10 ideas to expand your horizons while you’re locked at home

Life under “lockdown” can be a very frustrating experience. One of the most important things is to have enough activities on hand to keep active, to have plenty of things to do and to prevent us from become bored and irritable. Expanding your range of interests at this difficult time is certainly a good idea. Not all activities need to be mentally or physically challenging – new ways to chill out and relax help a lot too.

We would like to suggest the following ideas for your consideration:

Vary your routine

Lockdown means that for many of us our usual daily rotas have been abandoned. For some, taking each day as it comes can work well, but for others finding a new routine is the best way. Maybe you can still get up, have meals and go to bed at the times you would in normal circumstances. Make the best of the situation – if you have a garden or balcony then you can dine outside when the weather permits.

Learn something new

Exercise your mind and your body by learning a new skill. There are many online courses that you could sign up for. Have a look at the Open University – it has a lot of free courses on offer. For something more physical try yoga or an online exercise class. Learning can be a joint activity – you could encourage others to learn with you. This is a great time to improve your language skills, or take up a new language, which leads us to…

Watch TV or videos with subtitles

If you are aiming to improve your vocabulary in another language. You can find films in many languages, often with subtitles, on Netflix, YouTube and other streaming services. If your language skills are a little more advanced, then internet radio and podcasts are great resources.

Keep in touch using social media

So many of us are missing the contact with friends and relatives that we would normally be visiting. With modern technology it’s easy to connect and communicate with services like WhatsApp and Skype. Perhaps you have work colleagues you could keep in touch with on LinkedIn, or old friends to catch up with on Facebook. Group gatherings on apps like Zoom and House Party have become very popular.

Read a travel book

Escape from the claustrophobia of your direct surroundings and venture to distant parts of the planet, at least in your imagination, by reading travel books. Fact or fiction, reading is a great way to escape.

Get cooking

Missing your favourite restaurants and cafes? Spend some time in the kitchen, be adventurous and experiment with new recipes. Some everyday items may be in short supply, but exotic ingredients might be easier to get hold of, and there’s an abundance of online recipes and cooking guides.

Get growing

If you are lucky to have a garden, then planting seeds or bulbs and watching them grow can be very therapeutic, and it provides another reason for being outside. Just “pottering around” and tidying things up can be relaxing. It doesn’t have to be outside – many plants can be grown indoors.

Plan your next holiday

Holidays are off the agenda for now, but there’s nothing to stop you making plans, even if you don’t know when they can be realised. Do some research on different destinations, cities you have yet to visit, or wild and remote places you have not seen. You can combine this with your language learning by picking a few phrases that might be useful to you in the future.

Escape from technology

Take some time to get away from the PC screen – too much exposure is unhealthy. In some countries outdoor exercise is allowed now, so go for a walk, remembering to follow local “social distancing” rules. The streets are quieter now and the air is cleaner.

Just relax

We are living in a stressful time, so relaxation is very important. Try meditation, take it easy and “switch off” for a while. Sit or lie comfortably and maybe enjoy some peaceful music. Clearing the mind is just as important as exercising it.