The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all in one way or another and it’s important for our mental health to stick together and keep our spirits up.
When you’ve spent all day around each other, a date with your partner might be the last thing you feel like doing, especially if you’ve been looking after your kids all day and you just want a bit of peace and quiet.
But date nights can help you feel closer to your partner, remind you that despite sometimes getting on each other’s nerves during the day you love each other really, and provide a fun break from the stresses of isolation.
Here are some ideas to help you make the most of your time at home with the person you love. If you choose one night and time each week for a date, and take turns picking the date idea, it will give you something to look forward to during the week.
SHARE A ROMANTIC MEAL
Whether you’re eating beans on toast, a three-course feast or something in between, having a picnic in your garden at lunchtime or a dinner by candlelight, with a tablecloth and your best kitchenware, can make your meal more special by virtue of being out of the ordinary. Put your phones away, turn the TV off and give each other your undivided attention. Maybe even dress up a bit. Restaurants are obviously closed at the moment but if you don’t want to cook, you could order a takeaway.
Even if neither of you particularly enjoys cooking, or one of you likes it and the other doesn’t, sharing the responsibility means less work for each of you and a good chance to bond – whether the results of your labour are successful or not. Find a new recipe, or even pick a page from a cookbook at random, and you’ll be working together, on equal footing, towards a common goal. You might even discover a new favourite meal.
The gyms are closed but you could go for a walk or run around your local park together – keeping well away from people that don’t belong to your household, of course. If you’re stuck indoors, there are plenty of free exercise classes available on YouTube. Take turns picking which workout you do. If you work up a sweat you could take a shower together afterwards.
HAVE A DANCE
Dance like nobody’s watching – because they’re not. It’s just you and your partner, so even if dancing isn’t usually your thing, why not give it a try in the privacy of your own home? Bop and sing along to your favourite upbeat music and have a dance-off, slow dance to some ballads or maybe even find a YouTube video and learn a dance that’s totally new to you both, like a waltz, jive or salsa.
GO ON A VIRTUAL TRIP
Real trips are obviously not possible at the moment, but you can see some beautiful or interesting new places without leaving your sofa thanks to the World Wide Web. You and your partner can take a virtual tour of museums such as Paris’ Louvre, London’s British Museum and New York’s Museum of Modern Art, zoos and aquariums which often have live cams or behind the scenes footage, and theme parks including Walt Disney World.
WATCH A CONCERT, SHOW OR MOVIE
There are so many options for you here. You could grab some snacks, cuddle up and watch a movie – either an old favourite or something new – or binge-watch a series on Netflix. If you like musicals, check out the new YouTube channel called The Shows Must Go On, which features a different, full-length, smash-hit Andrew Lloyd Webber musical each weekend for the next few weeks. The channel is free but a charitable donation is encouraged. Lots of musicians are staving off boredom by giving virtual concerts so look at your favourite artists’ social media pages to see what they’re doing.
HAVE A SPA NIGHT
Swap your day clothes for bathrobes and slippers. You and your partner can enjoy a relaxing evening by putting on face masks, sharing a hot bubble bath and giving each other massages.
Take part in a bit of friendly competition with a board game, card game or video game. Or if you’d rather do something collaborative than competitive, work on a jigsaw puzzle. If you don’t have any games at home, there are plenty online. We’re currently enjoying regular games of Word Blitz, Draw Something, Quiz Planet and Stop, all of which can be played through Facebook.
DO ART TOGETHER
Pick a subject, set a time limit and paint or draw something before showing each other your efforts. It’s more about having fun and trying something new than creating masterpieces for your bedroom wall, especially if you’re drinking alcohol while you do it, but if you want to take it more seriously you could find a painting tutorial on YouTube to follow together.
LEARN A NEW SKILL
There are tutorials for all sorts of skills on YouTube, some more useful than others. By the end of lockdown, you and your partner could have learnt new things like how to play poker, how to do calligraphy, how to perform CPR, how to unblock a kitchen sink, how to say hello in 50 languages, how to juggle, how to beatbox, how to make origami animals and how to whistle with your fingers. Some of these skills might impress your mates once we’re all allowed back down the pub.