Humans are social creatures of habit. Going to work or school each day, weekend catchups with friends and families – all things we took for granted a short while ago, but are now off-limits. The current lockdown situation can put stress on our mental health, and our relationships with those we’re cooped up with!

We asked our staff, who are working from home, to share their tips on how they’re keeping themselves and their families entertained during this unusual situation we find ourselves in. Here are some of their top ideas:

Reduce your stress levels from Gillian B. (Community Engagement)

Instead of getting worked-up out about home improvement or spring-cleaning projects that you feel you should be doing during the lockdown, why not take time to do something that actually reduces your stress levels. ‘Colouring is not something I’d ever thought of doing before but I’ve found it’s a great way to relax.’ Less stress = a more productive state of mind so if you do eventually decide to clear out the kitchen cupboards, paint the fence or colour code your sock drawer – you’ll get it done in no time!

Take the kids on a rainbow hunt from Paul R. (Business Development)

All over the country, people have been creating rainbows and displaying them in their windows and gardens to help bring cheer to others. ‘If you’re able to get out for some daily exercise, a great way to keep little ones (and grown-ups too!) occupied on your walk/cycle/run is to count how many rainbows you see.’

Make your house a restaurant from Hayley S. (Marketing)

With no restaurants or bars to go to, the opportunity to get dressed up for a night out is out of the window, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a special effort every once in a while. ‘Once a week, my family will be turning our dining room into a restaurant – candles on the table, everyone getting dressed up, and the kids will create menus and table settings. I can’t guarantee that the chef will be up to much, but as long as there’s pudding then everyone should be happy!’

Take up a new hobby from Pete. D (Operations)

With more downtime on our hands than ever before, now is the perfect time to take up a new hobby. Maybe you could learn a new language with free apps like DuoLingo and MemRise, or try your hand at something creative: ‘My teenage daughter has taken up embroidery using regular sewing needles and left-over thread. With the help of YouTube tutorials and plenty of imagination, the results have been fantastic.’

Make a photo collage from Gillian A. (Member Services)

Whether they’re printed photos lying in boxes in the loft, or the millions of images we’ve all got stored on our phones – we should take the time to look through and appreciate our visual memories. ‘Creating a collage of our treasured pictures is a great activity to do on your own, or with others. Most families will have a box of photos they could go through, and it’s always a good laugh looking at old photos.’

Turn your home into an obstacle course from Stuart M. (Finance) 

‘Use anything you’ve got to hand (furniture, sports equipment, kitchen cupboard items) to create a keep-fit obstacle course around your home. In between obstacles, set activity challenges such as ‘Do 5 star jumps’ or ‘Throw a pillow into the air and catch it 3 times’. It can be lots of fun and is an exercise that you don’t need to go outside to do.’ This one’s mostly for the kids but depending on how long lockdown lasts it might be something that even the adults try to keep them entertained!

Here’s some other ideas to keep you going too:

  • Make use of apps such as HouseParty or Zoom to video chat with several friends at the same time.
  • The Glasgow Science Centre is streaming a science demo or talks via social media every morning at 10am. Search for #GSCAtHome on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or go to the GCS YouTube channel to view previous content.
  • Play a virtual game of Ready, Steady, Cook. Send your friends a picture of your dwindling cupboard and fridge contents and get them to suggest what you should make for tea!
  • Edinburgh Zoo has set up webcams to allow people to watch the animals from the comfort of your own home. Visit to check out their pandas, penguins, koalas and tigers.

We’d love to hear your stories of what you’re doing to help you cope with the pressures of self-isolation, social distancing and lockdown. Send your stories and photos to [email protected] and we’ll share the best ones on our website.