How to make the most of the rest of your Norwich lockdown

Who needs a pint at the pub when there’s Netflix to keep you entertained?

This morning it was announced Norwich will be in Tier 2 from next week. After the longest month ever, we finally have just one more week left of lockdown to go. Student houses were not designed for you to spend all day in and spending all your time inside is surely no one’s idea of good time. So, this one goes out my fellow UEAers looking for better ways to pass the time this winter lockdown.

Go for a walk

Now, this may seem basic, but the effect getting outside can have on your mood really can’t be understated. Some people might despair at Norwich’s rural reputation, but when going out inside is prohibited having so many outdoor spaces to spend time exploring is the best-case scenario for a uni city.

The options are endless. You could extend the classic round-the-lake stroll down the Yare Valley trail – there are some adorable ponies en route. Or take a more casual stroll around Eaton Park; a prime Instagram opportunity for all the social media lovers. If you want the air but not the exercise, Mousehold Heath is great for sitting down and watching the sunset. And if it’s raining, get out anyway. Put up your hood, grab your housemates and have a laugh with it. Even grey skies can cheer you up with the right company.

Embrace your inner OAP and play a boardgame

 Yes, it’s 2020 and we’re all adults here but if you insist that scrolling through Instagram is a better time than Monopoly, you’re kidding yourself. If Monopoly’s not your thing, then swap out any old-school game, like Scattergories or Scrabble, and you’ll see what I mean.

My house of five girls embraced everything from space puzzles to Cards Against Humanity during our two-week isolation and surprised ourselves with how quickly the time passes when you have something to focus on that isn’t the 9am you have to wake up for, or the deadline you missed two days ago. Give something old-school a go, I dare you.

Have a night out (in your student house)

Sometimes, the only way to feel normal is to act normal and the clubs may be closed but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up and dance if you want to. Students have been getting creative, from living room A-lists (we miss you LCR) to house crawls with different themed rooms. It’s time to get creative and conjure up the uni life you’re missing from the comfort of your kitchen. You could even buy some cheap beer and cider and make your snakebites. Who needs the SU bar anyway?

A group of UEA students even went so far as to make a whole obstacle course in their living room. Who knows what fresh ideas you could come up with? I’m thinking house-bound junkyard golf.

If it’s a birthday, make it feel like a birthday. If you accomplish something, then celebrate it. Imagination is key.

Binge, binge, binge

With new releases coming thick and fast this year, it’s almost as though Netflix has been waiting for a pandemic to strike to release all the good stuff. TV shows and films can provide some much-needed escapism from this mess of a year and I say: Embrace it. Being able to watch a whole series in a day or two is a skill and should be treated as such. Christmas films are starting to come out and new seasons are dropping, it’s the perfect time of year to cocoon yourself in a blanket and mindlessly watch people living life in worlds where Covid still hasn’t grinded normality to a halt.

If you’re looking for drama and scandal, season four of The Crown just dropped and delves into all the Diana drama that is still such a mystery to our generation. If 90s nostalgia’s your thing, then try watching Dawson’s Creek for teen angst and see where all the reoccurring fashion trends came from. To get in the holiday spirit and feel some East Anglian pride, Jingle Jangle was filmed in our very own Norwich.

Get artsy

 I am not a skilled artist and my Year 9 art teacher would vouch for that, but I have found that my creative skills have flourished since corona took over. After scrounging my housemate’s oil paints a few times, I splashed out on some cheap watercolours and was surprised with how fun it was. My creations usually end up more comedic than aesthetic but it’s the process that really matters. After much practice, my housemates can even sometimes tell what I’m trying to paint now.

For those requiring a bit more guidance, a paint by numbers kit is always a good shout. You can get pretty cheap cross-stitch and knitting patterns on Amazon as well. Before you judge, hundreds of teens have been trying to knit Harry Styles’ patchwork cardigan all year on TikTok. It’s what all the cool kids are doing nowadays.

Smarten up

With all this time at home you’ll need to break away from the screen eventually and that’s where books come in. Reading lets you live new lives, go on adventures and build empathy like nothing else; something we could all use a bit more of these days. All those anti-racism books bought in June? Now is the time to read them. If you’re looking for recommendations Reni Addo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race is essential reading and Akala’s Natives dissects colonialism in a way that should be taught in schools. In the fiction world, ‘Queenie’ by Candice Carty-Williams is a must-read which dives into the complex racial and sexual politics of our society today.

On the feminism front, Florence Given’s Women Don’t Owe You Pretty is a spectacularly necessary read for anyone, with the most readable insight on how women move through a world that does not always prioritise their well-being. For a more light-hearted time, anything by Mhairi McFarlane contains smart, funny women falling in love and is lovely enough to restore some hope in the world.

So, we’re all stuck at home for a while, but it doesn’t have to be so bad.