15 ways to beat the boredom during a solo lockdown

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Around a third of people in the world are now living in lockdown – and judging by the number of home videos and memes we’ve seen popping up, quite a few of you are already struggling to work out how to fill your time! To help you out, here are 15 tried-and-tested boredom killers, put together by the team at the Living Well Alone Project.

1. Work

If you’re working at home, then it goes without saying that you’ll be spending some of your time at home trying to do just this. This might be easier said than done! If you’re someone who needs structure to stay focused, try writing a plan for the day the night before, incorporating key tasks, regular breaks and chats with other people. If you get easily distracted, try the Pomodoro technique to set simple goals and break your day into manageable, focused chunks of time. If things are quieter, why not take advantage of your company’s corporate offer to catch up on some L&D, or have a virtual coffee with a colleague you haven’t talked to for a while? If you usually get together after work, trying setting up a virtual drinks get-together using a platform like Skype, Zoom, Houseparty or Google Hangouts.  

2. Learn

How many of us have said that we’d love to have time to learn a new language ? Or a new skill? Or to retrain for a new career? While there might be some practical limitations (learning hairdressing might be tricky by yourself…) now is your time to at least learn the theory. With a myriad of online courses, many at very low cost or even free, a tight budget is no excuse. You can also use YouTube to follow tutorials. You’ll need to stick with it, as you would with anything new. Do a little every day, however, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you progress. There are also thousands of online communities where you can meet other students and share your learning.

3. Watch

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Now TV, Sky, Google Play. Whatever your streaming service/s of choice, now is the time to catch up on all the TV and films you ever wanted to watch. Settle in for a marathon binge-watching session, or treat yourself to an episode here and there, perhaps at the end of a long day at work. You could pick a decade and spend a week watching the top movies and shows. You could join an online forum dedicated to sharing ideas on what to watch. You could even dig out your old DVD collection. However you do it, now is the one time you don’t have to feel guilty about spending six hours watching ‘Friends’ reruns.

4. Listen

Now’s the time to browse your music collection, and maybe to expand it. Try to create a soundtrack to inspires you through the day – perhaps something light and lively in the morning, uplifting during the afternoon, and peaceful in the evening. You can also listen to the radio, or pop on a podcast or an audiobook while you get on with other things.

5. Read

If you love to read, read! If you’ve never been much of a reader, it makes sense to start with the classics – the books millions of people over the years have read and have agreed are the best books of all time. That doesn’t mean everything on the list will be to your taste, but with that many positive reviews, there’s bound to be something there that you enjoy. Don’t get put off – if you start a book and don’t like it, try something different. Try mixing up fiction and non-fiction, different authors, and different genres. With thousands of free books available online, and more if you have a Kindle or Amazon account, now’s the time to curl up with a tea, coffee or a mug of hot chocolate, and get stuck in to a good read.

6. Play

While we’re not advocating spending entire days in front of a computer, there’s nothing wrong with upping your gameplay a little. You can play video games by yourself, alternatively you could try playing against others online. You could also try card games or board games which you can play solo.

7. Fix

Those lists you’ve made of all the ‘jobs around the house’ you ever wanted to sort, but never had time to do. Touching up paint, shelving, putting up pictures, fixing the cupboard door…Now’s your time…and no job is too small. Please be careful and don’t injure yourself!

8. Clean

Be honest – how long has it been since your house had a really deep clean? The kind of clean where you could run fingers over every single skirting board, radiator, the top of every door and say with confidence that it would be absolutely sparkling? Whether you designate a ‘cleaning day’ or take a little-and-often approach, it’s time to put on some music and roll up your sleeves! You can also Google ‘cleaning challenge’ for loads of ideas on how to make cleaning more fun than you’d ever thought was possible…

9. Sort

Let’s be honest – almost all of us have more stuff than we really need. Why not use this time to go all Marie Kondo on the cupboards you dare not look inside, getting rid of the things you don’t need and organising the rest? Whether it’s clothes, photos, souvenirs, socks, power tools or hairbands, there’ll be something somewhere which needs decluttering and organising. You could apply the same principles to your paperwork, your finances, and your music collection.

10. Soak

If there’s upside to a global pandemic, it’s the opportunity to indulge. Long hot baths with bath salts and beautiful products, perhaps also some peaceful music, candles and a book. Why not treat yourself?

11. Solve

Crossword puzzles, Sudoku and other brainteasers – stretch your grey matter and get solving!

12. Create

The options here are endless. You could create ‘things’ – paintings, drawings, sewing, macrame, crafts, cards. You could upcycle, paint or even build furniture! You could create photo albums. You can create in the kitchen too – maybe try a new recipe, or bake something for yourself to eat. You could write stories or poems. Get those creative juices flowing!

13. Grow

There’s something very satisfying about growing your own plants from scratch. You could try growing plants from seed, from cuttings, or even re-growing food from kitchen scraps.

14. Move

Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you can’t be active. Programmes like the Body FX and The Body Coach sessions can be done from your bedroom. If you usually attend an exercise class or yoga/pilates session, have a look at their website, as many schools are working really hard to move classes online and signing up is a great way to support your local businesses. In most places, you’re still allowed to leave home to exercise, as long as you don’t go near anyone you don’t live with. This means that walking, jogging, running and cycling are all still okay, though do think twice about planning anything more extreme. This is because of the strain on health services at the moment – if you get injured then you may not get seen as quickly as usual, plus you’ll be taking vital resource away from people who need it most. Even if it’s not usually something you’d do, a bit of exercise will help break up your routine, and will boost your endorphins, making you feel happier and more resilient!

15. Reflect

‘If you can’t go out, go in.’ While you might be limited in where you can go physically, your time at home presents an opportunity to dive deep into your own psyche (should you want to…) Journaling and meditation are great ways to achieve mental calm, and mindfulness practice will help you to practice gratitude for the little things. There are hundreds of tools you can download online to grow your self-awareness and support your personal growth. Whatever you decide to do, take time to reflect on where you’ve come from, where you are, and where you want to be in the future – there’s no harm in looking ahead to a time when normality is restored and you can move forward with your plans.

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