From the 8th of July 2020 onwards, a second lockdown was imposed in Victoria. As the number of detected cases continue to grow, it looks like even stricter restrictions may have to be set in place for Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. This can have an impact on the mental health of many Melburnians, especially those who found the first lockdown frustrating and challenging and could not figure out what things to do in lockdown.
In this article, we’re going to look at a few lockdown hacks to turn the lockdown into a more positive experience.
NOTE: This article is intended to help readers find things to do in lockdown and is not to be considered medical advice for anyone with depression, anxiety-related conditions, or anyone who has been diagnosed with mental health conditions. If you would like to reach out for help, Avaana can help you find a counselor online near you.
Change your inner dialogue
We become the stories we tell ourselves. “I’m too lazy to work out”, “I love food so much that I’ll never be able to eat healthy”, “I have no time to read” – all these inner voice dialogues become self-fulfilling prophecies and we allow them to justify our behaviour. But according to new evidence, making a conscious shift towards positivity can have a significant impact on your health.
In the same way, when we tell ourselves repeatedly that this is a terrible time for the world and for humanity, we’re making it so for us too. When we tell ourselves that we are too restless to be locked up in the house, we allow ourselves to focus on that instead of the positive things to do in lockdown.
Instead try these lockdown hacks and tell yourself that a second lockdown is precious time given to you to use as you will. By now, you’ve learned from the first lockdown that there is no need to stockpile food or medicine. You have your lockdown routine all charted out. You know what to do and how to do it.
If you begin to look at this time as a gift instead of a curse, you might be able to use it better. Haven’t you always regretted missing out on watching your kids growing up? Haven’t you felt you’d like to spend more time by yourself? Haven’t you told yourself you would pick up an old hobby if you had the time? Now is the time to add all this to your list of things to do in lockdown so you can get started.
Focus on your loved ones
All of us are guilty of getting lost in our schedules and neglecting those we love. During these stressful times, loving acts and time with loved ones can go a long way towards making you (and someone else) feel happy and positive.
Try these lockdown hacks to help you stay in touch and feel connected. Just because you can’t go out during a second lockdown, it doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch. Make a list of alternative ideas to stay connected and improve your bond with those you love. Here are some things to do in lockdown with your loved ones:
- Set up date night with your partner at home
- Arrange a picnic or camp in the garden with your kids
- Schedule a long video call with an old school friend to reminisce about old times
- Write a long email to a parent to tell them what you’ve learned from them
- Take up a hobby with a friend and compare your progress online
- Do a pet-pampering date with your pet to make up for all the days you’ve spent at work
Take time off from negativity
Social media is a way of keeping us connected, but it also feeds us with blaring headlines and political agendas. Unless your work requires it, you won’t achieve anything constructive by keeping a track of the number of cases around you.
The second lockdown is a good time to try this. During the first lockdown, you were dealing with a new situation and trying to gather as much information as you could. But this time around, turn off the news and mute your social media apps for some time.
Without the constant flow of information, you might find the time and mental space to think of more positive things to do in lockdown. This is one of the best lockdown hacks you’ll try for yourself but a little distancing from social media works well in regular times too.
Set a big creative goal for yourself
You’ve probably already tried multiple things to do in lockdown such as baking or painting, but have you identified a big project? Between working from home and staying on top of your cooking and cleaning, your mind is occupied with your routine. But why not try on of these creative lockdown hacks to help you do something that really motivates you.
This is the second lockdown and you already know how to handle it. You don’t have to spend time worrying about routine. By giving yourself a big project (even if it intimidates you a little), you’ll spend more time thinking about your hobby and researching it. It’s also a great idea to promise your family or friends that you’ll make something for them so that you are committed to it.
Here are some creative ideas for things to do in lockdown:
- Paint or sketch portraits for your friends
- Embroider a set of cushion covers for your home
- Learn a new song or a piece of music
- Become an expert at one complicated recipe
- Choose a large DIY home project
- Grow vegetables from scraps from your kitchen
- Write that book you’ve been meaning to
Do something nice
A study performed by Michael Norton, professor at Harvard Business School, found that money spent on others makes you happier than money spent on yourself. The mental and emotional boost that you get from social giving can lead to better mental health. It also leads to a more positive perspective and enhanced emotional bonds. This insight has led to one of the best lockdown hacks for your own benefit and the benefit of people around you.
In these difficult times, when many Melburnians are facing financial uncertainty or dealing with reduced incomes, you can find a way to step in and help, without breaking social distancing norms. Here are some nice things to do in lockdown to help others:
- Arrange a grocery delivery to someone with financial difficulties
- Stay in touch with someone who lives alone and might be lonely
- Donate a small amount to your favourite charity
- If you have a large network of friends, share the links to the donations page of your favourite charity and ask them to contribute
- Order essentials or groceries from small business owners in your area to support them through this crisis
Many of us talk about the second wave as if it is our shot at redemption when it comes to things to do in lockdown. With the majority of us having spent the first lockdown being a couch potato and not being able to do much in terms of productivity, a vast number want to make this second wave count. We’re all looking for lockdown hacks that will make us feel productive and creative, but remember to look after your stress levels too.
While it is always good to be productive and to spend your time wisely, it is just as vital to have some down time and be unproductive. These are difficult times for all of us and there is nothing wrong if you don’t feel emotionally and physically capable of making a list of things to do in lockdown.
Checking things off your To-Do list can give you a sense of power and control, but it can also create stress if you’re not up to it. Don’t force yourself to be productive during this second wave because you feel like you want to make the most of it this time around.
Pick your entertainment more carefully
Let’s face it – we can make plenty of lists of things to do in lockdown but sometimes the only thing we want to do is sit in front of the telly and block out reality. But if you end up feeling like you’ve wasted time after a couple of hours of television, try these lockdown hacks to help you feel better. Choose to watch shows that teach you more about topics you’re interested in.
Watching documentaries instead of the latest series is a great lockdown hack – you get to relax and enjoy a good show but at the end of it, you can congratulate yourself about having learned something new. Add some documentaries to your list of things to do in lockdown and discover more about the world all around you. There are plenty of documentaries that you might enjoy – from the science of dreams to the evolution of whales to the origins of chocolate.
Listen or play to music
You may have made your way through all your favourite albums and artists during the first wave but the good thing about music is that there’s always something new to discover.
Try this recommendation for things to do in lockdown today: Revisit some of your comfort music during the second wave but also spend time trying to discover new favourites. Try creating a set of fresh playlists for date night, running or home workout sessions, hobby hour, and more.
Do some armchair travel
If you made travel plans when the first lockdown lifted, you’ve probably had to put those plans on hold. It’s upsetting and frustrating but a lockdown shouldn’t come in the way of your desire to visit exotic locales. Try some fun travel-related things to do in lockdown in the travel space.
Many brands and tourist destinations have responded to the restrictions imposed by the global pandemic by creating virtual tours as one of the things to do in lockdown. While these tours may not be the same as the real thing, they allow you to take in breathtaking views of all the places that you have always wanted to visit.
Take tours of museums, art galleries, the natural wonders of the world (such as the Great Barrier Reef or the Grand Canyon) without having to push through crowds to get a good look. Virtual tours have emerged as one of the best lockdown hacks to satisfy your wanderlust while staying comfortably and safely at home.
Change how you see and what you see changes
Having gone through one wave of the lockdown, you already have the advantage of coping better with social distancing. Being confined to the home can take a toll on your physical and mental health, but you’re better prepared this time around and can try out these lockdown hacks to help you cope better. You can now make a list of things to do in lockdown that will keep you distracted and engaged.
If you are still struggling to follow lockdown rules, it is probably because you need to realign your perspective on isolation. With work-from-home now becoming the norm, there is less commute and lack of social interaction. As a result, all of us have more time on our hands and less external options for things to do in lockdown.
There are two ways to look at this.
If you struggle with the second lockdown, you may still be thinking of this as a restriction that has been imposed upon you. You will find it hard to follow rules and will be prone to anger and frustration, as well as increased mental health issues. If you think you are having trouble accepting the social distancing requirements, it is recommended that you spend some time making a list of things to do in lockdown and working on lockdown hacks that change your perspective to help you deal with it in a way that is healthy and productive for you.
If you are happy about this unexpected bounty of time on your hands, you will feel grateful for a chance that allows you to stay safe at home. If you already have a list of things to do in lockdown this time around, do make sure you set aside time for relaxing and enjoying free time.
It is natural to feel upset at the thought of a second lockdown, but don’t allow your feelings to get the better of you.
Take another shot at health and immunity
The stress and anxiety of the first lockdown hit all of us hard. We may have been unable to make lists of productive things to do in lockdown and probably spent the first wave being sedentary at home, binge eating and allowing anxiety and stress to set in. Only a few of us were able to set aside our worries and remain committed to workout regimes and clean eating.
If you spent most of the first lockdown enjoying comfort food, why not take this opportunity to work on your health and add exercise to your list of things to do in lockdown for yourself? There are some great lockdown hacks that will keep you healthy:
Try a home workout
Staying at home is currently the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but it makes it difficult to incorporate movement into our daily lives and workout on a regular basis. Even though many of us have sedentary jobs, we managed to get some exercise from our commutes or at work. When we stay home, the only distance we walk is from the telly to the fridge and back. But fitness should still remain high on our list of things to do in lockdown even if we are restricted to our homes.
This is why one of the best lockdown hacks is to plan exercise related things to do in lockdown. It could be anything from online Zumba classes to yoga or even simple resistance training.
Here are some fun fitness projects to try at home:
- Learn how to do box jumps
- Loosen up with the best exercises for hamstrings
- Practice burpees at home
- Do an at home Pilates workout
- Exercise for flexibility
- Lose belly fat and get a flat belly
- Work on your abs
If you’re just starting out with your home workout, here are some tips to stay motivated.
Depending on the rules of your state, you may even be able to venture out of the house for a run in the early morning or late evening hours when there are not too many people around. The workouts do not have to be strenuous or punishing; the idea is not to develop a beach body but to remain fit and in optimal health.
Learn how to cook healthy
One of the other lockdown hacks for health and immunity is nutrition. Try to expand your repertoire of delicious healthy recipes that you can whip up without too much trouble. If you’ve been working out more regularly, your diet should fuel your body and support the exercise you’re doing. Do some research on how to eat towards your goals, whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain weight, or put on muscle.
Here are some diet-related projects you may like to try:
- Read about good carbs and bad carbs and how they affect your health
- Discover the secrets of healthy snacking
- Quit sugar and see that weight drop off
- Start creating meal plans for better immunity
- Learn how to eat healthy
- Switch from coffee to green tea
This is a great time to dust off all those complicated kitchen gadgets and try them out. Experiment with juicing, air-frying, grilling, baking, to add variety to your weekly menu. If you’re up for the challenge, try some complicated things to do in lockdown like making zucchini noodles or cooking with vegan meat. Who knows? You may discover your new favourite recipe.
If you have kids, get them involved in planning meals and making desserts or baking snacks. It’s always fun to create themed dinner nights to learn about different cultures and cuisines. This gives kids a sense of involvement and teaches them the importance of healthy eating.
One of the most important things to do in lockdown is to develop a better understanding and higher empathy for those around us. During the first wave of the lockdown, the message for all Aussies was simple: Stay at home!
As coronavirus infections rise and fall around the country, different states have to resort to different messages or instructions. It can be frustrating that some of us may be in states that are still locked down while others are free to travel. But it is a necessary part of keeping COVID-19 at bay and you must be able to put this perspective in place.
The second lockdown doesn’t have to be the worst thing that has happened to you. What if it’s the break you needed to re-examine your life and focus on what matters most to you? What if this is the time you need to deepen your bond with your partner or your children? Maybe you’ve been planning to get fit and understand how to do healthier things to do in lockdown. Maybe you’ve had a pet project that’s been simmering on the back burner for years. For all this and more, these are the precious few weeks that you have. Let’s make the most of it!