For the last four years a number of medical conditions have meant that although I feel fit, I have been unable to enjoy physical exercise and much of a social life. So Alison and I have had to devise ways of helping the time to pass profitably: ways which may prove useful to others at a time of lockdown, and which I offer below. 

  1. Structure your waking day: get up in the morning when you are ready. Don’t lie in bed; you are not ill. Go to bed when you are ready. There is nothing immoral about a 9.30 bedtime. Try not to doze during the day (it can be hard!)

  2. Break your day into sections, from 1½ hours to  ½ an hour, placing different time periods next to one another. Try not to do the same thing all day.

  3. Allow at least 30 minutes for each meal, and longer if you include the cooking or preparation. This is not a chore. It is part of your day.

  4. Your day begins once you are up and dressed and ready for breakfast. In planning it, you may find help from the headings below. Do not be afraid to write them down in a timetable or a list. It will help. Set aside time to….

  1. Think: get the brain working. Try crosswords, Soduku, puzzles etc.

  2. Read:  newspapers, magazines, novels, stories, poems, prayers, biographies.

  3. Write: letters, cards, emails, texts, stories, a “ daily lockdown diary”, poems.

  4. Contact:  family, friends, neighbours, by phone or by the methods in c) above.

  5. Air and Exercise:  schedule 2 walks/strolls around the garden or down the road (alone) to give yourself a change of scene and to get the legs moving. Do not schedule a half-marathon (to begin with).

  6. Garden: schedule a particular task in the garden. Do not plan a complete makeover; look for a maximum 1 hour slot at first. It looks as if there will be plenty of more opportunities to do the work in future months.

  7. Meals: plan your meals together carefully and prepare them with love. It may be a time in the day when you come together. If shopping becomes difficult, forethought may be needed for ingredients.

  8. Hobbies: press on with what you enjoy doing, but don’t do it exclusively or obsessively. By all means cross stitch, play piano, or knit, but not all the time. Ration your pleasures, so that you will enjoy them all the more.

  9. Listen: to the radio, choosing in advance what you want to hear that day. Maybe The Archers, Melvyn Bragg or Choral Evensong—or even Zoe Ball!

  10. Watch: TV, if there are programmes or serials you want to see. And if not—go back to number 1 above. Night night.

These suggestions will not make lockdown a delight, but they will help to pass the day, and leave you feeling that you have not just been killing time. You have been living, but at a different pace, and you have achieved something. And tomorrow, another list!


Richard Oberman


St Mary the Virgin Church,

Church Walk,

Higham Ferrers,


St. John the Baptist Church,

Caldecott Road,

Chelveston cum Caldecott



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