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Tuesday 26 May 2020

20 Things To Do If You're Bored During Lockdown

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Hello hello, I hope you are all so well right now. It’s a given that not one of us would choose to be enduring a global pandemic but here we are and we have to get through it somehow. That somehow could mean giving into the grief of it all and letting it get the better of us, or it could mean accepting that we are in it together whether we like it or not and trying to find a way to make the best out of it. The future is bright. We have so much to look forward to. Making the best out of a bad situation is not something anyone wants to do but I have to say throughout this, making the best of things is something I am seeing happen all over the world and it makes me so proud of us as a human race. When we have to dig deep we do and we have the resilience to deal with anything. It's important to remember sunshine always follows the rain! I'm someone who always makes my to do list longer than my arm and always finds a way to keep busy, I'm not saying that's a good thing as I think it's equally as important to stop and rest, however, we all deal with things in our own way. A challenge for me is taking it slowly and doing nothing at all. I have had a lot of messages from people saying they're bored or want some ideas of things to do during this period, so I hope this post will inspire you.

Remember: we are not 'stuck at home' we are lucky to be safe and well at home. 

We must not neglect the fact that something so huge and very painful in so many ways takes its toll on people and impacts their mental well being. Many of you have told me that you feel bored or even worse, lonely during this time and that’s so sad and makes me want to try and help. It was with this in mind that I decided to create a giant list of ideas of things that people may want to do as we really get in to the depths of lockdown. I have tried some of the things myself and others I will try Mum I absolutely promise to read the books you have been telling me about for the last year!) So, here are my ideas of how to get the best out of this situation we are in. Hopefully when it lifts we will never ever have to face anything like it again but in the meantime, let’s try at least to make it work for us! 

NOTE : Before I share my list there is one very important point to note. Do only what makes you feel good and what you want to. Pressure to do anything is the last thing anyone needs right now. This is a pandemic, not a productivity contest. There are people running marathons in their garden, breaking records and all sorts of amazing things but that does not mean we have to feel guilty if we don’t want to do any of those things, just napping and catching up on sleep is amazing too! Doing absolutely nothing is fine if that makes you happy. Happiness is key to everything.

For me personally, I have been in a routine of waking up, doing live workouts, doing my work, baking and going for my daily work. I have kept myself occupied with work, working out and fresh air. It has really worked for me, being in a routine and I still feel like I have a lot of things on my to-do list I need to get ticked off... mainly organising my house!

1. Catch up, have that virtual coffee or wine - We are all missing people at the moment. Not being able to hug and not being able to socialise with those we love is hard. However, I’ve honestly found that if I make the effort, I can still talk to as many people as I did before - just in a different way. I call my Nanna and Grandad often, I call my Mum everyday and my Mum, brother and I have face calls over Zoom (you can Zoom, FaceTime and WhatsApp one or more than one person at once). Matt and I have had our Friday night takeaway in London while talking to my brother, Mum and step dad while they are eating theirs in Yorkshire and it was so much fun. Taking it a step further my brother ran his friend’s 30th birthday party over Zoom last week. There were over 30 friends who joined, everyone could see everyone and they made toasts, did shots, did a quiz, you name it. They do something every Friday and Saturday so that they at least feels as if they are still going out. I know it isn't the same, but it's better than nothing. When I lived in Canada I Facetimed my family anytime I missed them and it felt like they were in the room with me. It definitely helped!

2. Move - Not everyone can exercise but most people can move in one way or another so be creative. There is so much free online material to watch and copy at the moment that it would be a real shame not to take advantage of it. These include stretching, yoga, pilates, abs workouts, boxing you name it, there is something for everything and most things only need a small indoor or outdoor space. I feel so grateful so many amazing PTs are offering free live workouts so you feel like you're in a class. It's a good way to get into a routine too. Alternatively if you are able to, you could walk, run or cycle in your local area (observing social distancing rules of course). Alternatively, just put on your favourite playlist and dance the hell around your living room. The key is to move more whatever movement that is and what ever suits you. Our bodies are not meant to always be sat or laid down so go for that movement as much as feels right for you, the more you do the more you will want to do. The endorphins instantly make me feel better from movement.

3. Meditate - If your mind is in a good place then I believe everything else will be just fine and you will cope with anything. There is nothing like a mental health workout to restore calmness and peace. It’s good for the soul. Start by looking at some of the meditation resources online such as the Calm app and do a few sessions. Plan some YOU time.

4. Pamper - Some people might not want to pamper right now but for others, it will make them feel great and that's what this is about, making yourself feel good. Pamper yourself from head to toe, have a relaxing bath with candles, relax and soak up the peace and quiet, wear a face mask and have a whole evening of just doing YOU. Set up a spa at home with whatever you've got in the house! Go to bed early and have a wonderful relaxing sleep. Never underestimate the power of a goodnights sleep.

5. Cooking -
My Mum usually has a Friday night takeaway but unfortunately their favourite shop has been closed. She decided to cook her own ‘Fakeaway’ throughout lockdown and each week she has cooked a different cuisine - Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Italian etc and they have really enjoyed it. She has learned to cook dishes that she has always wanted to know how to cook the authentic way. She’s purchased some of the rarer ingredients from Amazon and has made some amazing things. I personally find cooking SO therapeutic and it's something we don't usually have the time do to!

6. Baking - While all that’s been going on in our Yorkshire home, I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to bake more in my kitchen in London (which I am sure you have seen and heard about!). I’ve been baking my favourite recipes and have created many new ones which in turn has helped me to achieve one of my burning aspirations - to launch an e-cook book (you can get my e-book here) - honestly I am so overwhelmed with the support but also, HOW MANY OF YOU ARE BAKING FROM IT! It's made my whole lockdown! Whether it’s making a banana bread, homemade granola or vanilla cookies (my personal favourite!) I have put a whole blog post together here answering any questions you may have about my healthier recipe e-book but also, I link lots of my favourite online, in stock baking ingredients if you're looking for them too! Again, I find baking so therapeutic! Next on my list? Finally make that sourdough starter and another batch of my very own bread loaf, OHH and make some pasta from scratch! I finally found some in stock flour online here!

7. Beauty - Fed up of not being able to have your nails done or to go to the hairdressers? Never been able to do your makeup the way you truly want? Maybe it’s time to watch some of the amazing tutorials out there and have a day of practicing! Maybe you want to learn to do gel nails or thread your eyebrows, I mean, granted I would rather leave it to the experts but you might want to learn!  There are so many different hairstyles I’ve wanted to try out but I never get the time and don’t want to risk a disaster when I’m rushing out to meetings and events but now, it doesn’t matter, I can practice in my own home, wash it all out and start again! If you follow Nic Chapman on Instagram, she has challenged people to make a ‘rainbow eye’ using make up and to ask 5 friends to do the same and then to make a donation to Refuge the domestic abuse charity in respect of all the very sad situations that have been exacerbated in lockdown. This is something that is so close to my heart and what a lovely way to support it by trying this!

8. Increase your skill set - Is there something you have always wanted to know more about but you just haven’t had the time? Well now is the time to learn. My Mum has come up with a list of subjects she has always wanted to know more about - things she touched on at school but never really got to know about in detail and now she’s researching them. What about learning a new language or learning a new IT skill or just getting those Apps set up on your phone that will make life easier after lockdown? It could be anything, it could even just be upping your baking game!

9. Exercise your brain - As a child I used to love doing complicated jigsaws - they were therapeutic and really got my mind working all at the same time. My Grandad has been doing puzzles and brain teasers in lockdown and at 87 he’s a sharp cookie which he puts down to always having a crossword to do! Reading too is good for the brain and there are so many books I get recommended and I am definitely going to read in the coming weeks. If you are more of an online person I would highly recommend listening to some Podcasts - I learn so much from them.

10. Garden - I have never been a gardener. When I lived at my family home I used to admire the beauty of my garden but it was always my Mum and brother who actually put the hard work in to it. It just did not appeal to me at all. However, I now have a little outdoor space in my London home and until a month ago it was overgrown. I challenged myself (this is a really important thing to do often) and said why can’t I, the one who doesn’t like gardening, get out there and make this space special and somewhere I can use - what is stopping me? Of course there was nothing stopping me, only me and my attitude to it so I grabbed the tools and I pushed myself to get out there and clear it up. If I achieve nothing else in this lockdown I will always be proud of myself for achieving that. My little outdoor space has become a place of relaxation and an office all rolled in to one and it has been amazing to enjoy a safe area outdoors during these scary times. It doesn’t have to be Kew Gardens, just a little space of your own can be made beautiful and give you so much pride.

11. Chill Time - I’ve recently got myself Disney Plus TV (Ad gifted) and oh my goodness it has enabled me to relax in a way I haven’t for years. I absolutely love watching nostalgic films, ones I used to watch with my mum and brother while growing up. It has honestly made my life just snuggling up in a duvet and watching Disney, like I say, I haven't done this in years. My boyfriend on the other hand has engrossed himself in non-stop Prison Break and loved every single minute. I’ve also watched the second series of Big Little Lies. Once in a while it is so therapeutic to just binge watch things that you enjoy and not feel guilty about it - try it and see! Everyone needs to switch off from time to time! Not gonna lie, a lot of my chill time is me, online shopping... my current shopping wishlist is here if you need some inspo ha. I know a lot of you have messaged to say you are loving online shopping and you know what? If that makes you feel chill, go for it! See below for my top things to watch: 

- Breaking Bad - Gripping, about a teacher who becomes a drug dealer
- Queen Of The South - Mexican drug cartels
- 13th - exploring the history of racial inequality
- Self made - Black beauty pioneer starts a successful business, really good
- Gossip Girl - Luxury American high school drama
- Big Little Lies - Luxury California adult drama, one of my fave shows ever
- Prison Break - Addictive action packed
- Power - New York drugs gang meets romance, I am utterly obsessed so sad I've finished
- Gangs Of London - Violent but good
- Dead To Me - Hilarious and tongue in cheek, I laughed so much
- Spotless - Really good murder style programme
- Friday Night Dinner - Funny and has Will from the Inbetweeners in
- Love Is Blind - Utterly ridiculous, reality tv show
- Dynasty - Luxurious, fantastic dramatic American family
- Shark Tank - Like Dragons Den but the American version, way better
- Selling Sunset - Luxury LA properties with drama
- YOU - Romance meets thriller, just epic, with Joe (Dan from Gossip Girl)
- Normal People - Irish romance, so addictive and emotional
- Better Call Saul - Follow on from Breaking Bad
- Ozark - Action
- Afterlife - Emotional but witty
-  Anything Gordon Ramsay - I love seeing him transform restaurants

12. Admin - How many of us are on top of our admin whether it’s online clear out of files, making space on our computers and old pictures or clearing our cupboards of paper? Now is the time, mine is long overdue! Get on top of your spreadsheets, your to do lists, your pantry! YOUR WARDROBE! For me, organising my wardrobe is a task in itself but it feels so good when I've done it from top to bottom!

13. Jobs you have always wanted to do but never get time - I have had a complete tidy of my wardrobes, cupboards, drawers you name it. My family have painted the garden fence, gate, jet washed the drive, cleared all their cupboards and wardrobes and more besides. Stuff just stacks up when you’re at work all the time so if there is one great thing that’s been given to us over the last few weeks it is an opportunity to do all of these things. You could always clear your wardrobe out and either give your old clothes to a charity or open a Depop account to recycle them and make some pocket money! I have given a lot of stuff to charity over the last few years and now is your chance if you've always been meaning to!

14. Tik Tok - If you get really bored, what about getting your creative hat on and making some Tik Toks for a laugh and to make others laugh too! Try it, I'm over @emshelx on Tik Tok!

15. Make a Mood Board -
 Make a big collage using pictures to depict everything you are going to do when out of lockdown - you can involve the whole family in this and use it to motivate you when things get better. Or, you could manifest the life you want, it's cliche but manifest the life you want by writing it down! Plot and plan your wildest dreams, what do you want to do with your life? What job role do you want to do? Where do you want to visit? I find this super motivating! 

16. Make A Photobook - Make a scrap book of your memories and finally print out those iPhone photos! I always think how scary it is that our best photos are just sat on an iPhone and we could lose them at any moment. I think making a photo scrapbook is the perfect way to remember memories, you can then store it in your lounge and in the future guests can look at it, or do what I did, I made my Grandparents a really special photobook with photos they've never seen before from my graduation and our holidays. It's a forever gift! 

17. Have a Duvet Day -
If you do even half of the above you will be ready for a rest so why not pick a day when the weather is yucky and treat yourself to a duvet day, relax and enjoy and dream about the beautiful times ahead when we will all live our lives to the full and make every day a special occasion because of the experience we have gained throughout this time. Get the hot chocolate ready!

18. Start That Business -
Whether it's a subscription box you want to launch, an e-book, an Instagram account, a YouTube channel - why not start whilst you have the time? I feel like some amazing businesses are going to be born from lockdown! 

19. Volunteer Your Time - There are so many things you can do, such as signing up to be a Samaritan, signing up to help the NHS, help local charities - find something close to your heart and help! You could even deliver food and medicine to those in need around your local area. Have a little look on Facebook pages and online, see who needs you! You could really help someone out with your time. There is also an organisation called Furlonteer and they will match you up with the perfect volunteering opportunity of your choice. It is such a great idea. 

20. Send Gifts - Nothing makes you feel better than sending love. I have been sending hampers and goodies to NHS staff, carers and teachers throughout the pandemic and it took me time to put them together, get them organised and then send them off. I would do it over and over, it was such a good use of my time and feels very rewarding. I have also been spending time putting gifts together for my loved ones, such as baked treats for local friends, photo books and cards for family and sourcing local florists for example. Take some time to think about what would brighten someones day and send them a little something, it makes you feel great and them too! 

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Lots of love, Em x
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