The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Coronavirus Lockdown
Social distancing is a key strategy employed by governments around the world to try and curb the spread of Covid-19. And while all of us would rather remain coronavirus-free, social distancing is no walk in the park (literally).
Which is exactly why we’ve brought you this guide; to help you navigate the rapid changes to your daily routine and way of life as the UK stands on the brink of a complete lockdown.
Unless you’ve just returned from a three-month retreat in the undiscovered depths of the Amazon rainforest, you’ll have most likely heard about Coronavirus, the virus that’s hurled the world into a collective state of panic and an unprecedented obsession with disinfectants and toilet roll.
With more than 215,568 people known to be carriers and over 8,894 recorded deaths worldwide, the virus, also known as Covid-19, has wreaked great havoc on all of the world’s continents.
While less dangerous than the two other viruses in its family, Mers (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome), Covid-19 remains a significant threat. Its rapid rate of infection, scientists’ limited knowledge of the virus and the danger it poses to vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, all make Covid-19 a grave global challenge.
For that reason, governments around the world are enacting measures that, under normal circumstances, would seem draconian and at odds with democratic principles. One such measure is social distancing.
Social distancing is an umbrella term for a number of practices employed to ‘increase the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness’. Some examples of social distancing that you may have heard of being implemented to combat the coronavirus pandemic are:
… and many others.
All or some of the above may be implemented to control the spread of contagious illnesses and thus protect those who are especially at risk of developing complications if infected.
However, while we all undoubtedly want to protect the elderly and the otherwise vulnerable in our lives, there’s no denying that having to commit to a stringent social distancing regime carries with it a unique set of challenges.
Social isolation, which is a necessary by-product of social distancing has been shown to take physical, mental and emotional toll on those who are subjected to it. Think loneliness, boredom, depression in addition to disrupted sleep and increased stress hormones.
You may also be familiar with the term ‘cabin fever’ and may have even joked you experienced it after a weekend spent at home watching Netflix. Well, cabin fever is no joke and it is in fact a possibility when living under lockdown and not being able to engage in our taken-for-granted routines. A study conducted on 35 individuals living in confinement for prolonged periods of time found that the majority suffered from varying degrees of irritability, boredom, feelings of dissatisfaction and lack of stimulation.
Now, we know that paints a pretty bleak picture of what awaits us as Covid-19 spreads further and more social distancing measures are needed. However, the above examples are only there to caution against complacency under lockdown. Our guide is here to show you how to not only successfully navigate this tricky time but also to have fun and maybe even come out of the experience in better shape than you went in.
How to Prepare for Life Under Coronavirus Lockdown
Before we go into the things you could do to make your lockdown experience a hoot, let’s first go through the practical aspects of this new reality and the preparation you’ll need to do beforehand.
1. Start with the basics
Because we’re living in depths of a global pandemic, you’ll need to get multiples of things you never thought you’d ever risk being short of. These things include:
Soap should be one of the first things you purchase when going into lockdown. A tiny amount of soap is enough to kill all types of viruses and bacteria that your hands may have unknowingly adopted through physical contact with contaminated surfaces and other people. It’s vitally important to wash your hands thoroughly for 20-30 seconds, including between your fingers and under your fingernails. Remember to also sing happy birthday for maximum effect! 😉
A great alternative to soap, hand sanitiser will be a godsend should you need to leave your house to get more supplies and be hard-pressed to find a sink and soap. Check out our hand sanitiser recipe below!
Before committing to social distancing, it’s also worth stocking up on paracetamol. With panic buying in full swing in the UK, you may well struggle to find any at all a week or two from now. Coronavirus is said to cause headaches and general body aches, which makes paracetamol the perfect medication to have at hand in the increasingly likely event of contracting the virus.
While it’s unlikely that we’ll find ourselves struggling to get food, with stock-piling currently trending all over the country, you may want to save yourself the stress of going from shop to shop in search of pasta when it’s no longer as safe to be outdoors. A great lifehack for finding pasta and other tasty nonperishables is having a look in smaller shops rather than big supermarkets which attract great numbers.
At the risk of making our readers cringe, we’ll be brief with this one. Toilet paper is another essential you may struggle to find. Again, check smaller shops and don’t stock-pile like there’s no tomorrow.
Cleaning Products & Toiletries
With the threat of coronavirus hanging over us, you’ll probably want to keep your house and yourself even cleaner. Unsurprisingly, other people do too; which is why you may need to get a few of your chosen shampoo, conditioner and other toiletries you use. These may be harder to find once ‘non-essential’ businesses shut, and supermarkets remain your only source.
It’s also vitally important to speak to your GP and request a few months’ supply of your regular medication to make sure you don’t find yourself short while in lockdown. GP surgeries will be under immense pressure soon, so you’re best taking care of your prescriptions now.
Lockdown doesn’t (shouldn’t) have to be all about rice and tinned beans, so don’t forget to stock up on your favourite snacks. These will not only be a nice treat when you need it, but they’ll help you maintain a sense of normalcy amid an undeniably abnormal global situation.
2/3 cups rubbing alcohol (the higher the alcohol % the better - 75-80% is optimal)
1/3 cup aloe vera gel
Stir and transfer into a soap/pump bottle.
2. Work out your finances
A pretty devastating consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic is its impact on the economy and people’s jobs. While some people may be able to work from home, that won’t be the case for everyone. It may be that a considerable number will have their hours cut or lose their jobs altogether. For that reason, you’ll want to make sure that whatever your circumstance, you have enough money in the bank or money coming in to tide you over the worst of the lockdown.
So far, the Government has unveiled a raft of support to help the economy, businesses and individuals sustain themselves throughout the Corona crisis – including:
Make sure to regularly consult the government website for more announcements regarding further financial support that will be made available to those impacted by Covid-19.
3. Prepare for major changes to your routines
Whether that’s remembering not to touch your face, washing your hands regularly or coming to terms with most of your communication with the outside world occurring online, you’ll need to prepare yourself and the people with whom you’ll be living under lockdown for the inevitable changes to your lifestyle.
It’s arguably easier to prepare for those things that can be solved by a quick run to Tesco or Boots. What’s not so easy is fully comprehending and accepting the mental and emotional demands presented by life under lockdown. We won’t mince words for you and tell you it’ll be as simple as plopping yourself down on your couch and binge-watching your favourite box sets until things blow over (although Netflix will definitely be involved). What we will do, however, is attempt to cover all the bases in helping you ensure most of your needs are accounted for in preparing for the biggest challenge faced by generations of people.
Mentally Preparing for Life Under Lockdown
Transitioning to a life of upended routines, isolation, restricted freedoms and the ubiquitous fear of contracting coronavirus or – even worse – our loved ones contracting the virus will not be easy. For that reason, taking care of your mental health will become ever so important.
According to HelpGuide, a nonprofit mental health and wellness website, good mental health is made up of six key components – they are:
And so, the next few sections will tackle each of the six components and provide you with helpful tips on making sure your mental health remains in top shape as you adjust to the new reality.
How to Stay Fit and Buff Under Lockdown
Although working out may not be high on the list of your priorities when you’re trying to make sure you have enough toilet roll to last you till the weekend, exercise may just turn out to be the ‘chill pill’ you’ll find yourself needing.
From helping you to sleep soundly, manage stress and anxiety to improving your self-esteem, there’s little that can’t be improved by a good workout.
With gyms closing all over the UK and the last place anyone would like to frequent during a fast-escalating virus outbreak, you might be wondering how any exercise will be feasible in the next few months. Worry not, however, there are still plenty of ways you can keep your body fit as a fiddle under lockdown – and they are:
It’s a universally acknowledged fact that YouTube has an answer to just about any query or issue you may be facing. And that’s also true for staying fit under lockdown. All you’ll really need to take advantage of YouTube’s many workouts is a semi-reliable WiFi connection and some floorspace. And to get you started, here are some channel suggestions:
A combination of pop bangers and Pilates movements to help you get your sweat on and have fun while you’re at it. If you’re a complete beginner, try Total Body Workout, and if this lockdown has you ready for a proper challenge, go for Total Body Slim Down.
Around since 2014, Caleb Marshall has attracted quite an audience with his fun dance videos, designed to give you your daily dose of cardio without it feeling like work.
Whether you’re after an intensive HIIT workout, barre or an exercise you could do sitting down, jessicasmithtv has you covered. And if you want more structure to your workouts under lockdown, check out the HIIT for Beginners series featuring a four week-plan that won’t cost you a penny.
2. Workout Apps
If YouTube has never really been your jam and you want a more structured routine while staying out of coronavirus’s way, there are a number of workout apps for you to check out.
At a cost of £14,99, Sweat offers you an access to countless easy-to-follow fitness videos for all difficulty levels and goals; nutrition guides and support as well as educational content to help you stay motivated as you go. And if you’re not sure whether you want to commit to the subscription fee, Sweat offer a 7-day trial to help you decide.
Featuring workouts by Serena Williams, Cristiano Ronaldo and many of your favourite athletes, the Nike Training Club app is a free resource that will help you stay on top of your fitness and enjoy it too.
Another popular App Store app, this GetFit resource is a great alternative to a traditional gym membership. Whatever your current fitness goals may be, judging by its reviews, this app can help you achieve them.
3. Al Fresco
Technically, yes, we’re living under lockdown and going outside should be a no-no. And it is, mostly. However, if you’re one of the lucky ones and have a garden or live close to a park or another sizeable green space, you may be able to get a workout in outdoors. One thing to be mindful of here is UK Government advice, the number of other people you’re likely to encounter while sweating it out outside, and your own risk tolerance levels.
As things currently stand, you should still be able to go for a quick run or a brisk walk outside to boost your endorphins.
Staying Calm Under Lockdown
One thing you may sometimes find hard to do as you’re living under Covid-19 lockdown is staying calm. A lot of things that have never happened before are suddenly happening all at once, news coverage is unforgiving in its constancy and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the media coverage and bombardment of stats. You worry about our collective future, your loved ones and a million other things that you previously took for granted.
The most vital thing you can do for yourself while this is happening is, well, breathe. You may think breathing is the one thing you don’t have to worry about. And you don’t, but especially right now, you’ll want to use your breath to your advantage and breathe in a way that promotes a sense of calm and equanimity rather than apocalyptic dread.
Breathing controls the entire autonomic nervous system and the functioning of our internal organs is largely driven by our breathing patterns
There’s a high chance you never gave your breath much of a thought and it may feel odd to start now. The good news is that there are many resources to help you get it right and inject some much-needed calm into your life.
1. The Headspace App
Founded in 2010, Headspace has fast become the go-to meditation and wellness app, attracting millions of subscribers. The app features countless meditations, from 5-minute guided breathing exercises to meditations specifically designed to help you get better sleep, eat mindfully and improve your relationships.
Some meditations you might find especially beneficial while living under lockdown are:
Headspace is unique in its design and delivery, making meditation accessible to people of all beliefs and temperaments. It lends itself equally well for regular meditators as well as those in need of some quick mental clarity.
2. Insight Timer App
Insight Timer is another great tool to help you get your emotions under control amid our current crisis. Mostly free to use (apart from its courses), Insight Time features hundreds of guided meditations designed to help you calm your mind, reduce your anxiety and improve your overall happiness. As well as guided meditations, the app also features music and talks by meditation experts.
Some great meditations you may want to check out are:
Insight Timer has been hard at work in providing its users with meditations most relevant to what’s happening currently, and the app may prove to be the fix you need as you’re grasping for a sense of calm and normalcy.
3. Yoga – Down Dog
Sitting at number 14 in App Store’s list of top Health & Fitness apps, Down Dog enjoys great popularity amongst beginners and yoga pros alike. Down Dog prides itself on never making you do the same yoga workout twice, offering 60,000 different configurations to help you stay challenged and committed to your practice.
Most importantly, however, yoga has been shown to have countless mental health benefits, such as:
As you’re living under lockdown and, inevitably, experiencing higher levels of stress, a single yoga practice could be the difference between a day that’s bad and a day that’s way more emotionally manageable.
What’s more, due to Covid-19, Down Dog are offering their app completely free of charge until April 1st, and July 1st for students and teachers. So, take them up on it and inject some calm into your life under lockdown!
Fun Things to Do Under Coronavirus Lockdown
While it might be hard to currently see any positives of our current predicament, it really is possible to make the most out of a life of social distancing. You may have a mental list of things you wanted to master, hobbies you wanted to give a try, and recipes you’ve been meaning to bring to life for months. Well, now is the perfect time to do that!
Not only will hobbies help you stay busy and take your mind off the current crisis, but they’ll also provide you with a sense of achievement and boost your self-esteem.
Have a look below for some hobby ideas to do under Covid-19 lockdown:
Learning to play an instrument
You probably went through a phase where you desperately wanted to learn to play an instrument. You may have even bought that instrument, learnt two chords and left that instrument to gather dust for years to come. The most common excuse for ditching music practice is lack of time. Well, the good news is that living under lockdown affords you time you didn’t know existed. So, why not pick up and tune that guitar (check out GuitarTuna in the App Store) and get started today?
Cooking is another great hobby you can do solely from the comfort of your home. If you’re anything like most people, you probably purchased or were gifted a cookbook in the hope of becoming a culinary guru. Of course, life always had a way of getting in the way of your becoming one. There’s no better time than the present to get started! Check out our recipe ideas below!
Learning a new language
Learning a second language (or third) is another thing that many of us have always wanted to do. It’s also another thing that’s tricky to fit into an otherwise busy schedule. Fortunately, life under lockdown is a great opportunity to brush up on your French or Spanish, or even start with a language from scratch. To get started, check out Duolingo for a fun way to pick up words and phrases and build a good foundation in your chosen language. The great thing about this hobby is that a foreign language will undoubtedly prove a useful tool to have in your arsenal once the lockdown comes to an end.
It’s no secret that we’re great fans of online courses and take great pride in connecting students with their perfect course. While you may think that your life has come to a complete standstill under coronavirus lockdown, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The next few weeks/months could be just the opportunity you’ve needed all along to commit to your personal development and gain new skills and knowledge.
Once coronavirus lockdown becomes a thing of the past, you’ll have emerged from it a more qualified and capable potential employee! So, whether it’s accounting, IT or HR that you’ve always wanted to advance in, there are scores of online courses on our website that will help you achieve your goals.
Family/household board games
Because you’re very likely to be sharing close quarters with your family, your partner or your flatmates for the foreseeable future, it’s also worth getting your hands on a few board games to play as a joint activity. After all, what better way is there to bond than over the annoyance of one person buying Mayfair in Monopoly, or the hilarity of someone claiming ‘smeat’ is a word in Scrabble?
KonMari your house
There’s no disputing the fact that the midst of a virus pandemic is probably the best time to deep-clean your house. What you may not know, however, is that cleaning doesn’t necessarily have to feel like a complete chore – it can also be a revolution!
With Marie Kondo’s minimalist approach to decluttering your house, you stand to gain a lot more than an organised wardrobe. Because Kondo stresses discarding those things that don’t bring you joy, you may well end up with a transformed home that helps you foster a sense of calm and mental wellbeing. There’s hardly a better time to experiment with your cleaning methods than a virus lockdown.
Recipes to Try Under Covid-19 Lockdown
While cooking is a great hobby to take up as a way of staying sane under lockdown, it’s also quite necessary to do, or learn how to do, when your daily life is confined to the home.
Though out Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, said he was ‘confident’ that food supplies will not run out, it’s wise to stock our cupboards, fridges and freezers with things such as tinned produce, eggs, meat (or not), and vegetables; all of which can be thrown together to create tasty, nutritious meals.
Below, we list some of the best store cupboard recipes that will be easy to pull off even when well-stocked fresh produce becomes a distant reality.
- 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1L of vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 250mg risotto rice (can be substituted by basmati rice or pearl barley)
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Chuck the chopped tomatoes and half the vegetable stock into a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Pour the above, along with the other half of the stock, into a saucepan and cook on low heat to keep warm.
- Fry onion and garlic in a large frying pan.
- Add the rice/barley and stir for a minute until it looks shiny.
- Pour in the hot tomato stock, one ladle at a time to ensure the rice has time to absorb the stock.
- Cook for further 20-25 minutes until the mixture is soft and creamy. Add herbs, stir and enjoy!
- 2 x 400g of chickpeas
- ½ cup of Greek yoghurt/mayo
- Apple cider vinegar
- Salt & pepper
- Garlic powder
- Red pepper flakes
- ½ lemon (juiced)
- ½ red onion (chopped)
- 1 carrot (finely chopped)
- Drain the chickpeas and mash in a bowl.
- Sprinkle the chickpeas with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
- In a separate bowl, mix Greek yoghurt/mayo, 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, garlic powder and apple cider vinegar; ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes; lemon juice, red onion and carrot.
- Stir all the ingredients into chickpea mash and serve in sandwiches, on a salad or on its own.
- 1 x 400g tin of plum/chopped tomatoes
- 1L of vegetable stock
- 100g dried pasta pieces
- 350mg frozen mixed vegetables
- 4 tbsp red or green pesto
- Handful of grated cheese
- Place the tomatoes and stock in a large saucepan and cook until it boils.
- Add pasta and cook until the pasta starts turning soft.
- Add frozen vegetables and bring to boil once again, then let it simmer for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour into bowls and top with cheese and pesto.
- 2 x 410g tins of sliced peaches (drained)
- 120g golden caster sugar (+ some for sprinkling)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 150g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 150g butter (chilled and cubed + some for greasing)
- 1 small egg
- Set your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Use some butter to grease the baking tray, then place the peaches in the base. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of the sugar and the ground ginger on top and set to the side.
- Chuck the flour, the rest of the sugar, baking powder and cinnamon into a food processer. Once the ingredients have combined, add butter and pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the eggs and whizz until you get something resembling a thick dough.
- Spoon your dough onto the peaches, covering them well but leaving some space for the dough to grow into. Sprinkle with some caster sugar and bake for 40 minutes (until golden).
Now, the above recipes should be a good starting point, showing you that panic-buying isn’t a must when trying to stay well-fed while in lockdown. And if cooking has never been your forte, pulling off these recipes will give you the confidence boost you need to get into a semi-regular cooking routine.
Books to Get You Through Covid-19 Lockdown
Books are another great tool at your disposal during the Corona crisis. While everyone knows that, similar to video games and music, books are a great form of escapism, not everyone knows that they’re also a great stress reduction tool. According to research by Dr David Lewis, reading as little as six minutes a day can slash stress levels by as much as 60%.
Although any book you read will carry the above benefits, not all books are made equal and not all books will necessarily help you process the current crisis in a way that helps you build mental resilience while in lockdown.
Some books that you may benefit from are:
1. Man’s Search for Meaning – Victor Frankl
Written by a Holocaust survivor who adopts a unique perspective in viewing his experiences as a concentration camp prisoner. Frankl takes the reader through the lessons he acquired during his imprisonment, arguing that meaning can be found in great suffering. And even when that suffering appears senseless and hopeless, it is possible to find purpose within it and use the difficulties we face to our advantage.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.
While we may not always be able to control what happens to us, what we can control is how we respond to it. This message can be applied to the situation facing us now, empowering us to adopt a more positive stance to the Corona crisis and being more open to the growth opportunities presented by the lockdown.
2. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
Widely acknowledged as the greatest piece of literature, Tolstoy’s War and Peace also teaches us that our most difficult experiences are the ones that stand to offer the most growth.
When things that cause us suffering happen, our first instinct is to rationalise it, resist it and place the find someone or something to blame. In this lengthy read, Tolstoy challenges these impulses and assumptions, suggesting instead sometimes bad things happen through no fault of anyone. Rather than trying to find the culprit, it’s in our interest to accept these experiences and welcome the personal changes and growth they offer us.
If there was no suffering, man would not know his limits, would not know himself.
Being now faced with the Covid-19 crisis and the many demands it places on us and our way of life is not easy. Still, it’s a test of our personal strength and the strength of our communities, also illuminating the compassion and help we’re all capable of extending to others when needed.
Some other books that you may want to check out are:
TV Shows to Get You Through Covid-19 Lockdown
As we mentioned already, Netflix (or any other streaming service you use, really) will play a part in your survival of the coronavirus lockdown. While we don’t recommend you that that’s all you do for the next however many weeks or months, we all know binge-watching can be like balm to the soul.
On that note, here is our list of TV shows to get through the Corona crisis.
I Am Not Okay With This
An aptly named recent addition to Netflix’s repertoire, featuring hormones, nosebleeds and superpowers. Just what you’ll need to feel better about our current reality!
Money laundering, drug bosses and a seemingly normal nuclear family – what could go wrong? Ozark’s gripping storylines and Julia Garner’s incredible southern accent will definitely help you forget to check news updates. As an added treat, a new season of Ozark is due to drop on March 27.
If Stranger Things and time travel are your jam, the German show, Dark will rock your world. Even if you’re not crazy about either of the two, it’s hard not to enjoy Dark, with its ‘80s bangers, very complex yet intoxicating storylines and a dizzying search for answers.
The Good Place
If what you’re after is a feel-good comedy show that will keep you hooked for hours, The Good Place certainly won’t disappoint. Despite being consistently hilarious, the show also delves into a number of philosophical concepts, explaining them way more entertainingly than your A-level philosophy teacher ever could.
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo has become a household name in recent years, helping people declutter their homes and, as a result, their lives. Her KonMari method is a minimalist approach to decluttering your stuff on a category basis as opposed to room; for example clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous and sentimental items. The crux of her approach is basically discarding items that don’t spark joy or hold any genuine value.
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo sees Kondo personally help people apply the KonMari method and ultimately allow them to live in a home that only has things they value in it. With coronavirus making us ever-so-aware of the cleanliness of our spaces, the show can prove a valuable tool to enable you to organise your own space in a way that not only gets rid of viruses and bacteria but also promotes the very sense of calm and order you’ll need while living under lockdown.
Board Games to Play While Under Lockdown
With public events, museums and galleries all shut and the Covid-19 lockdown in, almost, full swing, families and households will need group activities to help them stay busy and entertained. And there’s no better way to do that than by cultivating healthy competition with a few board games.
Some board games that you’ll want to play under Corona lockdown are:
A timeless classic, Monopoly is known and loved by families around the world despite its potential to arouse something resembling fury. Combining strategy with a little bit of luck, Monopoly is likely to keep you and your household occupied and (visibly) competitive for hours on end.
At a time when many board games come and go, Scrabble is another enduring classic. What makes Scrabble so enjoyable is how simple, yet different every time you play it, it is. Combined with its potential for hilarity and spawning heated debates, the game will definitely inject some fun into your household’s lockdown experience.
Jenga is yet another strong contender in the game board world. Appealing to little kids and tipsy adults alike, building things and watching them topple is clearly the secret formula to a good bonding sesh. And if you’d like to mix up Jenga with a little bit of exercise, you could write things like ’10 star jumps’ or ‘5 pushups’ on your blocks.
Though maybe not the best way of mentally escaping from our own pandemic, Pandemic is a nevertheless a great co-operative game that will have your own household scrambling to treat infections, find cures and manage the chaos we now know all too well.
Cards Against Humanity
While not strictly a board game, Cards Against Humanity are guaranteed to help you spend a good few hours giggling and talking over each other as the cards create better jokes in one night than most dads crack in a whole year. One thing to note, though is that the game may not be the best choice if your household consists of those under the age of 16.
Living under lockdown will most likely test you in unprecedented ways – that’s a given. However, that’s not to say that your life can’t continue to be enjoyable, fulfilling and healthy. Conversely, though hard, your lockdown experience can be one of great opportunity and growth, setting you up for a better you and a better life post-Covid-19 than the one you led prior to it.
Keep our guide handy, print it out if you need to, and seize the opportunity!