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Helen Dolphin’s 10 things to do in self-isolation

Independent disability consultant Helen Dolphin has been self-isolating for two weeks now due to the coronavirus. Here, she gives her ten top tips for keeping busy during these difficult times.

It’s now been over two weeks since I’ve been in stuck indoors in coronavirus self-isolation. I’ve tidied up every messy cupboard. I’ve finished watching the Crown box set (all three series) and I’ve read all the books I had for Christmas. The prospect of another three months confined to my home seems like an awfully long time, so I’ve found a few different ideas of things to do which I thought I’d share with you.

Hone your cooking skills

I have a shelf full of cookbooks which I hardly ever look at. I’ve therefore started sifting through them and finding different recipes to try. I’m particularly keen to try a bit of baking and with Easter rapidly approaching my next recipe attempt is going to be hot cross buns. Apparently, even David Beckham loves baking and is showing off his creations on social media. If my hot cross buns are not a disaster then I’ll be showing them off too.

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Watch movie series in order

It is fair to say that a great way to forget about being in isolation is to get lost in a good film. If like me, you tend to forget what was in a previous film before watching the next in a series then now is a good time to watch an entire movie series in order. I have the Harry Potter series on DVD which has been collecting dust for some time, so I’m going to blow the dust off and settle down over the next few evenings for a Harry Potter binge. My husband has suggested we could do the same for all the Marvel movies, which by my calculation is just over 60 hours of film. Other series you might want to watch in order are the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Batman, James Bond, and Star Trek to name but a few.

Chat with friends and family

It can feel really isolating when you’re stuck in your house, especially if you have nobody to talk to. Although I live with my husband and son, I’m still using Skype and Facetime to speak to my friends and family. My mum is also reading stories to my son every day and we have also arranged for him to speak to some of his friends too, even though he runs off after a few minutes.

Many businesses have been using Zoom video conferencing, but this is also becoming popular with people just to chat with friends and family. What is good about Zoom is you can put in virtual background filters that can mask your untidy room.


Virtual wine tasting

If you’re missing your Saturday night at the pub with your friends then many different companies are offering wine tasting kits. Some are even offering live Instagram and Facebook wine tasting, where you can buy a selection of tasting bottles and then taste along at home whilst watching a live presentation. Tasters are promised the usual tasting commentary and stories about wines and wine makers.

Discover a new podcast

My usual time for listening to podcasts has always been in the car. However, as I’m no longer driving anywhere, I’m listening to podcasts when I’m cooking, tidying or doing my daily exercises. If you’ve not investigated what podcasts are available these next few months could be the ideal opportunity. There really is something for everyone but it can take some time to scroll through and find something you fancy. I’m currently listening to Death in Ice Valley which is a BBC podcast about an unsolved murder.

Click here to view our article on great podcasts for people living with disabilities

Turn your photos into an album

With it being so easy to take photographs on our phones, I have literally thousands. I keep meaning to put all my favourites into a photo album but never seem to have time. Well I certainly have time now so I’m starting to sift through all my pictures. Myphotobook, Mixbook and Snapfish enable you to make photo albums online.

Play board games

If you are in quarantine with other people, then why not crack out the board games? Rummikub is a favourite in our house, but generally only comes out when we go on holiday. Some of my friends have also been playing board games remotely with each other using Skype, Zoom and Facetime.


In 2017 colouring books for adults seemed super popular. I’m sure many of you got a colouring book for Christmas around that time and it’s now in a drawer with very little coloured in. I have a lovely colouring book with a set of felt tips which I now have the time to have a go with.

Visit a virtual museum

If you feel stuck inside your house and long for a bit of culture, then you can still visit a museum without leaving your front door. Google has partnered up with more than 1200 museums and cultural institutions from around the world to document pieces of art and to provide virtual tours using Google Street View technology. I tried out a visit to the British Museum. Although it’s not the same as visiting in real life it is a fun thing to do and you get to see a lot of the art and artefacts.

Click here to visit a a complete list of museums you can visit virtually. 


Visit a virtual attraction

If museums aren’t your thing then many other places are also offering virtual tours. If there’s somewhere you particularly enjoyed going before the lock down then have a look to see if you can virtually visit.  I used to enjoy wandering around the Botanical gardens in Cambridge so I was really pleased to see they are now offering wellness wanders which are a virtual walk around the garden.

Click here to view the wellness wanders. 

Chester zoo is also doing live tours to entertain those in isolation. The virtual tours feature close ups of the zoo’s menagerie of animals including Asian elephants, butterflies and penguins. The live tours starts on the zoo’s Facebook page at 10.00am and they visit a different animal every hour. However, you can see older visits on the timeline. 

Click here to view Chester zoo’s Facebook page. 

Related Articles 

The benefits of audiobooks for people with disabilities and carers

The importance of self-care and how I practice it

Photography with a disability

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