Ideas to keep you engaged if you’re self-isolating in student accommodation

This year the term self-isolation, used to describe staying inside and avoiding all contact with other people, with the aim of preventing the spread of a disease, has been used more than ever before. The on-going Covid-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives and meant that the start of your year in university has been very different. While it’s so encouraging to see many of you enjoying getting to know your new home-away-from-home and getting in the swing of things with student life and your course, it can be hard to manage this new lifestyle and stay productive while you’re spending more time at home than you would ever do during a normal university year.

If you happen to be self-isolating by yourself or even with your flat, it can feel really lonely. You’re in a new place, with other students you’re only just starting to get to know, and now you’re stuck in your room! We understand how frustrating that can be, and we’re doing lots of things to help you manage in this strange situation, including bring food deliveries up to your room and putting on an array of virtual events at the end of the month to celebrate Halloween! But if you’d like some additional ideas of what you can do at your student accommodation while self-isolating, keep reading!

  • Download a language app and use it each day.

During the initial, nation-wide lockdown, it took us all a little time to find our feet and start to figure out what sort of productive things we can do at home. Self-improvement, particularly learning new skills and improving your physical and mental health, was at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Something you might have not done though could be learning a new language! Starting to learn a new language can feel daunting and feel like a big commitment… but it really doesn’t have to be! There are so many great apps that can help you fight the self-isolation blues, including the particularly popular Duolingo. This free, game-style language learning app is perfect for beginners and functions like a game where you start with the basic words and continue to level up as you go learning new words and earning points for correct answers. You can race against the clock, work on a variety of different challenges and compete against other players. Stick to it every day of your self-isolation and see how much you can learn!

  • Make a dish you’ve never made before.

Stick with us on this one! During your self-isolation period it’s easy enough to forget to look after your health. You might be tempted to start eating all take-aways and supplement your diet with that stash of sweets and chocolates your mum and dad left you when you were checking in. But there are so many more healthy options! With most supermarkets like Morrisons and Tesco offering to deliver your food shopping to your accommodation, you can now spend that extra time you have at home learning to make dishes you never made before. From healthy world cuisines to staple student meals, there are so many recipes to choose from online. It will not only be a great activity to keep you occupied for a few hours but can also come in handy when you come out of self-isolation and want to treat your flatmates to dinner!

  • Make a start on your Christmas shopping, online.

While it can feel that Christmas is ages away, it’s never too early to start your Christmas shopping! You’d be amazed at how many bargains and unique gifts you can find online, if you know where to look. Try Amazon, Etsy and NotOnTheHighStreet for some unusual and fun gifts for great (student friendly) prices. Having time to sit and scroll through a variety of website can save your stress and time during the festive season, as well as help you manage your finances better if you don’t have to buy all those Christmas presents in one go.

  • Set some goals for the rest of the year.

Unsurprisingly busy everyday life rarely allows us to sit and dwell on the past or the future. While you may have some personal goals in mind, chances are you’ve never had a chance to really sit and evaluate, think and investigate what you’d like to achieve this year, or what personal milestones you’d like to reach over the upcoming months. Self-isolation then can become a blessing in disguise, a time to stop and plan for the rest of the year or even a few years ahead. And if you don’t know where to start with this, Youtube is a great place to start full of videos on self-improvement, intentional goal-setting and the power of law of attraction. One of our favourites, youtuber and influencer Lavendairewho has 1.24M subscribers on her Youtube channel, has some amazing videos to give you ideas. Check out this one: How to Figure Out What You Want to Do With Your Life: 7 Helpful Exercises.

  • Call an elderly friend or a relative.

If you think self-isolation is hard and frustrating, please remember that there is one group of people in this world that often feel isolation and loneliness more than anyone else. Many elderly people report having fewer people to talk to and fewer things to do as they are getting older. There are many reasons for this, but often that is just because their kids and grandkids, stuck in busy routines, dedicate little time to talk to and see the grandparents. So now that you’re having to spend time in isolation, take the first step and start having a regular Wednesday night call catch-up with your grandma or grandpa. You’ll be surprised how wonderful this can be!

  • Finish reading that book on your bedside table.

We have all done this: got excited about a new book or a series of books, bought them all, started reading and… life happened! Now they live on our bedside table only about half-read. Grab a cup of tea, get those unfinished books and spend a few afternoons in a cosy bubble of otherworldly stories and adventures. Reading will never lose its charm and being forced to stay at home for a little while can be a great time to remind yourself of this!

  • Look after your house plants.

A little while ago, we published a blog on decorating your student room and recommended having at least one plant in your new student room. Have you done that? Well now that you’re stuck at home, spend a little time tending to your house plant and giving it some very needed TLC.

  • Take part in ‘Optimistic October’ every day.

Did you know this was a thing? Well, now you do! Action for Happiness, an organisation aiming to build a happier and more caring society, have a great campaign called ‘Optimistic October’. They create a calendar with daily actions to help you focus on what really matters. Check out the calendar below and do the small fun actions to keep your spirits up and have something to look forward to every day! You could even start a journal and reflect on each task in the morning to give you a positive start to the day.

  • Volunteer from your sofa

Finally, self-isolation doesn’t mean you can’t be productive and continue working on building your CV. There are so many volunteering and internship opportunities available where organisations are more than happy for you to work from home. Do It is great website where you can search for volunteering opportunities, and you can filter by those that can be done from home. From making bespoke aids for people with disabilities to looking after the social media channels for a local community initiative, there are a variety of opportunities to suit any experience or interest!