I’m a student at Leeds Beckett currently isolating in Leeds. In the most unusual circumstances we find ourselves in, it’s important to stay grounded, think positively and take this opportunity to make sure we continue with our university commitments as well as making time to relax and enjoy our hobbies.
I have tried to keep busy with various hobbies and activities which can boost serotonin, leave you feeling accomplished and pass the time faster so Summer will come around sooner! While yours and your families/housemate’s health should remain the priority, staying indoors can have a detrimental effect on some people’s mental health meaning it’s important to keep spirits up. Here I will share with you what I’ve been doing to keep busy and a variety of ideas to help you get through this tough period.
Learn an Instrument
One of my favourite hobbies is playing the guitar but the benefits of this will be applicable to any instrument I’m sure! Learning new songs, chords, playing patterns, even just messing around and creating your own music can be very beneficial to reducing your stress levels. By simply focusing my mind on something I enjoy, I’ve found it releases the stressful energy that has built up inside. Learning new songs can bring a wonderful sense of achievement as well. It will motivate you to perfect it and to expand your musical palette with new songs. If you give yourself an hour a day to play an instrument, you’ll soon be improving immensely and can also entertain your family/housemates.
Start Spring CleaningAs it is Spring, I’ve somehow ended up enjoying spring cleaning. Now is as good a time as any to move your bedroom around, create a nice space in your room for the sun to hit you at your favourite part of the day. Clean your windows which you’ve been putting off for so long, make the oven sparkling and get rid of that smell in your fridge. Not only will you feel a sense of accomplishment in doing this, whoever you’re living with will definitely appreciate it! And when you have to spend nearly all of your time together in isolation, making your space clean and tidy will certainly have a positive effect on everyone’s mood. And once you’ve cleaned the oven, you may as well test it out with some baking. Find some of your favourite recipes online and make some delicious brain food, ideal for breaks during uni work.
Look After Your Mental HealthIt’s important to look after your mental health as much as you can in this tough time and I’ve found it’s helpful to set small goals, appreciate the little things and take it one day at a time. Allowing yourself time and space to adapt to this new situation is equally as important. You may find you are not as productive as you used to be some days and it’s important to recognise and remember that this is a natural reaction to significant change. One activity I’ve used to help with this has been meditation. It is a tool I find helps with stress, anxiety and general happiness. The phrase silence is golden definitely applies here. You can do it for as little as 5 minutes a day and feel the benefits. It’s likely you’ll be less agitated by the little things that can get on your nerves in isolation and can also improve your concentration when you start studying. I find it’s helpful practising it in the mornings before I begin with my uni work. And if you’re just starting out, try some guided meditation exercises, Headpspace is a great app which can walk you through it.
Join an Online Pub Quiz
One thing I’ve found myself doing a lot more than usual are pub quizzes. And by this, I mean doing a quiz on a Zoom/Skype call with friends or family and having a drink. There are infinite resources online to create your own quiz and test it on your friends. Through video calls, we can stay connected to those we would usually see on a regular basis. It is important to maintain this feeling of social gatherings in times like this. Everyone is in the same position so it’s hard not to feel unity and connections when interacting with your loved ones. One game I’d personally recommend using when on video calls is Psych. You can find it on the app store and is played with a minimum of 3 players. It’s very simple requiring you to come up with personal answers to trivia questions and completing statements about the people you are playing with! Once we’re out of isolation, you can guarantee I’ll be enjoying the Royal Park Sunday night quiz and the same again at Box on Monday!
Despite these difficult times, I believe there are still reasons to be positive and there are endless hobbies and activities to keep you occupied in times of boredom. Stay optimistic, keep busy facetiming your friends and family, practice a new skill and before you know it we’ll all be back outside, grateful for the impact we had on staying indoors.
Stay safe. Protect the NHS. Save lives.