Being Happier in Lockdown
During this lockdown, I learned something important about myself. I have no time for news-spinning. To be completely truthful, unlike many fluff pieces we are currently seeing in the media, I don’t think there is a “positive side” to the Coronavirus. We’re in a bad situation, which we’re all just trying to make the best of.
As a self-confessed worrier, I, like many, have found it difficult to not to fall down the rabbit hole of morosity. To combat my issues as best I can, I’ve had to make a conscious effort to find areas of entertainment and study in which I can immerse myself; turning what would be an extremely negative experience into a healthy, productive and educational one.
It should be noted that I’m under no illusion — the last thing I intend to do is project my feelings and experiences unto others. Rather, I would like to share with you all what activities have helped me combat my depressive tendencies so far during the lockdown, and hopefully, provide some insight into how a thoroughly pessimistic mind works; thus allowing you to help yourselves or others whom you feel are in similar situations.
With that doom and gloom out of the way, let’s get started.
Reading a book
I LIKE reading! This was a shocking revelation to me, and something I wasn’t even aware of prior to the lockdown. For as far back as I can remember, i’ve always been a “i’ll watch the film adaptation” kind of guy. This is because, to be completely honest, I found books boring and far too time consuming for what would ultimately amount to a lacklustre experience. I was also lazy. However, after the fourth day of squatting in a dark room, with the rays of my laptop screensaver more or less replacing the sun as the only light in my life, I thought i’d try to read.
I’m so glad I did!
I don’t know whether it was the boredom, the sleep deprivation, or the copious amounts of buttercup syrup in my system (I had a cough. I’m fine now, thanks for asking!), but I was enthralled. I developed a new-found appreciation for literature; visualising the characters, imagery and atmosphere to their finest details in my mind.
If you’re looking for something to read, keep in mind that there are a ton of resources available online here (they also have a great collection of kids books!)
Also, just between you and me, if you search the title of a book on Google and type “PDF” next to it , chances are you’ll find a fan-written copy somewhere online.
Making a video
Setting up a camera and pretending you’re Martin Scorsese is always fun! Videos are excellent at establishing communication and can be shared both privately and publicly. They’re informative, easy and fun to make.
What makes video production so useful is that it can enrich both your personal and professional life. As well as sending silly videos to your friends and family, you can also use them to share feel-good and educational content with your colleagues and students. For example, look at Dionne’s video, in which she tests out teaching apps with her daughter, Elayna.
Not everything requires a serious tone (Just read any of my blogs) and, sometimes, a light-hearted approach is the best way to go.
Travel…yeah, you heard me
No, I haven’t lost my mind. Yet. The internet is a wondrous place, where we can travel to faraway places, learn about historical sites, experience the practices of different cultures, and talk to people all over the globe. From the relative comfort of your home, you can visit places of interest such as zoos, museums, parks and even famous landmarks; with many having made their properties and attractions available to explore through the use of live webcam feeds, interactive photography, videos, and even virtual tours.
I’m not going to lie, after learning I would have so much time at home, I started to experience some delusions of grandeur. I was convinced I’d adopt the diets of Terry Crews and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson; becoming an Adonis figure of rippling muscle and Olympic-level fitness. That hasn’t quite worked out, but it’s still an improvement on my previous ‘eat flapjacks and drink coke’ routine. Like many in the UK, I took the advice of Joe Wicks and decided to clean up my diet and engage in some light exercise. I recommend it to everybody, as even just one of these actions is an improvement over nothing and it’s incredibly beneficial to our mental well-being.
More than anything, it’s given me a sense of progress. A feeling that, despite how mundane life currently seems to be, I have a goal and another reason to get out of bed every morning.
Did you know the little girl who played Cindy Lou Who in The Grinch (2000) grew up to be the lead singer of a rock band called The Pretty Reckless and they’re really good? Neither did I, until I started branching out from my usual Spotify playlist and listening to different genres and artists.
Discovering new music has not only improved my mood, but it’s also reignited my imagination and enthusiasm for my day-to-day routine. No longer do my post-lockdown melody’s only consist of the sound of the pigeons nest on the roof and my Dexy’s Midnight Runners playlist. I listen to Pietro Mascagni and Ludovico Einaudi now — i’m cultured and wise.
There are also some brilliantly entertaining apps you can use to create your own music. Check out Incredibox to get a general idea of the silliness I’m talking about.
Expand your horizons, engage in a fresh hobby, and find a new passion.
We’re all familiar with the tortured artist cliche. Van Gogh created some of his best work looking out of the cold, stone window behind a locked asylum door, so there’s no reason why we can’t at least give it a try!
The COVID-19 lockdown has already seen some breathtaking art enter the mainstream (see below); inspiring others to try their hand at it, as well. Before you come out with the excuses — I’m such a bad artist that I once, unknowingly, drew a horse with only 3 legs and didn’t realise until i’d finished painting the background (That was 3 weeks ago…). You have no excuses not to try.
Despite how bad you may believe it to be, it’s incredibly therapeutic to lend visual license to your own thoughts and feelings. Check out this excellent YouTube channel which teaches drawing for beginners. If you don’t feel you’d benefit from it, try offering these resources to your students and children who are also looking for a creative outlet.