How To Keep Your Mind Active During Lockdown
This blog post is written by Caitlin, a University of Surrey Student ambassador studying Music
Lockdown (a word I hope to never hear again once the pandemic ends) has been a challenging time for most. Those of us who are used to busy schedules and constant events have been haltered in our steps and forced to cross out almost everything from our calendars. For anyone that isn’t an essential worker or working from home, this sudden restriction of activities has left many people struggling to fill their time. However, there are actually lots of ways to keep your mind active and make the most of lockdown. In this blog, I will give a few examples of fun ways to keep busy whilst staying indoors. But remember, it is perfectly okay to have days where you lack motivation to do anything: your mental health should always be put first, so don’t beat yourself up for having days where you aren’t as productive!
Learning A New Skill
One of the best and most beneficial ways to spend this time is by learning a new skill (or getting better at one you may have already started). As a music student, I recommend learning a new instrument. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience as it improves your memory, builds up your confidence, and gives you an huge sense of achievement after you learn a piece. Another great factor is how immersive playing an instrument is, allowing you to temporarily remove yourself from all the worries of the outside world. But if learning an instrument isn’t for you then don’t worry! There are plenty of other new skills to learn, such as learning a language, drawing, painting, writing, photographing, video editing, sewing…the list goes on!
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Not more banana bread!” And whilst I’m not the biggest fan of the cake/bread hybrid, I can understand why everyone suddenly became the Paul Hollywood of cakes baked into loaves. Baking is really fun. Unlike most activities, there aren’t too many things that can go wrong (provided you’re following the recipe correctly) and at the end of it, you’re rewarded with a prize in the form of a delicious treat. There are endless amounts of online recipes for things you can bake including breads, pies, cakes and cookies. Banana bread is one of the simpler (and perhaps healthier?) baked goods you can make, which must be why the internet search for it went up by 525% during the first lockdown!
Reading is a great way to spend your time whilst keeping your mind active. It pushes you to concentrate and use your imagination but can also be extremely relaxing. Just find a comfortable spot to sit in with a warm drink and enjoy! My favourite books are often novels that focus on young people navigating their way through adulthood. Non-fiction book are also great for widening your perception of the world and learning about new topics. Reading newspapers and articles on current affairs is another great way to expand your knowledge, though be mindful that reading the news too much can be a strain on your mental wellbeing. Personally, I prefer to use reading as a tool to momentarily forget about current issues, but it is completely up to personal preference.
Home Workouts and Daily Walks
Last, but certainly not least, is one of the best activities to keep your mind and body healthy: exercise. Working out has never been my strong suit, but once I became fully responsible for my own well-being at university, I started to care a lot more about keeping fit. Going on walks and to the gym actually became fun and gave me a sense of empowerment for looking after my body. So, naturally, once lockdown began I was a little stumped as to how I would keep up all the progress I made. Thankfully, the rest of the world was facing the same problem, and through social media I found some of the best online media, I found some great online workouts! Some of my favourite instructors on YouTube include Chloe Ting and Blogilates. By going on daily walks and doing online workouts, I have managed to keep my body and mind healthy throughout this lockdown period. It makes me wonder if I should renew my gym membership at all…
I hope some of these ideas will help to keep you productive and happy during lockdown. It’s been a tough year for many of us, but by finding new and useful ways to spend our time, we can all make the most of it and begin preparing for what is hopefully a better year in 2021!