19 ways to live well in lockdown

Bring nature back into your garden with help and advice from the Essex Wildlife Trust

Bring nature back into your garden with help and advice from the Essex Wildlife Trust - Credit: Archant

With millions of us lying low due to the coronavirus crisis, here are 19 ways to help manage being cooped up in our continued effort to stop the spread of Covid-19

Donate to an animal rescue centre and perhaps consider adoption once the lockdown is lifted

Donate to an animal rescue centre and perhaps consider adoption once the lockdown is lifted - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Instead of watching series after series on Netflix, try something new to keep your mind active and your body moving. There are so many opportunities online to take advantage of right now. It is important to remember during this difficult period to do what we can to support West Essex’s communities, businesses and the people who live here.


Whatever the size of your space, you can still create a haven for wildlife. Essex Wildlife Trust has some great top tips on making a nature-friendly garden. Create a hole in your garden fence, provide easy passage for roaming hedgehogs or have a go at making your own bird boxes and bug hotels. Its website has countless advice on how to help wildlife and fun activities to keep everyone entertained!


Send your shopping list to Jan at The Broadway Deli & Grocery and you can collect or have your order

Send your shopping list to Jan at The Broadway Deli & Grocery and you can collect or have your ordered delivered - Credit: Archant

According to Battersea Cats and Dogs Home, more than 150 animals were adopted at its centre at the start of the coronavirus crisis with people seeking companionship during self isolation. Indeed, it is scientifically proven that animals offer a great way to reduce anxiety and stress, and lift up spirits during uncertain times. But while all animal rescue centres are now shut, with adoption and fostering on hold during lockdown, you can still help by making a donation, and consider adoption once restrictions have been lifted, and when there could be an even greater need for loving, forever homes.


There are plenty of restaurants and cafes in West Essex that are open for business and ready to deliver to your door. Whether you fancy a Turkish delight from Mezze Ocakbasi in Woodford Green, a taste of India courtesy of The Voujon in Chingford or tuck into Las Tapas on Station Road, the choice is yours! Order a takeaway or buy a voucher, which are both great ways to help your local food industry at the moment.

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The NHS organisations and charities really need you right now. Have you considered volunteering? This is a great way to get involved in the community. If you can’t volunteer, maybe donate to your local food bank or to local charities such as Haven House Children’s Hospice, The Dream Factory and Essex Coronavirus Action. Every little helps.


Luckily, there’s more than one way to wave goodbye to boredom while staying indoors. Instead of binging Netflix or Amazon Prime, have a change of scenery and take advantage of inspirational local virtual tours and activities that been put online for your enjoyment during this current situation. There are so many museums to famous landmarks to explore, including Lee Valley Park Farm, Hedingham Castle and Colchester Zoo.


Just like the rest of us, the world’s top celebrities have all been told to stay at home during these strangest of times. Being natural-born entertainers, many musicians, actors and artists have been keen to share their experiences of self-isolation. What about Essex celebrities? Join Mark Wright with his inspiring fitness regime, dance away with Marvin and Rochelle Humes little house raves, and allow pop star sensation Olly Murs to bring sunshine and positivity to your day!


Revisiting that same tired bookshelf more frequently than usual whilst in isolation may put a downer on sharing a story, but Book Trust is here to help. Tune in to explore the vast selection of children’s authors reading chapters from their books or take part in the ‘Draw Along’ sessions. Also, quizzes, print out activities, book-themed recipes and much more fun and brain challenges!


It is recommended that young people aged between five and 18 should do around 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every day. How about dancing in the living room with Dance Scape Studios? This Waltham Abbey dance school has now gone virtual and is sharing lots of moves and grooves to keep your little one happy and energised! Or, follow StageCoach in Chingford for some inspirational videos and see stars shine!


It is a really difficult time to home school, but there are so many fantastic free education sites. But of course, your children will be missing their school friends, so why not try the House Party app where they can do an interactive activities together! Or for the young ones, join award-winning preschool music classes with Monkey Music in South Woodford for Monkey Music@Home.


Get your DIY on! Take the time to tackle some interior improvements that you have been putting off for months or maybe years! Whether it be painting your walls, upholstering old furniture, or redesigning a room you have been ignoring. There are some fantastic hardware and interior shops for you to purchase products online. Just remember health and safety at all times.


Gardening is great for your mental and physical health. For you green-fingered pros, there are some fantastic suggestions available online from container gardening to potting new flowers. But for those who don’t know where to start, award-winning RHS Hyde Hall in Chelmsford offers fabulous how-to guides. But don’t worry if you don’t have a garden anything is possible with some imagination.


Self-isolating with kids may be challenging but there is plenty more to do than watching TV all day. From paper-mache masks on balloons, carving potato stamps, making a robot out of boxes or if your kids love writing, then get those creative juices flowing with a story challenge. There is so much online to take advantage of! Having creatively challenged them in the day, the evening can be spent enjoying a film or TV programme altogether.


Organic vegetable box delivery companies are facing unprecedented demand for their food as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Help your local independent suppliers instead. For example, Broadway Deli & Grocery in Woodford Green has everything covered by putting a large range of its products online, so you can continue to shop whilst in isolation. Send in your shopping lists to jan@thebroadwaydeli.co.uk and they will deliver your goods or you can pick them up.


Now is the perfect excuse to dedicate your new-found time and attention to sorting out your clothes. Ditch those items you haven’t worn for ages and give them a second chance by donating them to a local charity shop (when they open) or sell on eBay. Try on every single thing in your wardrobe and see if new outfit ideas are forthcoming. Go one step further and Marie Kondo your drawers!


Cooking is wonderfully therapeutic. Why not indulge your sweet tooth and try a ‘Bake Off’ masterpiece of your own or cook up a storm with new recipes for the family. This county is spoilt for fantastic Essex chefs, including The Cooking on a Bootstrap author Jack Monroe who is a huge hit on social media right now, spoiling us with delicious low-cost recipes which make the most of whatever is in your cupboard.


Get creative! Art classes and online tutorials are in abundance. And as many artists will tell you that there’s nothing more soothing and relaxing than getting into the flow of a good painting session. For example, Sophie Larice Dunne in Buckhurst Hill is offering virtual painting lessons for children and adults. This is a great way of bringing some colour into your home and keeping yourself busy.


We know you and the children are missing outdoor activities at the moment, but have you heard of the idea of making your own mini-golf course? Plonk Golf is offering a step by step guide to creating a crazy golf course at home! Yes, and big kids are welcome too! Plus, 50 per cent of profits from this campaign will go to The Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund.


Missing your theatre and cinema fix? Many theatres across Essex are streaming past and present shows to keep the whole family entertained every day. Mercury Theatre in Colchester is offering a free streaming service of last year’s panto to The Cliffs Pavilion in Southend broadcasting Tony Award-winning The Curtains Musical starring Jason Manford. Check out your local theatre and see what they are doing, the choice is endless!


Above all stay home and stay safe. And why not read your favourite local magazine to keep you informed and entertained. With your choice of print, digital or both, West Essex Life will help keep you in the picture and ready to fully embrace everything our fantastic corner of the county has to offer when lockdown is finally lifted.