SARAH VINE: 10 ways to stay sane while stuck in coronavirus lockdown

SARAH VINE: 10 ways to stay sane at home if you’re stuck at home in coronavirus lockdown

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When it comes to self-isolation, like most people who voted Leave I have a degree of previous experience. 

We Brexiteers, especially those of us who inhabit urban areas, are used to life in social Siberia. So I think I’ll be pretty well equipped to handle it.

No, the biggest problem is going to be the fact that I shall be forced into close quarters with my nearest and dearest.

Fantasising about being on the show is one of my favourite daydreams (and deciding which eight — and why — would be my choice, can while away many a happy hour [File photo]

As my mother has discovered over the past few days under effective house arrest in Turin, the secret to a happy marriage is for couples to see as little as possible of each other. 

Unless you are lucky enough to have separate wings, before long the idiosyncrasies of one’s beloved will grate. 

If you’re not careful one can find oneself becoming deranged with fury simply by the way someone drinks a cup of tea.

I am already braced for the multiple challenges of my children’s inability to turn off lights, hang up towels or use a chopping board when making cheese toasties; infuriating enough under normal circumstances, but these will be pressure cooker conditions.

In other words, it will be like Christmas but without the presents. It is therefore vital to find ways of staying busy and purposeful. 

So here are my ten tips on how to keep yourself busy . . .

Unless you are lucky enough to have separate wings, before long the idiosyncrasies of one’s beloved will grate. If you’re not careful one can find oneself becoming deranged with fury simply by the way someone drinks a cup of tea [File photo]

1

Now is an excellent time to add an animal to the household. Puppies and kittens (and adult rescue dogs — please do consider one!) require constant supervision. 

If you have small children, this could turn what might otherwise be a fractious nightmare into a special time together. 

Just remember though: a dog is for life, not just coronavirus.

2

Brush up your yoga. You’ll need it to keep calm — and there’s plenty of classes on the internet.

3

Re-set all your passwords and make a note of them somewhere. It should prevent all those maddening moments when you can’t remember them. 

And in the unlikely event that something awful does happen, your poor family won’t go mad trying to trace your digital footsteps. 

You are not, of course, going to die. But you’ll feel awfully smug if by some misfortune you do.

Re-set all your passwords and make a note of them somewhere. It should prevent all those maddening moments when you can’t remember them [File photo]

4

Do your own Desert Island Discs. Fantasising about being on the show is one of my favourite daydreams (and deciding which eight — and why — would be my choice, can while away many a happy hour.

5

Go through your drawers and wardrobe and take out anything that’s old, unloved, superfluous to requirements or just generally useless. 

Chuck out the rubbish (all those laddered tights, frayed bras, stained ties), give some to charity — and the rest you can photograph, catalogue and flog on Ebay.

6

Get the garden ready in time for summer. Each year I promise myself that this time I’ll be ready — and each year I summarily fail to sow the seeds of horticultural success.

Learn to do really good winged eyeliner. I’ve been trying to do this since I was about 16, and I still haven’t succeeded. 

My daughter, however, has — and quite honestly I’m jealous, even though I’m too old for it.

8

Sort out your photographs. My photos are all stuffed in a box, or in half-finished albums or, worse, trapped on random half-defunct electronic devices. 

It would take me days to get into some order — but it would be incredibly satisfying.

Go through your drawers and wardrobe and take out anything that’s old, unloved, superfluous to requirements or just generally useless

9

Make your own sourdough starter. It’s only flour and water but it takes five days to make, and you have to feed and nurture it like a newborn, which is why the only people who make it are retired hipsters in Brighton.

10

Set yourself a challenge of cooking — and eating — every last scrap of food in the house before going out to buy more. 

That’s every packet of beans, tin of soup, bit of flour or chilli flake, every ancient frozen shepherd’s pie or pizza. 

Not only will it take you on a journey of culinary self-discovery, it will also serve as a salutary reminder to your fellow self-isolators of how much we waste — and take for granted. To start, we’ve given you some ideas on the right.

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