10 rewarding ways to spend your time

Although lockdown restrictions are easing, we’re still going through a strange time. We’re unable to see friends and family members in the ways that we would like, and many of us are still spending the majority of our time at home. There is very little that we can do to control the rate at which things return to normal. But what we can control is how we choose to spend our time day to day.

With that said, here are 10 rewarding activities that can all be completed from the comfort of your own home.

1. Start a blog about something you really care about

The reason that blogging is so rewarding is because it allows you to organise your thoughts and feelings, explore a topic you’re particularly passionate about, and share your knowledge and experience with others. It can also help you to track your progress or your journey. For example, some people find it helpful to keep a blog throughout a long illness – to not only help them cope with their emotions, but also to help others that might be going through the same thing. Others start a blog when they take up a new hobby, to document their progress and offer tips and advice to anyone else who shares a similar interest.

You can blog as little or as much as you like, and you also don’t need to worry about sharing it with others until you’re completely ready. Blogs can feel very personal and some people need a little time before they feel comfortable enough putting it out there for the world to see. You might also decide that you never want to promote it to others and keep it for your eyes only, which is also okay.

If you’re keen to start a blog, but you’re not sure what to write about – then consider using lockdown as a starting point. We’re currently taking part in a unique period in history that will be remembered for years to come. So, you could use your blog to document what’s going on around you and how you’re coping during this time. It could make for a fascinating read for future generations.

Some of the best free blogging websites for beginners are Tumblr, WordPress and Medium. Tech Adviser has created a helpful guide that will explain more about some of these, and offer tips on how to get started. You can find it here.

2. Empower yourself through exercise

As the saying goes; strong body, strong mind. Exercise helps us to connect our mind with our body – and our bodies are usually capable of achieving far more than our minds think that they are. This is one of the things that makes exercise so rewarding and empowering; there’s always room for growth and development, and for achieving what you might have once thought was impossible.

Exercise is also an act of self care because it allows us to feel good. Taking the time out of your day to go for a 5K run, do some yoga or take a dance class allows you a window of opportunity to spend some quality time with yourself. You may end your exercise session on a high because you completed your run in record time, or feel more relaxed after a gentle yoga session because you took the space and time to clear your mind. Exercise offers multiple rewards, and it’s unusual to finish a session without feeling a sense of accomplishment.

With government guidelines now allowing us unlimited outdoor exercise, it’s worth looking at how you can make the most of it. Our beginner’s guides to running and cycling could offer you a helpful place to start. Or, if you’re still unable to get outside, then there are plenty of ways you can keep fit at home. Our articles How to stay fit at home during the coronavirus lockdown and 5 online exercise classes to try during lockdown will give you a good starting point.

3. Create a vision board

Vision boards are a great way to explore and realise your goals and dreams, and to identify what you are most grateful for. A vision board is any sort of board that includes images (and sometimes words) that act as a powerful and positive daily reminder of whatever you want to be, do, or have in your life. Vision boards are often linked to the Law of Attraction – which is the idea that the way we think, directly impacts the positive or negative experiences that we have in life. So the more positive our thinking, the more likely we are to have positive experiences in reality. This ideology has become increasingly popular since the release of the 2006 book; The Secret.

When it comes to creating your own vision board there are no rules! They can be as big, small or creative as you like. Most people create them by hand using a cork board and photos, cut outs from magazines and inspirational quotes. You could dedicate an hour, an afternoon or a whole weekend to this exercise, and you may well want to add to it over time as you progress on your journey.

This handy YouTube video will explain more about the rewards associated with creating a vision board – plus tips on how to get started.

4. Foster a dog or cat

Although we must keep our distance from other humans, there’s no reason why you can’t get close to a new furry friend. There are plenty of dogs and cats out there that are looking for some love, while they await their permanent home. If you’d be interested in finding out more, then it’s worth contacting your local RSPCA centre or branch by email to find out whether there are any dogs or cats near you that need a temporary home. The application process will be completed over the phone and online, and if successful, the animal will be delivered safely to your home by an RSPCA inspector.

5. Make improvements to your home or garden

Although lockdown restrictions have started to ease, many of us are still spending much more time at home than we usually would. So why not get the most out of your living space by making a few home improvements? This could include changing the colour scheme in your living room to something fresher and brighter, restoring or upcycling an old piece of furniture, or fixing that leaky tap in the bathroom. When we make improvements to our homes and/or gardens, we tend to enjoy them much more, and often feel a sense of pride over what we’ve achieved – especially if we’ve learnt some new skills in the process. It can also help to boost the value of your property, which could be useful if you’re thinking about selling at some point in the future.

If you’re on a budget, then check out our article Five low cost ways to improve your property, which includes tips on how to update your bathroom and spruce up your garden without breaking the bank. Many homeware and hardware stores, garden centres and building suppliers are currently open for business both online and in store – so you should hopefully be able to get hold of everything you need.

6. Volunteer to help others online

If you’re keen to give something back to the community, whilst social distancing – then you could consider volunteering online. From offering a listening ear and some kind words to someone who’s struggling to cope, through to helping to protect ancient trees in your local area; there are plenty of ways you can make a difference at home. All you need is a stable wifi connection and a genuine desire to help. To find out more about what online volunteering options are out there and how to apply, you can read our full guide here.

7. Tackle your book bucket list

Many of us have a mental or physical list of books that we really must get round to reading, but that we always put off until later. If you’re looking for a rewarding way to spend your time, then why not start crossing some of those books off of your list? Getting stuck into a great book is a chance for you to learn something new, take on a different perspective and go on an exciting journey – all from the safety and comfort of your sofa. There’s also that sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing that you have soaked up an entire book’s contents by reading the whole thing from cover to cover. If you don’t have a book bucket list of your own, then try this one from the BBC.

8. Write a letter to a friend or family member

It’s only natural that there might be friends or family members that you are really missing right now. And although phone calls and video platforms are a great way to stay in touch, sometimes there’s just nothing like a handwritten letter to make someone’s day. Handwritten letters take a bit of time and thought and are less spontaneous than usual methods of communication, which can make them feel much more special. I know that when I receive a handwritten letter, I feel touched that someone has taken the time to write and send me a thoughtful message; especially because handwritten notes are a rarity nowadays. Knowing that your letter could put a big smile on the face of someone you love is extremely satisfying – and makes the time spent writing it feel very worthwhile.

Writing to someone else by hand also encourages them to write back to you. Before you know it, you could have a lockdown pen pal, and something to look forward to in the post every now and then.

9. Learn or develop new skills

Learning or developing a new skill can be an incredibly rewarding way to spend your time. Not only can it help you to develop personally and/or professionally – but it can also give you a great sense of achievement, especially if you achieve something that you didn’t think you could.

Learning is an integral part of our existence, and affects how we interact with and relate to the world around us. When we learn a new skill, we often find that our world opens up just that little bit more, and this continues with every new skill that you acquire or master. The skills you choose to learn or develop will be personal to you – but could include anything from learning how to write with a calligraphy pen, through to learning how to manage your own plumbing.

Whatever you’ve thought about learning, chances are, there’s a course or an online tutorial that will show you how to do it. The learning section of our site has over 50,000 courses for you to sink your teeth into – plus information about online resources that you can use for free, and suggestions of skills you can learn from home.  It’s also worth getting well acquainted with YouTube because it’s full of people who have learnt or are currently learning new skills, offering their tips and advice.

10. Practice self care

It’s not uncommon for people to feel guilty when they take quality time for themselves. But it’s more important than ever to remember that taking ‘you’ time is an essential part of looking after your general health and wellbeing.

Self care means different things to different people and can be about more than simply eating healthy balanced meals and getting enough sleep. It can also be about allowing yourself time to do the things that you enjoy and that allow you to relax and recharge. For example, having a long hot bath and a glass of wine, completely undisturbed. Or treating yourself to a movie morning in bed on a Saturday morning after a long week.

Sometimes when we practice self-care we experience feelings of guilt, or a sense that we should be doing something more productive – which can stop you from whole-heartedly enjoying quality time with yourself. It becomes much more enjoyable and rewarding when you can accept that you deserve this time, and that you will be better able to tackle other things when you’re finished. If you find this a challenge, then start small. Try to allow yourself at least half an hour a day to do something that you truly enjoy and can indulge in. Even if that just means reading a chapter of your favourite book.

Do you have any additional rewarding ways that you spend your free time? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at [email protected] or leave a comment below.

7 thoughts on “10 rewarding ways to spend your time

  1. Avatar
    Kim B on Reply

    Since lockdown I have exercised every day – Joe Wicks, stretch, yoga. Used ‘random click’ approach on Utube. Settled on JW or similar. Straight after (small) breakfast. Never stuck to exercise before. Find it IS as many say – gives energy, lifts the mood, all positive. Without lockdown a busy life would have given me excuses months ago!

  2. Avatar
    Carol McPherson on Reply

    I’m writing a self-help book and a series of short stories. It doesn’t matter if I’m the only one who reads them (although it would be nice if someone else did!)
    Everyone is an expert on themselves, and we all have memories, so putting them into story form makes them more entertaining ( and you can embellish a bit!)

  3. Avatar
    KarenMKendall on Reply

    Reading this list I feel glad as already doing many of these things including doing a 20 min workout and a walk / cycle every day, fostering our daughters dog, learnt to make sour dough bread, stripped and repainted front door plus other painting jobs, completed lots of jobs needing doing in the garden & volunteering for our borough covid 19 support organisation by collecting prescriptions and doing small shopping requests for people self-isolating….

  4. Avatar
    Sally Ashford on Reply

    Good morning
    I am, at last, starting to write that best seller I have been threatening to write for years. I am also doing an online free start writing course to help me in my quest. Very satisfying and similar to this in that you can talk to other students on line, as well as getting help from professional writers.

  5. Avatar
    Carol Osborne on Reply

    Hi Everyone.

    A few weeks ago I decided , I would create a mood board. I’ve done periodically, I find its great tool to help me focus.

    I currently have one in my kitchen which reminds me of the things I wish to achieve in my home and garden. Its very bright and uplifting

    with interior and wellness ideas. I have one in my little office with my images of what I would like to achieve professionally . Which for me is

    to set aside time to write, images of books I love and people I admire.

  6. Avatar
    Jayne on Reply

    Hi, my allotment has kept me going, the whole process of growing from seed to planting out to watching it grow and eventually eating it.
    When life is on the boil put your hands in the soil, is a great saying.

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