How to thrive and find ways to connect during social isolation

With the latest stage four lockdown restrictions in Melbourne, we thought it was time to spruce up our COVID-19 recommendations list! We wanted to create a one-stop-shop full of titbits, productivity hacks, and wellness strategies, to keep your minds, hands, and spirits occupied!

COVID-19 has undeniably caused a significant change, and potentially damage to a lot of our lives, the shift in our day-to-day lives from the way we interact with one another to the way we work & play is obvious. Therefore, for the sake of injecting a little extra joy into our days, let's focus on the silver linings for a moment.

  • More quality time with family / friends / lovers / fury friends
  • More time for reflection, to slow down and put yourself & health first
  • More time to indulge in the process of baking and nourishing your body through home-made food (if you’re the cooking type) otherwise, what better time than now than to support your local and order in? 

At-home activities

We've curated a bunch of our favourite resources to help enliven your homes & minds! 
  • Inviting play into the home
  • Putting your wellness first
  • Free learning resources & our favourite books
  • Digital exhibitions & museums 
  • Staying active from home
  • Things to fill your ears and screens
  • Easy recipes for meals and face masks
  • How to find edible weeds in your backyard

Invite a little extra play into your home

In these situations, it tends to be the little guy that suffers the most. Therefore, if it's within your means, help support local Australian business, and shop small! We have a delightful range of games and at-home activities to choose from! Not only will these activities bring the family together, but adding some extra play into your daily routine has been proven to release endorphins, improve brain functionality, and stimulate creativity! 

Take an inward focus

"The concept of total wellness recognises that our every thought, word, and behaviour affects our greater health and well-being. And we, in turn, are affected not only emotionally but also physically and spiritually".

 – Greg Anderson (widely recognised as one of the world’s leading wellness authorities.)

As outlined by the Black Dog Institute, in the last several months, many Australians have been impacted by fear, anxiety, and panic about coronavirus (COVID-19). During an immediate pandemic, many people will experience high levels of anxiety and worry, however, for most, anxiety will decline over time as the virus is contained. One of the best ways to manage these feelings is through meditation, yoga, journaling, and deep breathing. 

Meditation apps such as Headspace & Calm are great for beginners and easy ways to zone out from the chaos for even just five minutes a day.  

Burning incense or natural oils have been proven to stimulate the brain with a sense of calm. Their delicate aromas are capable of reducing heart rates and soothing the nerve pathways within the brain to make you feel completely relaxed and at peace. So why not burn some incense and feel the tension in your shoulders melt away as you tune into a free yoga video for 20 minutes? It doesn't take much time out of your day, but it will have a big impact on your mental health!

Here are some wonderful free resources for a yoga flow.

Yoga with Adriene 

Boho Beautiful

If you know of anyone in need of a little extra TLC right now, or maybe you're the one in need, we have curated a range of wellness packs that cater to all manner of tastes, from green thumbs to bakers!

Learn

Cultural Competence – Aboriginal Sydney offered by The University of Sydney
A free online course that uses Aboriginal experiences and narratives of Sydney to explore the key themes and capabilities of cultural competence. The entire Koskela team is undertaking this course in 2020 to broaden our perspective on First Nation Australians.

8 books on Indigenous history & culture that will move and shake you
At Koskela we are deeply committed to Australia’s Reconciliation movement. We encourage you to read some (or all!) of the books on this list to gain a better understanding of the perspective of First Nation Australians. We have included a bonus list of 7 children’s books if you would also like to engage your kids.

Explore

Google Arts & Culture
Content from over 1200 leading museums and archives who have partnered with the Google Cultural Institute to bring the world’s treasures online. Zoom Into Van Gogh's Terrace of a café at night or Browse Portraits of African Americans or Explore the collections of The National Gallery in London.

Keep active

BodyLove Pilates
Is working from home giving you a sore back? Commit to one Pilates class per day and improve that posture! BodyLove Pilates is a studio specialising in pre and post-natal workouts that comes highly recommended by Koskela’s mums. They livestream classes and also have a great library of online workouts on their website.

Sydney Dance Company Virtual Studio
When in doubt, dance! Sydney Dance Company’s has launched a Virtual Studio with dance classes for everyone, at any experience level.

Watch & listen

Isolation Island #1
There are plenty of COVID-19-themed Spotify playlists cropping up, but this one curated by Australian music composer and sound designer Gary Sinclair is our pick. He intends to make a new playlist every week until life resumes to normal. "Hopefully this will help boredom, ease anxiety and provide some excitement. There will be no specific genre." It gets our thumbs up for excellent easy listening.

Did someone say movie night?
Our marketing coordinator and social impact coordinator have curated a list of some incredible Indigenous films and TV specials. Not only will this help thaw your mind, but it will broaden your perspectives in a time when we're all starved for sense of community and togetherness. 

Get in the kitchen

  • Overnight oats - For that low GI release of energy throughout the day 
  • Bliss Balls - For a simple and healthy mid-morning snack 
  • Frittata - Whether you're vege or a meat lover, this page has the frittata for you

Make your own face masks

Calming and Soothing mask 

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 Avocado 
  • 1 tablespoon of honey 
  • A handful of oats or oat bran 

Benefits 

According to Clean Beauty co-founder Dominika Minarvic, honey is not only antibacterial, but it's an excellent humectant, which mean that it helps your skin to retain moisture without feeling oily. Additionally, the oats and avocado have soothing and moisturising properties, which after 15minutes on your skin, will eave it feeling supple and moisturised. 

Coffee Body Scrub 

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup of coffee granules - if you've been making home brews in a french press or percolator, keep the used coffee granules to make the scrub, zero waste and good for your body! 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon on vanilla extract 

Benefits 

Mix all together and gently rub the mixture over your body, avoiding sensitive areas around the eyes. Leave on for several minutes to deeply exfoliate whilst moisturising your skin. The coffee granules help to rejuvenate and boost circulation, with the coconut oil helping to reduce inflammation and keep skin moisturised. 

However, if you're not the DIY type, and are in the mood to support small Australian business, we stock some beautiful natural body scrubs which use ingredients native to Australia. 

Backyard adventures

Koskela had the honor of collaborating with foraging extraordinaire, Diego, or as he's fondly known on Instagram @theweedyone. His book, Wild Stories Foraging Guide is now available for purchase with Koskela. It deep dives into 16 of the most common, edible, and medicinal plants of the Sydney Basin. The hand booklet style makes it the perfect partner for backyard adventures. The book is brimming with detailed and colourful images on each plant and a short description of its uses. 

We did a little questionnaire with Diego which you can read here for a full breakdown of weed foraging & weekend recipes to use with your findings!

Victoria Competiton Suggestions: 

@emilycarter23

Picking a delicious and challenging food dish each Saturday night to cook from scratch! Homemade pasta, sauces, curries etc. I cook each weekend for my partner and housemates, we come together and try what I’ve attempted that week! It’s super rewarding to create something from scratch, and it’s a good way to come together on the weekend to eat, laugh and enjoy each other’s company. 

@lynnenaphtali

Being grateful for everything we have recording daily family gratitude video (my six year old is consistently grateful for trees) playing family soccer and helping out our local restaurant by ordering delicious takeaway 😁  

Using the time to work on my 1000s of photographs from our Big Lap of Oz 2017-18 where we met life long friends traveling in this wide land of ours. They are all living in different states now but still very close to us in thoughts. This will be gifted to my friends in Mornington postcode 3931 ❤️😊

The best I’ve felt during this whole thing is when I’ve put real clothes on, brushed my hair (very rare!) and Skyped some friends. It’s not quite dressing up and going out, but it’s a step.

Find human connection where ever you can. Smile at people through your mask or even better, say hello. Call your loved ones, set up a zoom family session. If all else fails curl up on the couch with your dog. 

Cooking, reading, walking, puppy training, binge watching, zoom meetings, phone calls and texting!

I have two little kids at home during this lockdown who are climbing the walls. Despite being mentally exhausted by the time they're in bed I stay up waaaaaaay too late creating games and play and treasures for them to enjoy the next day. And a f*ck tonne of sensory rice. Creativity is keeping me *just* sane enough. 🤯😎😅💖

@jenniencapsul8

I’ve been doing a sketch a day for the entire year, up to #229 today without missing a day. Little did I know when I started this on 01.01.2020 how important this creative practice would be. It’s my daily mediation and I’ve been sharing them on Instagram. It’s amazing how many connections I have through these posts and others really seem to enjoy them and send suggestions and photos for me to draw. My suggestion - start a creative project and share it with your friends and family - you’ll grow and they’ll love it. Postcode 3104 😘  (winner) 

Karen Stoop

My artist partner have been leaving his drawings with little smiles for people to take away on their daily walk. They been very popular 😃 (3141) we love watching from our lounge window when people stop to take one.

Glenn Lavery

Homeschooling 2 under 12 boys, trying to do my job as well, drinking with my 3 friends helps...Dan Murphy, Jim Beam and Johnny Walker....Ground Hog day !!! 

Michelle Anderson

Coming together with my housemates for a daily workout and meal has been great to keep my spirits lifted! That and spending most of my time dreaming with our dogs. I've never gotten through so many books in such a short time

Carla Garro

Myself and a friend of mine have been waking up with one thing we’re grateful for each day and what a great way to start the day. The key is finding a friend to do it with so you keep each other accountable. Just a quick text to remind each other each morning ✨🙌🏼🙏🏻 hashtagattitudeofgratitude (3079)

Rachel Donovan

I've been organising a few walk & talk meetings. Pop your headphones on and catch up while getting some fresh air and exercise at the same time! I'm tagging Sophie Murchie who I'd like to win the prize.

Sasha Titchkosky

I've been listening to a great podcast series about the science of happiness by Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos - The Happiness Lab. I'm tagging Andrew Davies who I'd like to win the prize.

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