Let's do this together: Our tips for staying active and healthy whilst self-isolating

Self-isolation is no one’s best friend. And we all know the world feels a little uncertain and unsettling at the moment, but in this challenging time ahead there’s many a way we can stay physically and mentally healthy in self-isolation. We’ve got creative and have thought about some awesome things you can use this time for, to ensure your entire well-being is cared for in this period. Let’s do this together! Here are some fun things you can do:

Enjoy an escape: Get reading 

We’re all no stranger to having a bookshelf full of novels we’ve been saying we’ll read since we bought them in Duty Free for our 2015 summer holiday. There should always be time for reading, as delving into a good book can offer respite from your busy mind, allowing some escapism and relaxation. Perhaps set yourself a reading challenge, and get your nose stuck into a good bestseller. Not got any books? Cambridge University Press have made over 700 textbooks free until the end of May!

Broaden your mind: Listen to podcasts 

A lot of us already enjoy a good podcast. But we’re often snatching time to listen to them: on a short bus ride, or in between lectures. Take this time to binge-listen, or switch it up and have a few podcast series on the go at once. There are so many interesting topics and they’ll work for whatever self-isolation mood you might find yourself in. Feeling a little overwhelmed? Just find an awesome mindfulness podcast, such ‘Happy Place’ by Fearne Cotton. Wanting to avoid the news and learn about an interesting period in history? Try ‘The British History Podcast’.

Get creative with cooking: Keep meals basic 

It’s really good to be mindful at the moment about what we’re purchasing from supermarkets, and ensuring we avoid the stockpile mindset by only buying what’s necessary. This can lead to helping you get creative with cooking, and can broaden your ability to cook up a delish dish. BBC Good Food has a host of recipes using just five ingredients or less, so you can ensure you get the chance to try some fun, new meals out, whilst saving food for others. Take your skills up to chef level.

Marie Kondo your life: Redesign your living space 

Spicing up your living space can be the perfect therapeutic, mind-distracting task. Rearranging the side of the room your bed lies, switching up the trinkets that line your desk, creating a new fun pin board layout… Refreshing the way your living space looks can help refresh your brain, too.

Netflix and binge: Get through those box sets 

Another great form of escape is the almighty Netflix. Whack out the onesie, cosy up on the sofa with at least three blankets and binge your way through every box set you fancy. We personally suggest Friends – and say that even after five re-runs, it’s still as great as before. Want to make Netflix social? Check out the Netflix Party option, which lets you watch your favourite boxsets with your pals!

Support the vulnerable: Volunteer with Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK 

Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK is a fantastic website which is the umbrella for all the community support groups that have been set up across the country as a fantastic response to the outbreak. You can head to the website to find out what is going on in your local area and help volunteer, if you’re healthy and well, to bring resources to the most vulnerable people in the community. Whether that’s getting food shops in or delivering prescriptions, there’s so much you can do to bring a smile to those who are struggling.

Get active, inside: Home workouts are great 

Grab your phone, head to the app store or pop on YouTube and there are so many amazing home workout videos at the tap of a button. Clear a small space in your living area, hit play on Spotify and get active right from your home. Exercise reduces stress and can be a great distraction, so maybe pencil in half an hour a day to get moving.

Get zen: Do some meditation 

Where do we start with meditation? With a never-ending list of benefits, now is the perfect time to give it a go and find a bit of inner peace. There are a whole load of apps out there that let you get meditating from the comfort of your own home, including Headspace, which has a variety of free features.

Upskill yourself: Learn a new skill 

There are always things we keep saying we’d love to do if we just had time, but our time always feels more precious for the most pressing activities. Now, take the time to really find something you’ve always been wanting to try, such as learning a new language through an app such as Duolingo. Khan Academy is also a great app that has a range of free online courses and gives you the chance to learn something new in a fun environment.

Curate your social feed: Follow those that bring light 

It’s easy to get lost down a social media vortex when staying inside is your only option. But use the time online wisely by messaging those you know to offer them support, utilise the ‘save’ feature on Instagram and save inspirational images and stories, and follow users that make you feel positive and inspired. An account that’s come to our attention recently is The Happy Newspaper (@thehappynewspaper on Instagram) which aims to shed light on the positive stories that go unreported on in the news!

This one's a brain changer: Get puzzling and gaming 

Whether you’ve got a puzzle lying around or are more of an online gamer, now is the time to get hooked on a new challenge! TheJigsawPuzzles.com has a range of virtual puzzles (who knew that was a thing) and Arkadium is also a great shout for some online crosswords, solitaire and Sudoku.

Do the spring clean: Organise yourself with a clear out 

Organise anything! Whether that be your wardrobe to your vinyl record collection, this has a funny way of helping organise your mind. Get your spring clean on and dust away the bad vibes. It’s good to find the things that help create a sense of relaxation and calm for your mind!

If you’re spending some time in self-isolation over this period, well done you. You’re doing everything you can to help put a stop to the Coronavirus outbreak. If you do feel you’re struggling, please reach out. The Students’ Union at UWE and UWE Bristol are here to support you. Contact our Advice Centre by email (advice@uwe.ac.uk) or by telephone, and visit UWE’s wellbeing page for further information. And for updated medical guidance please reference the NHS and Public Health England. We can do this, together!