As the coronavirus continues to spread, more and more people are socially distancing themselves to help flatten the curve and to keep their loved ones safe. People are working remotely; schools are out, and most restaurants, bars, and gathering places have closed their doors. For many, this "new normal" not only feels overwhelming but completely isolating. Confinement can also put pressure on already strained family relationships. Here are some ideas to help break up the monotony and protect your emotional health, and therefore your relationships:
Take a walk, garden, sit on your balcony/ patio. Taking time to get some fresh air and spend some time in nature helps manage anxiety and depression. Not to mention, vitamin D boosts your immunity.
Bust out all those old board games you used to play. It's a fun way to connect. Board games can bring back a sense of nostalgia and are good healthy distractions from the stressors around us. Focus on having fun rather than competition.
Try to tap into your creative side.
Paint, color, doodle, bake, cook, sing, write/make music, dance. Take time to explore something creative that you might enjoy. There are several places online that are teaching people how to doodle, and other services such as Color Me Mine will drop off pottery packages with paint. There is even a dance school offering virtual classes for donations.
Read a good book, then watch the movie.
There are tons of great books now available through Kindle and Amazon. Libraries are also offering digital downloads and curbside pickup. Read the book together with someone or aloud with family, and then watch the film (and complain that the book was better than the movie). Check out this list of 100 Must-Read Adapted Books That Are Movies and Television.
Enjoy a concert.
Musicians are taking their music to the internet! You can find most of your favorite artists posting live videos on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. You can also watch cultural events that you may have never experienced. The Metropolitan Opera is showing live streams as well as the Detroit Symphony.
Take a tour.
FaceTime friends and family. Have virtual happy hours, dinner parties, and just general catch up sessions. Apps like Google House Party and Zoom are great tools to connect.
Take in the right Media.
Try to take breaks from Coronavirus updates. While we have a strong need to be continuously updated, it can cause a sense of anxiety. Be sure to step away from the screen and disconnect from the news. Also, fill up your social media with positive messages rather than dire ones. Some great accounts to follow are @goodnews_movement, @tanksgoodnews, and of course, @sharpwellness_counseling. :)
Exercise is excellent for relieving depression and anxiety. Just because gyms are closed does not mean that you need to stop exercising. Several fitness programs including Beach Body, Tone It Up, and Barre3 are offering free streaming workouts. You can also find yoga and meditation studios doing the same. Yoga is a powerful stress reliever for body and mind. If that's not your speed, a walk or run will do.
Tackle home projects.
You know you have something on your list that you have meant to get around to for weeks (maybe years). Take time to try to work on that project.
Listen to a podcast or watch a Ted Talk.
Podcasts and Ted Talks are fantastic and can be educational as well as entertaining. There are a plethora of topics out there to explore. Some of our favorite podcasts include Invisibilia, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, and Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris.
Lean into a hobby.
This is a great time to brush up on a hobby you might have forgotten or explore a hobby you have never had time to do. Maybe it is gardening, painting, or playing the guitar. Lean into learning something new!
Set up a routine.
Try to set up a routine in the same way you would if you were going to the office. Wake up at the same time, shower, have breakfast/coffee, and be sure to schedule in breaks—also set boundaries for the end of the workday. Just because you can access your work from home every minute doesn't mean that you should.
Give back, if you can.
If you can, be a helper. Several organizations are suffering due to the virus, like non-profits and small businesses. Try to support them by donating or buying their products. Furthermore, individuals in retirement and memory care facilities are more isolated than other groups. Reach out to one nearby and find out if you can offer supplies, a visit through a window, or even just notes of encouragement to elderly residents. Joy given is joy gained.
Take time for Self Care. Be sure to look for hope and practice gratitude. Even in this difficult time, we can find happiness and hope.
If you're struggling with isolation or anxiety/ depression, seek help. Sharp Wellness can provide support through these uncertain times and help you build mental strength to not only survive but thrive. Contact us now.
-Sharp Wellness Team-