Lifestyle article

The fine art of the ‘staycation’

08 September, 2020

With 2020 travel plans seriously curtailed, it's become increasingly important to find new and interesting activities to do from the comfort of your own home.

From exercise classes to Broadway musicals, there's a whole host of things you can bring into your lounge room – whether you want to break the monotony or are creating a fully-fledged staycation.

And, aside from entertainment, there’s other very important reasons to do so, too.

According to The Black Dog Institute, common consequences of pandemics include anxiety and panic, depression, anger, confusion, uncertainty and financial stress.1 Maintaining a sense of belonging and connection with your family, friends and colleagues has never been more crucial. After all, social belonging is so important, it’s recognised as a basic human need, along with food, water and shelter.

So, we’ve put together a list of things to do at home to keep a sense of social activity during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The virtual cellar door tour

Great friends, fine wine and plenty of conversation makes for the perfect staycation activity. That’s what a range of virtual cellar door tours are offering in the time of COVID-19. Depending on your favourite drink, boxes of sample wines, gins, whiskeys or beers are delivered to your doorstep, along with a link to a virtual tour. Log on with your nearest and dearest and you’ll be guided through the production process, tasting notes and suggested garnishes.

Culture at your coffee table

Looking for a little culture during your staycation? Monash University is live-streaming recitals from its David Li Sound Gallery every Wednesday evening, while comedian Adam Hills hosts a Zoom stand-up comedy night every Thursday. If the theatre is more your thing, the Queensland Theatre’s monthly Play Club’s artistic director Lee Lewis has presented live-streamed readings via Zoom webinar, while Brisbane’s Institute of Modern Art has commissioned 40 artists to create new works in response to COVID-19’s impact on the arts, the first 12 of which can be viewed on their website.

Fine dining – home style

Even for those of us who can leave home right now, dining out with COVID-19 restrictions in place lacks a certain carefree vibe. That’s why Australian bars, cafes and restaurants are not only upping their delivery options, but, have also created special meal packages so you can cook up a storm in the comfort of your own home. Melbourne’s ‘Atlas’ restaurant has boxed up their best ingredients and recipe cards so you can recreate your favourite meal in 15 minutes, while Dan Hong (of Mr Wong’s fame) is hosting cooking videos on Instagram for his 82,000 followers. Nic Wong, Head Chef at CicciaBella in Bondi has also taken to creating step-by-step tutorials to help people cook like a professional. Perfect as a special staycation night-in or a surprise for a loved one’s birthday or celebration.

Take a trip to Broadway

Ah Netflix, an obvious hero in the staycation survival kit. But while rom-coms and murder mysteries are likely to be at the top of your ‘last viewed’ history, have you considered taking a stroll down Broadway? Classics like ‘Sweeney Tood: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’ and ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ are just a click of the remote away. Need something a bit more kid-friendly? Try ‘Shrek The Musical’, or for a rock ‘n’ roll hit, you can’t go past ‘Springsteen on Broadway’. Disney Plus is also great for family favourites and the Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’ is a must-see for your next staycation night in.

Get active

A regular hit of feel-good endorphins is crucial right now. Get active by joining in one of the many live-streamed fitness classes currently available. Sydney’s Flow Athletic is breaking new ground with their Facebook-based online training program, while Barry’s Bootcamp at Martin Place has turned to Instagram Live to stream their daily workouts. To stretch your stress away, try One Hot Yoga’s online classes via Zoom for $10 a session, or for an on-demand workout look no further than Barre Body Online – the pilates studio is currently serving up workouts from instructors’ lounge rooms and kitchens. Since regular exercise has been proven to alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, your staycation may be a good time to try something new and get moving.

How to host the perfect Zoom party

You’ve probably used a variety of video chat platforms for meetings and interviews in this new world of work, but they’re also a great tool to bring friends and family together.

Here are our five top tips to get the party started.

1 Check that everyone you’ve invited knows how to use Zoom.

They don’t have to have a Zoom account to join in on the fun (that’s your role as host), but they do need to know how to access the ‘meeting’. Sharing the URL via email or text is usually the easiest way to get everyone on board.

2 Limit the number of people

Since this ‘party’ needs to squeeze onto the size of your computer screen, we recommend limiting your numbers. While your standard house party might call for an invitation list of 20 or more, eight guests is a good number for a virtual catch-up.

3 Stagger the time that people ‘arrive’

Staggering the time of the invitations is one way to ensure people don’t all join the call at once – after all, not everyone arrives at your house party at exactly the same time right? This way you can gradually get the party started, introduce anyone who hasn’t met before and welcome new arrivals one at a time.

4 Get the conversation started

Getting the conversation started can be tricky with seven faces staring back at you on a screen. At a normal party people can splinter off, so several different conversations are happening at once. That’s not an option with Zoom, so try to be mindful of including everyone and consider using music, filters, emojis or custom backgrounds as group conversation starters. Another option is to host a trivia event through an online platform such as ‘Kahoot!’. It’s a fantastic conversation starter and tests you and your guests’ general knowledge.

5 Nominate a dress code

Nominating a dress code or drink of choice is a great way to boost connection too. Let everyone know in advance to wear their finest cocktail attire and ensure they have all the ingredients needed to make a mean margarita, cosmopolitan or mojito. Before you know it you’ll forget the computer screen between you all and the good times will roll.

If you are feeling financially stressed or otherwise affected by the Coronavirus crisis, please contact us to see how we can help.

1 Black Dog Institute, ‘Coronavirus mental health, evidence, policy, collaboration.’ 2020