As we enter our ninth week of lockdown, it’s natural for the cabin fever to notch up a level. We have spent weeks baking, reading, exercising, Netflix-ing, drawing, painting, and – most importantly – annoying our families. But while the immediate pastime pleasures of staying in may have been exhausted, there is still a whole host of activities that can transform your bedroom into a ballroom, or your lounge into the Louvre. And if there was ever a time to widen your horizons without having to change out of your pajamas – it’s now!
Check out the series of blogs on Voice named “Culture Lockdown”. These short blogs are your ideal guide to accessing theatres, museums, exercise regimes, and literature online. Not only will they provide you with new ideas on how to get the most out of lockdown, but they will also connect you to other like-minded individuals also scouring the internet for things to do. However, now is also the best time to reflect on your own wellbeing –to use this rather unusual stretch of time to do things which are beneficial for your mental health. The Mental Health Foundation has a wide variety of ideas to help you in this quest, from kindness guides, to resources, to food for thought.
In a time of division, many communities have chosen to unite. Volunteering opportunities are one of the best ways to break lockdown isolation. Apps such as “Nextdoor” have become the newsagent’s window of the 21st century – the perfect place to find out what’s going on in your local area. Not only can you help with tasks such as shopping or gardening for vulnerable people nearby, but you can also see how your community is responding to the pandemic and working together to mitigate its detrimental social effects. Volunteering can also be done from the safety of your home, with many charities calling for bakers and dressmakers to boost NHS supplies.
Beyond the Self
As it is near impossible for a single person to experience the full range of human encounters, the best way to widen your understanding of the world is to listen to the stories of others. One way you can do this is by calling those sometimes forgotten relatives, asking them to share their stories of another country or another time. Even your friends may be able to tell you about an unusual event they’ve experienced recently. Another way you can hear about the extremes of human nature or the murkier crevices of the earth is by watching TED Talks. These conferences collate inspirational speakers to share their stories, their ideas, and their influences. While we may be fortunate enough to never experience some of the extremes the speakers have survived, listening to their tales is a chance to increase our awareness of the issues about which they speak, and to be inspired by their resilience and courage. It is the perfect way to find out more about the world without ever having to leave your sofa.