Things to do to get you through

Making the most of these #lockdownnz days


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March 30, 2020 Anna Beard

You’ve eaten all your lockdown snacks. You’re already irritated with your lockdown-bubble mates (or yourself if you’re on your own). You’re sick of video chat. The endless screed of COVID updates and earnest “we’ll get through this” posts are getting on your last nerve. If you’re prone to anxiety or depression, the lockdown could really do a number on you*. But on the flip side, it could give you the space to lock in some good habits that help ease your mind. We’re not all about self-improvement though, there always has to be room for frivolity and fun too. 

Without further ado, here are some tips for filling your day:

Hang out with animals, be one with nature

There is plenty of research that says spending time with animals and/or in nature lessens anxiety and cheers you up. Loads of zoos and aquariums around the world are live-streaming their animals. Or if the splendour of nature is more your thing, you can visit national parks and reserves online.

If you want to take more of an active role in #citizen science, you can help Birds NZ map the distribution and abundance of our beautiful native manu. Just stand in your garden/look out your window for 5 mins and record all the birds you see here

Become a better you

Why not use some of your time to try to understand yourself more deeply. Plus, who doesn’t love an online quiz? Clearer Thinking has lots of science-based interactive tools and mini-courses you can take to change your habits, make better decisions, and achieve your goals. 

Try out "Life-Changing Questions" to gain new insights about yourself and your goals (you can do these solo, with people you live with, or using the built-in "pen-pal" mode where you do it with others asynchronously and get to see each other's answers).  I also recommend doing The Intrinsic Values Test or using the Decision Advisor tool.

Join a virtual dance party

Sad you can’t go out? The clubbing community has gone digital, with a number of live-streamed raves popping up online. Moving your body is excellent for mental health and this gives new life to the old saying “dance like no-one’s watching”.

In the UK, Boiler Room, known for its hugely popular live-streamed DJ sets, usually broadcasts from clubs and festivals but is now going inside the artists’ homes for a series of isolation sessions. Over in the states, Club Q is throwing queer parties every night on Zoom, with a 1,000-capacity. Charli XCX is among the people to have stopped by for a DJ set so far.

Here in Aotearoa, George FM is putting on a series of live-streams that you can watch from the comfort of your own Lounge featuring your favourite NZ DJ's.

Have a good laugh

Laughter is the best medicine so they say and a good dose of schadenfreude or derpy animals will do you a world of good. America’s Funniest Home Videos is the OG, you could spend hours going through their back catalogue. 

Follow the “Influencers in the Wild” Instagram account if you're after a good cringe-laugh. It’s pretty standard to recommend following Celeste Barber in these kinds of lists - and for good reason! Check out Baddie Winkle to discover who you want to be when you grow up.

Learn Te Reo

Learning a language is good for flexing those cognitive brain muscles. Learning Māori has the added bonus of deepening your understanding and awareness of Māori knowledge. Massey University’s Toro Mai offers two introductory online courses in Te Reo Māori and Tikanga Māori. Each 10 hours long and free.

Take a nap.

Take all the naps. Long ones. Skinny ones. Indoor. Outdoor. Just nap. No shade, no judgement.

* If you are really struggling, please reach out to a trusted family member or friend. The Mental Health Foundation has some great tips for looking after mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19 here


1737 – Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor. 
Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or free text 4357 (HELP)
Youthline – 0800 376 633 or free text 234
Samaritans – 0800 726 666

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