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Lockdown Living – Tips and Ideas

Hello poppets,

How are we getting on?

Last week the New Zealand government decided to move to level 4 after the increase in Covid-19 cases. With that it meant us all buckling down into isolation, only heading out for those key essential items and services.

I know i touched a little on activities for during these times in my last blog post but i thought i would expand a little since i am now isolated and exploring things too!

To be honest, i must say my life hasn’t changed too drastically with working from home though i do miss the various people that i get to meet with my job and obviously i miss spending time with loved ones.

Firstly;

Before we get stuck in i would like to say something very important. This is some ideas if you’re stuck with what to do and a chance to hear what I’ve been up to. This is not what you should be doing. If you’re self isolating right now and doing as you should be firstly, thank you but secondly, now is a time to do what you want and need to make this time as easy as possible for you and those around you. Theres no set guidelines and no rules and nobody she would be left feeling guilty!

I don’t really want to say this is a time to ‘enjoy’ because its such terrible circumstances but for a lot of us this is a time to quite simply just stop. Though il be listing a few ‘jobs’ we can do around the house and activities its alright if you get to the end of isolation and haven’t done much at all. In fact, its fantastic!

I think its a balance. You don’t want to be staying in bed thinking of all that’s going on in the world but you also don’t want to be non stop and wearing yourself out just so you don’t leave yourself enough time to think. Its about just taking your time and doing just enough small things through the day to break it up and so you don’t get stuck dwelling on all that’s happening.

Lets get stuck in!

Firstly, though I am still working my days are a little more spaced out and sporadic. I’ve found it really helpful to make myself a schedule and thats a tip I would pass on to you guys too! Sometimes it can be a little daunting to not have a ‘plan’ or ‘idea’ for the day and its nice to get creative and make yourself a little plan wether it be on a whiteboard or paper!

I have been asked to do lots of articles featuring mental health skills and how to manage this current time but am often given a set time to do that in. The time is often quite generous which means I can really move things around. With that my schedule looks like;

– Getting up
– Having some breakfast
– Getting washed and changed
– Doing a bit of work
– Stopping and doing something different
– Doing some more work
– Doing something different
– etc

I usually set myself times for my average week but to take the pressure off during isolation I’ve decided to scrap my times. I also find it easier as i don’t like to give myself too strict time limits as with writing I find if I’m on a roll, I would rather just write!

You could change your schedule instead of ‘work’ to doing something productive and then your breaks as something fun!

In-between writing and work I have been;

Organising

I must say the one thing I’ve done and enjoyed when I’ve not been working is organising. I don’t think its that i don’t have time usually but more that no two days are the same for me. I haven’t had a big sort out of things for a while because i just have visions of me pulling everything out and not leaving myself enough time to actually do the sorting and put things back!

Ive seen a few sarcastic comments and memes floating around the internet about people organising during this time but I feel its blumin’ wonderful. To me there is nothing more therapeutic than throwing on some music, bopping around and getting stuck in! Its not about making it a chore and putting heavy pressure on yourself but just leisurely sorting through things.

So far, and since I’ve only been in isolation just short of a week i have spent some time sorting the top of my dresser out. Wiping down my makeup organiser and throwing out all the things that…I’ve had a bit too long, eep! This is all I’ve had time to do so far but I’m excited to get stuck in to another corner of my house.

Gratitude Journal

Another thing I’ve been doing is actually getting creative with my gratitude journal. If you don’t have a gratitude journal I highly suggest you starting one. It can make a huge difference to your life and outlook even if you can only write one thing a day.

I actually had to start making my own gratitude journal because I couldn’t find one with enough space for me to write, I guess thats a good sign right?! I started just writing them down on A4 pieces of paper using different coloured pens, highlighters and sticking bits on the pages like photos! Usually I just scribble down several things im grateful for and push things to one side but its been great taking that extra time to really enjoy doing something that I already did enjoy doing!

Games!

Oh buddy, I’ve got into gaming! Ha ha! I couldn’t tell you the last time I gamed properly. I always had a turn on friends various consoles over the years but never really gamed properly myself. My dad bought me a playstation many moons ago but it was quickly taken off me by my main abuser. I absolutely loved going on Tony Hawks Pro Skater games! Now, ive got into The Sims! Goodness me, I love it! I have to say I spent more time making the characters and the house than actually playing the game, but apparently thats pretty common!

I have also spent some time playing those ridiculous games you can find on places like Facebook with friends. I have to say some are ridiculous but its that thing of playing a game with a friend and having a giggle!

Gaming can be really addictive so try and set yourself a little limit (Not with too much pressure though!)

I was told by my physio that gaming and doing puzzles can actually improve brain health after head trauma so i’m actively trying to play something a day!

Colouring

Im terribly for anything art and crafts and when I first found those mindful colouring books in the shops, boy did I stock up on them! When they were first a craze I completed the odd picture out of them but like a lot of things with me, I then forgot about them!

I dug into my office the other day and pulled a whole bunch out. Some i’ve not started so will be giving them to friends or charity but a few I have kept and started going through them again. They’re such a wonderful yet simple idea that can really help calm our minds.

A list of ideas –

– Read a book
– Play board games
– Workout from home
– Do some gardening
– Make a photo album/scrap book
– Watch a comedy (So many on Netflix!)
– Create a gratitude list
– Watch a YouTube documentary (Nothing too dark!)
– Declutter and organise
– Start a blog
– Plan some goals (For after the lockdown!)
– Creative writing
– Drawing
– Mindful colouring books

Another thing I have been doing and really enjoying is making proper lunches! My work lunch is usually a quick grabbed meal and I spend more time making my dinner as Im sure a lot of us do! With having a little more time I have been making all sorts for lunch and putting it as almost an ‘activity’ for my day.

I used to bake a lot when I was very small with my grandma. She always used to use the old Be-Ro books (which was created in 1923!!) It’s basically a book that features the recipes that you would imagine your grandma would make. You know what I mean! Its just those classic no fuss recipes, minimal ingredients and minimal cost. My grandma bought me a new edition of one of the books years ago and I have finally been getting stuck in to it making scones and potato cakes to go with homemade soup for lunch!

Here are 3 simple recipes that you can try!

If cooking and baking isn’t something you do often i think its important to not get too creative and put too much pressure on yourself. Its just about doing something a bit different and getting those hands involved!

These ones are also really good if you live by yourself or just a small group. It means you’re not making large amounts and letting it go to waste!

SOUP!
This one is actually a Jamie Oliver recipe. I use so many of his recipes and find they use a lot of common items and he never over complicates things!

This makes a decent amount but i would actually say a good amount. Soup can be kept in the fridge for a few days and if there is just too much you can always freeze it. Its great when you’re tapping your feet trying to think what to have for lunch and then you remember you have yummy soup stored in the freezer!

– 1.5kg edible pumpkin
– Olive oil
– 1 teaspoon dried chilli
– 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
– 1 large onion
– 3 cloves garlic
– 1 carrot
– 1 stick of celery
-1 litre hot vegetable stock

Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F

Place the pumpkin on baking trays and drizzle over a little olive oil.

Grind the chilli and coriander seeds in a pestel and mortar with a pinch of salt until finely ground.
(I had coriander seeds already ground so just sprinkled each on)

Sprinkle over the pumpkin and pop in the oven until soft and tender. Usually around 1 hour.

Meanwhile, chop the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and add the vegetables and cook for 15 minutes, or until soft.

When the pumpkin is ready, add to the pan with the hot stock. Blend with a stick blender, adding a little more water if you like a thinner consistency.

SCONES!

These go great with soup!

– 175g Self Raising Flour
– Pinch of Salt and Pepper
– 1/2 tsp Mustard Powder
– 25g Butter or Margarine
-75g Cheese, grated!
– 1 Egg
– 3 Tbsp Milk

Preheat oven to fan 200c.

Mix flour and seasonings and rub in butter. Stir in the cheese (Leaving a little for the top)

Mix to a soft dough with the egg and milk (Leaving a little for the top again!)

Roll out to a round 2.5cm (1 inch) thickness and cut into 6 triangles.

Place on a baking tray and brush with egg and milk. Sprinkle on the leftover cheese.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Serve warm and filled with butter!

(These are great cold and last for days too!)

A DASH OF SWEETNESS!

Now I have time for more structured proper breaks ive really enjoyed having an afternoon cup of tea (WHICH I NEVER MISS OUT ON!) but with a slice of cake! I don’t really like anything too sweet. Im not really one for caramel and very rarely even chocolate.

Here is a lemon drizzle tray bake that I tried the other day. I must say it was a little sweeter than expected due to the ‘drizzle’. It says 75g of sugar for the drizzle but I would say even half of that is plenty! If you like sweet you’re on to a winner with 75g!

– 175g Self Raising Flour
– 150g Caster Sugar
– 150g butter
– 3 eggs beaten
– Grated zest of 2 lemons

Drizzle
– 75g. Caster Sugar (Refer to above – possibly use less)
– Juice of 1 1/2 lemons

Preheat oven to fan 150c

Grease and line a rectangular tin 28cm x 18cm x 3cm with baking paper.

Sift the flour and put it to one side.

Using an electric whisk cream sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.

Gradually add the beaten eggs, lemon zest and a little of the flour.

Gently fold in the remainder of the flour to the mixture.

Pour into a tin and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Whilst that is baking prepare the drizzle by mixing together the caster sugar and lemon juice.

When the cake is ready pour the drizzle on and leave to cool.

Enjoy!

It’s a really tough time right now for many but remember, we’re all in the same boat and we can get through this together! My inbox is always open if you need me so don’t feel frightened to reach out if you need someone to talk to!

Look after yourselves team!

Sending you all my love and positivity at this current time.

We got this!

littlestlady

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