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Lockdown has created some unique challenges, especially for people who already deal with feelings of loneliness and isolation. We’ve put together some quick tips for staying in contact with people and keeping occupied at home, hopefully giving you the tools you’ll need to make each day better.

Video Call Your Friends

Using free apps like Zoom, Houseparty, Google hangouts and Skype, it’s never been easier to video chat with multiple friends at once. Whilst bad connections and slow internet can get the best of us all, you can’t underestimate the value of seeing your friends faces and hanging out like you normally would.

You can make these video calls special by setting a theme and dressing up, finding online games, or watching something by pressing play at the same time! Houseparty has games built into the app, but if you’re using another platform, here’s some games you could play: Mario Kart Tour, Uno, Monopoly, Playing Cards, Scrabble and QuizUp. You can also add the Netflix Party internet browser extension to watch Netflix shows at the same time.

Try a New Hobby

Picking up a new hobby or craft can seem daunting, but it’s not about mastering it in an afternoon. Finding small things to keep your head and hands busy can make the time fly. Got some old thread laying around? Why not try making some simple friendship bracelets to give out to your friends when you next see them. You could pick some flowers to press using heavy books, and turn them into cards, bookmarks and decorations.

Try printing off some colouring book pages, or make your own, and put on some music whilst you draw. Setting aside an hour each day to paint, bake, draw or sew can be incredibly relaxing. You could even try a new hobby each week with a friend and share pictures of your progress! It doesn’t matter if you make something good or not, it’s about having fun and sharing it with others.

Meditation

With apps like Headspace, Breethe and Calm, it’s easy to access daily meditation exercises from the comfort of your home. Find a quiet place, get comfy and relax. Meditation may seem boring, but it’s a great way to reduce stress, anxiety and may even help you sleep! It’s worth trying a variety of methods to see which ones work for you and being patient with yourself whilst you get used to something a bit different.

Why not set up a group chat with some friends so you can talk about which apps you’ve tried and whether they worked for you? You could even meditate at the same time and talk about how it felt afterwards.

Keep a Routine

Keeping a routine can help you find a sense of normality in these uncertain times. Getting dressed every morning, opening a window, eating regular meals and setting aside specific times for activities can do wonders for your mental health. If this is something you struggle with, try taking a moment to write down a list of daily activities, decorate it and hang it up somewhere you’ll see it. Make a checklist of every day you’ve managed to complete everything – but don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss a day.

It’s important to make your list manageable. A routine isn’t about getting lots and lots of things done, but instead is a useful tool for managing your day. After a week you could try adding one more thing if you want to.

Setting certain times to do things can stop you from being overwhelmed by choices, and limiting certain activities to an hour or less can help prevent you spending all day on one thing. Remember to take screen breaks and breaks from longer activities.

Here’s some examples of things you might want to add to your list:

  • Get dressed
  • Open the curtains
  • Make the bed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Talk to a friend
  • Play games for an hour
  • Tidy something at 11am
  • Try a new hobby
  • Read one chapter of a book
  • Spend 30 minutes with a window open
  • Make a warm drink
  • Light a candle
  • Meditate
  • Exercise at 2pm
  • Watch one episode of a show

Find New Music

Music can be extremely important. If you’re needing some time for yourself, pop your headphones on, close your eyes, and focus on all the different things in the song. It can be a good way to focus completely on something else and distract your mind from whatever is bothering you.

If you’re feeling alone, create a themed playlist and swap with your friends. You might discover a new band, learn something about your friends, or just have fun putting together your favourite tracks.

Singing along can make you feel great – and no, it doesn’t matter if you can’t sing! Singing is for everyone. If you’re scared to try it, you can turn your music up a little bit and try singing along softly

Remember that you’re not alone. If there’s something on your mind and you feel you can’t talk to someone you know, contact our helpline or webchat, 9am – 9pm, Monday to Friday. If it’s urgent you can text MERMAIDS to 85258, 24/7.

For more information on these services, click here.