We all hope that things will get back to normal, but depending on how COVID-19 develops this fall and the restrictions federal and state governments place on schools and businesses, you may find yourself spending a lot more time at home than you had planned.
In the time of waiting and, for many, continued physical distancing, we need to do our best to take care of ourselves and those we love.
With that as the goal, here are ten ways to help you relax, stay healthy, and keep grounded during these intense and strange times.
1. Detox from Social Media
Many of us use social media as a way to take a break from the day's activities and connect with friends and family. (We may also watch a few cat videos, chuckle at a joke, or cry with a friend who's lost a loved one.)
While there's nothing wrong with that, these days you may find your newsfeed filled with little more than political rants, racial unrest, more bad news about COVID-19 and the economy, and other stressful posts.
Who needs it?! Why not use this time to take a break from social media?
Good Housekeeping lists 12 ways to detox from social media that are worth trying. They include deleting your favorite social media apps (I know... pretty drastic, right?), detoxing with a friend to hold yourself accountable, giving your phone a bedtime, and more.
So, before you say giving up social media, even for a few days, isn't possible, you may find it isn't as hard as you think—and it could result in a happier, healthier relationship in the future.
2. Be Kind to Yourself
Most of us are going through a hard time—some much worse than others—so try to be kind to everyone... especially yourself.
In the midst of the turmoil surrounding us, it's easy to become fearful, stressed, and even depressed. (These are very stressful times, so that’s only natural.) Choose to be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to take a deep breath and relax. (This song may help.)
3. Take a 'Staycation'
If getting on an airplane or visiting a theme park aren't in your plans for the near future—most theme parks are closed anyway—that doesn't mean you can't enjoy time off. Just take a "staycation." There's plenty you can do and places you can go to get away from people—even if it's your own backyard.
Take a backyard "camping trip," plan a weekend film festival, have a spa day, turn your backyard into a water park, go on a mini road trip an hour or two away—the list is endless. Sit down with your family and brainstorm ideas. You may find there's more to do than you have time for.
4. Go on a Date Night
The movie theatre may be closed, or your favorite restaurant isn't open for inside dining. So, set the table, order in, light some candles, and watch a romantic movie right there in the comfort of your home.
5. Get Some Exercise
You can exercise even if the gym is closed. You may have to purchase some equipment (which you can do online), and change your mindset—it may be harder to exercise at home alone than at the gym—but you can still do it. Even if you don't exercise regularly now is a good time to start. It's a great way to relieve stress and boost your immune system.
6. Eat Healthy
It's likely you're eating more meals at home, so consider using this time as an opportunity to make your eating habits a bit healthier. Subscription services that offer healthy meals abound, both those that come already prepared and packaged (just heat them up in the microwave), as well as those you cook yourself.
7. Pick up a Hobby
Always wanted to learn to paint, become a gourmet chef, or try your hand at crafts? There's no better time than now to pick up a hobby. (Not sure what hobby to do? The website Hobbylark has a list of over 150 hobbies broken down by interest and personality. You’re sure to find one that appeals to you.)
8. Take a Virtual Class
Your kids may be studying at home via a virtual classroom, so why not do the same? Whether you want to learn a new skill, get CEU credits, or earn a degree, you'll find a wealth of available options—many for free.
Lots of universities offer online classes; LinkedIn has business-related courses, and there's also The Great Courses, with its catalog of everything from art to math to religion to science.
9. Start a Journal
With all that’s going on, you may need to put your mind at rest. A good way to do that is by journaling.
Pick a topic to write about and make daily entries. Name things for which you are grateful, write about life during COVID-19, make a list of goals or aspirations—things you plan to do once life returns to normal—or whatever inspires you. Journaling has been shown to boost your mood, relieve stress, and enhance your sense of wellbeing.
10. Practice Self-care
Speaking of wellbeing, let’s talk about self-care. It includes every aspect of your wellbeing—physical, emotional, mental—so practice self-care daily. Take a leisurely walk, call a friend you've not talked to in a long time, read a good book, or watch a sunset. The better you take care of yourself, the more you have to give to others.
COVID-19 and the other issues troubling our society can get you down—but there is room to refresh and stay positive even as you grapple with those challenges. Trying to make the best of the time you have can bring you joy and a feeling of accomplishment no matter what the circumstance.
The ten ideas outlined here are just a starting point. Get creative; find something that makes you happy and lends itself to your wellbeing. You, your family, your friends, and the world will be better for it.