Tuesday 14 July 2020

Keeping occupied when you're housebound

This blog post is the second part of my housebound mini series. It does come from my perspective of someone who is chronically ill and therefore my energy and cognitive function is impaired but it could extend out ideas to others who are housebound due to other illnesses or disabilities or those still in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If you struggle with your energy levels one thing I would recommend with activities is to switch them around. So maybe do one activity that uses more physical energy and then let your next activity be something that say for example uses up more cognitive energy. This can help bring better balance to your energy usage if needed and also if needed take breaks, set time limits or have rest periods between activities.

One of the things that I;d hope come from the coronavirus lockdown is a greater understanding of what it is like for those who are housebound. I would also like you to spare a thought to those for whom the lockdown isn't a temporary measure and who will go on to live in their own socially isolated lockdown as the governments starts to lift the quarantine measures. People like myself continue to be unable enjoy to pleasures of a hair cut, coffee with a friend or seeing the latest film. 

I've only been out twice since February which was last week and I was so anxious due to coronavirus but I needed the emergency appointment an follow-up dressing change. I have another dressing change appointment this week and then the community team are starting back up so I will be seeing them as leaving the house for me is exhausting and very difficult at present.

Activity Books & Journals

These come in a wide range of options including word puzzle books, sticker-by-numbers, dot-to-dot, colouring books, scratch art and fill-in activity journals on a wide range of topics and much more.

What I like about activity books is that they're easy to put up and put down and can be filled in at your own pace.

Selection of activity books including hand lettering, a fashion journal, colouring books and a stick by numbers book
A variety of activity books that I own

Arts and Crafts

There are wide range of arts and crafts that you can do, some more easy to do than others and you can be sure to find something that takes your interest. 

If you want to get started with arts and crafts or you want to try something new I recommend buying craft kits where you get everything you need with instructions. Here are some places where you can buy craft kits from: HobbyCraft, The RangeThe Works, Etsy, John LewisNot On The High Street and The Arty Crafty Place.

Places such as YouTube, HobbyCraftGathered, and some blogs and Pinterest can give you lots of ideas for crafts and tutorials.

An orange origami fish with text reading just keep swimmingSome types of arts and crafts include:
    A silver wire ring with a yellow bead
  • Hand lettering
  • Card making
  • Colouring
  • Weaving
  • Cross stitch
  • Sewing
  • Embroidery
  • Origami
  • Painting
  • Decoupage
  • Jewellery making
  • Papercrafts
  • Macramé
  • Crochet
  • Knitting
  • French knitting or Spool knitting
  • Felting
  • Quilling
  • Scrapbooking
  • Print making
  • Line drawing
  • Photography
  • Sequin or diamond painting
  • Paper folding
  • Quilling
And a whole host of other things!

Crafting can be something you can get lost in. Creating something that has an end result also gives a sense of satisfaction once you've finished a project. 

My advice is to set a time for crafts depending on your limits, so anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour so you don't get too tired and also remember to make time for tidying up. 

Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles come in a wide variety of picture topics, I like ones that have a lots going on inside them and they also come in different sizes in terms of how many pieces there are.

When I first started to get back into jigsaw puzzles I started off with 100 piece puzzles; now I've been doing 500 piece puzzles with the aim of being able to do 1,000 piece puzzles at some point.

They really help pass the time away and again can easily be done in short periods of time and can easily be done, left and gone back to.

If you find you enjoy jigsaw puzzles it might be worth investing in a puzzle board so you can safely store your puzzle so you're not overtaking space. It also gives you some portability to do your jigsaw puzzle in different places.

There are also jigsaw puzzle apps which you can do on your iPad or tablet.



Playing a game gives you an opportunity to spend time with other people. Some of my favourite games include Rumikub, Triominos, Scrabble and Bananagrams (which can also be played on your own). These are nice shorter games that don't take up as much time. There's also a wide range of other games on different topics and so much more to choose from. Such as Bobble, Trivial Pursuit (which comes in a variety of interest topics), Cludo, Monopoly, chess, snakes and ladders, The Logo Game, Yahtzee, Pictionary, Articulate and many more. (Check out Waterstones games)

There's also a wide range of electronic games; some you can play on your mobile phone and others on gaming devices. Such as card games, 1010, 2048, Sneezies, Sneezies Match, Angry Birds, dots, two dots, Candy Crush saga, tetris and many more. You can get some electronic games to play with other people too such and dots and boxes and Scrabble.

Letter Writing 

Letter writing can be a huge enjoyable hobby and it can open up your social life especially if you're not able to have visitors. Personally I get huge enjoyment out of getting create and creating letters for people and it's always a wonderful surprise when a letter arrives for you through the letter box.

You can either find pen pals to write to such asking friends you already know if they would like to start up writing to you, or you can join an online group or forum to find pen pals. Spoonie Pen Pals can connect you up with other people living with chronic illnesses or you can search Google for pen pal matching websites (I've just done that now but I didn't know which ones to list here). Alternatively find schemes where there is less commitment such as PostCrossing or the Chronic Warrior Monthly Card Swap.


Reading is a traditional activity to pass the time. You might want to set yourself a challenge of a list of books you want to get through. In stead of buying books you might want someone to visit the library for you or you could enquire if your local library runs a Home Library service.

If you find print difficult to read you might find it helpful to read on an e-reader where you can read bigger text and change the background colour. You can also obtain large and giant print books through RNIB. Amazon Kindle has a free app which you can download to your phone or tablet. Alternatively you may prefer audiobooks.

Radio, Podcasts and Audiobooks

Brown hair caucasian woman with white headphones holding a mobile phone
The radio can allow you to feel part of a conversation and can give you great company at any time with some radio shows you can also listen to music and keep up-to-date with the latest news and current affairs. There's a variety of different radio stations that suit different audiences and within them different show you can listen in on. BBC Sounds gives access their different radio stations (which you can backtrack and listen to or listen live).

Your phone or tablet should offer you a podcast app which allows you to subscribe to different podcasts. Here are some podcasts links you may find helpful: Google PodcastsApple iTunes Podcasts and BBC Podcasts.

Some podcasts are more set up, such as those by the BBC whilst others are put together by people who broadcast podcasts as a hobby. You can search for podcasts to find ones that cover topics of your interest. Some podcast are chatty ones, or cover current affairs or news topics, some interview guests each episode, others tell stories over a number of episodes and others focus on specific areas of interest.

With audiobooks they may be more accessible to you than reading, or you may find it more relaxing. To buy them can be costly so I'd advised using apps or your library instead. Their is Audible but personally I would recommend RNIB Reading Services which can be accessed by those with sight loss but also individuals who struggle with written text and it is free to access. You can also get audiobooks from your local library and someone may be able to visit on your behalf. Alternatively some libraries run a Home Library service run by volunteers who can find audiobooks and bring them to your home (they can also do this with books).


There are lots of places you can get music, you could download your CD's onto your computer, phone, iPod or MP3 player or download and listen to music through places like Apple MusicSpotify and BBC Sounds - all three can be accessed for free.

Internet & E-Learning

There is so much out there on the internet to keep you entertained.

You can do word puzzles for example Puzzler who bring out different kinds of word and number puzzles.

You can also find an array of blogs to read and also websites that will match your interests, or even find some new interests.

There is also YouTube where you can find a wide array of videos on all sorts of subjects and you can learn new things from YouTube too such as makeup looks or craft tutorials, or 'how to' videos.

Online you can also find e-learning such as languages such as on BBC Languages (which is free) or BSL through British Sign. The Open University also has free courses you can take. There is also Skill Share which offer courses on a variety of topics. If you're keen to learn about graphic design check out what Canva has to offer.