You can…Look after yourself

Feeling Restless during COVID-19? Same here. We are all feeling a bit lost right now: without travelling, socialising and our usual hobbies there’s a lot of free time and (seemingly) not a lot to do. 

Oh but there is! There is an abundance of new hobbies and activities to get involved in. Over the weeks we’ve seen everything from knitting groups, art classes and pub quizzes all moving online. But what’s worth a try or what might be horribly awkward online? Well, here is where we can help. We’ve found you the top ten activities to try this week (from home!). We know many of these require a solid internet connection or lots of expensive data which is challenging for lots of people right now, so we’ve included some offline ideas too.

1. Get zen and try a yoga class

Want to find your inner peace? Or, failing that, want to post photos on instagram standing on your head? Look no further. The Down Dog app is currently free and offers tailored classes at all levels. Or, there’s Yoga with Adriene which features the world’s most mellow dog (and some yoga too).  Finally, Cole Chance has a great series especially for beginners.

2. Scribble down your worries 

Feeling low during this time? Or just needing a way to talk through how you’re feeling? Try journaling as a method to improve your mental health and start your day positively. 

3. Organise a movie night 

Netflix Party app allows you to watch a show with your pals. None of that faffing about trying to press play all at the same time- the app will do it for you whilst you grab the popcorn and feel better you can now provide a running commentary to an audience. 

4. Learn stuff

Remember when we used to ask for more time to learn a language or take up coding? Yep, neither do I, but there’s some people out there. Plenty of courses have gone free during this period of time, and you can find a whole range here. You could also have a route around a dig out your old textbooks. You’d be amazed how much fascinating stuff you learnt at school that you completely forgot about.

5. Get Creative 

Turn your place into a live-in gallery over the next few weeks. There’s free downloadable colouring in pages, as well as free courses from calligraphy, to photography to mastering the basics of drawing

6. Tackle your to-do list 

Everyone has things they’ve been meaning to do. Have you got a bulb to replace, some photos you’ve been meaning to hang up or a button that fell off your shirt two years ago? Whatever it is, draw up a list and get cracking.

7. Visit a museum

There are several museums that you can visit remotely through virtual online tours. Wonder around the Louvre in Paris, or hop over to Italy and Spain to marvel at The Vatican Museums and The Dalí Theatre-museum. More details here.

8. Cook

Cooking is great for passing the time and keeping things exciting. Why not try cooking something you’ve never cooked before? There’s BBC’s recipes packed with fruit and veg, make your favourite comfort food (I know what I’ll be doing) or check out these amazing recipes from Siba Mtongana.

9. Help others

If you’re healthy and want to support others who are self-isolating or at higher risk, you can check out local mutual aid groups (UK). These groups volunteer to support older or more vulnerable neighbours by picking up food, taking their dogs for a walk, or just calling them for a friendly chat.

There’s groups like this all over the world but if there’s not a group like this where you are, you could think about setting one up. Obviously make sure you are following WHO guidance and national laws if you are supporting in this way.

10. Give to others

Whatever you decide to get up to, think of how your creative pursuits could put a grin on a friend or neighbour’s face. We have seen neighbours baking for one another, friends sharing their own yoga flows with each other, new painters transforming their work into cards for friends and more. If there’s a way you can share what’s made you happy this week, do!

Lily Mackow-McGuire

Lily Mackow-McGuire is the Youth Leadership and Design Senior Manager at Restless Development. After studying for an MSc in Development Studies, Lily worked across India, Cambodia and Laos specialising in access to education and women's rights. Now based in London, she also leads the Youth Stop AIDS London Local campaign group, a youth-led movement campaigning for a world without AIDS by 2030.

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You can…Look after yourself

by Lily Mackow-McGuire Reading time: 3 min