Stephen, a member of the Grassmarket Community Project, has a very rare medical condition which means some of his bones are weaker than they should be. He has had no fewer than ten operations in the past eleven years and so has plenty of experience of self isolating. During this time he enjoyed temporary work contracts, undertaking voluntary work and completed a degree in Psychology through the Open University.  He has enjoyed being part of the Grassmarket Community Project, believing it to be a supportive environment which offers a very wide range of activities, from trips out, to training courses, to film showings, science talks, mindfulness and many other classes. Here, ,Stephen shares his top tips and insights which our members, and all of us, may find useful. [with a few of GCP’s team comments in brackets!]

Keep in touch

This is really important to tackle loneliness. You can keep in touch with family and friends in various ways, phone, e-mail, text, social media, Skype, zoom etc. Maybe reconnect with old friends you haven’t heard from in a while. [The Grassmarket also offers a variety of ways you can keep in touch with friends, colleagues and volunteers (click here for more information)]

Make a Plan

Every evening make a plan of things you wish to do the next day. There might be some DIY you never got around to, odd jobs that need done in the home or garden or clearing out a cupboard or wardrobe. Maybe start reading that book you meant to. [share your plans with the GCP – they’d love to hear them!]

Exercise Daily

Exercise is really important to your physical and mental health. Make sure you get some exercise daily in your local area, applying social distancing guidelines and get some fresh air. There are also online exercising classes you can participate at home. [Current Government advice is that you can undertake 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise – walking, jogging, cycling a day if you do it alone or with 1 member of your household or family you live with – exercise is critical – get in touch with the GCP if you want to go for a ‘virtual’ walk ‘with’ a volunteer or staffmember. All you need is access to a mobile phone and we’ll call you and walk ‘together’ in different places but we can chat at the same time].

Watch what you eat

It is easy when staying at home just to slouch in front of your TV and eat rubbish. However, this will just increase your weight and reduce your energy levels. Look to maintain a healthy diet. [a free healthy meal service is available from GCP delivered 3 days a week if this helps] 

Keep learning

A good use of your time is to learn. There are lots of courses available online, many of them free. Maybe take a course which will add skills to your business or job and/or something you find interesting, like a hobby or learning a new language. [GCP is running 5 classes a week – all free and all open to everyone – (click here for more information)]

Don’t gouge on the news !

It is tempting just to sit on the sofa and watch the terrible news about the virus. It can be depressing and dis-empowering. Though it is important to keep up to date with the latest developments and advice. Aim for a happy medium.

Volunteer if you can

If you are in a position, volunteering for a charity or other organisation is a great use of your time and will really be appreciated by all and build a community spirit. [GCP are looking for virtual walkers and people happy to call other people, just one way you can volunteer. You can also contact Volunteer Edinburgh who list volunteering opportunities in the current COVID crisis and lockdown]

Applaud the NHS

Quite simply it is the right thing to do. It builds community spirit and gives a sense of us all being in it together – this takes place on Thursdays at 8pm.

(c) 2020  The grassmarket Community Project gratefully acknowledges the support of Stephen and all our members and volunteers. If you have anything you’d like to share to help people or encourage or build community email