For expats in Germany: 26 little things to enjoy during lockdown
November • 4th, 2020
by the Expat in the City Team
It's the little things in (lockdown) life that make it worthwhile
We are quite sure you were not jumping with joy when you heard about the new restrictions. Maybe you even felt a little despair and experienced a feeling of 'not again?!'. Especially in these time where days are shorter and it gets colder and wet (or just wet). And yes working from home has its advantages, but being away from colleagues and friends and spending most of our time at home, well that can't be good for anyone. But just like with everything in life there is a silver lining and that also includes the current lockdown. Sometimes you have to look hard for the silver lining, but seek and you shall find also applies here.
At Expat in the City we've come up with a list of 26 things you can do to make the most of this time. Small things, sometimes really small things, not life altering but positive they are.
We hope this list will help you to see the bright side of life and inspire you to get going and make the most of a tough situation.
Want to share tips with us? Yes please! We love to hear from you.
1. Invite your best friends for dinner
It is allowed to invite one other household to your home. Why not ask your best friend to come over and have an old-fashioned evening at home with meaningful conversations, without all the distraction and noise of a restaurant. You have all the time, nowhere else to go :)
2. Visit the Viktualian Markt - it is still open!
Shops are still open and so is the Viktualian markt. Always a feast for the eyes and stomach. Lots of fresh food and vegetables, smoothies and local treats and gifts. A very nice alternative to your trip to the supermarket.
3. Bake your favorite cake
Baking for some can be quite relaxing and for others eating cake brings more enjoyment. On whatever side you are, why not venture into making the cake (or dessert) you enjoy when going to your favorite restaurant. You can have your cake and eat it, well sort of anyway.
4. Find online bargains
Now is the time for online bargain hunting. There are so many people cleaning out their houses and wardrobes that great deals are to be found. Also stores offer great discounts as they have large stocks left. A fact that is not great for these stores, but is an opportunity for you. And don't forget Black Friday is on 27 November.
5. Join one of the many online webinars
As offline events are off limits a lot of great events are now offered online. The world at your feet in the comfort of your own home. From how to bake custard cakes to how to set up your own business in Germany. Scan the web and you will find so much information and inspiration out there. And most of them are for free too! For example our very own online event ExpatTalks2020: Servus Munich!
6. Write a postcard and mail it the same day
Sending a post card is always a good idea but somehow we hardly do it anymore. Receiving a handwritten card always feels special as someone took the time to sit down and think of you. Find one with a picture you love and send it out into the world (well, from the post office that is) and bring a smile to someone's face.
7. No more fomo (fear of missing out)
For some of us having nowhere to go brings peace of mind because a lot of us suffer from fomo. Missing out on all the parties and opportunities out there...that feeling is gone. You can finally relax and (learn to) enjoy being at home.
8. Bake lebkuchen
The German traditional Christmas sweet, Lebkuchen. As there are no Christmas markets this year, you will have to work a little harder to get into the Christmas spirit. The smell of a Lebkuchen definitely can help. Here is a recipe.
9. Buy pretty flowers
Flowers can really pretty up your house and add a special 'touch of colour'. And now that you are working from home you can enjoy them even more. Get a bouquet of your favorite ones and put them somewhere you can see them all day.
10. Check out second hand stores during your lunch break
If you love thrift stores this is a good time for you. During the first lockdown people got rid of a lot of stuff. Remember one person's trash is another persons treasure.
11. Treat yourself to a magazine subscription
Now that you are home more, you have more time to read. If you love magazines this is the time to get a subscription on your favorite one. There are some good deals out there. Why not try a German one? Fun way to practice your German!
12. Put up your Christmas tree early this year
We can all use some spark right now. Get out your Christmas decorations and 'deck the halls with boughs of holly'. Here is an overview of where you can buy Christmas trees in Munich.
13. Cherish the fact you don't lose so much time on commuting
14. Make Glühwein or Feuerzangenbowle
Have you ever tried making your own Glühwein (mulled wine)? It's not that hard. Many recipes out there on the internet, google 'Glühwein' and pick the one that sounds the most delicious to you. Serve in a Christmas mug to complete the Glühwein experience.
Alternatively you can try making Feuerzangenbowle. A festive alcoholic drink found at the Christmas markets that they fire up when served. Make sure to use a fire proof mug!
15. Get to know your neighbours
Instead of rushing by your neigbours door, why not ring it and check on how they are doing. Use this time to get to know your neigbours, it's very likely they are at home a lot now too and are ready to mingle.
16. Candles, candles, candles!
It's what makes the dark days cozy and nice! Candles, lots of candles in all shapes, sizes and colours. Invest in some nice ones that last a while and smell good. It will give your house a different look and feel. Add some music and some wine and you have yourself a romantic evening at home.
17. Invest in a good noise cancellation headphone
If you work from home and your house mates are too then it can be hard to focus on your work. A noise cancellation headphone is then a really good investment. It blocks out all sound and all that remains is silence. Try it and you will be amazed. And once we can start traveling again they are also really great to cancel out the airplane noise.
18. Buy a lamp that makes you look good during video calls
Did you know there are lamps that you can use to create the perfect lighting so that you look good during video calls? No? Well they exist! Vloggers and influencers have been using them for years (that's their secret to looking amazing on camera). First world problems yes, but still if it makes you feel good, go for it! Can be found in online stores.
19. Check out the surfers, they are still there
Very famous in Munich, the surfers at the Eisbach. Due to some construction there is a continuous wave popular with the City's surfers. No matter time of day or year, there is always a surfer. Quite spectacular to watch.
20. Get a coffee to go in your own mug
A re-usable coffee mug is a sustainable alternative to the paper and plastic cups you normally get. A lot of cafes allow you to bring your own mug and they will fill it up for you. The cost is usually the same as a regular 'to go'. Why not make your own coffee-to-go at home and go for a stroll along the Isar and sip you coffee while enjoying the water flow by. Very zen too!
21. Create a home cinema in your living room
Cinemas are closed, but home cinemas can be created easily. Close the curtains, turn of the light, create a comfortable seat for yourself, make some popcorn and you are ready to go. Oh yes and of course the movie. Netflix offers a large selection!
22. Make your own advent calendar
Why not make an advent calendar for you kid(s) or partner? 24 small gifts all wrapped nicely, who wouldn't want to receive such a thoughtful gift? Go to your local shop (they are still open and need your support) and purchase 24 small gifts. Surely making it will be as much fun as giving it!
23. Browse online art collections
Museums are closed at the moment so visiting them is not possible. A lot of museums have put their collections online, making it easy to browse through their catalogue and admire the pieces of art in your own time. Some suggestions:
24. Cooking together via Zoom
You like to cook and want to inspire others to cook a nice meal? Pick your favorite recipe, buy the ingredients in twofold and delivery one batch at your friends house. When its time to cook you can setup a Zoom call and you can guide them through the steps. When all is done you can have your meal at the same time. Guten!
25. Be kind to others
26. And finally: be kind to yourself!
This is a strange and sometimes unsettling time, and sometimes you will feel like sh*t. That is okay, really! Because yeah sometimes it is just not easy to be you. So be kind to yourself, don't be the harsh critic and cut yourself some slack. Do what makes you happy, say kind words to yourself. Tomorrow it will be different again.