Image for Walking with the Wounded News - Covid-19 Series. Lockdown: Activities to help create structure to your day  / (Alex Todino article
 - Alex Todino article 

Covid-19 Series. Lockdown: Activities to help create structure to your day

The coronavirus pandemic has caused disruption to everyone’s daily lives. It’s important that you try to maintain some structure to your day. In our latest article, Alex, one of WWTW's Employment Advisors shares her top 10 activities to try during lockdown.

This is particularly important for your mental health. We appreciate that many of you are juggling a lot, whilst others many have more time on their hands than expected. Below we have compiled some ideas to support veterans’ well-being during this period. 

Activities to try if you have a few minutes peace:

1.      Learn how to meditate 

It’s a challenging and uncertain time for us all, with many of us feeling anxious about the current situation. Practice some self- help if you are struggling, such as meditation. The Headspace website and app is offering a free ‘Weathering the Storm’ collection of meditations to assist people during the Covid-19 crisis. You can also sign up for a 2-week free trial with access to their wider resources.

Alternatively, YouTube has hundreds of free guided meditations. Check out The Honest Guys for some guided imagery or relaxation music (Please see our other post for organisations you can turn to for professional support if you feel you are not coping).

2.      Yoga

Yoga is said to have benefits for mind, body and soul, including reducing blood pressure, increasing strength and flexibility, helping with sleep, and improving posture. Why not give Yoga with Adriene or Yoga with Tim a try. They have hundreds of videos for beginners right through to pros, from 10 minutes to an hour, including 30 day practices.

Activities to try if you have more time:

3.      Complete a free online course

By self-educating, you can boost your CV and career prospects. Many platforms are offering free or discounted courses, with a huge range of subjects and course lengths. Coursera has collaborated with universities from around the world, and boast 3,800 online free courses throughout the Covid-19 crisis (and over 1000 free courses normally). Futurelearn similarly offers short online free courses, though they do charge for the certificate, starting from £30. LinkedInlearning are offering a free first month to undertake a range of short courses. These perhaps provide clearer professional goals for more specific career aspirations.

4.       Get fit

We may not be able to get to the gym but that doesn’t have to stop us from improving our fitness. If you are a beginner, how about challenging yourself to do the Couch to 5K? Check out the NHS running plan for beginners here or get the entire programme on the app instead, which is easy to follow on the go.

Can’t leave the house? No problem. There are literally thousands of fitness videos on YouTube. Alternatively, how about downloading the Nike Training Club app to your android or IoS for over 185 free workouts and personalised training plans.

5.       Learn a new language

Always fancied picking up a new language? What better time than now. Duolingo and Babbel are two free apps, available on both android and iOS that offer basic language and vocabulary in a wide range of languages. Babbel is said to have more of a focus on conversational phrases.

Check out this link for tips on how to learn a new language in just a week.

Once you have mastered the basics, practice your conversation with a native speaker at Hellotalk, available at iOS and Android.

6.      Improve your cooking skills

Many bakers/ chefs and small companies are turning their hand to online tutorials. Italian chef Massimo Bottura is hosting daily live lessons on Instagram at 3pm entitled ‘Kitchen Quarantine’. Also on Instagram WagamamaUK are sharing recipes and follow along videos #Wokfromhome. Missing your fast-food fix? McDonald’s have shared their recipe so you can re-create their famous Sausage and Egg McMuffinat home. Jamie Oliver is also showing us how to use limited ingredients to create tasty food on his ‘Keep cooking and carry on’ programme. All episodes can be found on the Channel 4 player.

7.       Take up gardening

Gardening is therapeutic and good for our physical health too. Apparently,  soldiers grew vegetables and flowers in the trenches during WW1 as a way to relax, using seeds sent from loved ones at home. Why not take advantage of this lovely weather and take the opportunity to learn. Even if you don’t have outside space, you don’t need much to grow your own herb garden – just a window ledge, soil, and an old food carton, and your favourite varieties from the supermarket. Check out this article by the metro with tips on how to grow your own produce. Whilst most garden centres are closed, flower and vegetable seeds can be ordered online, and bigger supermarkets often stock compost. Or, as the article says, use your existing veggie scraps!

8.       Take up a new hobby

Always wanted to learn an instrument? Knit? Restore furniture? Take up fine art? Use some of this free time to watch demonstrations and learn techniques to master something you’ve always wanted to do. Amazon and Ebay are still delivering, and you’re likely to find all the supplies you need at reasonable prices, either new or second hand.  

And, purely for entertainment…

9.      Take part in a virtual quiz

Link up with family and friends to complete a pub style quiz online. Join up with a group and each design a quiz or a round and spend Friday/ Saturday evening on Zoom or Skype in distant competitive rivalry! Alternatively, take part in one that has alreay been put together. Jimmy Carr is hosting  ‘The tiny little quiz of the lockdown’ daily on his YouTube channel. Questions at 6pm, answers at 8pm. Event organiser Laura Jones who runs ‘Eventures’ is hosting themed quizzes on a Friday night. To date, she’s hosted ‘Friends’, ‘Harry Potter’, and ‘Disney’ themed quizzes. 

10.  Watch a free show or concert or go to the Zoo

…from the comfort of your own sofa. A number of companies are streaming shows for free, including the National theatre via their YouTube Channel. Each production is streamed live on a Thursday evening and will then be available for 7 days. Treasure Island is the most recent offering. The Royal Opera House are offering numerous ballet and operas on their Facebook and YouTube channels too.

Chris Martin, John Legend, and Keith Urban have all held live concerts from home and shared over Instagram. A plethora of stars have also recently come together for the ‘Together at Home’ concert, which is available on BBC iPlayer. 

Dublin & Edinburgh zoos are livestreaming their animals for free home viewing, as well as others further afield around the world. The Elephants enclosure at Dublin Zoo and the Panda at Edinburgh are some of the favourites. Chester Zoo, in addition, has over 50 activities to keep the little ones entertained and have recently held a ‘Virtual Zoo day’ which can be viewed again on YouTube and Facebook.

This is a strange time for everyone, but you can use the coming weeks as an opportunity to explore your own personal development.

Walking With The Wounded continues to support those who have served. If you need crisis support, please click here.