It has been almost a year since the word corona stopped bringing back Spanish sun coloured memories. Grains of seashore sand spinning between the toes drowsy from dancing until the sunrise. Now replaced with numbers and melted bridges. Shifting and rearranging reality past the point of no return. To whatever the word normal used to mean. To whatever the word home used to mean.

It is amusing how in less than a week everything that matters became about before and after. Fight or flight prevailed as it always does. Everyday concepts seamlessly shifted and my life welcomed the need to stay at home with open arms. The home itself stopped being a distant idea and became something else. Before it was a place to shower and crash for a few hours before jumping into a new day. After it became so much more. A new concept for me to explore and an unexpected personal development branch to climb.

The below activities coloured the lockdown chapter of my life with joyful tones and chance lessons. I sincerely hope they will help some of you open new doors too!

Shake it off

There is no coincidence exercise is the first activity on the list – a few minutes of physical workout can truly improve the tone of the day. And remember, this is coming from someone who spent the majority of her childhood and teenage years hating PE. The fact that regular exercise can be fun and enjoyable was a shocking revelation. The key was findings what works for me and my body.

At the moment, I do 30-60 minutes of evening yoga one day and 10 minutes workout the next morning. It might not sound like much which is exactly why it works for me. The best part is that the results were noticeable after the first weeks. Other than generally feeling better it also improved the quality of my sleep. An app I cannot recommend enough is Down Dog. If you are not keen on subscription payments there are plenty of videos and tutorials available online. Same applies to a regular workout, my favourite is this 10 Minute Ab Attack.

Which leads to an important point – lockdown is not a pleasant life chapter for everyone. Domestic abuse at home is more common than either of us would like to think. You can support the cause by joining weekly yoga classes here. There is a suggested donation of £5 per class. One Live Chat between a survivor and a Women’s Aid support worker costs £5, therefore, your donation could support one woman trapped with abuse! If yoga is not your thing but you would still like to contribute to a fundraise here is the link to a Just Giving page.

Someplace else

Can we please make cleaning a cool activity? Of course, daily chores can be as boring as they sound but have you tried to dedicate a few hours one day a week and clean everything at once? This is what I do in addition to cleaning my closet once a month. Nothing motivates me more to keep home tidy and throughout the week put things I move back to their places.

If that is not enough of a benefit, think about how the house feels after it has just been cleaned. AND you can clean whilst listening to music (which also may or may not include dancing) which is a superb light exercise. Do not just take my word for it – google ‘cleaning playlist’.

There are so much more things you can clean other than the house:

  • Declutter your computer.
  • Camera roll.
  • Social media.
  • Mind (that’s right).
  • Car.
  • Finances.
  • Garden.

The list goes on!

Mindful scrolling

If you know me you will know how much I detest shopping. Before I would occasionally accompany friends on shopping trips and make a day out of it but it never gave me that much joy or purpose. What I do like is research and a concept of a conscious lifestyle. Mindful scrolling fits right in and if is not yet a thing I would very much like to turn it into a commonly used term.

Before there were no homey objects in my living space. It was all there was – a living space to comfortably crash for the night between lectures and work. Whilst homey items are not an absolute essential, spending more time at home meant there was an empty space which I found difficult to ignore. Sourcing objects that I could buy once and keep my whole life no matter where I decide to move next sounded like an appropriate activity. Without leaving home.

Which is exactly what I mean by mindful scrolling. Browsing the web with a purpose. This could be finding perfect second-hand objects and ways to support small businesses = someone else’s dream. It does not have to end here or include spending money on physical things. Mindful scrolling could also be about:

If the internet is here to stay and become an inseparable part of our society lets use it to improve it.

Off-screen time

When I was thirteen-ish and went to an eye doctor she told me if I ever want my eyesight to get better screen time should be limited to two hours a day. Whilst my current job is more kind on the eyes than the previous one, the screen time required is still way above what I would like it to be. A solid eight hours a day without adding lectures and academic writing. Or video calls, online events, and catch-ups with friends or family.

My Netflix account must be feeling neglected because lately the last thing I want to do after the whole day looking at the screen is to look at the screen even more. A great solution to that (if you are lucky to live with people you can hang out with) is board games (jigsaw puzzles if you live alone). Besides being a great way to connect and unwind, it also nicely links to mindful scrolling – instead of buying purposeless items you can source a unique second-hand edition. More ideas:

  • D.I.Y project.
  • Drawing.
  • Sewing.
  • Candle making.
  • Dancing.
  • Embroidery.
  • Writing.
  • Try a new recipe in the kitchen.
  • Painting.
  • Repurpose items already in your home.

Before Kindle was my best commuting friend. Whilst it is more friendly on the eyes than blue light screens it does not change the fact that there is a screen. To feel less guilty about buying paper books to read once again I turned to a mindful scrolling. A compromise I found was to do my research and buy ebook version if I knew I was only going to read the book once and a paper version for books I want to see on my library shelf.

If you need reading inspiration, here is a link to my virtual bookshelf.

Have a lockdown-friendly activity suggestion?

Please feel free to leave a comment below!

Dear Gabriele Marija,

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