As we enter the extended social distancing period here in the UK I know I’m not the only one who is somewhat struggling mentally. Each day just seems to morph into the next. Days don’t feel like days anymore. Time feels slower than usual and the daily routine of being stuck in the house is starting to get really repetitive. Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree with social distancing and staying at home if you can. We need to protect those most at risk and tackle the douche bag that is COVID-19. For me personally, I’m finding being away from family the hardest along with my regular routine being disrupted. That being said I have found a way to somewhat tackle my mental health. That method? Simply by distracting myself and keeping busy.
As an extreme introvert who loves nothing more than a duvet day I didn’t think being home all the time would be difficult. However, before the lockdown, I still went out. I loved a long walk, a trip to my local Home Bargains and the occasional cinema date. Obviously I can still go for a walk. However, I’m trying to keep walks to a minimum. Instead, I’ve opted to exercise in the house instead. Anyway, my point is even introverts and home birds can suffer from cabin fever. Because of this, I’ve decided to put together my ultimate guide to tackling lockdown boredom. Hopefully, someone somewhere finds this helpful. So without further ado, let’s get into the guide.
1. Tackle lockdown boredom with some gaming
One of my all time favourite hobbies is gaming. Recently I’ve been LOVING Animal Crossing New Horizons. This game seriously has been a godsend for me. It really couldn’t have been released at a better time. If you’ve not played an Animal Crossing game before it’s basically like having a warm hug. It’s a game that you can sit and chill with. It’s calming, relaxing and surprisingly wholesome. I definitely recommend this to any Switch users who are struggling to find an escape during these dark times.
Try out the new Overwatch hero Echo
If AC just isn’t your thing or you’re a PC user, PS4 owner or an XBOX lover, I recommend giving Overwatch a try if you haven’t already. This team-based shooter isn’t new. In fact, it’s been around since 2015. That being said a new hero has been added to the game. Because of this, the game seems to have become more active in terms of players. For me, I find Overwatch fun as it’s all about knowing who counteracts who and who works well together. There are so many different ways to play the game which is one of the main reasons why I love it.
Am I a fan of the new hero? She’s cool. Although I for sure think she’s going to get nerfed in the near future. Will she be replacing my main? I can’t say so. I usually play as either a tank or support. If I’m not being a D.VA main I’m either keeping the team alive as Moira, Mercy or Lucio. Sometimes you might even find me picking the opposition off one by one with Roadhog’s hook. It just depends on how I feel. In general, though, I rarely play as DPS. If I do I usually opt from Sombra, Soldier 76 or Bastion.
Overwatch not for you? I also recommend Resident Evil BioHazard for a nice little jumpscare, trust me, it’s a good laugh. If you want to rage until steam comes out of your ears give Fortnite a bash. Other games I love and recommend? Far Cry 5, BioShock, Two Point Hospital, Stardew Valley, Mortal Kombat 11, COD Modern Warfare and Tekken 7, to name a few.
Alternatively grab yourself a board game
If video games just aren’t your thing, grab yourself a board game to play with your household. Monopoly is always a winner. My favourite thing to play? A card-based game. Some of my faves include Obama Llama 2, Weird Things Humans Search For and of course the much loved, Cards Against Humanity.
2. Binge-watch brilliant content on the many streaming services
Nowadays there’s a whole host of streaming services packed full of all types of films and TV series to suit all tastes and preferred genres. I’m personally subscribed to Netflix, NOW TV, Amazon Video and Disney+. There are also the free catch up services available like ITV Hub, BBC iPlayer, All 4 and dplay which I like to use too. And yes before anyone says anything I know technically the BBC iPlayer isn’t free. It’s included with the license fee. However, there isn’t an additional subscription fee specifically for it so I’m including it in this section of the post. Okay? Glad we cleared that up!
If you’re after some recommendations I’ve got you covered! On Netflix, I highly recommend watching Tiger King. It’s so bizarre that you’ll probably think it’s a mockumentary series. On NOW TV, get watching Chernobyl. The story is shocking and devastating but the series is extremely well made and worthy of your time. As for Amazon Video, I recommend either BuzzFeed Unsolved: True Crimes or The X Files. Both are brilliant in very different ways. New to Disney+? I’m personally enjoying bingeing The Simpsons but there’s LOADS of content on there. Fancy rewatching your favourite childhood Disney flick? Well, now you can at the click of a button.
Take advantage of the free streaming services
As for the free streaming services there’s still a lot of content to watch. On the ITV Hub I recommend Quiz for a scarily accurate portrayal of Chris Tarrant. I also recommend Family Guy if you’ve got a slightly darker sense of humour. For BBC iPlayer I without a doubt recommend thrilling crime drama Line Of Duty. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever watched and I’m low-key super hyped for the new series. After something to watch on All 4? The brilliant Derry Girls will make you laugh your socks off. Honestly, it’s fantastic.
Now some of you might not be aware of the streaming service dplay. I know I wasn’t until very recently. It’s basically a way to catch up on shows from Quest, Really, Quest Red, DMAX, Food Network and HGTV shows. I personally like the think of these as the channels that produce the most random but addictive shows. I’m not even ashamed to admit that I love a bit of Dr. G Medical Examiner, NASA’s Unexplained Files and Man V. Food. However, my latest guilty pleasure? Outback Opal Hunters. Now hear me out. I know a show about people mining opal in Australia doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing in the world. However, it’s actually a really good watch. Plus opal is beyond stunning.
3. Learn something new or take up a new hobby
Have you got a lot of time on your hands? Why not learn that hobby or skill that has always caught your eye? If like many you’ve been furloughed from work you might find that your usual go to hobbies are getting a tad repetitive. So why not take up a new hobby? I’ve spotted lots of people getting involved with creative activities like arts and crafts, sewing, knitting and crocheting. Nothing like that take your fancy? Perhaps learning a new language is more up your street? Maybe a musical instrument is more appealing?
If you’re struggling to find something that appeals to you, don’t worry. I’m sure there is something out there for you. Some of my little hobbies include Sudoku and taking quizzes which to many seem boring but to me, they’re super relaxing. If you’re more tech-savvy why not tackle lockdown boredom with something techier? Create a podcast, start a YouTube channel, stream on Twitch or Mixer or even do some web design or coding if that’s something that interests you. The possibilities are endless.
4. Cure your lockdown boredom with some DIY, clean and organise your abode
One thing I’ve done during lockdown is sorted my house to the best possible standard. I’ve cleaned my abode from top to bottom using the likes of my trusty Zoflora. Seriously this stuff is great and smells amazing. I’ve sorted through cupboards, thrown away things I don’t use and reorganised rooms. I’ve also got some DIY planned for my office which I’m super excited about. When it comes to home improvement I find it’s one of the best things for my mental health.
Having a clean, fresh and tidy home is one of the best feelings. I love nothing more than sitting down and admiring my sparkling house after it’s had a good clean. It’s just so satisfying. I think that’s when you know you’re an adult. Do you get excited over cleaning products and being able to hang the washing out on the line? Congratulations, you’re officially a grown-up. I mean the other day I got excited over my new shower squeegee. I don’t know if it’s the lockdown boredom affecting me or if I’m just that sad. Who knows, either way, you’ve gotta love a crystal clean shower screen!
5. Get your chef on and experiment with food
As I’ve been spending all of my time at home I’ve been able to experiment more with food. I love cooking and experimenting with flavours and spices. I also love to eat. During the lockdown, I’ve been trying out lots of new dishes and recipes. Getting hold of food hasn’t been the easiest for our household but luckily I have a talent of making something yummy out of even the most boring foods. Because of this, it’s been a fun little challenge for me. It’s kept me entertained on an evening. I’ve also been making sure everything I make it moderately healthy. AKA as healthy as it can be given the lack of things I can get hold of.
I know lots of people have been indulging in snacks during this dark period in life and normally I’d have spent all my time doing the same thing. However, I’m changing my lifestyle to eat better and move more. Since the lockdown began I’ve been upping my exercise and eating less. I’m hoping to emerge from isolation as a new woman. I’m calling it my isolation transformation. Yes, I’m THAT lame. So far I’ve lost over a stone which I’m over the moon about. Obviously weight loss isn’t everything, I’m doing this more for my health, both physical and mental. I just think having an extra little goal for myself keeps me plodding on during lockdown. Oh and don’t get me wrong, I’m not being mega strict. I still have cheeky snacks now and again.
Recipes books worth checking out
If you’re after some brilliant recipes I’ve been loving two cookbooks in particular. Both focus on lower-calorie but delicious food. The first book is Pinch of Nom Everyday Light. This book was created by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone. The pair owned a restaurant in the Wirral where Kate was head chef. Together the duo created the Pinch of Nom blog with the aim to help people cook. After creating an engaging community of over 1.5 million followers the pair began releasing recipe books. One of which is Pinch of Nom Everyday Light which focuses on 100 recipes all under 400 calories. Some of my favourite recipes include the flavoursome Jambalaya and filling Cheese and Onion Crispbakes.
Another book I’ve been enjoying is the TwoChubbyCubs The Cookbook. This book was created by James and Paul Anderson who also created a successful blog called TwoChubbyCubs. The pair started their blog during their weight loss journey and soon found themselves gaining a loyal audience. They then released the book TwoChubbyCubs The Cookbook which contains non-nonsense recipes that are delicious but healthy. The book features 90 recipes under 500 calories written in the pair’s signature humorous writing style. Some of my favourite recipes in the book include the guilt-free Salt & Pepper Chips along with the hearty One-Pot Creamy Leek & Sausage Bake.
Check out these free easy access recipes
If you’re after free recipes to access quickly, I also recommend looking at BBC Good Food and All Recipes. BBC Good Food contains a lot of recipes by pro chefs such as John Torode, Ching-He Huang and Tom Kerridge to name a few. All Recipes, on the other hand, tends to be user-generated recipes written by everyday ordinary people. My only advice would be to look at the reviews before attempting any meals. These reviews can not only prevent you from wasting ingredients, they often feature constructive feedback which can actually further add and improve the dish in question.
6. Exercise inside to help pass the time during lockdown boredom
As I mentioned above I’ve been exercising more during my time inside. My favourite way to do this? By playing Just Dance. I find this is the most fun way for me to get a workout in whilst also tackling lockdown boredom. Another thing I love is Ring Fit Adventure. It’s a little more intense than Just Dance but equally as fun.
If you’re struggling to come up with things to do inside, YouTube is a great place to discover inspiration and various workouts. I know Joe Wicks AKA The Body Coach has been posting a whole load of content. There are also a whole host of other YouTube tutorials available free to watch to help you get moving during your time inside. Another top tip of mine? Pop on a playlist of your favourite tracks and just have a mad half an hour of busting crazy moves. It’s simple, fun, burns calories and gives you a good laugh in the process.
7. Tackle lockdown boredom head-on and become a bookworm
A really superb way to pass the time and tackle lockdown boredom is to get lost in a good book. One of my favourite books I’ve recently read was Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig. This number one bestseller tells the tale of how Matt triumphed over mental illness and discovered himself. It’s a really moving book that’s also funny and a joy to read. I recommend this to anyone struggling with their mental health. It’s truly thought-provoking.
Now in terms of other books to read, I really, really recommend you check out Hannah’s blog, Hannah Heartss. As far as book lovers go Hannah is your girl. Last year alone she read over 200 books and regularly reviews her reads. So if you’re struggling on what to read next, check out Hannah and her epic content.
8. Write about something you’re passionate about with some blogging
One of my absolute favourite ways to tackle lockdown boredom is to do some writing on a blog. I don’t know what it is but I just adore writing about things that I’m super passionate about. Perhaps I find it kind of therapeutic and especially helpful on poor mental health days? I guess it just distracts me from the noise inside of my head. The great thing about blogging is that anyone can do it. There are plenty of free ways to set up a blog. Take Blogger for example. This site allows you to create a blog in minutes and have your first post up in record time. If you’re looking for something a little more pro, I recommend going self-hosted and using WordPress.
In terms of content, you can write about anything you like on your blog. Maybe you want to write about something personal? Perhaps you want to write about your hobby? Or maybe you want to write about your brand or business? If you’re after tips on blogging I highly recommend heading over to my other site, Canny Social. This site is jam-packed full of all things to do with digital marketing. The site includes a section on blogging designed to help you in your online journey. If you’ve already got a blog but you’re struggling to come up with content, fear not. I recently wrote a post on how to fight writer’s block which you might find extremely helpful.
Bloggers to check out
If writing isn’t your thing but you love to read a blog I have you covered. For excellent content on the likes of gaming, tech and mental health be sure to check out Elle May’s blog. Elle produces some really fantastic content and just like me she’s been really getting into Animal Crossing New Horizons. If you’re into travel, beauty, lifestyle and books check out Disney lover Zoe’s blog, The Ramblings Of Nuggetstump. Zoe’s super sweet and creates some incredible illustrations.
Another great blog I recommend is written by Shay Kennedy. Shay writes cracking content based around beauty, lifestyle and fitness. If you head over to her blog you’ll also spot Shay’s utterly adorable Pestie named Albie. Seriously, he’s the cutest. Last but not least I recommend you check out Tee’s blog, Totally Tee. Tee is super sweet and writes posts based around her life. She talks about health, travel, beauty and lifestyle. She’s also an aspiring author, gamer and bride to be.
9. Listen to your favourite tunes and dance through lockdown boredom
When it comes to music it’s definitely something I cannot live without. My taste is incredibly eclectic and I don’t think a day goes by without me listening to at least one track. I just love music. It makes me happy. During these testing times doing anything that makes you happy can only be seen as a good thing in my opinion. So if music makes you happy, play those tracks! Grab your favourite pair of headphones and jam out to some songs that you adore. Even better, blast them out through a speaker and have yourself a groove.
Some of my favourite tracks to boost my mood include the likes of Earth, Wind and Fire – September and Twice – Fancy. I also love a bit of Billy Ocean – When The Going Gets Tough and Basement Jaxx – Romeo. If you’re after some uplifting songs to dance to and combat lockdown boredom, you are in luck. If you head over to Spotify I’ve put together a lockdown mood boost playlist. This playlist features a range of music both new and old designed to help you get your groove on.
10. Pamper yourself with a spa day or glam yourself up
My final suggestion to tackle lockdown boredom? Give yourself a pamper. Now during my time in lockdown, it’s been a battle to pull myself together every day and get out of my PJs. I think just being out of routine has that effect on us all, to be honest. That being said if you are feeling low and bored, give yourself a pamper. Stick a face mask on and paint your nails with your favourite shade. Just by giving yourself a little TLC will make you feel that little bit better and distract yourself from all the doom and gloom. Not really a fan of pampering? Even just having yourself a hot shower, brushing your hair, teeth and putting on a fresh set of clothes can help your mood.
Finally, take a deep breath and relax
The situation of the world right now is both scary and uncertain. Things at the moment are tough. People are losing loved ones, no one knows for certain when things will improve and life is so different from just a mere couple of months ago. I know I’m not alone when I say my anxiety is high. I’m scared for loved ones and I’m scared about how this situation is going to shape the rest of our lives. You might find yourself feeling exactly the same way as I do. Just know that you’re not alone. Many people feel the same worries and are struggling with their mental health. To fight this I use the above tactics to distract myself because if I didn’t I’d have probably broken down by now.
I miss my family. I miss the normality of life and routine. However, despite my worries and anxiety, I recognise that things could be a lot worse. For that I am grateful. I’m so thankful for the hard work of the keyworkers across the world trying their hardest to make things run as smoothly as possible. I am thankful to the medical staff and carers for treating those in need and helping to protect the most vulnerable. I’m thankful for supermarket workers, the transport staff and all the people behind the scenes in various industries doing their best to keep things going.
Stay safe, stay at home and protect others
When it comes to the topic of COVID-19 there is a lot of misinformation online. My advice? Only listen to credible sources like WHO and the NHS. Don’t spread silly rumours on social media. Instead, abide by the advice to stay home so that we can protect lives.
And to those who are feeling particularly low during this time and are finding it difficult just to get out of bed, don’t worry. You’re not alone. The fact that you’re still plodding on is more than enough. You don’t have to spend your lockdown tackling foreign languages, getting buff or writing a novel. So long as you’re here is more than enough.
So don’t be disheartened when Sally from down the road posts on Facebook about mastering the art of painting after she’d completed her four-tier gradient rainbow cake before she posts her seventh weight loss selfie of the day. We are all coping with this in different ways and that is fine. I personally count just getting up and out of bed as an achievement. Just stay home, talk to those around you when you feel you’re struggling and as hard as it might sound, try not to worry too much. If social media and the news is overwhelming you, take a break. It can seriously help.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a date with a bag of Flaming Hot Tangy Cheese Doritos. My plan to tackle lockdown boredom today? Eat and survive. Stay safe guys. I’m thinking of you all.