Given the current COVID-19 crisis, it's a little difficult not to feel the gloom. Every morning Jason and I read the news, take on board what is necessary without giving into media sensationalism "too much", and check on our family and friends. While my parents are fit and healthy, my father recently had major open heart surgery and is 74 years old, and my mum has high blood pressure and I don't know how old she is because she's never told us (LOL), so they are both at risk. Jason's parents are younger, fit and healthy and around 60 years old, so they're ok thankfully.
With so many people affected around the world and in Australia, many of us are choosing to batten down the hatches and stay at home - us included, to an extent. We may have struggled to get our hands on toilet paper, but we're not stressing out. I work from home and while Jason works at a large primary school, if schools and daycare centres in Queensland have to shut down, at least we'll all be home together. We drive our own cars, we buy our groceries online, we're washing our hands (a lot) and doing all the things we're meant to do.
This weekend just gone by reminded us to remain upbeat while respecting self-isolation for ourselves and the people in our community. We decided that in the event of serious self-isolation, we should sit down and brainstorm some fun things we can do - and that's what we did. Unless we get sick or contract COVID-19 (in that case we will obviously be getting tested, officially self-isolating and/or professionally quarantined - whatever we're told to do), here are a few fun things we'll be doing to keep us happy (and sane) as a family.
Enjoying long drives
Bundle your family and go for a nice long drive. Do some research to find out what National Parks or hinterland areas are close to you. The Noosa Hinterland is not far from where we live, so this weekend we went for a lovely long drive. Within fifteen minutes, we were driving past Eumundi and through Kennilworth about 30 minutes later. We enjoyed the countryside views from the sanctuary of our car, stopped to look at some horses and cows in a grassy field, and enjoyed a picnic at a lovely hinterland park.
Doing some gardening
Spending more time at home means you've got a bit more time to do some gardening. Get your gloves, sunscreen and sneakers on, get the kids involved, and do some weeding, mowing and plant moving. It's actually a really fun activity to do with the whole family!
Enjoying the outdoors
Now is the perfect time to go hiking with your family! Do some research online and find some close hiking tracks or even plan a day trip (with water and snacks) for a longer hike. Being outdoors will make everyone in your family feel invigorated. We live within ten minutes walk to the beach, and have been spending a lot of time there. Perhaps a day trip to the beach is just what your family needs!
Cooking in the kitchen
We noticed over the weekend that we have been spending a lot more time in the kitchen; maybe this has something to do with self-isolating, who knows. Whatever the reason, cooking is one of our favourite things to do with Dusty, and being able to share our recipes with you has been a lot of fun. So if you're stuck for things to do while at home, get in the kitchen and make something with the kids.
Camping in our backyard
Personally, we don't see there being a problem with camping at the moment - especially if you're camping off grid. But if you're used to camping at caravan parks and feel a bit nervous using the same facilities as other people, why not go camping in your backyard! This is something we want to do with Dusty in the next couple of months. We'll get the fire pit going, make our Outback S'Mores and snuggle inside our tent together. It'll be pretty funny...we hope.
All of my parent friends have been building their craft supplies for the last couple of weeks in preparation for schools and daycare centres closing down. And we have to admit, this is such a great idea! We've started collecting colouring-in books, pens, glue, paint, glitter, coloured paper and all things of a crafty manner, which we have set aside "just in case". Gardens also offer an abundance of crafting opportunities!
Supporting local business
Remember to support local businesses! They need your help now more than ever, including your favourite cafes, restaurants, local stores, pubs, creative brands and surf clubs - many who operate on small margins. If you’re in self quarantine or avoiding public spaces where there are lots of people, you can always purchase gift cards, restaurant vouchers, and coffee cards to support these small businesses now (and use them as per usual, or at a later date). Every bit counts.
Spreading the good news
Are you even following the COVID-19 news if you haven't seen this? In times of global crisis, we all have to remember we are in this together. Spread the good news as much as you can! I know sharing this video with our parents but big smiles on their faces - ours too. Who are you if listening to Pavarotti's Nessun Dorma whilst watching that video doesn't make you cry!
Small acts of kindness
And remember, check on those in your family and community who may be vulnerable - particularly the elderly, those with underlying health issues, those with disabilities and young families. Give them a call and see if you can help them in anyway. Many of our parents and grandparents don't often know how to use the internet, so give them a call to see if they would be happy for you to order their groceries online for the next few weeks. They can pass on their grocery list to you and you can organise it from there.