It’s all pretty depressing, having to hide away in our homes and wait for the dreaded virus to go away again – or possibly get us, …or those we love. And finances could well get stretched during this time, especially for the self-employed who are unable to work.
But given that we ARE stuck at home, what can we do to at least get SOME happiness out of this situation? Here are twelve ideas
- Spend some time contacting friends – maybe by phone, email, writing letters (OMG!) or skype. I know we can’t go out clubbing or eating in restaurants but we can still maintain our social contact, which is vital to our happiness.
- Be creative – start doing, or get further into, writing poetry (have you ever tried writing a Haiku??), writing songs, practising the piano or the guitar if you have one, oil painting or water colours, – or maybe start writing a blog – any type of creative process is great for happiness and at last you’ve got some time. Personally I’ve got an old drum kit here which I’m going to get back into, I might have another go at the old acoustic guitar, and I do like writing and recording extremely depressing songs on my keyboard + garage band.
- Listen to music – this can instantly raise your mood, especially cheerful music. My favourite music is all quite depressing (reaching its peak with Stars by Janis Ian!) but here is a list of music that is both uplifting AND good: here. You could also explore some artists that you’ve never had time to investigate, maybe Miles Davis or John Coltrane, or early Pink Floyd….
- Watching TV isn’t all bad – I wouldn’t trust the news, plus it’s SO depressing, but there are some great box sets out there on Netflix, Amazon and iPlayer. Now’s your chance to watch all of the seasons of 24!
- Exercise – “not enough time” is the biggest excuse or reason why we don’t get enough exercise. So now you can get going on those daily press-ups, sit ups, weights (if you have a set at home), aerobics – you may no longer have an old VHS video from the 1980s but you can always go to YouTube and google Zumba workouts, …or yoga. You could finally master headstands or even handstands!
- Exercise the mind – get into crosswords, maybe even cryptic ones, killer sudokus, etc there are so many online puzzles! Here’s a great place to start – I really love their bridges puzzle! Then there online boardgames which you can play against other people, everything from Scrabble to poker. And online gaming – have you tried Call of Duty?
- Put some work into your house – a bit of DIY, repainting, repairs, improvements, unblocking gutters, window cleaning, maybe even things that you would have paid other people to do so you can save a bit of money.
- Also gardening – very therapeutic, feeling of achievement plus exercise plus being in touch with nature – and a good way to get out of the house and get some fresh air while still being self-isolated.
- If it’s sunny (ha-ha, in England, yeah right! But you never know!) you could sit in the sun and read. Or just sit indoors and read. Reading is definitely one of the things I’d like more time for, so some enforced time on my own could be perfect for all the books I’ve got queued up to read. Stuck for ideas – here’s a list of my personal favourites.
- Tidy up and throw some things away. A clear-out feels good, and needs a bit of time, so this could be the chance. I’m going through all my old cassettes and putting them on Spotify as playlists, and then dumping them – feels good!
- Finish any loose ends that have been sitting around for a while and frustrating you – that knitting, that novel, that setting up of some electronic gadget. I just wired up all of the lights in my office so they can be switched on by just one switch – nice!
- Self-development – this is your chance to make yourself into a better you. We’ve already talked about exercise, but here I mean your brain, which is the source of all of your success and most of your happiness too. If you’re stuck at home why not dial up some online learning and build your skills and your future earning potential? If you’re in sales, learn about negotiation, or some extra sale techniques – if you’re a manager then there’s loads to learn. I’m biased of course, but I’m pretty sure than LinkedIn learning is the best place in the world to find courses, and you can get a whole month free as a trial!.
- Thinking and planning – we never get enough time for this, but now you have some enforced “Box 3” time – time to spend on things that are important but not urgent. What sort of things could you plan and think about? Well how about short and long term goals, future holidays, budgeting to help you to pay for these things, research into travel ideas, business ideas, and whatever interests you.
- Work towards saving money from home – can you find a cheaper provider of electricity or gas, or sell some things on eBay or gum tree?
- Work towards making money from home – and this might be more than tiding you over during this enforced gap, it might grow into something significant. Could be buying and selling on e-bay, writing e-books for amazon, setting up an amazon shop, making a training course and putting it on Udemy, or doing some freelancing via Fiverr or Upwork. See what people are offering on there and think about whether you could also have a go at that! Could you set up on Air B&B and arrange to rent out a spare room? Or you could be a bit more conventional and investigate jobs – similar to your current one but better paid, or completely different, but things you’ve always wanted to do – you’ve got plenty of time to write application forms and make videos showing why you’re the perfect person for them.
I hope these ideas will help you to make the best of a difficult situation, and that it’s over soon. Keep in touch !