When in lockdown, visits from the postman quickly become the day's much-anticipated highlight. So to receive a personalised delivery? Well, that would quite literally make their day! Just For You GiftBoxes offer some fabulous DIY options that span well beyond your average fruit hamper, offering fluffy slippers, soy candles, silk scrunchies, and clay masques. Alternatively, go online shopping and build your own!
2. Write them a letter
This old-school, heartfelt gesture is sure to lift anyone up. In a world of social media and shallow communication, a simple handwritten letter goes a long way. Pick out some nice paper, and write to show your support, chat about memories, include photos, share recipes, or simply check in.
3. Cook together!
It may not be the dinner party you had planned, but it's a COVID-appropriate second best! Send over ingredients to form the base of a shared favourite meal; a delicious pasta sauce, measured out ingredients for a cake, or even a kit (check out these virtual cheesemaking classes at Omnom). Then simply set a date and a time, and enjoy cooking together.
4. Provide them with a creative outlet
Ask anyone and they will tell you – one of the biggest cons of lockdown has to be the monotony. When you're dealt stay at home orders, it becomes increasingly difficult to tell one day apart from the next (and then the next... and the next... and the next after that!). A creative outlet can make all the difference, allowing our brains to take a break from the numbers, stats and daily press conferences. Online stores like Crockd and Claytime offer cute DIY ceramic kits built for one or two people.
5. Send flowers
Popular for good reason – nothing will ever beat a beautiful bunch of blooms. It's always good to look to your local florist to support their small business, but for easy, quality, and reliable Australia-wide delivery, try Lvly.
6. Give them a moment of mindfulness
When it comes to lockdown, despite having an abundance of time, many find themselves not spending a great deal of it "in the moment". A great way to practice mindfulness is yoga and meditation. Give your loved one the gift of relaxation by paying for a month's membership to an online yoga session with Glo or DownDog. Offering everything from more intensive workouts to restorative yoga and meditation, this will definitely calm the nerves!
7. ...And let them just switch off
They say you never understand the true importance of streaming services until you've lived through lockdown (don't they?). And it's true – while it's not great to spend too much time in front of a screen, having downtime to catch up on a favourite TV show during lockdown is just as important as making time to connect, exercise or be creative. Ask your loved one if you can jump in and pay for their favourite streaming service for a month or so – think Stan, Netflix, Spotify, or Audible.
8. Pick up the phone!
Last but not least; the humble phone call. Since most will opt for a text these days, a voice-to-voice phone call can make a big difference. If you know they're busy, book a time that suits you both beforehand and settle in for a good chat – make sure you're asking the right questions and give them space to open up. Make it a FaceTime over a cup of tea or glass of wine if you want!
Things not to say or do
- Make flippant remarks – even if said with the best of intentions, making hollow remarks like "this too shall pass" or "we're all in this together" can sometimes sound a bit stale and insincere.
- Talk about the numbers (unless they bring it up) – your friend or loved one is probably sick to death of talking about what Gladys has said in the latest conference, where vaccine rates are at and the new fines in place.
- Compare – saying "at least you don't live in [insert place here]", or "we've all been through lockdowns, it's not that bad". We have been very lucky in Australia, it's true, but lockdown is never fun for anyone!
- Bring up money or jobs – saying "you must be saving money from not going out!" is unhelpful and a bit insensitive, many have in fact lost their jobs at this point.
Things you should say or do
- "How are you?" or "Are you OK?" – possibly the most important of all, simply asking someone how they're doing provides them with a gateway to express what they're really feeling, alleviating emotional weight.
- Ask if they need anything – and make suggestions! Ask if they need help paying for groceries, if they have new books to read, if they have a candle to light (and then follow through, of course).
- Ask them what they're looking forward to – not only will this give you both something to talk about together, it might bring up fun memories you can reminisce on.
- Plan a visit, date, or trip with them – even if you can't set in a date, expressing intent to catch up after lockdown ends gives you both something to look forward to!