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Coronavirus Kent: How to beat the boredom if you are living alone during self-isolation and lockdown

Living alone can be tough at the best of times, but many will be wondering how to keep themselves occupied during lockdown or if they are forced to self-isolate because of coronavirus.

KentOnline spoke to Hannah Carmichael, a civil servant who lives alone in Chatham.

Hannah Carmichael from Chatham set up The Living Well Alone Project.
Hannah Carmichael from Chatham set up The Living Well Alone Project.

The 35-year-old runs an online community of those going it solo, called The Living Well Alone Project, which she set up in 2017.

Alongside the Facebook page, she runs a blog full of tips and advice on how to live on your own.

The Living Well Alone Project also set up a network – also on Facebook – called SoloTalk, where anyone living alone can share ideas or ask questions on any aspect of solo living.

Here she shares with us her 15 top tips to beat the boredom during a solo lockdown:

Work

Making your work tasks smaller and manageable is a good way of keeping on top of things.
Making your work tasks smaller and manageable is a good way of keeping on top of things.

If you’re working at home, then it goes without saying that you’ll be spending some of your time at home trying to do just this.

If you’re someone who needs structure to stay focused, try writing a plan for the day the night before, incorporating key tasks, regular breaks and chats with other people.

If you get easily distracted, try the Pomodoro technique to set simple goals and break your day into manageable, focused chunks of time.

If things are quieter, why not take advantage of your company’s corporate offer to catch up on some learning and development, or have a virtual coffee with a colleague you haven’t talked to for a while?

Learn

Learning a new skill such as a new language or doing online training can keep you occupied.
Learning a new skill such as a new language or doing online training can keep you occupied.

How many of us have said that we’d love to have time to learn a new language ? Or a new skill? Or to retrain for a new career?

While there might be some practical limitations – learning hairdressing might be tricky by yourself – now is your time to at least learn the theory.

With a myriad of online courses, many at very low cost or even free, a tight budget is no excuse. You can also use YouTube to follow tutorials.

You’ll need to stick with it, as you would with anything new. Do a little every day, however, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you progress.

Watch

Use streaming services to watch films and TV shows you never quite caught up on.
Use streaming services to watch films and TV shows you never quite caught up on.

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Now TV, Sky, Google Play or the newly launched Disney+. Whatever your streaming service of choice, now is the time to catch up on all the TV and films you ever wanted to watch.

Settle in for a marathon binge-watching session, or treat yourself to an episode here and there, perhaps at the end of a long day at work.

You could pick a decade and spend a week watching the top movies and shows.

Listen

Listening to different types of music during the day will help keep you motivated. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.
Listening to different types of music during the day will help keep you motivated. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

Now’s the time to browse your music collection, and maybe to expand it.

Try to create a soundtrack to inspire you through the day; perhaps something light and lively in the morning, uplifting during the afternoon, and peaceful in the evening.

You can also listen to the radio, or pop on a podcast or an audiobook while you get on with other things.

Read

Grab a book and settle down for a good read.
Grab a book and settle down for a good read.

If you’ve never been much of a reader, it makes sense to start with the classics; the books millions of people over the years have read and have agreed are the best books of all time.

That doesn’t mean everything on the list will be to your taste, but with that many positive reviews, there’s bound to be something you enjoy.

Try mixing up fiction and non-fiction, different authors, and different genres.

Play

Video games can be played alone or with friends online.
Video games can be played alone or with friends online.

While we’re not advocating spending entire days in front of a computer, there’s nothing wrong with upping your gameplay a little.

You can play video games by yourself, alternatively you could try playing against others online.

You could also try card games or board games which you can play solo.

Fix

Maybe it's time to be hands on and do some home improvement. Picture: iStock/PA.
Maybe it's time to be hands on and do some home improvement. Picture: iStock/PA.

Those lists you’ve made of all the ‘jobs around the house’ you ever wanted to sort, but never had time to do.

Touching up paint, shelving, putting up pictures, fixing the cupboard door; now’s your time and no job is too small.

Clean

Treat your home to a deep clean. Picture: PA Photo/iStock.
Treat your home to a deep clean. Picture: PA Photo/iStock.

Be honest, how long has it been since your house had a really deep clean?

The kind of clean where you could run fingers over every single skirting board, radiator, the top of every door and say with confidence that it would be absolutely sparkling?

Whether you designate a ‘cleaning day’ or take a little-and-often approach, it’s time to put on some music and roll up your sleeves.

Sort

Find the time to organise and declutter. Picture: iStock/PA.
Find the time to organise and declutter. Picture: iStock/PA.

Whether it’s clothes, photos, souvenirs, socks, power tools or hairbands, there’ll be something somewhere which needs decluttering and organising.

You could apply the same principles to your paperwork, your finances, and your music collection.

Soak

Crack out the candles and the bath salts for a soak. Picture: Thinkstock/PA.
Crack out the candles and the bath salts for a soak. Picture: Thinkstock/PA.

If there’s an upside to a global pandemic, it’s the opportunity to indulge.

Long, hot baths with bath salts and beautiful products, perhaps also some peaceful music, candles and a book. Why not treat yourself?

Solve

Crossword puzzles, Sudoku and other brainteasers; stretch your grey matter and get solving.

Create

Get crafty and creative.
Get crafty and creative.

You could create ‘things’ – paintings, drawings, sewing, crafts, cards – you could upcycle, paint or even build furniture.

You could create photo albums, you can create in the kitchen too – maybe try a new recipe, or bake something for yourself to eat – you could write stories or poems. Get those creative juices flowing.

Grow

There’s something very satisfying about growing your own plants from scratch.

You could try growing plants from seeds, from cuttings, or even re-growing food from kitchen scraps.

Move

The Body Coach Joe Wicks is running online fitness sessions for free. Picture: PA Photo/Conor McDonnell.
The Body Coach Joe Wicks is running online fitness sessions for free. Picture: PA Photo/Conor McDonnell.

Programmes like the Body FX and The Body Coach sessions can be done from your bedroom.

If you usually attend an exercise session, have a look at their website, as many schools are working really hard to move classes online and signing up is a great way to support your local businesses.

In most places, you’re still allowed to leave home to exercise, as long as you don’t go near anyone you don’t live with.

Even if it’s not usually something you’d do, a bit of exercise will help break up your routine, and will boost your endorphins, making you feel happier and more resilient!

Reflect…and look ahead

Time alone is a good time to reflect.
Time alone is a good time to reflect.

‘If you can’t go out, go in.’

While you might be limited in where you can go physically, your time at home presents an opportunity to dive deep into your own psyche (should you want to).

Writing a journal and meditation are great ways to achieve mental calm, and mindfulness practice will help you to practice gratitude for the little things.

There are hundreds of tools you can download online to grow your self-awareness and support your personal growth.

For confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.

If you want to talk to someone confidentially, click here.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent


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