Life

From baking to therapeutic colouring: how *not* to spend your evenings watching TV

Posted by
Anna Brech
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creative skills

Feel-good TV isn’t the only way to stave off cabin fever during the coronavirus outbreak. Take a break from the binge-watching with these alternate forms of evening escapism. 

We love a good Netflix series as much as the next TV binge-viewer, but there is a limit to how much screen time one woman can take without feeling vaguely hungover.

If you’ve spent one too many evenings splayed out on the sofa in recent weeks, the moment may have come to think about a change of scene.

From plant design to DIY spa nights, here are six ideas to tempt you away from the small screen and lift your spirits as the coronavirus lockdown continues. These activities will offer a little solace and escapism, without relying on the passivity of TV.

Hold a virtual pizza party

Eating pizza
Dig in with a virtual pizza party.

Like WhatsApp and wine, but with pizza. Simply whip up a pizza of your choice (we personally like the idea of a “pizzadilla” – a quesadilla and pizza hybrid), gather your crew and get stuck into the joy of a freshly-baked classic together. There’s nothing quite like the taste of deliciously gooey melted mozzarella in the company of lifelong pals; it’s an old-school pleasure that never goes out of style. You could use the same format for your first online date, too.

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Tend to your plants

There’s something so soothing about spending time with plants, and it’s not just a gut feeling – it’s a scientific fact. Studies show that interacting with our green friends can reduce stress; merely looking at a desk plant for three minutes is enough for the calming effect to kick in. Make the most of this elixir by spending an evening with your plants. You can either focus on care (watering, re-potting, cleaning leaves) or design. YouTube guru Planterina has a great tutorial on how to repurpose old wooden boxes, metal crates and serving trays for on-point plant displays. 

Build your core strength

Cardio fitness is easily ticked off with a lunchtime jog, but strength and weight training may take a backseat in your daily regime. Evenings are your prompt to redress the balance. Make the most of an uninterrupted window to focus on core strength workouts using this three-step guide. You may also want to focus on particular areas, for example leg strength or abdominal muscles

Try a DIY spa

Throw it back to the '90s with a DIY spa.

You know when you were 13 and your idea of a great evening in was to sit around putting on facemasks and painting your nails together? Now’s the time to reinvent the tradition. Gather together all your last remnants of potions and lotions, and get stuck in for an evening of DIY pampering.

Toe spreaders, candles and cucumber eye pads are practically mandatory, as is fresh lemon water on the side (or maybe a G&T – this is a grown-up spa, after all). For an extra touch of authenticity, why not rifle through your loft for that 1998 copy of Just Seventeen? Sorted.

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Bake some feel-good desserts

If you really want to crank up the comfort factor, you can’t do better than desserts. This is your cue to fill your kitchen with the delicious scent of melting butter and cocoa, with the promise of treats to follow. It’s pure feel-good fodder. Of course, supermarket shortages may mean you have to get creative with ingredients, but that can be part of the challenge. Try Nigella Lawson’s recipe for chocolate puddings, which look beautiful served in vintage tea cups, or Nadiya Hussain’s chocolate chip pan cookie

Get involved in therapeutic colouring

Colouring
Colouring has a powerful de-stress effect.

With nostalgic echoes of childhood, colouring is a deeply calming activity. It draws you into the moment with simple, repetitive action that is not unlike a form of meditation. Researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand found that colouring in for as little as 10 minutes a day can have clear mental health benefits

A few years ago, colouring in books for adults boomed in popularity – but if you can’t get your hands on one, fear not. Illustrator Millie Marotta, whose debut colouring book Millie Marotta​’s Animal Kingdom sold half a million copies in a month alone, is currently offering free colouring downloads via Instagram. You can even pay tribute to the NHS with this touching design that’ll be released this weekend.

Images: Unsplash

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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