Keeping occupied at home during isolation

Staying at home indefinitely has changed life for everyone. While it is the safest thing to do, for yourself and your loved ones, it brings new challenges. So it’s important to find things to keep you physically and mentally active during this time.

If you’re used to getting out and about you may feel lost, so find some projects to channel your energy. If you feel anxious or uncertain, having other areas to focus on can be a welcome distraction and prove calming.   

Here are some ways to help you keep occupied and stay positive while at home.

1. Stay connected

Of course, a great way to lift your spirits is to keep in touch with friends and family. With modern technology, it’s easier than ever, with apps such as FaceTime, WhatsApp and Skype enabling you to see a friendly face.

Whereas previously people may have been busy and hard to catch up with, the landscape has changed. With everyone at home, it’s a great time to connect.

If you’re new to video calling, check out Abbeyfield’s handy Guide to Video Calls.  

2. Read, read, read

There’s nothing like losing yourself in a good book. Transport yourself to far off places from the comfort of your armchair, or discover more about a famous life in a compelling biography. Maybe there are books on your shelves you’ve always meant to read? Now’s your chance.

If you read online, Apple Books has released a selection of free audio and e-books during lockdown. You can access the books via their app on your phone or tablet. Simply ensure that you’re using the latest version, click on ‘Book Store’ and the ‘Free Books’ section.

If you prefer audiobooks, Audible offers a 30-day free trial.

3. Write your own story               

If all that reading has inspired you, why not write your own story? You may have thought about writing a poem or story, so give it a try. Or write about your own life, for yourself and your family. Remember cherished times and funny memories, and document your family history. Grandchildren will love reading about the times Grandad got up to mischief, and how your childhood was different from theirs today.

But if that sounds too much, how about creating a family tree? It’s fascinating to trace your family and there are plenty of online resources to help, such as Ancestry and Free UK Genealogy

4. Keep physically active

Staying active at home is crucial, and will bring both physical and mental health benefits. It’s never too late to get started, so no matter what your age or health condition, there are ways to add movement to your routine.

You may have heard about PE lessons with Joe Wicks (aka the Body Coach) while the children are off school. But did you know about his 10 Minute Home Chair Workout for seniors? View it online anytime and make it part of your day.

Alternatively, you can find lots of yoga for seniors or chair yoga videos on YouTube, or even Zumba if that’s more your thing. Just remember to take things slowly and don’t overexert yourself. Read more about getting active in our blog.

Keeping occupied during isolation
Jigsaw puzzles are good for mental agility

5. Keep mentally active

It’s important to flex your brain too during this time. Regularly challenging your mental agility can help to keep the neural connections in your brain strong, and improve memory function (handy for any family history projects!).

Crossword, word search and Sudoku books are good, as well as completing jigsaw puzzles. You can also look at online apps such as Lumosity and Brain Trainer. 

6. Learn a new skill

Now could be the perfect time to learn a new skill. Have you always wanted to learn a language? Or to draw and paint? Maybe you have an interest in history, or would like to know more about photography (this could even be using your phone camera)?  

There are lots of free or low-cost online courses to try. Popular options include;

  • Languages
  • Art, drawing & painting
  • History &
  • Literature
  • Crafts
  • Gardening & nature
  • Photography
  • IT & computer skills

The U3A (University of the Third Age) is a great place to start for inspiration, with many groups operating remotely at this time. Open Learn from the Open University also has a wide range of free courses.

7. Have a Spring Clean

There’s a saying that a clean home is a happy home, and it’s the right time of year for a Spring Clean. Plus, cleaning, pottering, fixing and faffing will keep you active too. Make a list of all the jobs that you’ve been putting off – you’ll gain a sense of achievement as you tick them off. 

So get your Spring Cleaning Checklist at the ready and get to work, whether you’d like to focus on the house or garden. You could also use the time to declutter, helping your home to feel calmer.

8. Look after yourself

During this unsettling and stressful time, it’s important to look after yourself. You may wish to limit the time you spend reading and watching the news, and have an allocated time for this. 

Do things that make you happy, and continue hobbies if you can.

Take comfort in small things. Eat a good nutritious diet, and include a few indulgent treats! Exercise multiple times per week (or every day if you are able) and get plenty of sleep. Drink in the sunshine and fresh air – even if it’s through a window or balcony. Get in the garden if you have one, listen to birdsong and look at the stars.

Take one day at a time, and remember we will get through this together.

Useful Numbers & Links

  • If you’re an Abbeyfield South Downs resident, please contact your House Manager
  • Keep up to date with the latest NHS Advice
  • For a cheerful chat, day or night, call Silver Line: 0800 470 80 90
  • For practical information and advice, call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 65 65