With news that we'll be in lockdown here in the Hunter for at least another two weeks, you're probably wondering how to keep yourself busy and entertained for all that time.
While it can be hard to digest, finding silver linings in your day to day will help increase feelings of hope and positivity. Whether you're living alone, in a share house, or cohabitating with a partner or your family, here's some ideas to help you find the silver linings this weekend!
Eating out is, pardon the pun, off the table for now so how about a romantic dinner at home just for two? Several innovative Newcastle restaurants have pivoted (the word of the year!) during COVID and are delivering set menus for two - some even come matched with wine.
Why not watch each other’s favourite movie, take an invigorating stroll around your neighbourhood (be sure to keep to social distancing regulations), have a romantic picnic in your back garden or on the balcony, or face each other in a cook-off using only what’s in the house.
Those sharing a house have their own set of challenges during this time but the upside is you’ve got a bunch of people to bunker down with until the storm passes. This weekend why not learn a hobby together such as knitting or gardening, or even how to bake the perfect chocolate cake?
You could take a short online course together (wine appreciation anyone?), dress up for a fancy dinner party where everyone prepares a different course, or join an online fitness class.
Remember to also take time out for yourself. Schedule in some me time with a long soak in the bath, read that book you’ve been meaning to get to, or get out for a cycle around your local area…it’s good for your mental health!
Fun loving families
Being cooped up with kids is challenging but there are a bunch of options to turn isolation into an adventure. Set up a tent in your backyard and camp under the stars, spread out a picnic blanket and enjoy home baked goodies with a flask of tea, or play some good old-fashioned board games. A round of Newcastle Monopoly could easily fill in an entire afternoon.
Other options for keeping boredom at bay include signing kids up for an online art class, picking a movie to watch together, or encouraging children to write to grandparents or the elderly confined to their homes or aged care facilities during lockdown.
The Australian Reptile Park is inviting kids to connect virtually with a series of YouTube events hosted by Tim Faulkner, and Newcastle Libraries also has a heap of stories, educational games and more accessible online.
Bear hunts have also been all the rage during lockdowns. Many locals are displaying teddy bears in their front windows for children to spot when they go out for exercise. Join in the fun and place a teddy in your own front window for other children in the neighbourhood to see. Or get your kids to leave messages of encouragement and hope in chalk on the footpath.
The home improver
This is your moment. Clean that cupboard or tackle that chore you’ve been avoiding forever, plant a garden, do your tax or work out a budget. Use your time during lockdown to sort out photo albums or arrange to have a book of digital photos printed, clear out that cluttered bottom drawer (we all have one), redecorate a room or even build something. When you’ve ticked off those jobs around the home reward yourself with a stroll around your local area.
Being alone during lockdown doesn’t sound like much fun, although parents with children at home 24/7 may disagree! Why not schedule in a Zoom catch-up or #WineTime (Facetime with wine) with friends, take a walk or bike ride with a mate around your local area, listen to podcasts or explore Newcastle Art Gallery online.
NAG recently launched two videos to celebrate the closing of WARWAR: The Art of Torres Strait, which can be viewed on their Facebook page. You can also tune into their Facebook and Instagram page on Friday night at 6pm to find out the winner of the KILGOUR PRIZE 2021, one of Australia's major art prizes! Join Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton for this special announcement.
You can download books and e-books for free from Newcastle Library, enjoy a well-earned sleep-in or even host a watch party on Facebook to share an experience with others. Did we mention that you'll also have full control of the Netflix decisions?
However you decide to spend your time this weekend, stay at home wherever possible and adhere to social distancing regulations if heading outdoors. Hang in there Newy, and keep trying to find those silver linings in the day to day!