In 2020, the world has found itself with much more time on its hands. Whilst some have welcomed the change in pace, after a while it can leave others scratching their heads for activities to fill the days. For those who are shielding for a prolonged period of time it can be a particular challenge to keep busy, occupied and positive. The home lift specialists at Lifton have put together a top ten of feel-good ideas to keep people entertained at home, whilst staying connected and feeling uplifted.

1. Quizzes
If you are a general knowledge whizz or just enjoy the challenge of testing your brain, why not build a quiz or two into your weekly schedule? Many local pubs are still running quiz nights on social media, and some charities are running one-off quizzes via video conferencing to raise money. You could always run your own virtual quiz for family or friends – a great way to stay social, whilst staying at home.

2. Writing
In a busy life filled with texting and emails, we often do not make time to enjoy the craft of writing. Handwriting with a quality pen and nice paper can be therapeutic. Reach out to others by writings letters, explore your creativity by penning poetry, document your days in a diary, or for a longer project, write down memoirs from sections of your life. It could be an invaluable gift for your children or grandchildren in years to come.

3. Declutter and sort
Being at home for prolonged periods can make you realise that certain areas of the house are not working as well as they could. The most common culprit is the clutter that builds up from day to day life. Embrace Marie Kondo’s ethos of only keeping items that ‘spark joy’ and have a good sort out. There is little more satisfying than knowing everything is in its place.

4. Upcycle
Let your creativity flow by re-imagining your belongings. Turn a beloved jumper that shank in the wash into a fabulous new cushion. Give that old and tired book case an upgrade with a new lick of paint in a contemporary colour. Not only can it be deeply satisfying to give new life to old things, but it’s cheap and really good for the environment.

5. Focus on the children
If you have children in your life, chances are you are missing spending time with them. Keep them front of mind with children-focused projects. Depending on their age maybe arrange a virtual games afternoon with challenges for them to do at home, or a game of bingo on Zoom. Make plans for when you can meet up. Maybe even decorate or sort the spare bedroom into a children friendly room ready for when they can come and stay again. And to make sure the connections stay as strong as ever, offer to read a bedtime story over FaceTime.

6. Set a reading challenge
Escape to other world’s from the comfort of your own armchair by reading a book. If you’re short of reading material the libraries are now open and many are offering a recommendation service. In addition has many books available to read on line. If you need more motivation to get reading, set up a virtual book club with a friend or group, with the added bonus of a scheduled get together to discuss what everyone thought of the book.

7. Plant something
It’s well known that caring for plants is very good for mental health. It’s satisfying and rewarding too. If you have a garden now is a great time to get out there and get it into shape. Or if you want a smaller project create a planter with some flowers in your favourite colours. If you don’t have any outside space, just making a windowsill planter can be just as satisfying.

8. Look after body and mind
With reduced daily activity it’s surprising how your body can miss the exercise. It’s scientifically known that exercise has many benefits beyond simple fitness: it can make you feel happier, it’s good for weight, muscles and bones, it can increase energy levels and help you sleep, improve your skin and brain health and memory. There are lots of options of exercise classes online, for all ages and levels of fitness.

9. Be your own life coach
With time on your hands it can be easy to feel unfocussed and let time slip by. But on the flip-side when life is quieter we have a chance to listen to our inner voice. Take time to think about lifetime ambitions and what you’ve always dreamed of achieving. Write down your ambitions, and make a plan of how you could attain them. Think about what’s stopping you, how you can surmount the obstacles, then set goals, targets and realistic timelines. One day you could look back at this time as the start of your new adventures.

10. Music
Few things in life are as joyful, evocative and relaxing as music, whether that is listening to our old favourite pop songs, singing in a choir, relaxing to classical music or playing an instrument. Maybe spend some time each day or week hunting out music from happy times that makes you feel good. If you play an instrument now is a great time to dedicate some hours to improving your playing. Whatever your favourite music, it’s sure to be a real mood booster.