Bored? Into personal development? Or just want a good answer to, "What did you do during the lockdown?" Whatever your motivation, most of us are looking for productive ways to fill the time while social distancing measures are in place. Here are some ideas to get you started. Feel free to add other ideas in the comments section below.
Free Online Workouts
Whether you're looking to replace your usual gym sessions or you want to start a new exercise programme, there are plenty of apps and online resources at your disposal. Of if the stress of constant negative news is wearing on you, a meditation app like Headspace can help you find some clarity and peace during this trying time. They say it takes one to two months to establish a new habit—how long is the lockdown?!
Universities from America to Australia have a massive supply of online courses covering topics ranging from coding to history to the future of environmentally-friendly energy. Courses from Imperial College London, Harvard, Stanford, NYU, Berkley, Princeton, Georgia Tech, Cornell, The University of Queensland and more are available from edX. Many are free, such as Harvard's ever-popular CS50 Introduction to Computer Science course that has 1.7 million people already enrolled.
Alternatively, you can listen to secrets of success from your favourite skilled celebrity. MasterClass offers online classes with experts—think writing with James Patterson or R.L. Stine, music producing with Timbaland, singing with Christina Aquilera, photography with Annie Leibovitz, cooking with Wolfgang Puck and many more. They have a limited-time offer of 2 passes with access to all classes for £170 (membership lasts a year).
Imagine coming to the end of social distancing measures, ready to rejoin the world—are you emerging sun-dazed and frazzled from a messy, cluttered house, or peaceful from a clean, tidy, de-cluttered space? Look to Marie Kondo if you want to "spark joy" or Becoming a Minimalist for inspiration.
Not only that, but your charity shop donations will go towards a good cause, and that's definitely a good thing for the world right now. You may need to hold onto bags of donations for a while until the charity shops reopen, but just tuck them in a spare room or a corner behind the sofa until the time comes.
And on a more serious note, regular cleaning is recommended to help keep the COVID-19 virus from spreading throughout your household. Follow our top tips to inactivate the virus and find COVID-19 killing cleaning products that fit in your budget.
TV Catch Up
Finally, an excuse to catch up on all those TV programmes you've been wanting to watch! You're saving the world while you sit on the sofa, so put on your superhero cape, get out the popcorn and snuggle up with a blanket. According to Finder, there are over a dozen online streaming options for TV programming, from Amazon Prime Video and Netflix to Skygo and Mubi. Prices range from as little as £3.49 a month to £14.99 a week.
Learn an Instrument
Granted, you'll already need to have an instrument in your home for this idea. But if you have a guitar or keyboard gathering dust in a forgotten corner, now can be a great time to fulfill all those good intentions. You'll find a plethora of online tools for learning or improving upon your musical capabilities, from beginner to advanced—and there is even help for learning the basics of reading music. The BBC has a comprehensive list of online tools to help you get started. And, of course, there's no shortage of free online tutorials on YouTube.
Get Stuck into a New Book
If you're too tired after all that housecleaning to hold up a book, then make a cuppa and have someone read to you instead. Audiobooks are a huge industry now with libraries exceeding 100,000+ titles. You can purchase a single audiobook from Google Play Audiobooks or sign up to a monthly subscription from Audible—they have a 30-day free trial at the moment where you receive 1 free credit that can be used to purchase any Audible book for free. After the free trial you'll be charged £7.99 a month, unless you cancel before the end of the free period.
While some restaurants are still delivering, you're bound to find yourself in the kitchen much more than usual. The very energetic are currently creating Michelin-style meals and baking masterpieces like this rainbow cake made by a friend one week into lockdown—how lucky is her family? But even coming up with creative ways to use the 10 tins of kidney beans that were substituted into your most recent online grocery delivery order can be inspirational. Just think of the stories you'll tell from your rocker one day.
If you need some inspiration, Wagamama is launching a live cooking channel called Wok From Home on YouTube on 8 April. Masterclass (mentioned above) has an entire category devoted to the Culinary Arts. And if you simply want recipe ideas then BBCGoodFood always comes through. In fact, they have a handy search function where you can enter an ingredient you want to use up—and there are 62 results just for those kidney beans!