Three easy ways to spice up your lockdown life
Here in the UK, we are well into our third national lockdown and it can be hard to find ways to keep things feeling fresh and different. And so we are going to give you three easy ways to spice up your lockdown life. But before you get too excited, there are no sexual connotations or suggestions included!
As we do our best to stay indoors and do our best to make sure we are not spending more than our budget allows, it can often feel like we are stuck in the same routine. Get up, work, make dinner, watch some TV, go to bed. If we are feeling particularly inspired there may be a little bit of exercise sprinkled in there too!
If you want to avoid feeling like you are in a rut, making small alterations and adding little new things to your routine can make a huge difference. Here are a few ideas to help you add a little extra spice to your lockdown life, both literally and metaphorically.
Keep trying new recipes
Being unable to head out to restaurants providing a range of international cuisines meant that many of us blew the dust off our cookbooks or went online to see if we could make the same thing ourselves. From spicy Thai curries to Canadian poutine, from sushi to salsa, we’ve all stepped up to the hob and had a go.
As we head into February, with all its grey, wet days, the kitchen is still one of the best places to go to feel like we are actually, well, going somewhere as we try to introduce an element of those foreign cuisines into our meals.
In terms of literally ‘spicing it up,’ did you know that most herbs and spices have powerful health benefits? Sage, for example, has been shown to improve brain function and memory, and it is so easy to grow in a pot. Maybe planting your own herb garden could be another little project?
In terms of spices, most of us are guilty of harbouring those little pots well past their best before dates. It will not harm you if spices are out of date, but they will lose flavour and beneficial properties, and may even give your food a slightly musty tang. So, maybe a little bit of clearing out is in order?
During the first lockdown, there was a huge surge in bread and cake making, and our passions for the sweet stuff was re-enforced by The Great British Bake Off just before the second lockdown. But while home-baked bread is better than a white sliced loaf, especially if you are using wholemeal grains, and even more so if you are making sourdough, be careful with the cakes, biscuits, and other sweet treats. Just saying…!
Takeaways are still an easy fall-back and why not occasionally, and we are not saying that you shouldn’t make your favourite spag bol every now and again, but trying a new recipe might just give you your new comfort dinner favourite. Something with a little bit more zing to liven up your taste buds and the monotony of lockdown life.
Even more importantly, do think about how food affects your health and ensure you are using lots of herbs and spices and a rainbow of vegetables to maintain vitality and improve immunity. A Mediterranean diet is good to aim for, or why not explore the range of delicious vegan recipes? (You’ll even see a recipe for a vegan ragù which makes a fantastic base for a spag bol. I bet the family will not be able to tell the difference if you don’t tell them first.)
Keep the flavours varied
Of course, the kitchen isn’t the only way to treat your taste buds to something different. Anyone who vapes knows that it’s easy to get tired of the same old e liquids when you are using them day in, day out, so why not experiment?
If you are a currently a tobacco smoker you may find you are smoking more than ever because of increased stress levels. Of course, you already know that isn’t good for you. So, if you don’t feel you can stop smoking right now, why not consider vaping? Although this isn’t without potential side effects, e-cigarettes are still recommended by the NHS as an option in their quit smoking campaigns as a much safe alternative to tobacco, and you’ll get so many flavour options to choose from!
Most of us wouldn’t order exactly the same food and drink every time we go out, so why would you vape the same flavour liquid each time? When ordering e liquids online you should remember that there is a ridiculous variety of different flavours out there, from sweet fruits to dark coffee, from kiwi to lemon curd, so next time you’re filling your basket, try something new! My Cigara, for example, has a tremendous range of liquids and devices to keep your vaping from getting stale.
Spice up your video calls
No, no no! Nothing to do with sex… But maybe it’s time to spice up your lockdown life by making the way you connect and communicate with friends and family a bit more interesting?
When the first lockdown started, we called our friends and family regularly, often with a glass of something in our hands, and talked through the latest changes and how we were all coping.
Well, it’s nearly a year later, and many of us are finding new, more interesting ways to keep keeping. Think about using a watch party software to enjoy your favourite films or TV shows and at the same time to recreate those Friday night movie marathons.
Or, if you’ve got a good group size, think about embarking on a role-playing game (RPG)
During the pandemic, there has been a tremendous boom in the number of people enjoying RPGs, and what better way to escape the dreariness of those long challenging and often monotonous days than by diving into another world?
While gaming might traditionally be the domain of teenagers and young adults, there are lots of games that are suitable for the slightly more mature, and a ground-breaking study carried out by Oxford University shows the playing video games is good for your wellbeing. But of course, as with young people, do ensure your gaming habits do not become an addiction.