By Elena Allison
Let’s face it. Quarantine has been hard. After months of social distancing at home, you might want to socially distance yourself from your family. Don’t sweat it! We’ve been there too. But, for the foreseeable future, contact with friends and colleagues is likely going to be limited to dinner dates with masks, zoom parties, and maybe a socially distant hike. To stay happy and keep your mental health and well being in check, you may need to reset with those in your household. If you are quarantined with a spouse or partner, initial business closures may have started out as a welcome break from normal life. Your staycation probably has consisted of lots of movie nights, take out, board games, and sleeping in. But after months of only this and nothing else, as well as bars, restaurants, museums, and art galleries still closed, you might be feeling bored and unsatisfied with your partner. If you are itching for a sense of normal, these socially distant date ideas might be what you need to turn a night in to a night out.
If your favorite restaurant is still closed, try recreating its menu in your own kitchen! If you and your partner rarely cook, following a complex recipe can provide new challenges and conversations for your time in quarantine. Not only can it be intellectually and physically engaging to follow or create your own recipe, but research shows that it can build self esteem and reduce stress levels. When cooking in a couple, these gains are amplified and transferred to one another! If you and your partner are already food enthusiasts, there are plenty of ways you can make this more interesting. Bring out your competitive side and have a reality TV style cook off. Push your creativity and experiment with different flavors! Or, try swapping tastes and cooking for your partner’s favorite dish instead of your own. Pinterest and Youtube are full of unique recipes. You can also vary your search based on different levels of experience and complexity!
DIY Spa Date
One of the best ways to relax your mind is to start by relaxing your body. Using ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, you can create an array of spa and beauty products. A night of hair conditioners, face masks, body scrubs and bath bombs might be what you and your partner need to relieve some of the built up stress caused by the pandemic. Spend the morning crafting your products, and spend the afternoon pampering yourselves and each other! You might even set the ambiance to match that of your favorite spa or salon by dimming the lights, burning some candles, and playing white noise or relaxing music. Even those who are against having a beauty or skin care routine will probably benefit from taking an evening to just focus on and listen to their bodies. Doing this in your couple is a way to spend quality time together while relieving stress and practicing mindfulness.
Have a Living Room Paint and Sip Night
How long has it been since you’ve had the time to get crafty? In quarantine, we’ve got nothing but time. Head to the store for a bottle of your favorite drink, some canvases, paint, and brushes, and see what happens! (Just make sure you prepare your space in case of a spill) There are plenty of beginner tutorials available for free on YouTube, but you and your partner could also take inspiration from an object from your home, or a shared memory (that trip to Bali, maybe?) The soothing act of painting provides stress relief for many people who try it, and it is a great way to have fun and be social with your partner! After a couple of tries at this, you and your partner might feel like Bob Ross!
Sweat it Out (At Home!)
Since you and your partner probably still can’t hit the gym yet, try a couples workout from home! Clear out a space in your home, throw your gym clothes on (if you haven’t already been wearing them every day for the last four months now), and start sweating! On Youtube, you can find a huge selection of workouts geared towards couples. Whether you are looking for pilates, yoga, dance, or cardio, there is something you can do from home to sweat out some of that built up tension. Research has shown that a couples workout can be an effective tool to improve confidence and connection within your relationship. As an added bonus, exercise can help boost immunity, which is always a positive during a pandemic.
Build a Living Room Fort/ Camp Outdoors
When is the last time you built a fort? Probably when you were like.. maybe ten years old? But, since we’re stuck at home, we may as well make an event out of it! Turn your living room or backyard into a cozy fort with a tent, sheets, blankets, pillows, and fairy lights! Bring your computer to snuggle in with a movie, your favorite snacks, and maybe your favorite drinks! Although not too far off from the usual routine of lazing around by the TV, you and your partner are sure to have a lot of laughs building and taking down your project.