Productive ways to keep yourself busy in self-isolation

By Emma Serlin
March 19, 2020

The current lockdown situation might be limiting our movements for the next few months, but let's not let it limit our minds. Here are some ideas for you and please feel free to comment with any further ideas you have and we can add to our growing list.


Any time spare is a time to learn!

If you’re feeling well enough and you would like to learn something new this may be the perfect time to do so! Whether you have an old piano in the house that has gathered a layer of dust or a guitar that you once played, it may be the perfect time to pick it up again and learn a new instrument. There are hundreds of online scores and videos teaching how to read music and play your favourite songs.


Other things you could do would be to learn a new language with free online apps such as Duolingo and or a free BBC language lesson.

Or is there something you've always wanted to learn - from poker, to parallel parking - there will be a video on YouTube to show you how to do it!


Complete an online course or workshop! 

An online workshop, course or webinar can be a great way to learn something new. The internet is a great resource and offers thousands of online courses ranging from English, Maths, Computing or Speech. Learning an online language such as HTML or JavaScript can be a great career investment. Courses in Microsoft Excel or something more vocational such as Food Hygiene or Marketing are great things to keep you busy! And don't forget that all of our courses are available online - from one-to-one bespoke sessions on effective communication to specifically target your individual needs, to group online courses in accent softening - and could help benefit your career and allow you to gain skills and confidence.


Take some time out for self-care

Taking time off work due to illness or self-isolation can often seem like a major disruption in everyday life and regular routine. However, using the time to look after yourself and promote self-care by sleeping more to allow your body time to rest and recover, being sure to drink lots of water and engaging in high or low impact exercise can help you to de-stress. 


Mind over Matter

In the hectic and fast-paced lives we lead, we can often neglect our mental health. In uncertain times such as these, anxiety levels can be very high. Try and set aside some time to focus on positivity and to de-stress.  A daily gratitude session - where you write down three things that you are grateful for today - can help you focus on the positives in your life.  To relax and de-stress - you might unwind in front of your favourite Netflix series, but if you haven't tried meditating - we highly recommend it.  Download the Headspace or Happify apps and you can get started for free. The Yoga Journal  also has a great series of free webinar sessions to keep calm and boost your overall wellbeing.


Put your business plan into action!

Have you always had a business start-up plan that you have never had the chance to put into place? Now is a great time to start putting together a plan to get that off the ground. Whether it is creating an online blog or website (check out Wordpress or Wix for simple ways to set something up today) or compacting your business strategy into a finalised document, now is the perfect time to create your very own dream job in something your passionate about.  

If you want to chat with like-minded individuals there are plenty of networking groups around entrepreneurship and small businesses.  Keep an eye out for online events and networking from the likes of Step Up Club, Found & Flourish and Allbright.


Ever wanted to write a book?

Although this may seem like a daunting challenge at first, writing a book is a brilliant way to put your creative thoughts down and write something you’re passionate about. Whether it’s a fiction book, a non-fiction book or even an autobiography, writing a book in 2 weeks is possible with lots of dedication (I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but I have done it so email me if you need any help!).  With online libraries and resources available, there is plenty of content out there to be researched and written about. 


Quality family time

Whole families are going through this together, some under the same roof, but others are unable to see each other. For those under the same roof, it's a great opportunity to spend more quality time together as a family. Aren't we always wishing for that when we're snowed under with work. So switch off your phones and computers and get connected.  Dust off the old board games and find the deck of cards.  Start a family project together - sorting out old photos, or the dreaded cupboard under the stairs. 

In time of crisis it is important to rely on loved ones for support and ensure we are all looking out for each other. You're sure to have relatives, especially older ones, that you can't see for a while. Self-isolation is going to seem scary for them - so if possible keep connected with them regularly and even better use Skype or WhatsApp video to chat. We are all in the same boat, but some will need some more support, and now is a time for solidarity and hope.


Listen to Podcasts

I am a big fan of podcasts, I find them a very relaxing way to spend my time, It's your choice to have them on as you potter about and get on with something else, or sit down and really listen. But I find that people talking about their real lives is always a key point for learning something interesting about the world.  Here are some of my personal favourites:


Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith: Manifest the life of your dreams
Wayne Dyer: The art of manifestation
Jeff Weiner: Leading with compassion
Brene Brown: RIsing strong
Dr Maya Angelou - 9 words that changed her life (an incredible woman and insight into her life)
Amy Purdy - The power of visualisation (really moving story of one young woman's courage and strength)


Julie Dean - Cambridge Satchell Company  (amazing for business and humanity )
Annoushka Ducas MBE - Links of London
Rowan Gormley - Naked Wines
Veronica Dearly - illustrations
Richard Reed - founder of Innocent smoothies
Wilfred Emmanuel Jones - truly inspirational


Personal development

Have you ever tried journalling and goal setting? It's a great way to get your targets in place, planning for the next year, five years and ten years. There's plenty of tools for this online, but one of my favourites is an old technique by Tim Ferriss (of 4 Hour Work Week fame).  You write down 5 things you want to be, do and have for the year ahead - and put actions alongside them.


Remember tough times can bring silver linings

Now this isn’t to say this is going to be easy. It’s not. It’s horrid seeing empty supermarket shelves, hearing about empty and struggling restaurants or companies collapsing or knowing that it is the eldest and most fragile who are also most vulnerable. But being sad doesn't help and there are already beautiful moments.

A connectivity, a sense of kindness, a concern for people and a willingness to show it. I don’t know about you but I feel love is all around at the moment, and I am taking every opportunity to show it to my loved ones. I’m checking in with my parents, being more present with my son, and today I bought some books from Waterstones (which was packed) that I have every intention of reading. 

Warm wishes, 

Emma x

Why not sign up to our regular newsletter  - which is packed full of tips that you can use the very same day, ideas that will resonate and we hope, delight. We pride ourselves on our simple, intuitive and accessible tools, that have a touch of creative magic.


Want to take your next presentation from 'ok' to 'outstanding'?

Get our free Presentation skills eBook and start seeing instant improvement with these 5 simple tools.



Popular Posts


Imagine if speaking was your superpower

If you’d like to learn more about how to deliver confident presentations, speeches and pitches so that perhaps you don’t feel so much like you need those notes in front of you, learn more about our Effective Communications course.

Learn more