Only three days ago, people across the country awoke to what we suspected would be another normal Friday. We made our usual preparations for the weekend and started thinking forward to the trips, parties and plans ahead. Little did we know that come Monday, New South Wales, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland would all be adjusting to new restrictions, varying from 30-person house-guest limits to a full-blown two-week lockdown. While cancelled plans are something we’ve become somewhat accustomed to, it doesn’t make the situation any less deflating. And yet, we have a lot to be grateful for. Consider the fact that thanks to the incredible work of our health workers and contact tracers, the last COVID death in Australia was over seven months ago. While lockdown and new restrictions can be grim (especially if your ability to earn money has been stifled), we have been – for the most part – spared the anxiety-inducing reality of an omnipresent virus ripping its way through the population and putting the health of our loved ones (and the ability of our health system to support them) in jeopardy.
As such, we have the very unique experience of being able to somewhat relax while in lockdown. Enter your guide to a “Coronacation” – a term we’ve coined to describe making the most of a forced staycation. In fact, you could go as far as to say that by staying home, putting your feet up and pretending that you’re on a deserted island somewhere with a good book in one hand and a cocktail in the other, you’re performing the ultimate act of patriotism. “Stay home, save lives” is the motto of the moment and that’s exactly what we intend to do. Here’s your daily itinerary…
Assuming you’re working a typical 9-5 job, take advantage of the extra time you’ve won back in the morning by skipping the morning commute and the 20 minutes you would usually spend styling your workday outfit. Head out for a walk, run, swim, stretch or sun salutation to kickstart your day in the right way. This is the Bali or Bora Bora-inspired portion of your coronacation, so make sure to stop, close your eyes, take a deep breath in and imagine the waves lapping at your feet as you stare across the horizon at a glowing red sunrise. Bonus points if you can make a stop at a local cafe to pick up a takeaway coffee on your route home (#supportsmallbusiness). The first sip of that scrumptious oat cappuccino might even make you feel a twinge of appreciation that you’re in Australia and not a remote island paradise where the coffee comes two ways: black or with milk.
Before you jump online, jump in the shower for a 20-minute self-care moment. Think fresh citrus notes à la AESOP and a Lush buffing bar before you smother yourself with an indulgent moisturiser to achieve that holiday glow. Shower playlist suggestions: feel-good and on-theme tracks We’re All In This Together and Catch My Disease (ahem) by Ben Lee. If you don’t already have a plush dressing gown we suggest investing in one this lockdown. Nothing says “rest and relaxation” like spending the day wrapped up in a robe, even if you might be stuck at your desk.
Embrace the Italian tradition of a long lunch this coronacation. In Italy lunch is usually regarded as the most important meal of the day and office workers often return home for a two-hour pausa pranzo (lunch break) between 1pm and 3pm. That should be just enough time to whip up a simple Spaghetti Aglio e Olio and pour a glass of wine to enjoy in the sunshine. Take this time to detox from technology and escape into a holiday read that will transport you to the land of La Dolce Vita. We suggest Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan, My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante or Naked (in Italy): A Memoir About the Pitfalls of La Dolce Vita by M.E. Evans. It’s all about finding that work-life balance… when in Rome, etc.
This is when the fun really starts. Shake off the workday with a walk to the shops to get your ingredients for the night ahead. The sun will have already started to go down but not to worry – it’s time to embrace cosy European winter vibes. Dress for the occasion with a scarf and beret if available to you.
Cocktail hour has begun! Try winter warmers like mulled wine, or immunity boosters like the Penicillin – this combination of whisky, ginger, honey and fresh lemon juice should help ward off that scratchy winter cough (but first, get tested!). Crank up the heating and start a friendly game of cards or Yahtzee to wind down after the day that was.
Thanks to apps like Uber Eats and Deliveroo, room service need no longer confined to a hotel. At this point in your coronacation, indulge in the luxury of not having to cook or clean. The best bit? You can feel suitably smug about how you’re helping keep small businesses alive through the altruistic action of ordering in. Pair this with a feel-good movie set in one of your favourite cold-climate holiday destinations. Of course, there are old favourites like The Holiday, Bridget Jones Diary, When Harry Met Sally and Cool Runnings, but may we also suggest cosy newcomers like Two Night Stand, Klaus and The Night Before. Then grant yourself an early night, because tomorrow, you’ll do it all again…