With much of society going into lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus, many of us are finding ourselves suddenly cooped up at home. You might be working from home for the foreseeable future, or not at all in the case of many freelance and casual workers.
If you have a partner, you’re probably finding being around each other all the time being a bit of an adjustment. Cabin fever is peering around every corner, and disputes over who left the sink full of dirty dishes can seem catastrophic. It’s important to keep things fun and lighthearted in these weird and difficult times. To help you deal, here are some easy iso-activities you can do with your partner:
Dig out the photo albums
Ok, so unless you’ve been in a relationship for like 20 years, you might not actually have that many physical photos. Spend an evening browsing photos of your time together from all your devices instead. Now is a great time to reminisce over fond memories of days at the beach, nights out on the town, favourite holidays and whatever else you have kicking around on your phones. Chances are you’ll come across photos of each other you’d forgotten about or haven’t even seen. You could even order a photo book for the coffee table. (For when you can actually have visitors over again. Optimism!)
Read books together
People still read books, right? Regardless, now is a great time to get lost in a book together. Instead of loading up Netflix as soon as you get into bed, take turns reading to each other. Have a browse through your bookshelves and see what you can find.
Maybe you could dive into an exciting novel and read it together over several nights. You could even take turns voicing different characters. Get nostalgic and read each other’s favourite children’s books. Embrace the fun and explore your dormant repertoire of silly voices.
Crack open one of those old volumes of the Guinness Book of Records or an encyclopedia, and see what cool stuff you can learn about together. If you don’t have a recent edition (and you’re weirdly obsessive about knowing everything about everything, like me) you could Google some topics that pique your interest and get lost in a learning rabbithole. Depending which topics you and your partner tend to gravitate to, this can be a good way to learn more about each other’s more obscure interests.
Play games together
Look I’ll be honest, my first instinct would be to flip on the PS4 (do not play Overcooked with your partner right now, unless you want to destroy your relationship). But why not get back to simpler times with less electronic activities? See what board games you have packed away. If you have a deck of cards on hand, see what games you and your partner know how to play. You can take turns teaching each other games you’re unfamiliar with.
If all you have is a pen and paper, you can always get into childhood classics like Noughts and Crosses or Hangman (remember Hangman? What a morbid premise for a kid’s game). If you’re feeling particularly lazy and don’t feel like getting off the couch, no problem. Games like Eye Spy, 20 Questions and Word Association need only perception, brains and imagination. If you’re feeling really creative, why not make your own board games?
Get reacquainted with your neighbourhood
Being stuck inside all day can get a bit maddening. As long as people are still allowed outside to exercise you may as well make the most of it. Going for walks together can be a great way to break up your usual interactions with your partner, get some exercise, and give you time to be mindful and reconnect with each other in different surroundings.
Maybe you’re already in the habit of going for walks around your local neighbourhood. If not, now is a great time to start. This might seem a bit mundane, but there are plenty of ways to make it more fun and interesting. For example:
- See how many cats or dogs (or other beasts) you can befriend along the way (but be mindful of social distancing!)
- Keep an eye out for interesting houses and gardens, and discuss the ones you both like or dislike (cause really, it can be just as much fun hating on stuff together.)
- Take a different route each time and see what you can discover. You might be surprised by hidden reserves and other local treasures.
- Walk during different times of day and see how the character of your neighbourhood changes in different light.
Mix it up
With many people suddenly finding themselves spending a lot more time with their partners, why not make the most of it? This unprecedented situation we’re in is testing many relationships right now. It’s too easy to let all the days roll into one, with little to distinguish each from the next. It only takes a little effort (and teamwork!) to ensure your days cooped up together are fun and memorable, instead of tiresome and frustrating.