your home too. I haven’t actually tried Barry’s workouts yet, but if the reputation is anything to go by they’re hardcore.
- Steezy Studio – If you love dancing, check these guys out. They’ve always done home workouts in the form of dance classes, and now they’re providing one week of free classes for us all to try. Dancing is an awesome workout and it’s great fun too. And because the class is done in your own home, nobody can see if you mess up! Perfect.
- The Box Programming – If you already know what you’re doing but just want someone to write a quick session for you each day, these guys share a written WOD on Instagram. It’s not for beginners as you’ll need to know what each movement is called, but it’s guaranteed to get you sweaty.
- CentrFit – If it’s good enough for the God of Thunder then it’s good enough for the rest of us. Yep, I’m a mega Marvel fan! This is Chris Hemsworth’s fitness programme website. And at the moment he’s offering a six-week free trial with plans for beginners, intermediates and advanced. So check it out! You have to put your card details in to get the six weeks free trial, but you can cancel at any time – I checked and it’s super easy to cancel if you want to.
These are just a handful of the home workouts available. There are LOADS right now! Check them out!
And if you manage to find a way to get a surf sesh done in the lounge please let me know as that’s the only thing I can’t replicate from my usual routine.
7. Find new recipes
You know I said I speak from experience regarding how getting into a routine will help prevent constant snacking? Well, in the past week while feeling unwell I’ve managed to eat ten 100g vegan chocolate bars. Yep, ten!
I won’t say it’s my proudest moment. Although to be fair I never thought I’d manage to eat 1kg of chocolate in a week, so I guess that’s kind of impressive. But seriously, I’m angry about it because I now have no vegan chocolate left for the duration of this lockdown. None!
The good thing about having no chocolate left is that I’m now forced to eat healthy food again. Which is a good thing. I guess.
So I’m using this time in lockdown to find some new recipes as I love trying new things. I’ll admit this might be a little more difficult than usual while people are panic buying all of the food in supermarkets. I mean, if you can throw together a meal using a Freddo, two aubergines and a lightbulb your kitchen skills are incredible!
But if you do manage to get to the shops before everyone has bought all the food for that day it’s the perfect time to try some new recipes. Even if it’s something that takes hours in the oven you’re at home anyway, so you might as well try it.
8. Pamper yourself
We all know a spa day is a great way to relieve stress, but as spas are a strict no-no during lockdown, try setting up a little pamper sesh at home.
Apply a face mask, paint your nails and have a bath or watch a movie. I’ve always applied a face mask each week but it’s usually working its magic while I’m doing the hoovering or writing a blog post. Not exactly the most relaxing way to spend those 20 minutes! But now we have more time, so why not make the most of it and set a bit aside for yourself?!
If you’ve got kids you could either wait until they’re in bed or maybe get them to join in if they’re old enough to resist trying to lick the face mask off.
9. Get baking
You knew this one was coming. I LOVE baking! Seriously, if I’m ever super stressed I usually go for a walk or bake. It takes me away from thinking about anything else and all I have to focus on is figuring out the measurements of ingredients, etc.
The only reason I don’t do it every day is because I’d end up eating nothing but brownies, cookies and cakes all the time! You’ve all had a glimpse into my willpower (or lack of it) when I just revealed the 1kg vegan chocolate gorge.
Anyway, baking is something we can all do during lockdown. You could even hold your own mini Bake Off with whoever you’re in lockdown with. I’ve baked with my son ever since he was four-years-old and he still loves it now…and I love the fact he’ll randomly bake a batch of brownies for me just because he feels like it. Seriously, get your kids baking from a young age and you’ll reap the rewards in years to come. That wasn’t my plan but man it worked out well.
If you want to do some healthy baking you can try my (gluten-free) choc orange cheesecake. Or for generally delicious gluten-free baking recipes I highly recommend Becky Excell’s blog. Her triple chocolate cookies are insane!
10. Learn a new language
I had to include this point because learning is one of the best ways to continue improving yourself…and you know I’m all about making sure we’re being the best possible versions of ourselves.
There are plenty of language apps available with free trials, or I’m sure you could find things on Youtube too. If you do choose Youtube just check it’s a reputable source – I don’t want to be held responsible for when you go on holiday (eventually) and end up telling someone their mum smells like a donkey’s foot when you were just trying to ask for directions.
If you don’t fancy learning a new language, check out another free course in something you do want to learn. So many websites are giving a free month’s access now that it would be crazy to not take up that offer and learn something.
11. Practice handstands
I should’ve put this higher up the list because you know I’m obsessed with handstands. But I realise not everyone loves being upside down as much as I do.
If you fancy trying them though, clear a space by a wall in your home and do some handstands! Play! Have fun!!
If you want to get stronger to be able to hold yourself upside down, check out this post I wrote a few months ago on improving your strength for handstands. The fab coaches at Sequoia Movement helped massively with this!
Oh, and if you’re new to it obviously be careful and make sure you warm up your wrists.
12. Learn to play a musical instrument
If handstands aren’t your thing, try learning a musical instrument. I’m not saying we should all try to cram a piano in our bedrooms or start annoying the neighbours with late-night drum sessions. But learning a musical instrument is an awesome use of spare time!
I started learning to play the guitar last year, then broke my hand and the guitar has sat alone in my bedroom ever since. But I’ve vowed during this lockdown to make time to play a little bit each day again. I’m still awful at it and should probably have just taken up the harmonica instead, but hey we all have to start somewhere.
There are loads of Youtube videos for this kind of thing. And if you look around online you can find small instruments like ukuleles for pretty reasonable prices.
If playing an instrument isn’t your thing, try juggling. That’s another awesome way to pass time and there are LOADS of online tutorials for that too!
13. Have a clear-out
After clearing out all of the chocolate from my kitchen (yes I’m saying it was an intentional clear-out and not just a mad binge), I realised having an actual clear-out could be a good thing to do during lockdown.
Charity shops probably aren’t accepting items during lockdown as I imagine they’re all closed. But have the clear-out now and put the stuff aside for when they all re-open. Then you’ll be getting rid of unwanted stuff and feeling the good vibes when you donate it all.
I can’t be the only person who actually enjoys having a clear-out, surely?! There’s something therapeutic about it. And right now we could all get so much done. It’s the best time for it!
So sort out your kitchen cupboards – organise them so you know exactly what’s in there and where it all is. This could actually come in handy for those times in the next few weeks when you come home from the supermarket after only being able to grab a jar of mayonnaise and a shoelace. I mean, if you at least know what’s in your cupboards you could plan some more meals.
Sort out your wardrobe – if you’re anything like me you’ll own way more clothes than you actually need or want. So try doing the whole Marie Kondo thing – does it spark joy?
Seriously, we’re all going to be domestic goddesses by the end of this lockdown! Domestic goddesses who can handstand perfectly!
14. Take up crafting
Does anyone else find crafting relaxing? I’m not great at it – I’m definitely more naturally gifted at performing arts than at actual art. To give you an idea of how bad I am at drawing, in school I considered taking art at GCSE level and my teacher’s exact response was: “Natalie, I think we both know that’s not a good idea.” So, yeah.
I love customising clothes though (which I’ll never wear because I’m rubbish at it) and knitting scarves (which I’ll also never wear because my knitting looks like a cat’s attacked it). But it’s fun!
Try knitting (you can’t possibly be worse at it than me), candle making, mosaic, macrame, origami, plate painting, glass painting…there are so many things you can do! Let your creative side out!
15. Watch movies
See, I’m not all about being active 100% of the time. It’s ok to make the most of finally having some time to chill.
So snuggle up either on the sofa or in that awesome den you built and watch some movies. Actually watch them though, put your phone away and get immersed in the film. We can all do with some time away from our phones right now.
Staying up to date with the news is great so we all know what’s going on, but information overload can freak some people out. So don’t spend all day immersing yourself in the news.
16. Meditate and discover who you truly are
“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.”Wayne Dyer
Speaking of getting some time away from our phones, this point is something you might roll your eyes at because I know the thought of meditation freaks some people out. But what better time to get to know yourself (and I mean really get to know yourself) than when you’re not busy with a million other things to do?!
If you can’t go outside, go inside.
If I’m honest, my meditation is actually what I usually do while I’m on my daily walks. I don’t tend to do the whole sitting cross-legged in a silent room thing as I prefer to be in nature when I’m doing my deep thinking. But everyone’s different, so figure out what works for you. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on this – I can only speak from my own experience. But there are loads of apps on meditation and websites about self-discovery. So check them out.
17. Stretch your body as well as your mind
So many people message me saying they wish they could be more flexible (because a lot of my pics on Instagram are of me doing the splits, etc). And they’ll usually say they don’t have enough time to do flexibility training. But now is the perfect opportunity!
If you fancy combining both opening your body AND mind then try some of the many online yoga classes that are available right now. Or if it’s purely flexibility you’d like to improve I can recommend Up Your ROM.
18. Start a veg patch
If you’ve got a garden this is a brilliant way to pass the time during lockdown! Read up on it and you can start growing your own vegetables. And if you haven’t got much of a garden there are things you can grow in the smallest spaces…even if you just start a tiny herb garden on a window sill.
I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure this is a good time of year to get planting! And it will make you feel good too. This is actually one of my own goals for the next few weeks as it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for years!
19. Save the planet
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying you can save the planet alone and from within your own home in just a few weeks. If only, right! But something I want to point out is that it’s fair to say none of us ever thought we could adapt to living the lives we’ve been living for the past week. Yet here we are!
So now we’ve had OUR worlds turned upside down it’s the perfect time to think of how we can help fix THE world.
Consider any changes you could make to your normal lifestyle for when this lockdown is over to use less plastic or cut carbon emissions.
I’m definitely not a pro at this, but I make an effort. I make my own lip balms and body moisturiser because I hated how much plastic I was buying each month on those two products alone. I also refuse to buy hand wash as it always comes in those plastic dispensers. So I buy bar soap and melt it in boiling water to make my own liquid hand wash, which I then pour into ceramic hand wash dispensers.
These are all very tiny lifestyle changes and like I said, I’m certainly not perfect. But every little thing helps to make a difference.
20. Work on that side hustle
I wasn’t going to put this one last on the list as I think it’s important that we put our self-development high up on our list of priorities. But I figured we all spend enough time working on normal days that we deserve to have fun trying new hobbies, etc while we can.
I’ll be honest – I don’t actually don’t like the saying “side hustle”, but you know what I mean. Start working on that business idea you’ve had for a while. The thing you can’t normally find time for.
Do it now!
We’re all in this together. I know it’s a scary time. And I want you to know that whatever you’re feeling right now is a perfectly valid emotion (no matter what anyone else says).
But let’s all spend this time trying to focus on the things we CAN do rather than the things we CAN’T. Let’s train our minds to look for the positives.
Sending love and hugs to each and every one of you.
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