Well, it's kind of a crazy world out there these days, huh? COVID-19 has been dominating the news cycle, social media, and our inboxes for a few weeks now, and in the wake of school and business closures nationwide, it's beginning to feel a bit like a zombie apocalypse. Whether you're struggling to find toilet paper and paper towels like me, or you're simply adjusting to living a socially distant life at home for the foreseeable future while we as a nation get this figured out, I think we can all agree that this moment in time has been very interesting and complicated to navigate.
As we attempt to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus spreading, more and more people have taken to their homes to practice social distancing and self-quarantining. While this process is incredible important for our collective health, it can also pose a negative impact on mental health if we don't take important steps to keep ourselves busy, entertained, productive, and happy. So I've collected a few resources and ideas to help keep you happy and healthy during your social distancing or self-quarantine.
1) LEARN A NEW SKILL OR CRAFT
Break out that bucketlist (either for yourself or for your home) and get busy! Take this rare time to focus your energy on doing something you've always wanted to do. We've all got a list of house projects we want to tackle--you know, that leaky faucet you've been putting off fixing, the holes in the wall that need spackling, the blinds that need replacing. What better time than the present to learn how to fix those problem areas in your home? And if you're the rare person whose home is in tip-top shape or you're just not a fan of manual labor, put that creative energy into a new hobby or craft! I've personally got a stack of wood slices that are calling my name so I can practice my skills at pyrography (woodburning).
There are a ton of resources out there for learning new skills, but Youtube and Skillshare are my current favorites--and don't worry, I'm not getting paid to say this, I just TRULY love these two vast databases! Youtube has free video tutorials on just about any skill you'd like to learn, and with such a wide community, there are people with different skill levels and teaching styles, so you're bound to find something you love. Skillshare is a database of video courses that teach you just about anything you want to learn, and while it is a paid service, it is very affordable for most budgets and the courses are more formal/professionally done than most Youtube videos.
Whether you're tackling house projects or learning a new craft, you're bound to find the help you need on one of these two resources! According to CNN, "crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain... It may also ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from damage caused by aging." If you're struggling with the Coronavirus quarantine, this may give you the Dopamine boost you need!
2) VIRTUALLY TOUR A MUSEUM OR A NATIONAL PARK
If you frequently get the travel bug and you're missing it like crazy these days, then you're in luck. We live in a time where we have access to so many incredible options at our fingertips for expanding our minds. Thanks to some very clever individuals, you can now tour national parks and world famous museums from the comfort of your own home. So here's what I recommend:
- If you're in the mood for some natural wonders, lather on some sunscreen, grab your laptop and shades, step outside, sprawl out on your lawn, and click THIS LINK to explore some of mother nature's glory while you soak up some rays!
- Are you more of an art and history buff? No problem. Pour a glass of wine, make yourself a cheese plate, put on some relaxing music, and dive into THESE MUSEUMS for a little taste of the culture you love so much!
And you don't have to stop there! There are tons of virtual options being created every day as we all try to navigate these times together. So do a simple Google search for some of the things you love to do and see if there's a virtual option available for you! You may be surprised.
3) USE THE POWER OF VIDEO CHAT
As a military spouse, I'm grateful every day for the access we have to video chatting these days--I can't imagine surviving a deployment without it! And here we find ourselves in a situation where the magic of video and internet will serve us well! Do you have a book club, mom's group, hiking club, fitness group, etc. that you regularly attend, but now can't due to the recent call for social distancing? Try setting up a Google Hangouts session with your favorite people and keep those events rolling.
Even if there isn't a club you typically engage in, you can still find great ways to connect with loved ones via video. Facetime, Snapchat, Hangouts, Messenger, Skype, etc. are all great ways to see those faces you love so much in a way that will keep everyone happy, healthy, and safe. Get creative with it!
4) FREE LIVE EVENTS ON FACEBOOK
Many companies, musicians, comedians, and fitness groups are rolling out free live entertainment on Facebook as a way to keep everyone connected. Love a local brewery near you? See if they're doing any of their standard events via Facebook live. (My favorite brewery, Liquid Mechanics, started doing live sessions on Facebook so we can still feel connected to them during this time!) Have a favorite singer that had to cancel an upcoming show? See if they're doing any free live concerts on Facebook. (John Legend did one just recently from his living room!)
Use the power of social media to stay connected with the things you love because this is NOT a permanent situation, and it's good to share support of your favorite people and places, as well as to remind yourself that there will be an end to the moments of solitude.
5) WHEN IN DOUBT, SELF-CARE IT OUT
I may sound like a broken record here, but self-care is crucial, especially in times of high stress, anxiety, confusion, and fear. I keep a running list of the things that bring me joy, so that I don't have to think about it too hard when I need self-care the most. When I know that I need something, but I can't pinpoint what that may be, I pull out my list almost as if it's a happiness menu, and I pick something from that list. I figured I'd share my little self-care menu here so that if you're struggling to find something happy-making, maybe this will spark an idea in you!
- Take a hot bath with candles, music, and a glass of wine
- Cuddle up under my softest blanket with my husband, dog, and cat
- Make a hot cup of tea
- Do some jumping jacks or a plank to raise my heart rate a little
- Go for a walk outside
- Take a beer to the park across the street and watch the sunset
- Listen to vinyl
- Binge Netflix shows I love (The Office, Parks and Recreation, etc)
- Play a board game with my husband
- Call my parents, sister, brother, or best friend
- Hang out in my back yard
- Clean the house
- Read a book
- Watch my go-to happy movies (Pride and Prejudice, Love Actually, Harry Potter series, Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, Jurassic Park)
- Paint my nails
- Decorate the next week in my journal
- Make something (soap, candles, etc)
- Shop at a local store I love
- Go for a hike
While this may be a challenging and new obstacle for us to navigate, the power of human connection can't be squashed by social distancing if we do it the right way. I hope this blog post gave you some great ideas to use if you find yourself struggling with this new time in our lives (or even if you're not struggling, but just want to switch things up!)
Comment down below and tell me how you're doing with the recent call for social distancing and let me know which of these ideas you plan to implement in your time away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world! I would love to hear from you.