Whilst we’re stuck (mostly) inside, I’ve been trying to ensure that I’m actively doing things I enjoy. It’s easy to get sucked into obsessing over the news, or spending hours staring at a phone screen, which isn’t going to do anyone any good. I don’t think screen time is bad per se – I enjoy an Instagram scroll as much as the next person – but I know for me that it has a clear negative impact on my mood if I’m phone-bound for too long. The following are the things I’ve been spending my time on when not working, and which are keeping me sane whilst social distancing!
Daily Walks – I know, I know. Literally everyone is telling us to get outside, fresh air, stretch our legs etc. But it genuinely helps. The first week I worked from home all week, which was just before the official isolation period, I could feel myself getting more introspective and unhappy as the days went on. Fortunately, we were able to pick up Charlie, one of my parents’ dogs, to look after until we go back to working in the office. This means two mandated walks per day, as Charlie would NOT be happy with anything less! It’s got me into such a routine, which has been really helpful, and the walks really do positively impact my mood, get me out of the house, and are a great way to split up the day.
Animal Crossing – hands down the best calming, escapist, easy-to-play video game out there. If you’ve been living under a rock, this recently came out on Nintendo Switch, and people have gone MAD for it. For me, and I’d guess a lot of people around my age, it’s insanely nostalgic, having been a favourite of mine on Nintendo DS when I was 11 or 12. There’s not really any aim to the game, aside from improving your island, and it doesn’t have any way to ‘lose’, and no one fights. Progressive.
Baking and Changing Up Meals – it can be difficult to get certain foods at the moment, and chances are if you go to the supermarket looking for something specific, they might not have it. But if you can get hold of the ingredients, baking is a great way to keep busy and produce something tasty at the same time. If you don’t know where to start, choc chip cookies are always an easy place to begin. Again, if you can get the ingredient, try changing up your meals too – try some new additions, or have a go at cooking a new type of cuisine. My favourite so far has been Matt’s smoked brisket with cornbread and honey butter.
Reading Old Favourites and Cosy Stories – it’s a bit of a cliché, but rereading old favourites and only picking out books you know will be a little lighter on the subject matter is always going to be more comforting than picking up that hard-hitting memoir or a lengthy tome you’ve been forcing yourself to read for months. The same goes for TV programmes and films. If you want to watch a bunch of Disney movies (Disney+ is here for us in these trying times) or reread a series you loved as child, then do it!
I hope you’re all staying safe and well!