So much more than Netflix and chill

Posted 26 March 2020 2:45pm

Given we are all looking differently at the world during this unprecedented time, we asked some of our professional staff in the Business Office to offer up tips and tricks for how to stay positive, offer help and stay connected to the community.

Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas and we hope the suggestions below are helpful and prompt you to think about innovative ways to approach ‘life as we know it’.


Katie Preston is perhaps the most creative (and hilarious) member of the Business Office and she keenly shared her thoughts on how we can keep spirits high:

“A nice crafternoon activity whilst isolating at home is to make fabric face masks for yourself, family and friends. Whilst these masks are not meant to replace the surgical face mask, it is a contingency plan. There is an option to make the mask as a sleeve design to thread a ‘real’ mask through. They are certainly not hazard rated, but they keep you looking smashing as you duck out to the shops (for essentials only!) and keep you out of the pantry for about an hour whilst you make one!”

Katie used this pattern to make hers (she now has at least 11 orders!), and suggests using a soft cotton jersey fabric for the lining and 2 x 25cm 1/8” elastic instead of the hairband.


Our Archivist, Clair Murray, suggests connecting through fun and games.

“Bring out the board games, hook up the extra controller on the Nintendo, revive old parlour games! If you must be glued to social media, try to make it a positive experience, for example, try playing a game of charades using Snapchat!”


Never short of a good idea, Bernie Passeggi, EA to the COO keeps the Business Office smiling with his weekly ‘dad jokes’, so we knew he’d have some advice on activities you can do from the comfort of your own home.

“Clear your dining table, open up a (minimum) 500 piece puzzle or play charades (stick to 3 categories – movies, books and songs).”

Missing the gym? Bernie suggests doing some a bodyweight exercise routine (jumping jacks x 10, pushups x 10, squats x 10 – all three times), but balancing it out with some baking and/or cooking and some easy gardening: “Plant herbs in small pots for your kitchen window.”


The newest member of the team, Events Co-ordinator, Mirjam Kern, is a chef (I know, right?!), so fittingly, her tips come straight from the kitchen.

“There are no seedlings left in the shops and I have decided to try and grow plants from food scraps. I am aware that it takes time, however it is a fun activity I can do with my daughter in the garden. I have been growing avocado, tomatoes and spring onions. I am amazed how quickly the spring onion regrow. I will be trying celery, onion and potatoes this week!”


Sally Wagnon is the Communications and Engagement Manager said, “As a teenager, I had countless ‘pen friends’ and we would write to each other (with an actual pen!) regularly. Often we would include stickers or magazine clippings. As a writer, I’m going to start this practice up again and connect with my nearest and dearest the old fashioned way.”

Sally also suggests carving out some time each morning to set yourself up for the day (whether you’re leaving the house or not).

“I make sure I start the day on my terms, rather than checking my phone and suddenly being locked in to someone else’s agenda. I take about 45 minutes and work my way through meditation, journaling, affirmations, reading, looking at my vision board and then finishing with some stretching or a quick sun salutation. It’s a game-changer.”


Risk and Compliance Manager, Candace Efstratiou, suggests we find joy in the simple things: “Embrace what family really means – we are always so busy and stuck in routine so take this down time to get to know your little people better, reconnect with partners while there is less running around to do, have longer conversations with friends knowing they too aren’t doing much and missing the social contact.”

Candace also suggests helping small businesses stay alive by (hygienically) ordering takeaways or deliveries. “Support them whilst business is down, so they don’t have to close, knowing you can look forward to going back to your favourite locals when things return to ‘normal’.”


With five children, Admissions Officer, Beccy Withers, has plenty of tips in her arsenal! Her favourite idea… “Create a family playlist. Turn off the TV when you’re at home, or cooking dinner, and crank some music. Get everyone in the family to contribute some tunes, great for road trips too.”


Registrar, Amanda Peake, is a Teacher and mum-of-two and she loves finding ways to entertain her children while helping educate them at the same time.

“Don't underestimate the value of educational apps. It is a win-win. The kids think they are playing a game, but the adults know they are learning! My top picks are: Reading Eggs, Mathseeds and IXL.”


Nicola Johnson, Admissions Officer, has a long list of web-based ideas to help us develop new skills or immerse ourselves in culture…from the comfort of our very own homes.

Take a Japanese art class at Domestika

Explore NASA's online activities, e-books, podcasts and other content. The universe is waiting!

Go to the opera! The Metropolitan Opera hosts Nightly Met Opera Streams

Stir your curiosity with 3300+ TED Talks

Sign up for one of Open Culture’s 1500 free online courses

Visit a museum (virtually) via Google Arts and Culture

Finally, Nicola suggests dedicating time to the things you love in order to express how you are feeling and capturing the world around you at this peculiar time. Try journaling, redecorating, sewing, painting and photography.