I’m back! I can’t believe we’re already on week five of this guest blog series. When me and Joss first started talking about this I don’t think either of us anticipated how long I’d be writing for. But here we are – another week, another blog.
I’ve really enjoyed writing over the past few weeks, and we’ve covered some really important topics including body positivity, mental health and transparency in business. So if you’re in need of some weekend reading you can always add those to your list.
This week, it’s a less serious topic but it definitely ties in with my call to look after yourself and your mental health during this crazy pandemic we find ourselves in. I want to talk to you about my best bits of lockdown, and how I’m trying to embrace the things we can still do!
I hope these small, simple ideas inspire you, and you have fun trying some of them out yourself.
Yes that is Team Wilson in first place! (Image credit: The King’s Parade)
1. Getting quizzy with it.
I don’t think I’ve ever done as many quizzes in my life as I have during the last ten weeks! We’ve both taken part in online quizzes from various pub quiz companies, and run some ourselves too.
And obligatory brag: We came FIRST PLACE in The King’s Parade lockdown special quiz and bagged ourselves a lovely prize of some band merch! We also inspired a meme as a result of our victory which I was very proud of…
My friendship group are now taking it in turns to host quiz nights most weekends, last Saturday was my turn and if you want some advice when thinking of questions – a large part of the key to success is photoshop. Example: Can you name the album cover with my friend Josh photoshopped over it?
Josh was late for the quiz so I’m sure he won’t mind being publicly displayed like this
(And yes it is Taylor Swift’s 1989)
I’d also recommend two quiz companies whose free online streams I’ve really enjoyed – myself and my friend Tomris took part in a US office themed quiz run by Yellow Elephant Promotions (and came 19th out of 313 teams thank you very much!) Also, we’ve done a lot of quizzes by Gooses Quizzes, an Edinburgh based pub quiz company running a free pub quiz over Twitch every night during lockdown.
They’re best enjoyed with friends, so set up a Zoom (or similar) video chat and have someone share their screen so you can all collaborate on your answers.
If making your own quiz, then I’ve found Kahoot! really good – the basic package is free to use and you can have up to 10 teams playing free on their accompanying app – it’s good fun as it keeps track of everyone’s scores and shows the leader board after each question. Helps encourage that competitive spirit!
2. Get outside
I’m sure we can all agree we’ve been massively helped by the weather in the UK during these times. I know I’m extremely fortunate to have a garden and we’ve definitely made good use of it having some gin and dinner in the garden a few nights, but also (now we’re allowed out more than once a day) I’m trying to incorporate more outdoor activities into my schedule.
When lockdown first started I tried to replicate my gym-based exercise regime at home, but I found as time went on my motivation for it grew a little stale and I was fantasizing about running or something that would let me outside.
So now I still do one or two things from my ‘normal’ strength training a week in the living room, but we’ve also started cycling once a week and (now they’re open again) we’ve been making use of the local tennis courts twice a week too!
Particularly after a long, stressful day at work I can really feel the immediate lift in my mood once we get outside, onto the tennis court and get that blood pumping.
So don’t let it become a chore, but remember to incorporate some outdoor time into your schedule where you can – it will make a world of difference to your mood!
Have a BBQ went on the bucket-list as soon as the sunshine appeared!
3. Lockdown lists
This is my lockdown equivalent of a ‘bucket-list’, we’re pulling together lists of a few different things. The main ones are fun lockdown activities, a list of movies to work through once a week, and also ideas for when lockdown lifts.
Lockdown activities: If we see a fun idea on Facebook, or come up with one of our own, we write it down so when we’re short of ideas for the weekend we can tick the next activity off the list. Camping in the garden is our next adventure, then hosting a video chat tapas dinner party.
Movie bucket-list: We try and have a movie night once a week, and having that list adds a little structure and helps give it a bit of purpose and almost a sense of achievement as we tick the films off one by one.
Ideas for post-lockdown: This is such a nice idea I saw someone share on Facebook just when lockdown had started. Every time you miss doing something or think ‘I wish I could do that tonight’ write it down on a piece of paper and pop it in a jar. Then once lockdown does lift you’ve got a fun lucky dip of ideas to pull out every couple of weeks. The practice of doing this helps keep me positive and reminds me that one day things will get back to ‘normal’.
Costumes were on point at my surprise birthday e-party
4. Keep socialising
This is something that’s very easy to let slip, and I’m very mindful of working to keep thinking of ways to socialise with friends and not have it feel like a stale video chat!
The key part of this is to think of what you’d like to do, and then find a way to make it work – be that socially distanced in real life or over video chat.
For example, if you’re missing hosting people for dinner, could you have a socially distanced picnic in the park? Our friends for the most-part aren’t local, so as I mentioned earlier I’m looking into hosting a video chat tapas dinner party. Why tapas you ask? When eating tapas you’re all eating different little bits – so it lends itself to the idea of a virtual dinner party, because it doesn’t matter that everyone’s having a slightly different meal at their end!
I also regularly have ‘girly nights’ which is something I’m missing greatly spending 24/7 with my husband (I love him but I also wanna sit and talk about Disney movies you know?) So I’ll coordinate with the girls and we’ll all arrange to drink the same colour of wine or some G&Ts then we’ll hop on a video call. I know it’s not quite the same but blocking out time in your diary to stay connected with those near and dear to you is super important right now.
Just look at that two-headed Michael Scott costume!
I think one of the most inventive social occasions, and definite highlights of my lockdown, was the surprise US Office themed fancy dress party I was thrown by my besties over a google hangout. My friend Sam had even sneakily posted my costume to Ross which he presented me with when we joined the group video chat. The costumes were on point and everyone had even decorated the walls around them with banners and balloons.
5. Board games online… who knew?
If you, like me and my family, are a fan of a board game or two – then you don’t have to stop playing! Just this week we enjoyed a couple of rounds of 6 Nimmt with my parents, brother and sister-in law.
There’s a website called Board Game Arena which is free to join and has a number of games you can play for free. We’re actually considering upgrading to premium as it’s very low-cost and you get a few bonus games. But I would definitely recommend giving the free version a go!
Or, if you’re specifically missing Cards against Humanity, try out All Bad Cards – that’ll spice up the Friday night drinks over Zoom for sure.
I’d recommend if possible you have a spare device for a video call when playing the games, as then you get that banter going with friends and family while you play too. For me that banter or watching someone go ‘aaaah’ as they lose a load of points is a big part of the fun!
6. Experience a bit of culture
Sunday night has become culture night in the Wilson household. We have our roast dinner (of course) and then do a different virtual tour or experience.
Firstly my tip for Xbox players: If you have any Assassin’s Creed Origin Games you can take part in their Discovery Tours – the team put a lot of research into re-creating ancient worlds so have included hours of narrated tours in the games. You get to explore the ancient world and learn more about history. We’re currently working our way through the Ancient Egypt tours and I’m now somewhat knowledgeable on pyramids – so there you go.
However, more accessible for everyone, there are lots of free options available online too!
We really enjoyed a recent tour of Petra on Google Maps – with narrated stops along the way and the option to ‘walk’ (click) around and explore ‘on foot’ we spent a good 2-3 hours on there climbing staircases, enjoying the vistas and even looking at what the local market stalls are selling. I would highly recommend it.
If that’s not your jam then there’s lots of different places showcasing online in response to COVID 19, next on the list for us is The Natural History Museum Virtual Museum and we also love putting the Edinburgh Zoo Live Cams on too – we’ll pop them on the TV while doing chores or having lunch. Whatever you’re into, have a bit of a google and I’m sure there’s an online option you can choose.
No I really wasn’t being over the top when I said more quizzes than ever! This one’s the Tailenders #GoWellQuiz.
Remembering what we can do
These are just a few suggestions but I hope they’ve reminded you that there’s still a lot of fun and interesting stuff we can do during these times. There are obviously activities and people that I miss dearly, but I am trying to remain positive and make the best of this season where I can.
So try something new this weekend! I’m sure there’s lots more inspiration floating around out there, but I wanted to share some specific examples that have really lifted my spirits or given me something to look forward to each week. I hope they entertain you too.
I’d also love to hear from you – do let me know if you try anything mentioned in this blog! Or if you have any ideas of your own I’m all ears. Just remember, whatever you’re planning, stay safe and stay well.
Until next time,
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