Come Dine with Me

Compete with friends for the title of… top ‘Social Distancing’ chef!

You might not have Dave Lamb’s tongue in cheek narrative but why not sit down to common meal with some friends remotely of ‘course’…

Plan:

Huck up with a few friends and agree on a regular time and day that you will all gather together and what chat software you will use such as Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom.

Agree either what dish OR same ingredients OR Country you have to start with for each week and think about how many courses you will cook.

Do:

Cook your dish, record yourselves prepping various parts of the dinner and send this on a group message or on wider social media. (wear you neckerchief and shout about #ScoutingAtHome while you do!) This is sure to give the others a laugh whilst they are getting ready their own meal!

Whist it is cooking set up your tripod and log in to your chosen software.

Sit down and enjoy each others company as you share a common meal.

Review:

Talk with each other and rate appearance and ingenuity.

Keep a score board over a number of weeks to see who comes out on top.

What new kitchen skill did you have to learn this week to complete the dish?

Decide what next weeks dish, ingredients or theme might be.
Come Dine With Me wouldn’t be the same without a bit of light entertainment mid evening. Dancers, fire blowers, fancy dress have always gone down well so think what you could do to improve your score next week!

VE Day Bunting

Record what you have been up to for VE Day, by creating some bunting!

Print out the attached template or make your own A4 size if cant use the  template

Decorate the template and let us know how they have celebrated the day, by writing in the centre of the template in clear letters, what activity they have done.

Send it to your leaders – they can then display it/ share it with others.

Virtual Coffee Break

…you’re allowed tea too!

Plan:

Message your friends and schedule some times.

Think about the size of your group gatherings and also about 1:1 accountability.

Choose a chat provider such as Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom video conferencing.

Do:

Make yourself your favourite drink!

Practice active listening and don’t be distracted by other social media.

Log into your chat room.

Check in with your friends, hang out for a while, but most importantly be honest with how you are feeling with each other.

Review:

Think of others who might not have anyone to connect with and reach out to them regularly to check in with how they are doing.

Think about keeping a journal of things to talk about whilst online with others.

Reflect on how you are feeling before and after contact.

Stress and anxiety about the spread of the novel coronavirus, coupled with increased social distancing and isolation recommendations, may be affecting your mental health and that of your Scouting friends more than you realise.

If someone in a group chat says something that concerns you about their welfare and mental health, check in with them 1:1 after the call is ended and ask them about it. Most importantly let people know you are there for them if they need someone.

9 ways to deal with stress

Things are pretty stressful at the moment. There are the obvious health fears, work’s become a worry (had anyone ever heard the word ‘furlough’ before this week?), news updates are almost constant, and on top of that, most families are now at least a fortnight into having to share (sometimes very limited) space together, all of the time. But there are ways to cope – we promise.

Breathe

It sounds simple, but the first thing to do when you feel stress mounting is to take a few deep breaths – it’s probably the easiest and quickest thing to do. Focusing on your breathing can help take your mind off what’s bothering you and calm your body down. If you struggle to slow your breathing, try an app like Calm or Headspace, which have free guided meditations to help. You can also try something like the 8-4-7 technique, breathing out of your mouth for eight seconds, then inhaling through your nose for four seconds, then holding it for seven seconds, then repeating.

Re-frame the stress

A study found that believing stress is bad for you increases the negative impact of stress on your body. The flip side is that believing stress can be positive dramatically reduces this negative impact – amazing, right? Watch this TED Talk by health psychologist Kelly McGonigal to learn how to re-frame how you see stress and make it your friend.

Express yourself

If you’re feeling stressed, find a private space (if possible) and call a friend or family member to chat. It’s a bit of a cliché, but a problem solved really can be a problem halved – you’re not in this situation alone, and once you’ve shared your feelings then there’s someone else to help you get to the other side.

Video chats have been proven to be more mentally beneficial than phone calls, so try using an app like Houseparty (where friends and family can ‘join the party’ and join your chat at any time – so maybe not the best choice for a private chat, but perfect when you’re just in the mood to talk), Zoom (where you can add virtual backgrounds – great for when you want to pretend you’re on the beach or up a mountain), Skype, FaceTime or Whatsapp video chat. Seeing a new friendly face could be all you need to feel better.

If you don’t have anyone outside your home to talk to, or you don’t feel like chatting, try writing your feelings down. You could keep a quarantine journal, or just write a list of what’s going on (or how you feel). Getting stuff down on paper can really help clear your head, and once it’s all there, you can start planning some solutions.

Eat or drink something tasty

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fruit fiend or devoted to nuts and seeds – there are plenty of foods that contain vitamins and minerals that can help relieve stress. Cooking something also helps lots of people to relax. Watching ingredients combine and change as they transform into a flapjack, energy bar, or soup can be really calming. If you’re not hungry, a comforting hot drink is often relaxing. Give something without caffeine a go (such as camomile or peppermint tea), especially if you’re stressed before bed and need to calm down so you can sleep. 

Laugh

Sometimes the best way to deal with stress is to take your mind off things for a little while. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you’re never more than a click away from a dog reviewing human food or cats falling off things – or finding a funny GIF to put a smile back on your face.

Get some rest

Stress takes its toll on our bodies, and rest is vital to recharge. Give yourself permission to relax, and make sure you leave enough time for a good night’s sleep. A bedtime routine can really help – stop scrolling social media, and do something calming such as reading or colouring.    

Pet an animal

Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Size doesn’t matter here – a hamster or gerbil can be just as calming as a Great Dane. If you don’t have a pet at home, you could just go on a walk around your neighbourhood in hope of encountering a furry friend.

Get some exercise

If you can (ie you have a garden or balcony space, or you’re not self-isolating), getting outside into the fresh air can be a great stress reliever. The government currently allows going for a short run, walk or bike ride everyday, and it’s important that you do this if you can. A quick walk uses up energy (which can be great if stress makes you antsy) and can help you refocus. Just remember to keep two metres distance between yourself and others, and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

Light a candle

Their soothing smell and flickering flame make candles a perfect partner for a relaxing evening. Orange could help reduce stress, lavender could help you relax, and vanilla could boost your mood. What’s your favourite scent?

These tips don’t fix the big stuff, but hopefully they make things more manageable. If you’re still feeling stressed and overwhelmed, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by calling 116 123 (free from any phone) or emailing jo@samaritans.org. If you’re experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day). You can find more helplines for specific issues here.

Gear Repair

Become the ultimate Quartermaster!

Has the zip in your tent failed, leaving you exposed to the night time hordes of mosquitoes? Has your rain jacket ever caught on a rock and torn open? Have you ever had a camp stove that just refuses to ignite, and you can’t figure out why? Spend some time whilst we are socially distancing ourselves to get your gear into top shape, and be prepared for your next Adventure!

Plan:

  • Sort and check your gear.
  • What gear do you have that needs repairs?
  • What problems have you encountered in the past, and how did you address them?
  • What materials and tools will you need to help with your repairs?
  • Watch some how to videos to learn about and practise the gear maintenance skills you want to master.

Do:

  • Repair your gear!

Review:

  • Share with others:
  • What do you know now that you did not know before?
  • What would you do differently in the future?
  • How would you build on this experience?

Desktop Zen Garden

Time to chill!

As young adults, you generally spend a bit more time sitting indoors at desks than participants in younger Sections especially currently. Unfortunately, this can have negative effects on one’s physical and mental wellbeing.


One way to bring a little peace and joy to your indoor work space is to build a desktop Zen garden. A small Zen garden is easy to make and can be a useful tool for relieving stress.

Plan:

  • When and where will you build your desktop Zen gardens?
  • Who on the internet might share a knowledge of the background and creation of Zen gardens with you? Could you link with some Scouts in Japan?
  • What tools and materials do you need?
  • What is your budget for this project?

Do:

  • Build your desktop Zen garden.
  • Find a perfect home for your garden in your work space.
  • When you need a break. Rake the sand, arrange the stones and breathe.

Review:

  • What do you know now that you did not know before?
  • How did you feel before, during and after this project?
  • How has the garden impacted your workspace and your work habits?
  • What other ways can you bring a “Zen” quality to your work space or study space?