15 things you can do to keep busy while shielding

15 things you can do to keep busy while shielding

Mon 18 May

If you’re living with a brain tumour in Yorkshire, or are living with someone who is, you may have been urged to shield in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19). This means it might have been over seven weeks since you left your house for anything other than hospital appointments.

This level of isolation can lead to feelings of poor mental wellbeing, and can also leave you feeling bored or lonely. Today we are sharing 15 things you can do to keep yourself busy while you’re shielding or isolating from coronavirus.

1. Understand your feelings


One of the best things you can do is understand your own patterns and feelings. Consider starting a journal to track your emotions and identify the times you feel more or less energised. If you find yourself feeling bored on an evening for example, it might be that spicing up your dinner will help. If you wake up feeling listless, you might want to introduce a gentle morning exercise routine.


Journalling has many benefits including keeping thoughts organised, relieving stress, boosting memory and giving you space to be creative and self-reflective.

2. Get active

No-one is expecting you to run a marathon in your living room, but there are plenty of gentle exercises you can do at home to improve your physical and mental wellbeing.


Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity is doing all we can to help keep our patients and supporters healthy during lockdown. You can find a full list here but some of the activities include: live cycling with Kate every Saturday at 9am, an upper body workout with Kate at 6pm every Monday, a glutes and core class with Kate 8am on a Wednesday and a fat blast class at 8am on a Friday.


These classes are available for free through our Facebook page and are suitable for all ages and abilities – we’d love to have you along for the ride.

3. Bake your boredom away

Baking is meditative, stimulates the senses and it definitely isn’t boring. Lots of people have jumped on the baking trend during lockdown and it’s easy to see why. Baking takes time, and in our usual lives we struggle to find the hours to dedicate to it.

Well, there’s never been a better time to get going. If you’re struggling for recipes we have some great ones from our cake ambassador Dawn to share with you:



4. Browse the Kindle 99p store

Reading is a universal joy that teaches us things, causes us to consider our preconceived notions and gives us much-needed time away from screens. With charity shops currently closed, it’s harder than ever to get our hands on affordable books.


But one of the best places is the Kindle store. They offer daily deals for 99p and the store is always packed-full of interesting reads in many different genres. You can read Kindle books through the free Kindle app on phones and tablets if you don’t have a Kindle device.

5. Stay connected

Although taking time away from technology is important for your mental health, staying connected to your loved ones will help alleviate boredom and low moods. Using free apps like Facebook Messenger, Zoom and WhatsApp video calls you can see your friends and family which helps us all to feel more connected.


If you’re struggling with feelings of loneliness, we’ve set-up a new telephone line to help you during these difficult times. Run by the people who understand your situation most, those who have gone through it themselves. Call 0113 511 8111 or email support@yorksbtc.org.uk to get the conversations flowing.

6. Take part in Miles for May

If you have access to a stationary bike at home, why not consider taking part in Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity “Miles for May” challenge? We've adapted our popular annual Big Bike Challenge into a virtual cycle to celebrate the Tour De Yorkshire. We've created lots of stages so people of all abilities can get involved. Find out more here.

7. Revamp your weekly menu

When you’re eating every meal at home, it’s really easy to get bored with the food you’re consuming. Consider spending more time in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes and cuisines. A great challenge some people are doing is to cook a meal originating from a different country every week.

8. Join our Friday Facebook quiz

Every Friday we host a quiz over on the Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity Facebook page. This doesn’t take too long, but will keep you busy and your mind active. Follow us on Facebook to get involved.

9. Get out in the garden

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, now is a great time to get to work in it. Gardening boosts self-esteem, reduces stress, improves sleep and keeps you active. If you’re not very green-fingered, even sitting in the garden to eat your breakfast or read a book for an hour can do wonders for both your boredom levels and your general health, especially if you’re shielding.

10. Do a jigsaw puzzle

Jigsaw’s are a very affordable way to pass lots of time. They also benefit your memory, stress levels and visual-spatial reasoning. If you don’t have any jigsaws at home, consider buying one from Amazon using Amazon Smile. Not only will you get a new jigsaw to keep you busy, but we’ll benefit financially at no cost to you.

11. Hold a declutter day


Having a great big declutter is a great way to get active, have a clear out and feel great. Decluttering can also help you focus, relax and having less clutter equates to less anxiety.


Go for it in bursts, so you can dive in with as much energy as you can muster. Fifteen minutes is all you need, set the task of ditching 15 things in that time. Or hang a bag on every door and put things you don't need or love into them as you potter around the house. At the end of the week you can sort into rubbish, recycle and donate piles.


Here are some top tips on what you can do with the items you want to donate:


  • Donate old and vintage items through Vintage Giving. This service is still up and running and is free of charge. They can collect from your doorstep.
  • Get selling on eBay
  • Bag everything up and store in your garage or back room. Once safe to do so, we can arrange to collect your items to sell in our shop at No 31 Otley Road, Headingley. Email us to arrange: info@yorksbtc.org.uk.

12. Send a letter or card to a loved one

Consider sending a card to a friend or family member telling them you’re thinking about them. If you can’t get to the shops, our partner Don’t Send A Card is a great virtual alternative. If you order the card through them, Yorkshire's Brain Tumour Charity will also be given a small donation to help us support brain tumour patients in Yorkshire during this difficult time. Order your card here

13. Get crafty

Now is as great a time as any to get crafty. Our Community Fundraiser Jen received a gorgeous handmade card this Easter from her godmother. Jen said: “It really brightened my day in lockdown and it was even more special as it was homemade. I keep all my cards, so I had a look through them to see if I could get crafty and make some cards of my own.”


We’d love you to get crafty at home too. You can make anything you like from materials you already have, such as cards, gifts, gift bags and gift tags. Get your little ones involved with paint, or drawing or glue on old buttons to make pictures.


If you’d like to try something you don’t have the materials for Etsy is a great site to get started with a whole host of crafts such as card making, knitting, cross-stitching and more.

14. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness helps us stay in the present so we can feel better connected to our thoughts, feelings and environment. It is particularly helpful right now when the future feels so unsure and confusing. It has many benefits including decreased stress and sadness to increased focus and happiness. You can download a number of apps, including Headspace, to help you start practicing mindfulness.

15. Try hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is a calming complementary therapy that uses hypnosis to ease stress and help you achieve success. If you have time to fill, watch this 30-minute hypnotherapy session by our Clinical Hypnotherapist Paula Dalton to help you relax. 


We hope these tips help you to keep busy while shielding or isolating during lockdown. You can find more advice about what coronavirus means to you on our page dedicated to updates from Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.

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