We’re all thinking of ways to keep ourselves occupied during the lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak. And for those of us who like nothing better than the outdoor life, then the very idea of ‘lockdown’, or quarantine as the case may be for some, can be a hard one to bear.
So, at Quality Unearthed, we thought we would come up with some novel suggestions about just how you can bring the outdoors indoors, and help you get through this period, by doing the things you love to do outside, whilst keeping yourself safe inside.
We think you’ll like this little list we have put together. Heck! If Paul Simon went glamping, he’d come up with a list like this… only he’d have found more ways, knowing him. But, he would definitely put this list to music during lockdown.
1. Paint a surfboard or skate deck
Chances are if you’re the outdoorsy type, then you will own a surfboard, skateboard or something with a deck. Why not take this opportunity during this compulsory ‘downtime’ to re-invent your board. It’s your chance to get creative and make your ride totally unique to you. Can’t draw or paint? So what! This is for you, and no one else.
Find some inspiration online, or go with the flow.
Whatever you do, here are some practical online guides to ensuring your bespoke finish will last forever.
2. Learn a language
Yeah, just like that!
OK, so we know that it’s not that easy, but everyone has to start somewhere. And for most people who have ever thought about learning a language, one of the main barriers to this goal is time. Well, many of us have just been given ‘time’ as a gift.
Now, for those of you who have been given ‘time’ and who have also previously had ‘space’, we’ll assume you are off making continuums somewhere. But for everyone else, throwing yourself into a language could be just the thing to occupy your time.
Often, a good way to learn a language is to get out and experience it, but because that’s not an option right now, there are a number of valuable resources online, both paid and for free, that can get you started. Selecting a language is the first thing to consider. Maybe try choosing a language of the country or place that you are visiting next or maybe one that you have always wanted to visit.
Maybe predictably, being a Welsh company, we suggest you learn Welsh. Y’know, for when you visit us after this is all over! Anyway, there are some comprehensive guides online but we know Welsh can be a bit of a tongue twister, so to get you started, how about you start off with some simple words and phrases.
‘i croeso’… (you’ll find out)
3. Write a letter
They say the art of penmanship is a dying craft. But it doesn’t have to be. Write letters to your loved ones and friends who maybe you can’t be close to right now. If a letter isn’t you, how about a postcard, just like if you were on holiday.
You can post them to let others know how you’re doing, or you can keep them, so you will know just how you felt during this weird time, but make sure you share them. Texts are too easy. Whatsapp group messages? Pah!
Put the time into the written word, and not only will it get you thinking but it will also give you the time away from the screen, to connect and focus your thoughts.
4. Clean your hiking boots
It seems counterintuitive, right? Trust us. The only way to know how good and muddy a trail or hike really is, is to clean your boots. Give them a good scrub, and get them ready for when time comes that you can go, and climb mountains again, both figuratively, and for some, literally.
5. Build a fire (both indoors and out)
So, we have some great experience of how to build the perfect fire indoors.
View our founder, Tim Rees, who will walk you through the process of building a perfect fire for glamping.
If you have some space in your garden at home, forage for items that you can use to make a simple fire.
For some real tips on making a basic fire, go here:
We also have some neat ideas on building a fire pit:
REMEMBER: Take this seriously, and you should only build fires with absolute caution. They can be dangerous, so be alert and don’t be silly. Build a fire safely, and you’ll feel like a real person of the woods. As well as learn some basic survival skills!
6. Wash (and dry) your wetsuit
Be honest. When was the last time you did this? Bet it wasn’t after the last time you went in the water, was it?
You see, wetsuits don’t really like seawater. They put up with it for your benefit, but it’s time to show some love and be kind to your body glove. It’s time to give something back.
Saltwater is actually one pretty corrosive substance when left unchecked on things like, say neoprene, and umm… metal zips!! So please, get some nice, fresh, clean water, wash the salt out of your sea skin. Dig it out of your bag, and give it a good soak for a few minutes, making sure you dunk regularly to free up any of the stuck sea salt and old water particles.
When it’s clean, remember to turn it inside out to let it dry. Even if you can’t use it today, inverting your wetsuit after washing is a valuable tip to remember for long after the lockdown is a distant memory, and for two reasons.
i) Direct sunlight is also not great neoprene. It’s a very sensitive material, really, but it’s benefits are only ever so apparent when you’re in ‘the drink’ up to your waders and it’s keeping you warm. It’s here it commands respect. So respect it shall have, and the inside of most wetsuits are typically not made of neoprene, so inside out is better.
ii) Secondly, (and this is really the golden nugget)… Have you ever put a wetsuit on the next day, when the inside is wet?
7. Master the ‘roly-poly’ on your sofa
Roly polys. Handstands. Star-jumps? Anything you tried in primary school gym class. Now is your chance to perfect them, or have a go if it’s been a while.
As you may not have any of those rectangular, blue gymnasium mats handy, your sofa has just been upgraded to your gym mattress, or pommel horse. Don’t forget to put your cushions on the floor and of course, be careful when attempting a maneuver. Maybe get an adult to help you with your form a few times.
Lastly, no matter how technical your dismount or end pose looks, make sure you finish it off with a great ‘Y’ pose.
8. Make sock puppets
So, everyone has some old socks lying around. The ones your mum keeps in a cupboard near the washing machine, waiting for the day that the magical ‘other sock’ – the missing half – turns up and it can be reunited with its mate.
Sorry kids, but that day is just not coming. But fear not, your odd socks don’t have to go unloved for the rest of time. Make sock puppets out of it. And it doesn’t just have to be sock puppets. There are millions of ideas out there for what kind of things to make with old socks.
For example, as it’s Easter, why not make ‘Sock Bunnies’? There are some fantastic ideas out there, and the best ones involve absolutely no sewing at all.
Check out one of these amazing tutorials here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SaN3lHUbQA
In fact, one of the team had a go at making some of these during lockdown. See how they turned out:
…Pretty good, huh? Give it a try yourself. You only need some stuffing, some ribbon, and a felt tip pen to get started. Additional baubles and googly eyes are not compulsory, so if you don’t have them, don’t worry.
Note: Do not go pillaging the fluff from your living room cushions, or we will never hear the end of it. There are plenty of household items you can use to fill your bunnies. For example, the above offerings were stuffed with lentils. Uncooked, of course.
9. Press some flowers
Now, here is something you can do and come back to.
For beautiful pressed flowers that you keep for as long as you want, simply gather clean flowers, and try as much as you can to make sure they are free of any blemishes or ‘spotting’. Try collecting them on a sunny day so that they are already dried out, and not wet from rain or dew. Place the flower face down in a book of your choice, that is lined with a parchment paper of sorts.
Close the book, and make sure you weigh it down. Maybe with another book? A big one. And leave undisturbed for at least a week, maybe as long as up to 10 days.
Just remember to leave some flowers for the bees!
10. Identify bugs in your garden
Bugs are great. Creepy crawlies and insects and things you can find in your garden are nature’s way of saying slow down and take a look at all the life there is out there. Slow down, because in some cases, you need to look very hard.
We found a great guide to U.K. and European bugs at the following index: https://bigbughunt.com/bug-guides/uk-and-europe/bug-index.aspx
See how many you can find just in your own back garden.
11. Picnic on your carpet
It doesn’t matter where you picnic. Often it only matters who you’re with. Oh, and that you have jam sandwiches, of course. Can’t forget them!
The point is, no matter what you pack in your picnic, whether it be quiche, sausage rolls, or mini falafels, you do it with those you love. So, why not make time for that indoors.
Grab your best gingham blanket, and bed down in your living room. Turn off all distractions, and share a meal that Yogi Bear would be pleased to find.
BONUS: As it’s inside, it’s less likely any pesky wasps will be at your jam sarnies!
12. Yoga and meditation
We’re putting these two together, but actually they are two separate disciplines which both in turn, do a number of good things for you.
Namely, in the numerous ways that they contribute to your overall mental health and wellbeing so fabulously.
Firstly, Yoga. And essentially, focusing on exercise for the body. Exercise for some is a walk, cycle or a run, but that has become all the more harder to achieve during lockdown. Our founder finds that on more-or-less a daily basis, practicing a short simple series of stretches followed by a short meditation is at the heart of a good setup. It’s like a breakfast that the whole body can enjoy.
Here is a link to an online yoga teacher that we can recommend. The best bit is, it’s easy! It does not need to take long! The key is to not let your body be like an old elastic band that loses its stretch – keep it nimble!
Shiva Rea for Beginners:
Following on from ‘body exercise’ is meditation. The gym for the mind.
Aligning the parts of our brain to modulate in harmony is exceptionally helpful when needing to calm the brain, see the wood from the trees and make better decisions. Here is another link you might find helpful:
Dr Joe Dispenza:
If you have to, there are more and more digital ways to re-sync your inner synapse. ‘Headspace’ is also a popular app, as is ‘Calm’ which you can download on your phone, and they are popular with those who are unfamiliar with meditation practices.
However, once you have begun to master the practices that help you get the most out of meditation, ditch the phone or videos. At least until you have finished meditating.
Remember: Time away from screens is a body and mind essential. Pardon the pun, but the best way to ‘reprogramme’ the mind to be healthier, is to stop jamming it with programmes, bleeps and bloops (Yes, we did just say that!) in the first place.
Plus, they will be there once you’re done, anyway. So, knock off the tech for half an hour or so.
On a serious note, Quality Unearthed, in all of this rush of COVID-this, and CORONA-that, ‘lockdown, lockdown, lockdown!’, at our heart, have some pretty simple colours pinned to our mast. Wellbeing – and specifically the well-being you can get from the natural world around us – is one of those standards we like to bear.
Amidst all of the goodwill of ‘self-isolation’, that in itself is a mighty lonely path to make most members of the UK walk, anxiety has become an unwanted bedfellow during this period of necessary quarantine.
So, we find articles like this, from the charity Mind, very useful, and we implore you do not ignore your mental health during this crisis. We have so much to live for after this is all over. We need to make sure we are in the right frame of mind to grab that chance with both hands.
13. Pitch a tent inside
Yes, go on! Just do it.
Even if it’s just the pole and the tarp. Maybe leave the pegs. We don’t want to be sent the bill for wrecking the floor tiles in your kitchen, or sticking holes in your living room carpet, but, what’s the harm otherwise?
Grab the tent bag. Clear a space. (And clear away any remaining picnic, if you’ve been practicing since point 11), and get a really traditional camping experience inside your own home. If you don’t have an old tent, a broom handle and some big blankets, or a duvet will do.
Even better, as this will give you the real tipi (teepee) experience. Glamping indoors, indeed.
14. Give up single-use plastics
If we can all agree on one thing, it’s that single-use plastics are bad. Quite how to give them all up is a tangled web, but essentially, it’s about time, we all started to look hard at ourselves, and actually do something about it. And if we learned anything about time from earlier, it’s that you have some of it now, so make a start today.
Why not start in the kitchen? Or maybe your bedroom? Wherever you start, pick a room, and just go through it. Look at all the plastic items you have that are single-use, and used, and bag them up. Where you can recycle them, make sure you do so, and assess what you have that you buy regularly. Do you need to buy it over and over again?
Once you’ve done one room, do another the next day, until you’ve purged your house of all unnecessary throw-away plastics, and do your best not to ever replace them again.
We know it’s not easy. Here’s a link to a guide from someone who took the ultimate leap into a plastic-free way of living, and how they managed it. We hope it will give you ideas, as well as the strength enough to follow through on some of the ideas here.
15. Make some jams
So, you’ve had your picnic (point 11, again). It was fun, and you’ve eaten all your jam sandwiches, but GASP! Now there is none left for your toast tomorrow morning!
Luckily, jams about one of the easiest things you can make. And in pretty much any kitchen. You just need to boil fruit with sugar (and maybe pectin) until it resembles… well, jam.
You can find a million and one recipes online, and they will range from basic to fancy additives and zests, but most of them will tell you that you will need just two basic ingredients, at any one time.
You’ll also need some jars, but you should have those, as in your desperation to replace the preserve you’ve just eaten, you can use the recently emptied jar. Just wash it out first.
Here’s a good starting point: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/how_to_make_jam_75331
Get good enough, and you can even join the Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers. Yes, that’s a real thing.
If you’re little, don’t be put off doing this. Just get a grown-up to help you, as the boiling process can be tricky and can hurt if you touch the hot pans or liquid jam.
Tip: If you’ve found a recipe online where one of the ingredients is not ‘sugar’ then hit backspace, as you’ve gone horribly wrong somewhere, cowboy.
And that, as they say, for now, is that.
And remember, “you don’t need to be coy, Roy. Just get yourself free.”