Keeping mentally and socially active in a Lockdown
I’m writing this an hour after the Prime Minister’s TV address where Lockdown 3.0 was announced. I was planning on writing about ways I try to keep socially and mentally active during my lockdowns anyway but now it’s more important than ever.
Lockdowns are incredibly hard and just doing your best is all you need to do. If you are looking for new ways to keep busy during the next few months here’s some ideas. They’re tried and tested by me so see what you think!
Looking after yourself
As a Maths and Stats student I didn’t expect this to be first on my list but writing for online websites has offered me good structure to my evenings. This year I started writing for The Boar, Warwick’s student newspaper with a focus on Statistics in the SciTech Section. It feels like a break from Uni work and it’s fun to learn about a topic and communicate it to readers online. There’s no pressure to write, it’s flexible around your timetable and perfect to beef up your CV or LinkedIn even in a global pandemic. If you’re interested and a Warwick Uni Student you can find more info here: https://www.warwicksu.com/societies-sports/societies/WarwickBoar/
If you are not a student at Warwick see if you have any opportunities to write online either through your school or online websites. The Guardian have an initiative called “Blogging Students” where you can pitch ideas and write about your student experiences too: https://www.theguardian.com/education/series/blogging-students
Over Summer I did Couch to 5k, I went from struggling to run for 6 minutes to completing the 30 minute run by the end of the ninth week. I wouldn’t say running would be so attractive at this time of year but setting an active routine is important. You can forget the outside world exists nowadays, but I find having a walk around my local area centres me for the day and reminds me that there is still more than just 4 walls even in lockdown. If you’re at Warwick I would recommend the Sculpture trail, here’s some maps to look at https://warwick.ac.uk/services/estates/campus/walks/
If you’re not at Warwick just head out, discover something. Take a road you’ve always passed but never taken, there’s still opportunities to discover places even if you think you’ve found it all.
Improve your skills online
I know it’s so easy to let lockdowns fog your view about the future but remember brighter days are coming. A great way to remind you about your goals and keep you on track during lockdown is to try some online courses. OpenLearn by the Open University offer around a thousand free courses from “Science, Maths and Technology” to “Education and development” which can vary from 2 to 30 hours in course length and come with a free statement of participation, check it out https://www.open.edu/openlearn/
If you are a student at Warwick check out myAdvantage, there are lots of free virtual events available to improve your skills (like learning to speed read), support any applications you make for jobs or internships and events organised by Wellbeing Support Services. Sign in and see what’s available under “Events” https://myadvantage.warwick.ac.uk/students/events
Keeping your social side going
Keeping social contact alive has been so important to me as we remain apart. As my flat’s virtual social organiser, here are some games I like to play over Skype with friends.
It’s the game of lockdown and it deserves the title. You can create private rooms remotely for 4-10 players and play over Skype. You’ll either be an imposter or a crewmate. If you’re a crewmate you need to complete your tasks while the imposter sabotages or kills all your teammates. You need to stay alert and look for anything suspicious to vote out the imposter before they win! It’s a great way to spend an evening and it’s pretty satisfying to win as an imposter too.
If you like Among Us. try Werewolf. It’s a card game which has online adaptations so can also be played online, it’s a flat favourite.
Board Games Arena
If you enjoy card or dice based games try Board Games Arena, it’s free to sign up to and you can either play other online players or your friends whilst chatting over skype: https://boardgamearena.com
Pictionary is also another firm favourite and offers a great chance to appreciate your beautiful art skills against the clock. You can either create a private room or play with online players: https://skribbl.io/
See how you get on with these activities, they’ve certainly helped me during lockdown but there’s no pressure nor competition to have the most productive lockdown. Just doing what you need to is enough and that is okay and valid. Look after yourself and hopefully I can update you with ways I use my free time normally in the brighter days to come.