We’ve all been spending A LOT of time at home this year, and after a while, it can start to feel like you’re stuck for things to do and ways to stay social, even with those that you live with. If you’re struggling with ways to connect with your housemates, or even just looking for something new to do when you’re all hanging out, then have a look through some of these suggestions and see if there’s something for you!
Group games have always been a staple to play with your uni housemates, particularly during pre-drinks. Under the current global circumstances, pre-drinks are likely to be less regular of an occurrence this year, however that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on the fun of the games. Get your housemates together and crack out the card games, be it regular or everyone's old favourite Cards Against Humanity.
If you prefer digital games, check out our list of fun digital games you can play online with friends both together & when you’re apart. Some new additions to that list include Codenames for the vocab savvy, and if you’re bickering over who’s finished the last of the milk, a friendly game of Among Us might be just what you need to get those frustrations out in a fun way! If you’re already a fan of Among Us and looking for someone to play with, check out the Computing Society’s Among Us games being hosted on the 21st, 24th & 27th of November here!
LBSU Digital Events
Whilst hosting in person events is a little tricky this year, there are still events you can attend online via the Students’ Union! With the help of Native, you can now attend a range of digital events from wherever you may be, from Virtual Escape Rooms, to Drag Aerobics, to quizzes and more! Check out the full list of digital events here.
Virtual Exercise Classes
If working out is your thing, or maybe you’re feeling a little pent up from so much social distancing and time at home lately, do a virtual work out together! The university is offering free online exercise classes, so how about you and your flat mates grab your running shoes and try a virtual class together?
You can stream them from the comfort of your own home or attend in person on Headingley Campus, subject to local & national lockdown restrictions. For those who might not live with a workout buddy, or are maybe staying at home with family or living alone, try sharing your screen with a long-distance workout buddy so that you can do a class together! Check out the class timetable here.
Have a Fancy Coffee Break Together
Whilst life is a little topsy turvy at the moment, even our small everyday treats like going for a coffee at our favourite cafes might seem a little daunting with so many social distancing measures to follow at all times. So why not add a little luxury to your coffee break at home instead?
Get together with your housemates, grab your favourite mug and stick the kettle on for a cuppa all together. Up the game with some cakes or snacks, and take it in turn each week to bring them along. For those living at home, alone or self-isolating, how about organising a regular coffee break over video call that you can enjoy with some friends or family?
It’s important to take breaks and see some friendly faces, which can be difficult to remember to do at the moment, particularly if you’re on your own a lot of the time. Be sure to put some social breaks on your calendar, so that you can take a break and spend some time with those you might be missing.
If you’re missing the luxury of a proper frothy coffee from a cafe, it turns out it’s pretty easy to do from home! There are a few different ways to do so, but the easiest & cheapest method you’re most likely to be able to do without buying new kitchen tools is to shake up your milk in a mason jar* until it froths up, then remove the lid and pop it in the microwave for 30-45 seconds until the milk bubbles to the top of the jar (be careful not to let it spill over, though.) Simply pour over a shot of coffee or add to hot chocolate or chai mix and enjoy!
*Make sure it’s microwave safe, of course! If you’re worried it’s not, try shaking up your milk in a jar first and then transferring it into a microwavable mug to heat.
Cooking and eating a meal together once or even a few times a week can be a great way to bond with your housemates, whether you’ve just moved in together or if you’re headed into your third year and have been living together since first year. It might seem a bit insignificant, but getting to know what your housemates enjoy eating can come in handy, and can be important in helping to keep the peace within your household! If you all enjoy eating similar things, then you could find ways to cut down on your individual food spending by bulk buying items together to share and splitting the cost.
If someone in the house has a specific dietary requirement, such as being a veggie or vegan, having an allergy or intolerance or for faith reasons, getting familiar with these as a house can help ensure that everyone is respectful and considerate of everyone's dietary needs. For example, not bringing nuts into the kitchen if someone has an allergy, or not sharing utensils between meat eaters and veggies. Try having a house meal together once or twice a week, and rotate every week for who will be responsible for different elements of the meal. For example, two people could plan the main meal, two people could plan the pudding and two people could do the washing up every week. Just make sure you evenly distribute the roles each time, so that the same person isn’t always stuck doing the washing up!
The shift to online learning this year is bound to make things feel a bit strange for us all, particularly when it comes to studying. If you’re used to studying with friends but you’re now unable to meet with people outside of your household to study, then why not suggest a group study session with your housemates?
If you all have online lectures to attend individually, you might begin to feel a little isolated attending them in your bedrooms alone, so understandably you might begin to associate your uni work with feeling a little lonesome and downhearted. To counteract such feelings, organise a group study session with your housemates in your kitchen/living room where you can all get on with your assignments together to bring a bit more of a social element to your work. Even if you’re all studying different subjects, sometimes it can help to have someone to bounce ideas off whilst you’re working.
If you find that you’re not quite as productive during these sessions as you would like to be, don’t be too hard on yourself. Times are strange right now, and it’s important to make sure that you find some enjoyment in your studies! You can always take some time to catch up on things you might have missed later by yourself, and use some of our helpful tips if you find that you have trouble staying focused.
Have a Movie or TV Night (or both!)
As Winter draws in and the nights are getting darker and colder, it’s the perfect time for getting cosy and snug in the evenings and settling in for some telly. Everyone is bound to have some favourite TV shows or films in common, so a TV or movie marathon is a great way to spend some time together as a house.
Bring a TV or a laptop into the living room, reshuffle your furniture and do everything you need to get comfy for the night! Try scheduling a weekly film night where you can all vote on a film to watch and get together to watch your favourite TV show when it’s on each week!
Have A Night Out, But In
The 10pm curfews, lockdowns and social distancing in general might be putting a bit of a damper on nights out and for some of us, going back to pubs and bars might be something we’re not quite comfortable with yet. That doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun of spending time with your housemates and enjoying a few drinks, though.
Whether you want a soft drink or something stronger, you can still have some of the fun of a night out from the comfort of your home. You could even club together for some fresh ingredients and learn how to make your own mocktails or cocktails, with the bonus of getting more bang for your buck by making them yourself at home, rather than paying the same price for just a couple of expensive drinks whilst you’re out. Get creative, save some money, and make yourself a signature house drink!
Sure, you might not be able to dance the night away in your favourite clubs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put on your favourite playlist and have a party in your kitchen or living room instead. Who says that being at home all the time means you can’t get your glam on?
If you enjoy getting ready and all dressed up for a night out you still can, and you could even come up with different themed nights that require everyone to wear a different kind of glam outfit or fancy dress, then take lots of photos and turn your lockdown parties into a memorable night! Extend the invite via video call to friends you don’t live with or to those who might be self-isolating and turn it into a virtual night out!
Decorate Your Shared Living Areas
Whether you want to put up festive decorations for the holidays you celebrate during the winter period, or simply make your shared living areas a bit more homely and comfortable, decorating them together as a house can be a great way to spend more time with each other.
Check out different decoration ideas on Pinterest and decide if you want to club together to get some new fairy lights, plants and other homely decorations, or even get crafting and make your own!
As December approaches party season is right around the corner, and whilst we might not be able to host big, lavish parties this year, there’s nothing to stop you from having a party at home with your housemates - and what would a party be without the old faithful homemade paper chain? We know the lockdown crafts might be getting a bit tiresome at this point in the year, but you never know, you could uncover a new hidden talent!
And remember, if you're struggling anything and need support, we're here for you.
Stay safe, have fun, and don't hesitate to get it touch if you need us x