Ok so times are tough, tougher than they’ve ever been before in London, UK and the world over.
No more mass gatherings; no parties, no festivals, no weddings, no concerts, no trips to the pub, no dinners at restaurants. Stay in and stay physically safe but how will your mental health cope?
This blog is to list out a few ideas that might work for you. I can’t solve the problem but even if one person just does one of these things then that’s ok with me.
I’m also keen to hear what your thoughts and ideas are. What else are you doing to occupy your time?
1. I’m lucky, at the back of my house, despite living in London, I have a large set of bi-fold doors which look out onto (today) a sunny garden. I always think that living in London the only wildlife I’ll see are cats, mangy foxes and squirrels but when you look, and encourage them, there are also a lot of birds.
I put out some little cut up pieces of fat a few days ago (left over from a joint of meat) and in the past few days have seen robins, blue tits, and finches. A few months back I saw a jay on the fence out front and if I see him again, I’d be ecstatic. So yup, I am becoming a twitcher.
2. Talk to your neighbours. Lauren lives next door; she is 73 and previously suffered from breast cancer so is pretty high risk. The wall at the back between our homes is also pretty high. So Lauren and I can safely ‘socialise’ over the garden wall. It does make me feel like Wilson in Home Improvement but that in itself raises a smile, so I’m cool with that.
3. We have a PS3, we occasionally play it. We are keen golfers and love a car race or more recently a bike race. We usually do-little one-off races but maybe now’s the time for a tournament. Draft up a full-on chart and get involved. You could have a month-long championship!
4. Which neatly leads me to my next point. We are now feeling very lucky to have a dart board in the kitchen. If you can’t go to the pub bring the pub to you. I’m planning on putting out snacks, having a couple of beers and maybe stream some background pub conversation on YouTube. (It exists Click Here if you don’t believe me) I might smear (a teeny tiny bit) of juice on the bottom of my shoes too so they feel sticky. That proper ‘pub with a dartboard’ feel.
5. I may have been joking about the YouTube background conversation but one thing I did do in the week was load up a virtual aquarium on the TV in the lounge, through YouTube. It sounds stupid but it was way better than having Boris on with all his ‘Breaking News’. Sometimes I don’t want to know how many new cases have been reported, the age of the youngest person to die of it in the UK or how long we need to stay in for. I found the fish calming and genuinely fun to watch.
6. If watching fish online truly isn't your thing and you just need to see genuine people then I’m hearing a lot about Zoom right now. Why not arrange to ‘virtually’ see your mates- 7pm Friday night, bring wine, put some nice clothes and sort your hair out. Then all Zoom in, someone shares the music and you can have a chat, a dance, a giggle. Yes it’s strange, yes it’s odd and it will feel weird but everything does right now so what have you got to lose?
7. To this end many DJs are streaming live sets, even an entire festival. Same thing applies – put some clothes on you’d wear to hit a club, have a couple of drinks then get ready to dance. Stream it live, loud and proud and have a right good boogie. You’ll hear tunes you love, can see everybody else dancing and the exercise will release some pretty happy endorphins which can’t be bad.
8. If dancing In your living room is just too embarrassing please don’t forget the importance of exercise. There are heaps of online sessions out there. My top two favourites are Joe Wicks (come on, who doesn’t love him right?!) and Pop Up Pilates with Cassey. I’m not going to lie I’m yet to do this but I will….
9. Other things I’m yet to do but will; read. I used to love reading then life sort of got in the way and I just didn’t do it as much as I should have. I have a whole stack of books upstairs so am looking forward to getting involved with those. I might then leave them outside for others to pick up and read. I will give the covers a good wipe down before I do this. I reckon I can do a book a week if it’s an average size although War and Peace might not be a bad shout right now….
10. And finally keep calling and FaceTiming your friends and family. There are so many programmes out there that enable this FaceTime on your iPhone, WhatsApp face time Skype, Zoom….you have a lot of time to learn about this right now so take them time to work out it, train your friends and family and keep in touch.
This is going to be really hard, maybe the toughest thing we’ve had to do and not because we want to but because we’re being told we have to. Try everything you can to keep yourself mentally ok.
Am always available for a chat if you just want to meet someone new and talk.
Thanks for reading.