It can be tough trying to wind down after a long day with the kids. Once they've finally gone to bed, you're left with a whole lot of time on your hands, and may even find yourself at a loss of what to do now. Spending night after night indoors, it can be difficult trying to come up with evening activities during lockdown - so we've rounded up our top eleven ideas for a fun-filled night in, either with your partner or by yourself!
Take An Online Yoga Class
It can be hard to get enough daily exercise during lockdown, so taking the time to do an evening yoga class is a great way to relax and enjoy some alone time with your other half, or by yourself. Start out by clearing some empty space, and then find either a laptop, tablet, or even a smartphone that can be used to display the video on. There are so many fun and easy to follow classes on Youtube that will leave you all stretched out, spiritually-enhanced, and ready for a good night's sleep.
You can also click here for more of our yoga tips and at-home exercise suggestions.
Catch Up On Your Favourite Netflix Shows
Something as simple as catching up on your favourite Netflix (or Prime, Hulu, Apple TV, etc - whatever your fancy) series, or even starting on a new one is a really enjoyable way to spend an evening - whether you're alone or with your partner. After having spent the day without a spare second to watch something that you actually enjoy, this really gives you something to look forward to in the evening. So pick a show or a movie, grab some snacks, maybe even a glass of wine, and get comfy - just try not to stay up too late!
Take A Long Bath
Is there anything better than a nice, relaxing, totally-child-free bath? A hot bath after a long day is like heaven, and there are so many different ways to make it special. Use your favourite bubble bath, light some candles, play some relaxing music and let the water wind you down. You could even add a bath bomb or use some scented bath salts for an extra special bath time experience - both are relatively cheap to order online if you don't have any at home. It really is one of the best ways to relax and reduce stress before you hit the sheets.
If you enjoy baking, then this is the perfect chance for you to get creative and have some fun without having to worry about sticky little fingers. Pick out a recipe that you've always wanted to make, and take your time having fun with it. It's a great opportunity for your creativity to shine, and if you're working alongside a partner - you'll not only have a helping hand but a good laugh. When it's all done and ready, you'll get the first bite and your children will have a nice surprise when they wake up in the morning.
Read A Good Book
Now's a good a chance as any to start on that book you've been wanting to read for ages, or if you haven't got one in mind - a chance to find one. The great thing about technology nowadays is that even if you don't physically have the book you want, you can easily purchase it online to read, so the choice really is yours. Not only is reading an enjoyable escape from the real world without having to stare at a screen, but it enhances your imagination, lowers your stress levels, helps to relieve tension, and boosts your sleep.
Have A Themed Date Night
You and your partner may have suddenly found yourself spending a whole lot more time together in the same space, but much of it may be kid or work-orientated. It's important to still have some quality alone time, and what better way than to try having a themed date night once or twice a week once the kids are all tucked up in bed? You could take turns being the chef, planning the menu, and setting the scene. If you're stuck for ideas, we'd suggest a romantic night in Italy. Who doesn't love pasta, red wine, and traditional Italian music? You could even stick a candle in an empty wine bottle and play a fireplace on your laptop to really set the scene. These special date nights will really have you looking forward to them, and what better way to enjoy an evening before you head off to bed.
Host A Game Night
Since you can't actually go out and have a boozy game night with your pals, why not do it virtually? There are tons of great group video calling apps that you (and/or your partner) can use such as Skype, Zoom, and HouseParty - the latter of which actually has some pretty good games built into to it. The group of you can take turns leading your very own pub quiz, try your hand out at cards against humanity, or you can take it old-school with games such as charades or even virtual Monopoly. Whatever you decide on, it's a great way to stay social and keep in touch with other people, distract you from your stresses, and is certain to leave you smiling at the end of the night.
Start Writing A Journal
Retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly says there's so much value in keeping a journal - especially when you're dealing with new-found isolation. Journalling is a really great way to clear your mind, reduce your stress, organise your thoughts and daily schedules, and boost your mental health. It's been proven that writing down all of your feelings and stresses helps in feeling less stressed the next day. It also allows you an outlet to get creative with your writing, and gives you an activity to complete each evening. If none of that appeals to you, simply describing your days will make for a super interesting read in the future to look back on in history. Plus, if you enjoy writing, this could be a new hobby for you to pass the time before bed each day.
Learn A New Language
It turns out that when you're not actually forced into learning a new language, it can be pretty fun - and therapeutic. There are tons of great, easy to use, language learning apps such as DuoLingo, Busuu, and Memrise that offer so many different languages that you'll be spoiled for choice. Whether you want to brush up on your French or start from zero and start learning Japanese - ending the day with something brain-stimulating and educational is a really great way to go. You'll feel so much better going to bed knowing you've accomplished something good for yourself, and found a new hobby. If you've got a partner - why not take on the challenge together? It'll be great fun having a study buddy!
Listen To A Podcast
If you don't feel like staring at a screen or flicking through a book, why not try listening to a podcast? There are plenty of great apps to download such as Google Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or if you've got an iPhone - you'll find that you already have the Podcasts app on it. There are a huge variety of topics that you can listen to, whichever mood you're in. If you want some entertainment, listen to a comedian. If you want to learn and stimulate the brain, listen to a Ted Talk. If you want to relax and wind-down, listen to a wellbeing podcast. The possibilities are endless, and you can even multi-task and listen whilst you're doing other things.
Get Arts and Crafts-y
Your kids aren't the only ones who can enjoy getting creative - there are tons of fun arts and crafts activities that you can have fun doing at home, too. You can find a wide selection of different kits to order online, from candle or soap making, to embroidery kits, to knitting sets - there are even kits to make your own organic lip balm. If you're not feeling any of those, there are also simpler options such as an adult colouring book or a paint by numbers. Whatever you choose, you'll find that getting creative with art really relieves stress, and provides you with a sense of accomplishment - not to mention, you'll be having so much fun.