With the Government taking unprecedented steps to help New Zealanders stay safe and healthy, it may take a while before things get back to normal. In the meantime, there are things we can do to keep ourselves entertained, spend quality time with our loved ones, and perhaps learn new skills.
Here are some examples to get you started.
As you find yourself spending more time than usual at home, now can be a great opportunity to re-connect with your creative side.
Whether you’ve always been a keen writer, painter or musician, or would like to try something completely new, getting creative isn’t just a good pastime. According to a 2016 study by the University of Otago, it can also help you reduce anxiety and improve your mood.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a fun quiz from Psychologies UK to find out your creative style.
If you have young children, you probably know quite well how difficult it can be to keep them entertained.
Some New Zealand parents are dealing with this ‘new normal’ in unexpected ways. This resourceful Bay of Plenty dad, for example, has built a small theme park in his garden, complete with zip lines, carousels and even a makeshift ‘log flume ride’ in the swimming pool.
Not your thing? NZ web resource TheParentingPlace.com has a lockdown section, with interesting articles, courses and toolboxes for Kiwi parents. And if you’re looking for fun wellbeing activities and games to do at home, Sparkles.org.nz has got you sorted.
Each activity has been developed by behavioural specialists based on the available research and clinical expertise, to help children learn to understand their emotions, build their self-esteem and improve their wellbeing.
As you know, there are countless benefits to working out. Exercising can boost your immune system, reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes – and it’s good for the mood, too.
The best thing about it is that you don’t need a brick-and-mortar gym to incorporate more movement into your day. These NZ fitness coaches are sharing their workouts online, and if you’re looking for more, YouTube is a goldmine for fitness content: with so many trainers sharing free information, nutrition tips and even full workouts online, there’s something for any needs, goals and styles.
However, don’t feel like you have to overdo it, or prove anything to anyone. Over-exercising can lead to injuries, so sometimes less is more. Keeping active could be as simple as a walking around the neighbourhood – just stay local!
Now more than ever, your home is your castle – so why not focus on those maintenance jobs you’ve been putting off for a long time?
For example, you may give your entire home a deep clean, or start with smaller tasks, like re-organising your closets. If you’re not afraid of a bit of DIY, you could fix the little things around the house or make small improvements – like restyling your shelves, cleaning your gutters or painting an accent wall.
Whatever you choose to do, just remember to put safety first. As this article recently pointed out, “ACC figures have routinely shown that the home is the number one place New Zealanders hurt themselves.” Know your limits, take your time, and don’t forget to use protective equipment.
Of course, it may take some time before we’re allowed to head overseas again. But that day will eventually come, so while we wait, we can expand our horizons from the comfort of our sofa.
Have you ever considered learning a foreign language (or at least some basic ‘survival’ sentences)? Now could be that time. There’s an abundance of free apps and video resources available to get you started – think of it as a way to prepare yourself for future adventurous travels.
So, are you thinking about your next destinations? You can get a taste of what the world has to offer with Google Arts & Culture, a handy online platform designed to showcase famous artwork and fascinating tours of iconic cities. Plus, some renowned museums and landmarks offer virtual tours of their collections – click here to learn more.
Hopefully, the world will be our ‘oyster’ once again soon. But don’t forget that, as New Zealanders, we’re lucky enough to have a beautiful backyard to explore. Domestic travel is likely to restart first, so if your budget allows it, consider visiting New Zealand. There’s a lot to see, and lots of hospitality businesses to show our support to.
Adjusting to new routines takes time and it can be challenging. But it’s worth it: not only can we make the most of our downtime, but we can improve our physical and mental wellbeing, and perhaps, see things from a different – more constructive – perspective.
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