The lingering lockdown puts the brakes on us venturing outside of the house too much and tests the limits of how well we can amuse ourselves at home. When you have baked, read, Netflixed and jigsawed as much as you can handle, it's time to turn online for inspiration. Once you start looking, you'll find there are loads of local groups and businesses offering up creative activities to keep your mind, body and spirit robust. Here is just a taste.
Move that body
If you can find enough space in a room to stretch out, then jump onto one of the many live-streamed yoga or pilates classes on offer by our local studios. From virtual mat classes, to vinyasa bliss, there's nothing stopping the whole household from engaging their core or striking a pose. The Pilates Space, YogaLoft, Yoga Body Works, KX Pilates and Fleur Wellbeing are just some of the places where you can join in a session from your own lounge room. If you're up for something more bouncy, dancing is also a great way to burn energy (and extra COVID calories) and make yourself smile in the process. Silver Swans ballet is running classes through Zoom, while Dance for Fun Newcastle features online tutorials and Go Dance are live-streaming their salsa sessions for a Latin workout.
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Make some music
Just because we're separated doesn't mean we can't make beautiful music together. Newcastle's Ukestra - a ukulele orchestra - is super fun at the best of times, and now they are keeping spirits up in the tough times too. The team are currently running 'Zookestra' sessions online and you are welcome to join in, whether you're new to the uke or a seasoned strummer. The Zoom sessions are held three times a week - Monday nights at 5.30pm, Thursday nights at 7pm, as well as Saturday mornings from 10am. If you're game, sign up for an improv course where you can bust out solos in an encouraging environment. Visit thesumoftheparts.com.au for prices and to register.
Flex the grey matter
Live cultural events are off the table, but you can still get a dose online. Newcastle Library has a series of recorded author talks with Australian writers including Stan Grant, Adam Courtenay and Newcastle's very own Susan Francis and Lee Christine. While you're there, the Library also has some great crafty workshops on how to make mandalas, sculpture using old books, ceramics and starting your own zine. Who knows, you could come out of lockdown with a creative side hustle. Visit newcastle.nsw.gov.au/library/home for details.
The quiet mind
When it all gets a bit too much, and you're feeling anxious or worried, it might be time to take a breather. Join a guided meditation class to help focus your attention and tap into a well of inner peace. The Open Mind Space offers guided meditations, while Charlotte Thaarup of the Mindfulness Clinic has free online sessions to help you find calm in the chaos. Joya at the Solstice Sphere shiatsu clinic is also providing support via the ether with distance healing, guided meditations and breathwork. You'll be feeling refreshed and ready to face the world again in no time.
Veni, vidi, vino
Wine consumption does seem to increase when you're stuck at home, day after day, so why not learn a bit about what you're quaffing while you're at it? The local legends at Margan Wines are running weekly Taste and Talks wine appreciation sessions every Thursday from 6pm. So far they've covered topics such as organic wines and alternative varietals, with iconic drops and spring drinking coming up. Visit their website to register.
Home is where the art is
Did you know you can take virtual tours around our very own art gallery? From current exhibitions, to permanent pieces, explore the works of some of Australia's greatest artists such as William Dobell, Margaret Olley and Brett Whiteley. As well as viewing the paintings, you can also learn about their origins, the artist and how they came to be a part of the gallery's collection. Just head to the website (nag.org.au) and head to the 'Visit' tab. Budding junior artists can get creative with the downloadable Art Cart and Art Trail activities and booklets.
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