Community spirit in the time of Coronavirus

Fight boredom – build community

Tips on how you can swap real-life getting together with friends, dinner dates, movie nights and fitness classes for the stay-at-home version, all the while doing your bit for your community.

The corona crisis is a testing time for all of us. We’ve all been affected on an individual level, but we should also spare a thought for business owners fearing for their livelihoods. There’s no meeting friends, no dinner dates at your favourite Italian, no film night with popcorn and definitely no yoga class. Are you sure? Maybe it’s time you took a closer look. Many entrepreneurs are working hard to adapt their business model to the current situation. By offering products and services for those isolated at home, they hope digital alternatives will be a lifesaver.
Since we’re all being encouraged to adapt our behaviour to these circumstances, instead of giving up hope, it’s time to ask some questions. What’s on offer in my area? How can I support local businesses? Do I have skills that I can put to use? The answers to these questions create a win-win situation: yes, you can fight boredom and build community at the same time!
Digital Socialising
Social contact and being close to other people are two of our most basic needs. The latter should currently be treated with caution, but thanks to technology, we’re still able to maintain social contact with our loved ones. Numerous online products, apps and programs allow families and friends to meet virtually, play games or simply stay connected. Here are just a few examples:
• The Netflix Party is the new night in on the sofa. Users can watch films together (virtually) and chat at the same time.
• Video chat apps like Skype, Zoom or Whereby help to overcome physical distance. So your weekly visit to grandma or plan to meet a friend can still take place, online.
• Risk, Monopoly, Scattergories and other board games have all gone digital. Not only are they free to access but your friends and family can join you online.
Dinner date
Your favourite bakery delivering bread, coffee, milk and cheese? A three course meal to enjoy at home? A veggie box with fresh ingredients brought to your door? To get them through these difficult times, shops, cafés and restaurants are coming up with all kinds of creative strategies. As the hashtag #supportyourlocals suggests, we should find out what’s on offer in our local area and make use of local services as much as we can to keep the foodie scene alive:
• Takeaways: Many restaurants, cafés and bakeries are still open for food collection – quick and easy.
• Delivery service: More and more cafés and restaurants in Germany and Austria are moving online and working together to deliver hot meals to customers. What’s on offer ranges from cool cocktails to gourmet menus to be enjoyed in the comfort of your home.
• Ingredients delivered to your door: some large supermarket chains are offering delivery, collection and postal services, but local farm shops and organic markets are also switching to delivery. There are also online food delivery companies like Hello Fresh or Lieferando.
Online culture
Theatres, cinemas, museums and clubs are closed indefinitely, but many event promoters are moving scheduled performances online, using integrated tools that allow you to chat with friends about the content you’re watching on screen in real time:
• Music: some artists and event promoters have put together a diverse online entertainment programme. The Konzerthaus Berlin, for example, is putting on a children’s programme as well as uploading playlists and concerts from the archives. Many artists are even live streaming direct from their homes.
• Theatre and opera in your home: the big theatres and opera houses are offering a 24-hour streaming service through their websites. Culture is only a click away.
• Galleries and museums: large galleries like the Akademie der Künste in Berlin are providing online access to some of their exhibitions. You can also learn about specific artists’ thoughts on and reactions to the current crisis via their websites.
• Clubbing in your living room: dance culture has gone online. You can party to a range of DJ sets streamed live every weekend.
Fit @ home
Exercise and a balanced routine are more important than ever, not least because physical activity promotes psychological as well as physical wellbeing – and it strengthens the body’s defences too. The best place to do exercise is outside in the fresh air. But as this is currently restricted, here are some fitness tips for your home and garden.
• Fitness apps: Gymondo (workouts for all areas of the body), Asana Rebel (yoga), Freeletics (strength endurance with your own body weight), Seven (7 minute full-body workouts), Pumatrac (dance and boxing workouts)
• Live online classes: the SPORTUNION platform ( lists live stream sport classes from clubs across Austria that don’t cost anything to join.
• Fitness on social media: some influencers are offering free live sessions, that you can join in from your own living room, for example @poschstyle (yoga flows), @heatherrobertsoncom (full-body workouts), @amandabisk (mobility and body control)
• Local sessions: even the gyms in your neighbourhood are expanding their offerings into the digital realm. These should be your first port of call.
To strengthen your immune system, you should do as much exercise as you feel comfortable doing, but make sure not to overexert yourself.

Solidarity – WE can make a difference!

Forget everything you had planned for the next few weeks! A great way of improving your wellbeing is to let a spirit of community take priority. There are many opportunities to really support those who need help in your neighbourhood.

#supportyourlocals isn’t just a hashtag: we should be supporting the many small shops and businesses that we love in our area. You can find out more about what they are offering on their respective websites and social media channels.
Little gestures like tipping at the supermarket checkout, your delivery driver or the waiter when collecting from a restaurant are concrete displays of the humanity, kindness and financial cooperation that will get us through this crisis.
Keep paying membership fees: those who can afford to should keep paying their local gym subscription or renew their monthly tennis pass. This could make all the difference for many small business owners at risk of closure.
Hold on to pre-booked concert and theatre tickets: instead of requesting an immediate refund for cancelled events, another act of solidarity is to consider the price of the tickets you’ve already bought as a donation to the cultural community.
#NachbarschaftsChallenge: using this hashtag, committed members of the public are calling for solidarity and neighbourly aid on social media; they’re also putting up notices in their buildings offering to help neighbours with shopping, childcare or simply lending a sympathetic ear. Why not get involved?
Offer your own support: make a donation or offer your time and skills. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!