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Get Busy: The Ultimate Self-Isolation To Do List

13 April 20

We don’t know how long this self-isolation lark is going to last, so we may as well make the best of a bad situation. After all, there’s only so much Netflix you can watch. While we appreciate that this is a time of stress for many, we’ve come up with some suggestions for how those who are feeling the strain of being stuck indoors can fight the boredom...


  • Keep your mind calm and your body flexible by trying out yoga - you can start by taking a look at some of the simple exercises we've featured here.
  • Take advantage of the School of Calisthenics Bodyweight Basics YouTube channel, which they’ve made available for free.

  • Make time to get fresh air as often as possible. If you have a garden, take advantage of it. If not, head to one of Notts’ beautiful green spots. 

  • Check out the NHS Get Fit for Free scheme, which has loads of hints, tips and advice about staying active during lockdown.

  • Head over to the Active Nottingham website for a comprehensive list of online resources that will help you maintain a healthy body.

  • Dance. Seriously. Even if you’re by yourself, slap some headphones on, select a banger and have a boogie. You’ll feel better for it. And plus, this time nobody really will be watching.

  • Losing your regular routine can have a knock on effect on all sorts of aspects of your life, including drinking water. It might sound obvious, but remembering to stay hydrated is hugely important to keeping yourself feeling fresh.


  • Maintain regular contact with friends and family via Houseparty, Skype or WhatsApp video.

  • Rearrange a room that you spend the most time in. A change of scenery, even if it’s just slight, can make a huge difference.

  • Have an at-home spa session by checking out the handy tips we've put together for you here.

  • Plenty of zoos and animal sanctuaries are live-streaming their animals, including White Post Farm, who have already streamed new lambs being born.

  • Write a travel bucket list of all the countries you want to visit in the future. This lockdown is temporary, and we’ll all be itching to explore as soon as it’s over.

  • Take a break from the constant stream of notifications and negative news and put your phone away for an allotted amount of time. You won’t regret it.

  • Take a nap. We all hated them when we were young, and would kill to be able to take them now we’re adults. Get a blanket, turn your phone off and grab a cheeky twenty minutes. 
  • If you’ve spent the last week in the same pair of pyjamas, make the effort to get dolled up and feel fancy, even if it’s just for you.

  • Feelings of helplessness are completely natural during a time of crisis, so if you’re looking for a way in which you can help (other than washing your hands and staying inside, obviously) we’ve put together a list of charities that are in need of support here.


  • Whether it’s filling a hole, putting a picture up or unblocking a sink, you’ve finally got the time to sort out those annoying DIY jobs.

  • Take care of your immediate environment by tackling those cleaning jobs that you’ve been putting off for months. Tidy house, tidy mind and all that. 

  • Have a look through your wardrobe and see if there’s anything that’s been lurking there unwanted for months. Put it aside and donate it to charity once it's safe to do so.

  • If you’re fortunate enough to have a garden, give it all of the attention you can, while you can. Get all green fingered with some weeding, planting and mowing. 

  • Unread texts, unsaved contacts and thousands of accidental screenshots. Sound familiar? Give your phone a good clear out.

  • Show your inbox a bit of TLC by unsubscribing from all of those annoying spam emails you waste hours deleting. You can even sign up to the LeftLion newsletter while you’re there...


  • Have a crack at designing a LeftLion cover here. We’ll showcase the best attempts in our May issue, and pick one design to be our cover.

  • Start writing. Whether it’s a journal, short story, essay, novel or poem, it can help occupy your mind and provide a creative outlet. We’ve even given you some helpful starting points here.

  • If you’ve got a scrapbook or empty photo album lying around, get busy making something pretty to remember a holiday, birthday or even a creative take on being self-isolated.

  • You don’t need a fancy camera to take up photography, as most of us have the ability to take semi-decent shots on our phones. There are countless free YouTube tutorials that will teach you the basics.

  • Take up a hobby that you never thought of trying, like knitting or crocheting. You never know, you might find a talent you never knew you had...

  • Make a short film using your camera and basic editing software. Adobe are currently offering a free two-month subscription, as are Notts-based Serif and their Affinity software. And, there’s also plenty of online materials to help you get started.


  • Learn a language. We know, it’s the one that literally everybody is suggesting, but it really is as good a time as any to learn your cul from your coude, and there are plenty of free online resources to help you out. 

  • Just because their doors are closed, it doesn’t mean Nottingham’s cultural institutes aren’t still there to feed your cultured souls. Places like Notttingham Contemporary and the New Art Exchange have loads of virtual tours of past exhibitions to get stuck into. There’s a full list of what’s on offer here

  • Get stuck into a great documentary. Whether it’s the absolute insanity of Tiger King on Netflix, or our own film, The Lord of Milan, which we’ve made free to watch, you can get some great entertainment and learn something at the same time. Sorted. 

  • Be honest, you wanted to go to Hogwarts when you first read Harry Potter, didn’t you? We knew it. Luckily for you, Hogwarts Is Here is offering just that, with a string of witchcraft and wizardry classes available for you to sign up to. Magic. 

  • Explore outer space by taking a trip to the NASA website and checking out their seemingly endless list of resources. From breathtaking high-res photos, to podcasts, clips and live-stream videos, you can escape into the vastness of space without leaving your living room.

  • Brush up on your history. We bloody love a bit of history here at LL, and our city is fortunate to have a past to rival any other. Dip into our Out of Time series, which is all available to read on our website, and learn a bit more about some of the weird and wonderful episodes from yesteryear. You can check out the National Justice Museum’s website for some great historical resources, too.


  • Obviously some essential ingredients are in short supply, and we’re not suggesting you lot go wandering around town looking for flour and eggs. But if you’ve already got the right bits and bobs in, get stuck in to some baking. When was the last time you felt sad after eating cake? Exactly. 

  • This is one that we’ve pinched from Twitter, but we’re big fans of it. Pick a nation and have a themed meal including food, music, fancy dress and a film of choice all from that country. Italy is a nice easy way to start, assuming you’ve got a Super Mario Brothers costume lying around.  

  • Some of Notts’ best restaurants are still providing a delivery service via UberEats and Deliveroo, so if you fancy a night off from counting out your pasta shells, show them some support by ordering a takeaway from an independent restaurant

  • Missing your nights at the pub? Us too. Fortunately, Pull the Cork has set up a virtual wine tasting event via their Instagram page every Saturday. Order one of their isolation wine tasting kits (£45), follow them in Insta and get sipping. 

  • Notts is blessed with some belting breweries, so show your support to a local independent by getting a beer order in. We’ve listed some of them still offering a delivery service here.

  • We’re also lucky to have some cracking coffee suppliers in NG, and they’re no doubt feeling the pinch as hard as anyone. Throw some business their way by getting your beans delivered to your door. You can find out who's doing what here


  • What’s that TV series that everyone in the world has seen except you? The Wire? The Sopranos? Whatever it is, now is the time to get stuck in and binge-watch the living daylights out of it.

  • It might not be Christmas, but why not crack out the board games anyway. We know that the average game of Monopoly increases the risk of a fist-fight by around 600%, but it’s a fun, screen-free way of keeping your brain active and having fun.

  • If now isn’t the time to catch up on all of those books you pretended you’d read, when is? Pick an author you’ve always wanted to get stuck into and get reading.

  • It’s super important to keep your brain active during periods of isolation, so spend some time every day doing puzzles, crosswords and quizzes. You can even start off with our Big Notts Quiz here, if you feel so inclined. 

  • LeftLion are committed to keeping you lot entertained for the duration, and our Sofa Sessions will deliver a live-streamed performance from a Notts artist via our Facebook page every evening at 8pm.

  • The theatres have sadly closed their doors, but you can still enjoy archive live performances online: The National Theatre Live have started streaming some of their most famous plays, shows and musicals for free.

  • If you feel yourself missing your favourite Notts location, have a look at how you can support your independent cultural centres here. There are options to help the likes of Broadway Cinema, Nottingham Playhouse, New Art Exchange, Theatre Royal and plenty more.

  • Might not be a popular choice with the neighbours (so make sure you invite them first), but chucking some tunes on the TV and belting your heart out with a karaoke session will provide a much-needed release of tension. Make sure you pay a proper tribute to Kenny Rogers by starting with Islands in the Stream, though. It’s what he would have wanted.

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