Dr. Harmon says a good attitude is essential. Rather than focusing only on the negatives of the situation, try to look at it as an opportunity to refocus, reflect and revisit old habits. Consider these ideas to keep your mind and body active:
- Start a virtual book club. Exercise your mind’s eye by losing yourself in an e-book or audiobook, which can easily be downloaded to your tablet or smartphone. Better yet, create a virtual book club and video chat with friends to discuss what you’ve read.
- Learn a foreign language. With travel restrictions forbidding international travel, embark instead on a journey around the world by studying and learning important phrases in a foreign language.
- Try backyard birdwatching. Download a bird-watching app and find relaxation in your own backyard by seeing how many birds you can spot. Stay on the lookout while you go for your daily walk through the neighborhood.
- Get (or stay) in shape. Exercising outdoors is great therapy. You can enjoy the fresh air and allow the sounds of nature, from singing birds to the wrestling of leaves, to soothe your soul. There’s also plenty of free exercise videos available for tablets and smartphones that require no equipment to achieve a satisfying workout.
- Test your cooking skills. Now is a great time to revisit old family recipes and get to know your kitchen better by cooking your own meals. Family members and roommates can take turns making meals for each other.
- Video chat with family. If you live alone, you can connect with children and grandchildren with ease thanks to video chatting. Keep your cell phone or table charged and check in often with family and friends. Consider making your own videos to share with loved ones so they can see your face and hear your voice when they’re feeling lonely.
- Have a puzzle party. For a great way to help families stay occupied, pull out a massive puzzle and work on it together at the dining room table.
- Get crafty. To help you focus on something other than the coronavirus, pick up an old pastime like crocheting, pottery making or painting. Even coloring books and paint-by-number canvases can help temper your anxieties and result in beautiful works of art that can lift your spirits.
- Hike or bike local trails. Go for a hike or a bike ride on local trails (check to make sure they’re open and available for use before you leave home). Make sure to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others if you venture out.
- Take on DIY projects. Tackle a home project you’ve been putting off such as cleaning out your closet or the junk drawer, pruning bushes and repotting plants or redecorating a room in your home using stuff you’ve stored away in your garage or attic.
“Eventually, we will get through this,” Dr. Harmon says. “Try to take this time to focus on yourself and your family, and remember that the sacrifices you are making by following social distancing recommendations are helping to protect yourself, your family members and our community.”