If you’re fed up of baking banana bread and aren’t feeling another zoom quiz you might want to think about trying something new!
The last week or so I definitely haven’t felt like myself. I’m craving more face-to-face social interaction and find that the things which once fulfilled my lockdown time, such as Netflix and blogging just aren’t enough anymore. So, I decided to switch it up and find some alternative pastimes to fill my lockdown hours and lift my mood. Below are five therapeutic activities that I’ve indulged in over the last couple of weeks.
1. Arts & Crafts
Just saying the words ‘arts and crafts’ takes me back to primary school, where much of our concentration was spent bent over our desks carefully colouring in our worksheets or cutting and sticking things into our workbooks. And whilst these activities are often dismissed as we ascend to adulthood, I think our teachers were on to something when they allowed us to spend much of our time letting our hands do the thinking for once. There’s something about switching off the logical part of your brain and letting your hands focus on the task before you that’s very therapeutic. I managed to find this serenity again when I discovered a draw full of mine and my sisters old colouring books and Hama Beads (who remembers those?!). I then spent the rest of my morning colouring in and creating Hama Bead coasters whilst listening to music. It was great! If you’re wanting something more advanced than colouring then why not try scrapbooking or knitting? Both equally rewarding and fun to do. Either way, it’s nice to switch it up from the new norm.
2. Cooking & Baking
I put ‘cooking’ first in the subheading as I feel it often gets overlooked next to baking, which is sometimes seen as more fun. And whilst I do have an incredibly sweet tooth, I think cooking can be just as therapeutic as baking. Now we have the time to spare in the kitchen, I’m actively looking for yummy new recipes to try out and giving them my best go. It might not always go to plan but that’s part of the experimenting! In my normal day-to-day life, I find cooking to be a bit of a hassle; I want something quick and budget-friendly. But recently I’ve really enjoyed giving myself the time to source a new recipe, prepare my ingredients and put something together! I stick on a podcast or some music in the background and it instantly becomes less stressful. Not only do I get time to myself, but I also get to reap the rewards when I’m done – a delicious dinner and no washing up! (the chef gets a free pass in our house).
3. Spring Cleaning
Yes. I said it. I know it’s technically a chore, but a good old spring clean does wonders for your mental health. It’s like, the more you de-clutter your home, the more you clear your head of any junk as well. Depending what sort of spring clean it is, a clear-out can be quite entertaining; I find stuff I haven’t used in years and it’s a nice bit of nostalgia. When I got back from travelling I was putting stuff away in the loft when I found some of my old school books and my hello kitty diary. It was hilarious reading through them again and made the clear out feel more like self-care. You also feel so much better when it’s all done and dusted! Clear out the old to leave room for the new, give it a good clean and then sit back and admire your walk with a glass of wine in hand.
Write something. Whether it’s a diary, a letter, a list, a song, a poem, whatever, just write and see what comes out. This is another way to declutter your brain and get out of your lockdown funk. Don’t dismiss it, until you’ve tried it. Sometimes it’s simple things which are most effective.
5. Treat a loved one
Do something kind for a loved one! We’re all feeling a bit meh right now, so make someone’s day by surprising them with something special. It could be a care package, flowers, a card or a family games night! Again, this is quite a hands-on task and takes you out of your own head, away from other worries and makes you feel a lot more connected to whoever you’re missing. If it’s a care-package, you could put some home-baked goods in it, or carefully select a few of their favourite things. Flowers you could pick yourself and deliver to their door (whilst social distancing of course), or choose some online with a heartfelt message. Big or small, your loved one is sure to appreciate the gesture, making their day, and yours!
I found all these activities to be thoroughly therapeutic, a good mix of zen and amusement, whilst still feeling like I’m being productive one way or another, which – in the longterm – always makes me feel better than a day spent on the sofa.