It’s easy to be down in quarantine. No positive spin can take away the tragedy of everything that’s happening across the world, but we can do our best to look after ourselves while we’re stuck inside. 

There’s no shortage of lists of things all over the internet of what you ‘must’ be doing if you have some extra time. You have to lose weight, get fit, become at peace with yourself, kickstart your career and learn how to do one handed handstands while spinning plates on your nostrils. And all that before breakfast!

The truth is that while all of that would be great, we also need to be kind to ourselves. So here are a few things to experiment with and enjoy, whether you feel like doing nothing or everything.

 

Gettin’ baking (or rather making yummy vegan food from scratch):

My favourite recipe from this lockdown has also been the simplest one. It won’t satiate those chocolate or baked goods cravings but it does bring a killer edge to your sandwiches.

These pickled red onion slices can bring a tangy crunch to a sandwich, top a soup, spritz up a salad or just be eaten out the jar when you’re feeling peckish. It’s also as simple as slicing up some red onions and putting them in a jar with apple cider vinegar, water, salt and sugar.

A slightly (though not much) bigger time investment can also make you some mayo to add to that sandwich. My latest vegan discovery is just how easy it is to make homemade vegan mayo. Make sure you use a lighter tasteless oil (rapeseed/ sunflower ect..) and it turns out perfect every time. You can use any non-dairy milk (or even aquafaba). Enjoy it as it is, or add your favourite herbs and spices to your concoction.

The naughtiest of my lockdown discoveries are these vegan pancakes. If you can get your hands on some flour these pancakes are so delicious. They have so far been the perfect start to 2 different lockdown birthdays in my household and the recipe was hastily copied into the family cookbook. 

 

Looking after yourself:

While keeping you stocked with a few new vegan recipe ideas is a start, there is more to wellness than eating pancakes (I’m told). 

Mental health is so important, and taking care of ourselves has become even more essential under the pressure of lockdown. If you’re struggling to ask for help or need some guidance on who to ask, read this article for a signpost in the right direction.

But there are also small ways that we can remind ourselves that we are doing our best. One way is to celebrate the achievements you make, however small they are. It could be getting dressed, brushing your teeth or cooking a nice meal for yourself and/or your family. Your reward doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant, it could be treating yourself with food, an activity or something else that makes you happy. The important thing is to give yourself credit for the little battles you’re facing day to day. 

Another way might be to carve out some time for yourself in the day. You could meditate, but if that’s not your thing you could sew, draw, sit and listen to music: anything that allows you some quiet time to reflect.

Many different arts venues and creators are also now producing content online. Farleys House and Gallery, historic home of the Surrealists, recently posted on their instagram for the birthday of legendary photographer, Lee Miller, a fascinating Q & A with Miller’s son, Antony Penrose. The National Theatre have also begun posting full length videos of their plays on their youtube channel for limited periods.

While becoming a master yogi or a fitness guru can wait, exercise is also an important part of looking after yourself. This doesn’t mean trying to ‘shed the pounds’ or ‘get swole’, but a walk (at a safe distance, a game of football in the garden or even a vigorous game of Twister with your household can make a difference on your mental health. 

 

Staying involved in the campaigns you care about:

Despite no longer being able to leave our houses, we can still make important social change. If you’re feeling up to it there are plenty of campaigns you can get involved with. 

If you are willing and able, across the world volunteers are mobilising to help their local healthcare professionals and protect the vulnerable. You could donate your time or money to countless worthy causes, from all kinds of charities currently struggling to get to grips with this crisis to small businesses working to keep their staff employed. 

If you can’t afford to donate, aren’t able to volunteer in person or just are looking for something online, there are still plenty of opportunities.

  • Let people in your life know that you’re available to talk or put a note through the neighbour’s door with your phone number to reach out.
  • Get involved in online campaigns like the ‘Who Made My Clothes?’ and #justacard movements and help amplify their message and join their events.
  • Visit the social media and websites of your favourite museums, galleries, creators and small businesses and show them some love.
  • Volunteer to do online work for local charities.
  • Get involved in politics and volunteer for your local party or help support the campaigns they run.

 

However you decide to spend your lockdown, whether you’re at home doing everything, nothing or something in between, just remember to be kind to yourself.

By Kahina Bouhassane

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Man standing on hill. Photo by Cata.Photo by Mae Mu