New Skills

If there was ever a time to pick up a new hobby, it’s now!

Learn a language with Duolingo—it’s a great app and is a really fun way of learning new vocabulary.

Learn some chords on guitar — Here is a lesson for complete beginners.

Learn how to knit or crochet — it’s not just something for grannies, I swear! Here’s a YouTube video teaching knitting for beginners. Top tip: If you don’t have knitting needles you can use chopsticks or pencils.

Start your own food growing project — get hold of soil, pots and seeds (top tip: it will say at the back of seed packets when they can be sown, which is when you plant them. Suttons Online is good for supplies. Look for some that can be sown NOW). You can start a lot of seeds in small pots on window sills. Just remember that they will eventually need bigger pots! Remember to label what they are using lolly sticks or thin pieces of card.

Learn about local plants and flowers, and if you’re going on you’re a daily constitutional (walk), then start to identify them in parks, fields, and woodlands.* I love to watch the videos of Wild Food UK, but please remember not to eat anything unless you are 100% sure of what it is as we have poisonous plants and fungi in the UK (100% sure means you have consulted various sources and done your homework). I suggest if you are going to pick and eat things, you choose things that are known to be simple to forage, such as elderflower, cherries or wild garlic. Why not document your findings in a dedicated notebook?

*Remember to stay 2m away from anyone else <3

Making

Getting creative can help relieve feelings of anxiety and give you a medium to express your self – whether it’s kneading your feelings into dough, or writing poetry, there’s no doubt that making things can be a really positive way to pass the time.

Bake a cake—you could try the Minimalist Baker for some quick (and vegan) recipes of 10 ingredients or less. Take pictures throughout and write about the process!

Make digital art on the theme of ‘Bright Art During Dark Times’ using Kitbash3d’s free Utopia kit.

Bake bread—there seems to be limited bread in the shops so why not make your own loaf. My favourite to make is challah, which is a traditional Jewish bread eaten on Shabbat. I use this recipe.

Make a zine. Some ideas for themes/content: ‘Coming Out’, ‘Being a trans young person’, ‘Fun Facts’, ‘What I put on my toast’ (lol). Here is a WikiHow on folding a simple zine.

Make and paint salt-dough decorations. Salt-dough may remind you of being really little, but it is fun no matter what age you are, plus it is cheap to make and can be baked for painting. Here is how to make it. You could make little figures of people or animals and make a stop motion movie with them! Or maybe make lots of decorations to add some pizzazz to your room?

Exercising

As LGBTQ+ people we may sometimes struggle to find sports that we feel happy and safe participating in anyway, but at a time when we aren’t allowed to gather in groups anyway, it is important to find ways to keep our bodies moving, if possible. We know exercise doesn’t solve our problems, but it can help us feel better, even if just for a little bit.

Try exercise videos— Fitness Blender has loads of free resources on YouTube. I love this Cardio Kickboxing one. Or what about a really old school one like this Kathy Smith aerobic workout. You could dress up like it’s the 80s!

Create a list of exercises to suit your ability that you do at the same time every day—think creatively, e.g. you might lifts cans of beans as weights! Some of my faves include jumping jacks, squats against the wall, and planks!

Hula hoop – learn basic techniques here.

Skip with a rope – try giving yourself a goal e.g. 20 skips or 5 minutes of skipping.

Set up circuits around the house in different rooms e.g. use the bath tub to do press-ups, do lunges down the hallway, do funky moves in your room!

Relaxing

I am sure many of us are feeling pretty tense right now, so it can be a good idea to really set some time aside for some intentional relaxation. So get on them fluffy slippers and grab a nice steamy cup o tea.

Take up yoga. Yoga with Adriene is my favourite online yoga teacher. She has videos for all different levels and (especially in her more recent videos), tries to think carefully about what kind of gendered language she uses. Plus, she has a VERY CUTE dog called Benji!

Meditate. You can download the app ‘Headspace’ which is full of guided meditations to help ease that tension.

Put some music on and re-arrange your room! You can use this time to de-clutter: get rid of things that you don’t use anymore (you can bag them to take to charity shops when Corona has left us, or throw away anything that’s past it).

Light some candles or incense and listen to relaxing sounds – I am thinking ‘babbling brook’ myself, but you might be more into the old ASMR, such as this video about making latkes.

Make your own face mask, apply and kick back watching your favourite movie or reading a good book. Here are some recipes using pretty simple ingredients.

Socialising

It is really hard to not see our friends for this long, but there are loads of ways to stay connected aside from WhatsApp and Instagram. (Plus it can be tiring always having to chat – sometimes you wanna do an activity).

Start a writing or drawing group. Give each other challenges each week and share your work via email or read it out/show it live via a video-chat platform such as Skype or Zoom.

Get your friends to all pick 2 or 3 movies on Netflix, then randomly select one to watch together via Netflix Party. Netflix Party synchronises the movie so that you are all watching it at the same time, and has a chat function too J

Play the online version of  ‘Settlers of Catan’, a popular strategy game of building and trading.

Start a website or blog with friends. Wix is free and easy to use, and has brilliant templates!

Use this opportunity to connect with somebody you have lost touch with – maybe they are a grandparent, or an old school friend? Set up a time each week for a check in.

I hope you find some of these ideas useful and can’t wait to see you all again!

Love from Rum

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