What Neighbours stars are doing in self-isolation
It may be a while before they're allowed back on Ramsay Street with Neighbours cast and crew on a production break due to COVID-19.
Like the rest of us, our favourite television stars are at home catching up on life things like reading, cleaning and getting back to basics.
Here, Confidential touches base with some of the stars of the popular TV soap to see how they are dealing with coronavirus and self-isolation.
"I am a naturally very busy and active person. Being in isolation has taught me the value of taking time to calm the mind. Isolation is giving me time to sleep! I aim for eight hours sleep a day because the best medical advice rates sleep as key to boosting the immune system.
"I am keeping busy too, primarily focusing on all the tasks that get have been swept aside in the past. Like scanning thousands of precious family photos to keep them safe and accessible.Getting the garden back in shape. I love to walk at least 10km a day and listen to music and podcasts.
"I am reading so much more than I have in years. Isolation has given me time to pick up the guitar and ukulele and learn new songs every day.
I have also rekindled my rudimentary piano skills that have been dormant for many years. Dinner parties and catch-ups with friends using Zoom are frequent during this time although we try to keep numbers down on each chat to prevent chaos. I am focusing on what isolation helps me to do instead of what it prevents me from doing."
"In isolation I'm continuing to push forward and not get stagnant. I'm continuing to work on my acting craft, learning accents and doing online masterclasses. I'm doing a lot of spring cleaning and getting handy around the house.
I'm also training the house down and really appreciating simple walks and runs outside and enjoying seeing so many people keeping up their fitness. I have started a meditation course with a teacher via Zoom.
That's been great! As well as connecting with my family and friends on the phone and Face Time. I've not gotten onto house party yet … will see how long I can hold out. I've kept my inner contact circle tight but have been able to catch up with some friends doing it tough and do some training or a walk together.
I think it's important to keep moving forward. Remind yourself daily what you are grateful for. Remind yourself daily to live in the moment, what is real for right now, not what could be and worst-case scenario.
When you do cross paths with someone, keep your distance but perhaps offer a head nod or a smile to acknowledge them. You don't know what someone else is going through and sometimes a smile and acknowledgment and some positive energy can go a long way. If you need some help on how to keep your body healthy, you can check out my Instagram page and the videos up on Medibank's Instagram page.
If you want a free program to do at home with core strengthening exercises and a 6 week meal pan with recipes etc., use the code FREEABS for my 6 week ab challenge at therobardsmethod.com/abs."
"I think we are quite lucky to be living in a time where there period of isolation does not make us completely isolated. I can't imagine how difficult this time would have been in a period where we couldn't get updates through the news or online or be able to connect with our loved ones.
The ability to talk to multiple people in multiple locations at the same time with a video connection is a life saver. Since wrapping on set, I have started a weeknight live streamed YouTube talk show series, #takTalks (youtube.com/takayahonda), interviewing actors.
This has meant that I have been able to stay in touch with my fellow Neighbours cast members as well as allow fans to feel connected to us and understand that we are all in this together, and together we can get through it.
Doing the talk show has helped me brush up my photoshopping skills to make fun posters for each episode as well as hone my interviewing skills as I attempt to create an informal 'friends having a chat' kind of atmosphere. It's been a lot of fun and certainly kept my days busy."
"While in isolation, I have learned that I am quite okay with my own company and as long as I have a structure and plan for the day, I am really good. No plan is bad for me, as I can easily while away time doing nothing and that leads to getting irritated with myself and anyone I may come in contact with, socially distanced of course.
To keep myself busy I am doing lots of laundry, a bit of gardening on my balconies, a lot of walking and lots and lots of books. I now have time to cook from scratch each night for dinner for myself and my two sons. They are really into it. Me cooking, that is! It's the only time I see them during the day.
I have really discovered reading properly again. I usually read in bed each night but only for about 15-20 minutes and then fall asleep. Now I can sit and read for two or three hours at a stretch and not feel guilty. Weird huh? And as for exercise, I bought a Fitbit and am trying to do 10,000 steps prepay and some yoga.
I am talking to my friends and family on the phone and sometimes FaceTime, depending on my hair that day. When I am at work surrounded by people and talking all day, I just text or email but at the moment I'm enjoying a chat."
APRIL ROSE PENGILLY
"I am an only child and a homebody at heart, so isolation has been … not that difficult? I work out every morning, as I always do, then I somehow have a zillion things that I need to deal with.
Our Neighbours shooting schedule is insane, so I'm quite grateful that I now have time to attend to the many tasks I have been procrastinating getting started. But it is not all work, I am allowing lots of TV time, and my boyfriend and I completed Super Mario World in a matter of days.
I normally fly home to Sydney whenever we have breaks from shooting, so it has been difficult having to stay put in Melbourne. For the first time in my life, I wasn't with my mum for her birthday - we cried over FaceTime instead. Nor can I be home for my own birthday, which is this weekend, April 12, so thank you so much for the birthday wishes.
I do miss dressing up and expressing myself through fashion. My online shopping habits have definitely changed. I don't actually buy much for myself normally, but I love browsing, seeing what is new and adding things to my cart.
Now I just think, I already have so much clothing I haven't worn yet, and I still won't get the chance to do so for several months."
"I've really learnt the value of small gestures of kindness in making a community.
The other day, I was doing a bit of gardening out the front and a friend, a neighbour, was passing with his dog. We got to chatting, mostly about how sick and tired his old dog was of all the damn walks.
We laughed about the absurdities of self-isolation and then he revealed how he was running low on toilet paper and how that particular absurdity was causing a great deal of tension at home.
Luckily, I happened to have a spare 12-pack sitting in the back of my car, waiting for just the right person. My friend left, carrying his precious cargo, so much happier and lighter.
The following day I discovered a care package on my doorstep. Inside my friend's son's 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' library bag was a big container of homemade pumpkin soup, a loaf of fresh bread and a note that read, 'With love'.
It was such an incredibly moving gesture, not grand but generous and kind. A few other beautiful moments like this have occurred but even just the simple smiles of passers-by on the street, those gentle recognitions of our shared experience and our shared humanity, are so much more meaningful now and so much more necessary."
"What I've learnt from being isolated in this extraordinary time, is just how incredibly privileged and lucky we are in this country. The majority of our population are fortunate enough to have roofs over their heads to protect themselves and their families from this pandemic.
While being grateful, we also have to think of all the countries that aren't as fortunate, that don't have housing, food, clean running water and most importantly a health care system like the one that we are relying on so greatly. My family and I are trying to keep a sense of normality in isolation.
We have found keeping a routine is very helpful. Our daily activities include going for walks, taking the dogs to the park, lots of cooking, reading, puzzles, board games and of course LOTS of Netflix and films.
We are connecting with our family and friends most days by phone, FaceTime, House Party and Zoom. When my son finishes school holidays and begins home schooling, we will need to adjust our routine and change our priorities.
But, until then, we are just trying to remain calm and positive in the hope that we get through this as quickly as possible."
Dee Bliss and Andrea Somers
"Coronavirus: thank you for teaching me to appreciate hugs, dining with friends and with a bit of effort, what an incredible classroom the natural world can be. I've spent many hours with my tribe offsetting home school screen time with forays into the forest and by the sea to soak up the education offered by planet earth.
Speaking of lessons, what lesson have I taken from this crisis? What's the upshot of love in the time of coronavirus? First and foremost, this crisis is a demonstration that, despite living in an age when social media promotes increased connectivity, we have become increasingly disconnected from our tribes, from others, from our bodies, and from ourselves.
In an era when isolation, loneliness and a desperate need for human contact and compassion have reached for epidemic levels, this pandemic looks set to sever the ties that bind us to our humanity completely.
One solution presents itself, it's not a cure for coronavirus but more a salve for the many moral wounds afflicting mankind that have rendered us so very vulnerable to mass crises such as this. And by mass crises I mean those scenarios made worse by communities turning in on each other and a mentality of "every man for himself" prevailing.
The solution is for us all to sign on for and adhere to a basic, cultural contract to treat others not just as we would like to be treated but to treat your Neighbour as you would treat yourself. Kindness therefore is key.
To offer kindness costs nothing, but to the recipient it is priceless. After all, a crucial litmus test of mankind's continued evolution is when man in kind. Kill coronavirus with kindness? Prevention in this sense is better than cure … and everyone needs good Neighbours.
At this time, I encourage people to consider supporting our most vulnerable, asylum seekers and refugees, you can go to www.asrc.org.au to help. Also, my environmental initiative Help Home Heal is looking for anyone with land that they would like to see become home to regenerated native ecosystems and rainforests, anyone who can donate native plants, anyone with environmental knowledge or initiatives they would like to share and anyone who would like to join our list of tree planting volunteers once the crisis has abated.
Go to @madmadswest or @helphomeheal to join in."
"I'm actually loving isolation. It feels like those few hours of bliss you have on an aeroplane when you have zero connectivity to the outside world and every minute to yourself.
All those passion projects are now finally happening. We've just become beekeepers so that has bee-n an obsession of ours lately. And we've successfully introduced our rottweiler to our chickens without any fights. Dream result.
All that plus our ever-evolving vegetable garden have been keeping us happy here at home. I've been putting my old carpentry tricks back into play by renovating our home bit by bit too. I understand this is a scary time, the uncertainty is terrifying. But for once, the entire world has been brought together against a common enemy.
Any issues locally or internationally have now been put into perspective and we now more than ever before understand that we need to work in harmony to beat this. Hopefully we can learn from this and remember that we really are all one."
Originally published as What Neighbours stars are doing in self-isolation