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Looking on the Bright Side

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

Yes we are in a pandemic and, yes, the restrictions have been tightened again - but it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom.

Recent announcements by the UK government (and others around the world) are hardly cause for celebration but, to help everyone look on the bright side and get through this new round of curtailments of our usual freedoms, OGN thought we should have a go at providing some inspiration for cheerfulness and a positive approach to life.

Dig deep and there’s plenty to be cheerful about. Yes, really. To help you break through the six-month wall, here are an optimistic bundle of reasons not everything’s as bad as it might seem:

Friluftsliv: Take heart from this Norwegian word that means a commitment to celebrating time outdoors, no matter the weather forecast. It will help you get into a positive wintertime mindset. To keep yourself mentally and physically fitter this winter, open the door, step outside, and take a deep breath, and say: “I’m going friluftsliving.” And, as the Scandinavians say: there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. So, make sure you've got the right gear (and the right mind set) and enjoy the outdoors.

If there were any upsides to lockdown, one of them was surely the way so many of us started to appreciate nature. Well, good news, guys: nature is still there. But this time it’s the leaves changing colour on your woodland walk; conkers on the ground in the park; wrapping up warm for countryside rambles and coming home to eat something hearty and indulging in some hygge.

Hygge: Remember when we all got excited about the Danish concept of wintry cosiness and comfort a few years ago? It’s time to bring back that spirit of indoor wellbeing once you've been out and about friluftsliving. Yes, our social interactions will be limited for a while; but there’s nothing to stop you cooking a stew, getting your home winter-ready, lighting some candles and hunkering down for a bit.

Dining with far away friends: Set up your table for dining side by side à deux, and invite another couple to do the same - opposite you. This lovely idea provides a fabulous solution for two couples who live a long way away (even in another country) to enjoy dinner together and have a proper chat. If done skillfully, these Zoom dinners really can feel like you're having dinner together across the table. See all our top recommendations for these dinners à deux.

Of course, if you want to have dinner in or out with local friends, you still can.

Small-scale festivities: We can’t plan for Christmas just yet, or maybe at all, but we can still mark those autumnal calendar dates that give this time of the year its special feel. Create a Hogwarts-style Halloween feast for your children at home. No trick-or-treating doesn’t mean no pumpkin-carving. No fireworks parties doesn’t mean no sparklers and toffee apples in the back garden. Not everything needs to be cancelled, just scaled down in size.

Drive-In movies: From the comfort and safety of your car, get out and enjoy a show at your nearest drive-in movie venue, popcorn at the ready. Just google 'drive-in movies near me' and check out what's on and when.

Small screen pleasures: For UK audiences, The Great British Bake Off is back on Channel 4 (and Matt Lucas already looks like the host the show needs). The BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing returns next month! Season four of The Crown comes to Netflix on November 15! And Philip Pullman fans can look forward to season two of His Dark Materials, on BBC One in November. An autumn feast for the eyes is yours, and curfews don’t come into it.

This isn’t lockdown (yet): We are still allowed to see friends, remember. We just have to be clever about it. A long walk with your best mate, or your dad, is permitted. Cafes and restaurants are still open for lunch and dinner. These pleasures should never be taken for granted, given what we’ve all just come through.

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