Things To Do In Lockdown

Ponty is on lockdown.  The pubs are shut, the rugby is cancelled and even the park is closed, so many people are worried that they’ll get bored, go mad or just end up getting fat ‘cos they’ll be binge-watching Netflix and eating chocolate all day long.  So how can you cope with this new way of living and what can you do to prevent you becoming addicted to Loose Women (television for stupid people)?

In Italy they are singing and sharing recipes.  In Spain, communal staircases have become the new running tracks, in Germany, computer hackers are busy coding COVID-busting apps and in Wales we are all praying Alun Wyn doesn’t get infected.

So as hundreds of millions of Europeans languish in partial lockdown, people are finding increasingly inventive ways to keep themselves entertained – and to counter what psychologists warn are the very real mental health risks of confinement.  Having said that, if you are going stir crazy just think what Terry Waite or John McCarthy must have felt like!

OK, here we go:

There are plenty of apps that help you learn a language for free.  Download one or just search on YouTube, and spend 30 minutes a day teaching yourself how to speak Welsh, French, German, Chinese, Swahili or Klingon.

Keep active by downloading a Couch to 5k app, and head out into the fresh air for a jog three times a week.  Just make sure that you maintain a two metre distance from other people while you’re out running and don’t run as far as the Peak District otherwise police drones will machine gun you to death and eat your dog.

If you’re lucky enough to have them, do an Alan Partridge marathon.  Don’t forget to include toilet breaks into your schedule.

  • Read some books

Wales has some great authors.  Yep, here comes the plug!  Enjoy a crime thriller trilogy set in Cardiff, the valleys and Africa or get stuck into some nature poetry that encourages you to get off grid!  More Welsh writers here.

  • Watch a Netflix series

Netflix has many great shows but rather than binge-watching the whole series, try to limit yourself to one episode a day.  Try ‘Breaking Bad’ if you’ve not seen it and follow Walter through a series of adventures.  Then when you’re done there is the ‘Jesse’ film and ‘Better Call Saul’ – months of fun!  Just ration yourself so you have something to look forward to each night after all that painting, spring cleaning and the rest of the jobs she keeps adding to your ever-growing list.

  • Come Dine With Me

No, not the crap TV show with the annoying commentary but a do it yourself version.  If you live with other people, take it in turns to cook each other dinner, scoring each meal at the end.  And don’t forget the entertainment.

  • Catch up with your housework

Even men can attempt to iron things, do the dishes or dust.  And ladies, just imagine Brad Pitt in a pink pinny – might do wonders for some of you.

Warning: Men. If you do attempt to iron some clothes just make sure you take them off first.  A friend of mine ironed his t-shirt a while back and burnt his neck – true story, not a joke!

  • Take a virtual tour of the world

Many UK tourist attractions offer virtual tours, so you can look around places from the comfort of your own home.  YouTube has plenty of great travel videos and the BBC does great nature programmes if off the beaten track corners of the globe are more your thing.

  • Phone a friend

Phone an elderly neighbour who might be feeling lonely, a relative who you haven’t spoken to in a while, or even just a friend who you ordinarily would only see in the pub.  Many people will be feeling isolated during this period of social-distancing, and keeping in touch is important for our mental health.  Maybe arrange to call twice a week, that way we all have a diary, a sense of schedule, purpose and something to look forward to.

  • Enter a poetry contest

The Ponty-based International Welsh Poetry Competition is open and accepting entries so why not dig out those old poems, tidy them up a bit and give yourself a chance to win £500?

  • Donate to your local food bank

Many supermarkets have a drop-off point where you can leave donations for your local food bank.  Thinking about others less fortunate than yourself can do wonders for your own self esteem and make you realise that life isn’t so bad after all.

  • Show the NHS your appreciation

Say thank you to health workers by taking part in the Thursday night, 8pm clapathon, bang a drum or hit a saucepan with a spoon.

  • Write a novel

How many times has someone said to you? ‘You should write a book about that?’  Well now’s your chance. Time on your hands? Why not set aside an hour or two a day to get those stories and thoughts down on parchment or Microsoft Word.

  • Host a virtual pub quiz

Gather your friends for a virtual pub quiz where you ask the questions over a video call.  You can also text out a picture round – whether the clues are emojis, or photos of things in your house.

  • Check out a world renowned museum’s art collection

The Lourve, Guggenheim, Van Gogh and many more all offer tours on their websites.

  • Dig out your old photo albums

Now’s the time to take a trip down memory lane.  Ask yourself when was the last time you looked at your photographs?  You go on holiday, take your camera, print some images, stick them in an album and then they gather dust for years.  Take them off the shelf and look at them.

  • Clean out your wardrobe

Try on all your clothes, and bag up any that you don’t want, or that don’t fit.  Do a good spring clean.  It is spring after all.  You can take them to a charity shop once lockdown is lifted.

  • Watch all of Shakespeare’s plays

Actor and director Robert Myles has started project The Show Must Go Online, where a cast from around the world reads out Shakespeare’s plays over video.  And if you real want to suffer even Andrew Lloyd Webber has put his musicals online.  Joking 😉

  • Take a yoga class

Even if you’ve never done yoga in your life, there are plenty of free tutorials on YouTube. You can also do a spot of training in the house or garden, just schedule it in and stick to your routine.  Making it part of your daily things to do will give order and structure to your time inside.

  • Get out in the garden

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, make the most of it.  It might be difficult to get hold of some paint or decking stain but I’m sure you’ll find some stuff in the shed that needs using up.  Do a spot of tidying up, when you go to Lidl for a shop, pick up some plants and start greening your spaces.

  • Jigsaw and board games

Remember the old analogue entertainment? Jigsaws, Trivial Pursuit, Ludo, playing cards.  Maybe skip ‘Operation’, but you get the idea.

  • Watch the whole series of Fawlty Towers

Only one episode a week, like in the old days.  Laughter is the best medicine so they say so what better than a half hour in the company of Basil, Sybil and the major to cheer you up.  One a week will last you three months if need be.

  • Exercise / dog walk

Dog walkers don’t need to be told this as we do it every day, including Christmas Day, in the pouring rain, sleet, snow and gale but getting outside in the fresh air is good for us.  Both mentally and physically.  So don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to go for a nice walk.  When you’re back in work you’ll be cursing yourself for not doing it more when you had the chance.  And if you’re elderly and can go out, just a lap of the garden, walk the length of the street, round the block, anything is better than nothing.  Get dressed up appropriately and take your daily exercise.

  • Learn a new skill

Take up a hobby.  Photography is a good one.  Dig out the old camera and take it with you when you go for that daily walk or exercise.  Learn how to take better photos by downloading an e-book.  Share them on social media with friends.

  • Relax

This is a stressful and worrying time for many, so don’t put any pressure on yourself to make the most of your time stuck indoors.  Remember what it was like when you ‘had’ to get up early, brave the A470 to go to work and how much you hated it. Think about your horrible boss and how you couldn’t wait to get away from work – well guess what, you now have a couple of months break from the evil b****!  Maybe now is the time to think about what else you could do.  Could you work for yourself? Start a new business?  In the meantime don’t stress, just chill.

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Lockdown is a serious thing of course (even though this is hardly severe) but with a positive mental attitude and following the sensible guidelines we will get through it.  It may take a month before the outbreak peaks, it may even be a month after that before we see light at the end of the tunnel but it will come so try not to worry.  Oh yeh and one other thing.  If you spend / waste (delete as applicable) any time on social media be nice to people!

Stay safe.


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