COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus. To get the latest information, visit the NHS website or follow the verified @NHSEngland account on Twitter.
The longer we have to stay in, the harder it becomes, so how can you make it a little bit easier?
By now, we all know that staying at home is hard. In fact, it’s probably harder than you expected, but remember, by slowing the spread of the coronavirus, we’re helping to save lives. And in the meanwhile, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you through. From learning new skills to putting all that pent-up energy to good use, you got this!
1. Start meal planning
As the UK moves to slow the spread of the coronavirus, you may not be able to get out as much as you want to. That means keeping shopping trips to a minimum, so meal planning is a must. Think about what you need, what will keep and what you’ll have to use quickly – make a list and stick to it.
If you’re worried you won’t be able to go out for a while, ask a friend if they can help or try making freezer-friendly recipes in advance to make fresh food last longer. Remember, if you’re in isolation, you can’t go out at all, so you’ll need to make arrangements for a contact-free delivery from a supermarket or a friend. And please don’t panic – there’s enough food for everyone if we just buy what we need.
2. Develop a new skill
What if this wasn’t a lockdown? What if it was the perfect excuse to do all the things you never have time to do? From learning a new language to honing your photography skills and acing your theory test, this is your chance to swot up without missing out on all the usual social occasions.
If it’s a career change you’re after, coding is the obvious choice and you don’t need to go to school to do it. Code Academy offers basic courses, so you can get to grips with everything from Python to SQL for free. But it doesn’t have to be coding. You can tackle data at the Google Analytics Academy, learn a new language with DuoLingo or buff up on fashion illustration (and just about everything else) with Skillshare. All for free.
3. Reorganise your home
Let’s face it, by now, you’ve probably got cabin fever, so why not put all the excess energy to good use by sorting out your house? When’s the last time you reorganised your wardrobe? Is it colour coded? Should it be? These are the questions you’ll find yourself pondering.
Now’s the time for decluttering your drawers, putting your bookcase in order and clearing out your garage – when else will you get an opportunity like this? And it’s not just about whiling away the hours. Doing something, accomplishing something, will give you a sense of purpose and make your time at home feel a little more productive.
4. Get a handle on your finances
Money is the big elephant in the room. The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted our lives and our livelihoods, so many of us now fear for the future. It’s easy to let these worries overwhelm you, especially when you’re stuck at home, which is why you need to plan ahead and know your options.
The government has introduced new measures to help support people affected by the outbreak. Statutory sick pay will now be available from the first day of illness. It’s also available for anyone who’s self-isolating because a family member showed symptoms. Evictions have been temporarily suspended and everyone will be entitled to a 3 month mortgage holiday. Meanwhile, the government has promised £330 billion to support businesses with loans, grants and a business rates holiday.
5. Enjoy nature (from a distance)
The thing about staying in is that it just makes you want to go outside. And it’s easy to see why – green spaces can improve your mood, ease stress and help you relax, something we all need a little more of right now.
The good news is that while you may have to stay home, you don’t have to stay in. If you have a garden, you can go outside and revel in nature. This is the perfect time to put those green fingers to good use with a spot of gardening. If you don’t have any outdoor space, open your windows to let in fresh air, position your furniture so you can see outside.
6. Find new ways to socialise
We’re social creatures, it’s in our very nature, so staying away from our nearest and dearest is understandably hard. And the longer we have to do it, the more difficult it becomes, especially if you’re home alone. Luckily, technology has made it easier to stay in touch with each other.
If you can’t do face-to-face, do screen-to-screen. Video chatting through services like Skype, WhatsApp and FaceTime is the closest thing to seeing someone in person. If you can’t do that, a telephone call is just as good. The main thing is that you do it, so make a point of touching base with people and give extra attention to friends, family and neighbours who may feel isolated during the lockdown.
7. Plan for the future
Right now, it probably feels like your life is on hold, but it’s important to remember that this isn’t forever. You don’t know when life will return to normal, but you can make sure you’re ready when it does.
Vision planning is a way to guide your decisions and live a happier life. It starts with a series of questions that cover everything from strengths and weaknesses to what makes you feel happy and fulfilled. It’s a process of inward reflection that can give you a new perspective and help you create clear goals for your life. Of course, if that feels like too much hard work, you could always just make a bucket list of all the things you want to do when you get out.