If you're not feeling like the sunniest, most delightful version of yourself at the moment, it's totally understandable. After months of lockdown and no clear guidance on when things will return to normal, it's not the easiest time to be optimistic. It's often the small things that can help to make staying home that little bit easier, so we've compiled this list of simple ways to cheer yourself up, as recommended by gransnetters.
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Upset that your summer travel plans have been put on hold? Concerned about when you'll next get to go to a museum or theatre? Thanks to the wonders of the internet, culture is coming to you. You can explore the world's greatest art galleries with Google's virtual tours. So if you've always wanted to go to the MoMA in New York, or The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, now is your chance. The National Theatre is also streaming a free play every Thursday night, if you fancy adding some world class theatre into your weekly routine.
"Sitting quietly and watching the fish, feeling the breeze, hearing the birds are almost forms of meditation and contemplation."
If you need a bit of peace, consider trying meditation and mindfulness. There are lots of meditation apps which could be really helpful, including popular choices Calm and Headspace. If you find the apps aren't helping you to relax, going for a walk or spending some time in nature can be soothing at difficult times. It's a tricky time to forget the world and find inner calm, but according to some gransnetters, it can be done.
"I find having a routine helps me. I make coffee/tea at 8am. I do Joe Wicks PE at 9am, then have breakfast followed by a shower."
"I've been trying online exercise (I'm VERY unfit). It exhausts me but makes me feel happier after."
Exercise is a source of much-needed endorphins and a great way to keep your spirits up. If you're feeling energetic you might want to join in with Joe Wicks on YouTube, who runs a PE class every day at 9am. Gransnetters have reported enjoying his classes as well as the routine a daily workout provides. We have a useful guide to indoor exercise too, including an exercise video of the day, and our forums are full of ideas if you're thinking of starting up an exercise routine.
"Learn something new - academic, leisure or just fun - on a Massive Open Online Course. They cover all kinds of subjects: academic, vocational, leisure and fun, and most allow you to progress at your own pace over several weeks. Most are free."
There's an abundance of free, online resources on offer if you want to use this time to learn a new skill. Gransnetters have recommended Massive Open Online Courses, where you can learn about a variety of topics, including everything from antiques trafficking to how to solve climate change. Duolingo, an app where you can learn 23 different languages, is also very popular.
"Knowing that in the evening I will FaceTime with my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson helps me stay positive."
One of the silver linings of this crisis is that we live in a era of remarkable online communication. For many on Gransnet, the hardest thing about the pandemic is being separated from their grandchildren. But thanks to Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, etc., physical distance doesn't have to be as tricky to navigate as it might have once been.
If you're feeling lonely and don't have family you feel you can talk to, there's always lively chat on the Gransnet forums (as you may well know). From chatting about what was on TV last night to debating politics, there's something for everyone - including our good morning thread, where you can pop on and say hi for a friendly chat. If you're new to the site, we have this guide to help you get started.
If you fancy a chat over the phone, AgeUK has a telephone friendship service for the over 60s called Call in Time, where you can request a weekly phone call from someone with similar interests to you.
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"Volunteer with your local coronavirus support group or food bank/community fridge. Even if people can't go out they can usually help by taking messages and other admin."
If helping other people gives you a warm glow, then why not volunteer? Many charities are in desperate need of help right now as the demand for their services ramps up, and with many of the regular volunteers unable to work. The Do-it volunteering website is a fantastic resource if you are looking for opportunities in your area. It's also important to remember that you don't need to leave your house to volunteer - there are plenty of at-home opportunities to help out, like telephone befriending. Our page on helping older people in your community has some great suggestions for ways to help too.
"I am finding online quizzes for children which I send to my son, and then we do the quizzes over FaceTime with my 10-year-old and one-year-old grandchildren."
Many gransnetters have recommended puzzles, either real-life or online ones, as a fun way to get through lockdown. Sweetly, some gransnetters have even used games to connect with their grandchildren, playing over FaceTime. You could get creative, and write quizzes for your grandchildren to complete or play charades. Don't forget, we've also got a whole section of games onsite too.
"I cut my own hair a few days ago. I am very pleased with the result, I wouldn't be ashamed to let anyone see it, if we could go out anywhere! And I don't need the balaclava I knitted in case."
Gransnetters have some very resourceful tips for looking after your hair during lockdown. Now could be a good time break with your normal routine and try out a new look. If you're making a change, why not make the transition to grey? If it goes wrong, no one will see, and if it goes right you can emerge from lockdown like a butterfly from a cocoon!
As Marie Kondo famously argues, decluttering is the key to a healthy state of mind. As many gransnetters have pointed out, if you want to feel productive and purposeful, a great place to start is the kitchen cupboards. Now is finally the time to do that clean out you've been planning for years. If you need a hand, have a read of our guide to decluttering with Marie.
"Getting out in my garden and the fresh(er) air really helps a lot."
If you're lucky enough to have a garden, now is the best time to get outside and do some gardening. Looking for inspiration? Our page on small garden ideas has plenty of projects to keep you busy.
Even the most positive of us will have 'wobbles' as we face the coronavirus crisis. But if you feel like you're finding it impossible to feel even remotely positive, and want to talk to someone about how you feel, there are lots of resources available. The charity Mind has an helpful guide, and the NHS has a useful list of the best apps to help you take care of your mental health.
If you feel like you need support urgently, one of these helplines could be useful:
Disclaimer: The information on our health pages is only intended as an informal guide and should not be treated as a substitute for medical advice. Gransnet would urge you to consult the NHS coronavirus website if you are concerned you or someone you know has the disease.