Wednesday, 29 April 2020

10 WAYS TO BE PRODUCTIVE AT HOME DURING LOCKDOWN

29.04.2020

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR DOWNTIME

As we have entered the sixth week of lockdown in the the UK, there has been a true upheaval of people's routines and life has changed for so many as we #stayhome to support the work of key workers and to keep the nation safe. During this time we have seen key workers selflessly put their lives at risk to help us fight the pandemic, people have been working at home and all of us are staying home by creating new routines to keep us and others safe.

Throughout this time it can be difficult to stay positive and mental health is something that we need to make sure we prioritise at the moment. This made me think about all the ways I have been making the most of my downtime and how I have remained productive by staying home when I am not working. Something that we need to make sure that we do is give ourselves a break. A chance for us to just sit down and take some time to do something we love; it is great trying to be busy all the time but there are times where we just need to sit down and watch some Netflix or relax in the garden with the sun shining.

I have also seen how people have been keeping busy during lockdown on their Instagram and that has helped me to think of activities that I want to try myself. So here are the 10 different ways that I have been productive at home so we can do our part to help the nation.


Taking time to relax and self-care

As much as keeping yourselves busy during this time is brilliant, there is nothing better than making sure you have the time to relax and indulge in some self-care. You need to make sure that you have some "me time" too. Before lockdown, if you were the type of person who always had to be moving, worked long hours or had to commute for hours every day then this is the perfect opportunity to allow yourself time to relax. Even if this is not you then still take some time out of the day to pamper yourselves, even if it is just setting aside an hour a day to focus on you. Personally, I have been finding time to relax by having a bubble bath, lighting a candle and putting on a face mask. However, you may find reading a book, binge-watching your favourite Netflix series or just switching off your phone as a way to relax. Have a little spa evening to truly pamper yourself. Taking the time to relax and switch off is so beneficial to our mental health.

Discover your creative side

For me, being creative is a way for me to escape from work and is a form of relaxation. I find nothing better than drawing, colouring or sewing. It does not matter if you are the best drawer or whether you are usually crafty, this is a great chance to let those creative juices flow. Recently, I have been watching Kirstie Allsopp's show "Keep Crafting and Carry On" which is on Channel 4 and has inspired me to start being creative again by getting out the sewing machine and colouring pencils. There are so many great crafting ideas on Pinterest and blogs, plus you can help support small businesses like those on Etsy. Even ordering a colouring book and some colouring pencils can help you be creative and help you to switch off for a couple of hours. Why not try a new skill like knitting, origami or even watching a YouTube video teaching you how to draw.

Learn a new skill

There is no better time to sit down and learn a new skill or take an online lesson - this is something that I have been looking at doing over the last couple of weeks. The internet is a great way to jumpstart that new skill that you have been putting off. Have you wanted to learn to play an instrument, learn a new language or take part in a new fitness trend? This is the time to finally seize the opportunity and there is a huge variety of courses to choose from (both free and paid). So many people are taking the time to teach new skills on Instagram and YouTube. I have been watching many fitness videos on YouTube and they are great for the whole family to complete. If you are looking for a particular skill and want to pay then Masterclass is a great choice. You can learn to cook with Gordon Ramsey or learn to act with Helen Mirren. I am definitely looking at some of the photography masterclasses. Duolingo is perfect as it is free and allows users to brush up on their language skills and helps you to master a new language.

Become a baker

At the moment, my Instagram feed seems to be full of people baking banana bread or lemon drizzle cakes. I love baking and cooking and I have definitely jumped on the baking trend by making lemon drizzle cake and scones. This is the perfect opportunity to get out the flour and sugar and bake in the kitchen with family. You will find you will probably get more flour on you that in the mixture! There are so many great recipes online and I will definitely be adding some recipes to my blog in the future for you to try out. If baking is not for you, then why not brush up on your cooking skills by learning new recipes or creating your favourite dishes. With most restaurants closed, many have released the recipes for their famous dishes, including Wagamama's Katsu curry and Nando's have revealed how to make their delicious peri peri chicken and spiced rice.

Finally organise the house

When do you get the change to have a really good sort out of your house - yes, we all have a spring clean each year but this is the chance to really sort out those cupboards you have not opened in months. My kitchen cupboards have never looked so tidy! I also set out the task of sorting out my wardrobe as I knew I had clothes in there that no longer fit me and also allowed me to find clothes that I absolutely love wearing. You may find lots of hidden treasures you had forgotten about. It also gave me the chance to swap my winter wardrobe for my summer clothes as the days are much warmer and sunnier now. Maybe this is the chance for you to sort out the downstairs cupboard, clear out old clothes or sort out the children's toy boxes.

Communicate with friends and family

With all of us in lockdown at the moment, most of us will not be able to see our family and friends. Some may even be isolating on their own, therefore it is more important than ever to keep in regular contact with those people we love most. Zoom is a brilliant video conferencing tool that allows you to video chat multiple people at the same time. This is something we have been doing with my boyfriend's family including having afternoon tea, playing games and taking part in a quiz. We need to make sure that we keep in contact during this time, whether it is texting, face timing or using Zoom.

Start to build up a sweat with exercise

Usually when I have been at work, I never have the motivation to exercise even though I have gym equipment at home. It is really easy when you are busy to put working out to the side and say the famous line "I'll start tomorrow." I have definitely said this multiple times. However, now we have the chance to work out at home when we want to and we don't even need to have specific equipment. There are so many exercises you can do at home without needing equipment and you can always improvise by lifting objects you have around the house. I did squats holding a flower pot filled with soil. There are some brilliant workouts on YouTube and Instagram. I have really be motivated by working out in the garden. However, going on a daily walk or run is brilliant for those who want to do a bit of exercise but don't want to do an intense workout focussing on specific parts of the body. Just remember to do what you can, no-one is expecting you to be able to run a marathon at the end of lockdown.

Take the time to read, listen or watch

For me, I often find nothing more relaxing than reading a book, watching a movie or listening to music. Often I will listen to music when I am busy baking or having a good clean of a room. I love using my Alexa to play music in my room to help me relax while I am completing another task. I always have to have something on in the background when I am working. I have been reading some new books in the garden and there is nothing better than reading while being in the sun (just make sure you put on suncream)! If you aren't an avid reader then why not download Audible so you can listen to audiobooks while completing your tasks. Make sure you take the time to watch something you love. You don't need to spend hours in front of the TV but maybe put on a movie with the family or binge-watch your favourite Netflix series. I have been loving watching classic Disney films on Disney+; it has been used by every member of my family.

Get out the tools to garden or for DIY projects

Being on lockdown has given me the perfect excuse to finally complete all of the DIY projects that I have been putting off since Christmas. One of the biggest projects we did last week was to completely redecorate my bedroom. I had purchased all of the paint and wallpaper before Christmas and it had just been sitting in the spare room. So I made the decision to finally put on some old clothes and got painting. It took us the whole day but the finished result was amazing. This is the chance to complete those projects you want to do but usually never have the time, whether it is painting, fixing a chair or weeding the garden. I have also been spending more time gardening and have definitely enjoyed making the garden look more presentable. Try to use materials you already have or if you need to order online so you don't need to go to hardware stores.

Start a blog

What a perfect time to finally start a blog. I have definitely been more motivated since we have been on lockdown and I have rediscovered my passion for it. You don't need to be the best write or photographer in the world to start a blog. All you need to have is an idea and discuss what you are passionate about. Is there a product you want to review? Do you want to journal your life? Do you want to share your favourite family recipes? Then this is the chance to do it. All you need to do is find a blogging platform to write on whether that is Wordpress or Blogger and then start writing. It is a great way to be creative and share your interests with the world.

How has lockdown affected your life - Are you working from home? Are you having to homeschool your children? How are you keeping productive? Let me know in the comments as I would love to hear your suggestions.




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