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Quarantine Activities - Graduate

Top 5 Things to do in Lockdown

By Annabelle

  • Make your daily exercise count!
    Lockdown is a frustrating time for anyone who is used to the gym as their primary form of exercise, but as someone who was barely fit enough to do a single press-up when lockdown started, I’ve tried to use this time to build my fitness up. I downloaded the BBC’s ‘Couch to 5K’ App, which is completely free and gives you a program to build up to running 5K over nine weeks. I’ve already seen a huge improvement in my cardio, and every day I run I feel a sense of achievement.
  • Be kind to yourself
    Social media can often make it seem like everyone is being productive and thriving in quarantine. This is not the case! You may not have managed to cross everything off a five-page to-do list, but doing one task is still better than nothing. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or in a slump of procrastination. Be kind and patient with yourself and remember that you are not the only one feeling like this. For a clearer perspective, talk to someone or call a friend or family member, and you’ll probably find they’re feeling as overwhelmed as you are.
  • Try something new
    By this I don’t mean give yourself a) a buzzcut or b) a drastic fringe. If you find yourself, as many people now do, with a lot more time on your hands, challenge yourself to try a hobby or activity that is completely new to you. Start small (for example, maybe watch some French movies before committing yourself to learn the entire language in a week), and remember that if you’re just starting out, you won’t become an expert overnight. I’ve never been a sporty person, so I challenged myself to start running. If you’ve never touched an oven before, try baking. It could even be as small as listening to an album in a genre you usually don’t.
  • Balance alone time
    It can take some getting used to, but an important part of keeping on top of your mental health is being thoughtful about how much time you spend with yourself, and how much you spend with others. If you’re finding it lonely and feel isolated, try reaching out to someone you’re living with, like a family member, or giving a friend a call if this isn’t an option for you. On the other hand, if you’re finding that the people you’re living with are driving you crazy and you have no space for yourself, turn your phone off and take a walk alone, or try and find a place at home where you can be undisturbed for a few hours.
  • Keep a dream journal
    According to this National Geographic article, a lack of new stimuli during lockdown has led to a global increase in weird dreams. Keeping a dream journal is a great way to record the funnier ones you might have, and will serve as a very unique (and appropriate) memoir of the strangeness of quarantine. Even if a dream journal isn’t your thing, keeping a personal record of the coming weeks and months can help make you feel more stable, give you a space to express built-up emotions, and give you an idea of what day it is! Check out how photographers such as Campbell Addy have documented their time in quarantine in this article in Vogue magazine.

Weaving whilst in lockdown

By Annabelle

One of the good things to come from this time of uncertainty has been people’s creativity! Everywhere from Instagram to TikTok I’ve seen people painting, sewing, doing tie-dye, baking...the list is endless.

Quarantine has given me hours of time for a hobby I picked up a few months ago - weaving! I first heard about it when I saw one of my favourite YouTubers had released a video showing how you could make wall hangings on a loom. The image of a loom gave me flashbacks to studying the Industrial Revolution in Year 9, but I was still intrigued. A few months later I had made my first, slightly lumpy wall hanging, and I was hooked.

Weaving is surprisingly easy. If you don’t have a loom (I’ll be honest, who does?), it’s not much effort to make your own with an old picture frame and some nails (instructions on this YouTube video!). All that’s left is some ordinary string, and some wool. You can also use anything from old strips of fabric to ribbon - it’s great for using up old scraps, if you’re someone who sews or knits already.

It’s also incredibly relaxing. If I’ve had a long day I’ll put on a podcast, make some tea, and I can do it for hours. There are so many YouTube videos for tips and tricks, and it makes for a great conversation starter.

Weaving on a hand loom (red and ink wool)

Weaving on a hand loom (blue wool)

I’m a huge advocate for the benefits of being creative. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a particularly ‘crafty’ person, having a go at something new (whether it’s weaving or something else) can be great for your mental health, which is more important than ever during this time. If it doesn’t turn out how you wanted it, that’s okay—try again, try something else, and be happy that you had a go.