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Keeping Busy

The first thing you do when they go away is to start counting down the days until they are home. Sometimes it feels like you are wishing your life away.


They will have a life-changing experience during their six months away. There is nothing to say that you can’t use your time to do something really worthwhile too.


It’s not just about filling up your time, it’s about achieving something yourself. There are so many things that you can do. Probably more than you imagine. Filling up your spare time is good because free time becomes thinking time where your mind is left to its own devices – well, that’s when those tissues come out again.


Here are some ideas that you can sift through to add to your own ideas. Some of these can involve you doing them with friends or family. Most of them you will be doing alone. Some may be difficult to manage with little ones, some a bit naff, but they are all worth a look.


Have a go no matter what the final result is, just get stuck in. Contact Family Welfare to see if they have certain things planned to do. Take the plunge and go because you might make a lot of friends while enjoying yourself at the same time. It could be lovely trips out or doing other arranged things to be part of. Just join in and see.

 Cartoon Busy : funny cartoon bee

Here are some ideas for you to try.



This will be difficult if you have children but not impossible. See if you can find someone else who wants to do a course and perhaps try swapping babysitting between you.


There are many courses to choose from. As a starting point go to the local college or University and get some pamphlets on what is available. The local library may be able to give you some information about it. It may just give you the extra push to do something. Friendships might be made in whatever course you choose.



Practice lots while snapping away at anything and everything you see. You will learn by your mistakes but there will be many of them you can send off in your parcel and feel pleased about. I am sure they will love getting them even if they are a bit wonky or with heads slightly chopped off. Some good ones you could use as screen savers. Others use to make up notelettes and greetings cards and collages.


Dig out old photos and make up a scrapbook of them. Take photos really close up of minuscule parts of items that would normally be seen around the home. Send them off to solve as to what they are. Don’t make it too easy for them and do it so they really have to ponder a very long while even if it takes days to perhaps eventually have an inkling as to what the object might be.



Once in a while enjoy a “Duvet Day” when you (and the kids) stay in your PJ’s. Don’t put make-up on. Snuggle up on the settee with a fleecy blanket, a cup of hot chocolate, comfort food and watch trash TV or a film. You do whatever you fancy that keeps you like a couch potato. Don’t answer the door. Just wallow. This is your special day when you can laze around and do nothing.



These are brilliant if you get a few of your friends together. Line dancing, Country dancing, Ballroom or Pop. You are bound to make some friends. With the cookery you might go to classes or experiment with things you have never tried to do before so get a good “learn to cook /recipe book”. Use foods that are totally new to you. Watch cookery programmes on TV and make notes of hints and tips. I wish you the very best of luck on that one. Your cupboards and fridge can be full of lovely surprises for r&r or for the end of the tour. That’s when you can amaze them with your new culinary skills.



Go and have a look around at your sports/health/leisure centre to see if there is anything that might be just what you fancy. Perhaps learn to swim if you can’t or just enjoy the pool.  Learn to dive a bit better than those belly flops that you are only capable of doing. Pamper yourself with a sauna.



Start off with short distances and expand on your distance gradually. Do not forget to take a camera with you because you are bound to see places and views you never knew existed. You could go jogging in the countryside, town, park or beach. It doesn’t have to be anywhere special. It will help get that airport bod ready for picking them up!


Cycling you may prefer to do with a friend or your children. If you have a job and it isn’t too far away then think about biking to work. Maybe there will be days when you won’t be so enamoured if the weather is too nasty but anytime is better than none.



This is a good relaxation technique that could iron out a lot of your tension both muscular and mental. Then again you may get into knottier problems! Try it and see



Learning to relax can help you when you are really feeling uptight on very down days. Breathing techniques and other similar abilities can be a good way to assist with coping. Meditation is possibly for you.

However if you are very depressed or sleeping badly then do not hesitate in seeing your doctor who will know what to do. In some cases a therapist could be the answer to un-bottle all of your troubles. A problem shared is a problem halved. You really should seek expert advice and not struggle on trying to fix things all by yourself. You will find that your doctor will select what is right for you.. Being in tune with yourself is essential. You are such an important person so don’t disregard or neglect the “YOU”. Treasure the “YOU”.



If you can’t get to the gym or out for a run, then try some keep fit at home. I am sure you will find a good one. Try not to disturb the neighbours!



Putting on weight can easily happen with all the comfort snacking you do. You could join a slimming club and hopefully watch those unwanted pounds disappear. You can be more inspired if you do it that way as a group. Find a good food regime that you can stick to at home. I am sure you have a friend or relative who can advise you of a good diet that worked for them.



There must have been times when you wished you could speak another language.  Go to an evening class to learn or you may prefer to get one of those handy learn at home language kits. It will be very rewarding.



Is your present job getting you down? Perhaps doing a new one may be needed. Another place with the same job could make you feel fresher. You can retrain for a different type of job. They say a change is as good as a rest. Also if you haven’t got a job perhaps it could help if you did get one. Anything that can get you out from 4 walls is beneficial.



Now is the opportunity to take lessons. You could have said on lots of occasions that you will learn but you have always seemed to put it off for no apparent reason. You now have no excuse.



Have you ever thought about doing one? It will take a lot of searching and digging out information from your relatives although it won’t be an easy thing to do but very interesting and satisfying. Some family members will know bits that another doesn’t know. You could even do a lot of searching on the Internet. It really is fascinating going through your ancestry. I managed to get back into the late 1600’s. Doing one requires a lot of patience and a lot of head scratching.



Perhaps a good old get together with school pals could be something nice. Updating each other of things since schooldays. A brilliant way to do it is by going to Friends Reunited. See how many classmates are on it. You could end up getting in touch with people you had forgotten existed as a lot of memories of school do fade away.

There is a section of it called Genes Reunited too that will help you with your Family Tree.



It’s always good for you to go out for the evening with friends and family so that you can all have a little bit of freedom or something to focus on. You mustn’t stay in and vegetate. Girlie nights in may be better where you cook a meal and lounge about. You could take it in turns as to whose house you go to each time. Remember to try out any newly learned recipes.



Snuggling up with a good book and a cuppa can be done at anytime of the day or night. Root amongst the second hand book stalls to see if there are any that might be just the sort for you. Swap books and gossip magazines with your friends.



You are bound to have lots of favourite programmes that you have always watched so plan out your evenings viewing. Soaps, Dramas, Quiz Shows, comedians that can really give you sniggers and giggles. This is your special time to dig out videos you haven’t looked at in years and are now a little covered in dust.



Play fun ones that make you feel all bright inside. There are hundreds to choose from and they can be a way to fill up hours without you realising it.



There are lots of types to get. I found those giant crossword books very good. I have to admit that Coffee Time ones are my forte as I never found the Cryptic ones in my league at all. They were truly over my head when it came to looking at them let alone attempting one.



It may sound a bit old fashioned but they do take up your time! Don’t bother with the overly large or impossible ones or you will get so fed up that you may end up even more fed up. Always settle for a medium type of puzzle unless of course you are expert at them.



All towns have a craft shop so pop in and see if anything takes your fancy. It could be painting by numbers, decopatch, model making, candle making. Make your own mug kits. The world is your oyster in there. I doubt if you will come out empty handed. OK you may think it will turn out a disaster but it doesn’t matter. So what if it does, because at least you will have enjoyed doing it and it will have kept you very busy indeed.



This can be a right laugh getting all the sexy undies. You will be like silly schoolgirls together being as daft as you want to and perhaps spending a little more than you should. Don’t forget you are doing it not just for you but also for your partner when they come back so they can’t really complain.



Take a bus or train away from your usual town to a place you haven’t been to before and either window shop or buy. If you have children then they will love it just as much as you do.



You may decide to do voluntary work for a charity. All charities are desperate for volunteers.

You will do very well by asking your friends and workmates to donate to various military charities. People are only too happy to reach into their pocket to do so. Selling wristbands is a favourite.

You may even be very brave enough to tackle a sponsored walk.

Do look at the great charity "Help For Heroes" Their shop is very good. The work they do for our troops with money they get from the dealings and donations is amazing. 



Does your camp have a choir or a keep fit class? If so join them or how about starting one. Even if your voice isnt too good its fun to sing and that brings a community together. Never be scared to have a go at anything. You wont know until you try and you can then choose to stay with it or decide it isnt your cup of tea. You could be the ideal person to get the ball rolling to set up something to benefit all.



It isn’t easy to do but the thinking about it and looking at tons of brochures from the Travel Agents can boost you up so much that you get to the stage when having discussed it you jump in at the deep end and sort things out for real. Perhaps you have a Honeymoon to organise.



You may have had the date set and there are all the arrangements to make. Even if it’s a long way off it is superb to get into the flow of all the necessary fields to put your mind on course for it. Discuss it with both sides of the family. They may like to go on a bridal day out with you to look at the possibilities. You will have a brilliant time.



You may never have planted anything in your life but now is a good time to learn. Up until now all you might have done is sit back and enjoy the glorious blooms and aromas made for you. Plant the prettiest of flowers for a beautiful display. Even if it is just a case of planting something in a tub, hanging basket or tomatoes in a Grow-bag then do so. Home-grown vegetables, Runner beans, Strawberries and Blackberries are yummy. If you don’t have a garden then do some window boxes or a herb garden. If you are not too sure about how to do this gardening lark then I am sure that friends and neighbours can advise you. If you drop into your local Garden Centre they will give excellent information and the best advice too. If there are any really tough, heavy-duty tasks that you know you can’t do then ask a friendly neighbour to step in and give you a hand.

Put up a bird table and hang up some nuts and seeds. Sending photos of your plants in different stages of their growth and cute ones of the birds is a good idea.

Get someone who could take a photo of you actually gardening with mud up to your elbows or you with the hose or watering can.



You can do it if you put your mind to it. It may make you shake your head in the uncertainty that you can’t but as I have said earlier you must have a go. Do not be daunted by any negativity, as you will make yourself proud to have taken on or attempted such tasks. I am sure that at times you have talked about doing this that and the other but have always only got as far as talking about it. Now those wont be only words but actions. By doing D.I.Y it will make you feel much more independent and build up your confidence. There will be a lot to brag about. You will find it fun to go to the D.I.Y store and pick the paints and wallpaper. Don’t rush though because you don’t want to buy the wrong one or that would be a catastrophe from the word GO. A friend or neighbour could give you handy hints and tips to make the task you set yourself a little bit easier. New door handles and curtains. Hang a picture on the wall. Small things can make a big impact.



 You could refresh the place by spring-cleaning and then with a bit of shifting of furniture or even throwing out the really yucky stuff that is overfilling your rooms. Make the place a bit more spacious. Get rid of items you never use or the many things you just keep for the sake of it. Blitz each room and be really strict so that you don’t keep things that you consider may come in handy at sometime in the future or items “just in case”. If you haven’t used it for ages then there is no reason to still keep it. All it does is take up space that could be more wisely used for something new or useful. You will amaze yourself with the amount of rubbish you will throw out.



Always put time aside for pampering yourself. It is a great morale booster. You have such a long while to reach perfection so you can get it off to a fine art. All things cosmetic are good and work towards having the best finger nails you have ever had. Experiment with your hair colour and various styles until you find the one that you love. Join a health club and have a sauna or massage.  Most importantly, just take some time out for yourself once in a while. You deserve it.