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LOCKDOWN 3: The Revenge of the Banana Bread!

SHANEY LLOYD gives us her top L.O.C.K.D.O.W.N life hacks in the midst of our third lockdown!

With us all living in another national lockdown, a few of us may be wondering how to fill our days and keep our minds and bodies happy and healthy. With that in mind, I thought I would share a few tips and tricks I have picked up along the case you feel that if you see another Banana bread you will turn into a Minion!

Learn a new skill. Research shows learning something new improves mental health, self-esteem, and can be fun! Always fancied learning a language or learning to play an instrument? Now could be your chance! Duolingo has 38 languages to choose, from Spanish to Swahili, it is the perfect prep for that post-lockdown trip!

Learning a musical instrument has been proven to reduces stress, anxiety and depression. Many music

groups, for example, BackBeat, have taken to performing online. They have some free sample tutorials up on their site to get you through lockdown. If you fancy treating yourself and signing up to the classes, their aim is to teach you a skill: singing, drums, guitar, keyboard. Then you come together to play. Think Rock choir but with an entire band!

Organise your day. Try breaking up your day into bitesize tasks.

Make sure you rotate between activities every so often. The most important thing during a time of nothingness is keeping to a familiar structure. This will keep your mind occupied, motivated, and happy.

Creative activities and crafting can calm crowded minds. Creative writing can carry you into another world.

Many literary festivals have gone online. The BBC Writers Room runs regular webinars on scriptwriting, plus they have a large library filled with their scripts to browse for inspiration which can be found here.

Also, Hay Player allows you to access to all past Hay literary Festival talks for £10 a year. Another thing to draw you out (sorry!) is arts and crafts, which is proven to reduce stress.

Mental health charity Mind holds regular Crafternoons on Facebook. You never know you may reveal your inner artist and be laughing all the way to the Bank(sy) (again, sorry!)

Keep active. Exercise releases endorphins, the happy hormone, so you will feel better in yourself. There are many classes are going online, with the majority of them being free. Strictly’s Dianne Buswell runs her own Youtube channel, Buswellness. Here, you can find many yoga and fitness classes to exercise along to. Her Strictly co-star Karen Hauer, has regular 10 a.m. workouts on Instagram.

In keeping with the Strictly theme, fresh from the Strictly final, Janette and Aljaz have started weekly dance classes with a ‘twist’...sorry, dance related pun was a bad ‘move’! For £7 on Tuesdays at 12p.m. & Fridays at 7p.m., they will send you a zoom link & you can dance alongside them (okay there may be a few others...700+ last week) If you don't feel like strutting your stuff in front of everyone, you can always turn your camera off (which is something I am guilty of). The classes last an hour and have a relaxed party atmosphere!

If you fancy treating yourself, Pineapple currently has a huge range of classes online, ranging from Bollywood, Charleston, to Hip Hop and Musical Theatre. These are priced between £6 to £8 per class. You can find them at Pineapple Live on Instagram or on their website. Plus, Joe Wicks is back to torment us from 9 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!

Digital detox. Don’t panic, I’m not saying completely! Research shows that staying away from screens for an hour before bed helps the mind to unwind and switch off from daily stresses and strains. So perhaps give Alice in Wonderland, or that other book you’ve been meaning to read, a look before you fall down the digital rabbit hole!

Open up to others. Reach out to family and friends. Set up a group on social media, be it WhatsApp, Messenger or some thing else!

See if folks are interested in an activity you can do together. Perhaps a movie group where you take it in turns to pick two films, vote, then watch and chat afterwards (or during using Netflix Party!) That way, you can have your virtual trip to the multiplex and the all-important pub discussion afterwards!

Set up a quiz group - you can band together or complete on rival teams. There are many virtual quizzes: Felix Trench hosts a quiz on YouTube Tuesdays at 7 p.m., or Jay’s virtual Pub Quiz on YouTube on Thursdays at 8:15pm. There are lots of groups on Facebook with friendly quizzes, so why not join?

Walking clears the mind and helps you to unwind. It tops up vitamin D levels and keeps you healthy.

NEVER be too hard on yourself if you miss any or all of your goals!

Tomorrow is a new day and full of new opportunities…. You never know what it may bring!

Written by Shaney Lloyd

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