Stay at home orders and social distancing in response to the worldwide pandemic have thrown our daily routines into a tailspin. For many, the absence of social, business, and family engagements can lead to feelings of isolation. To kick the blues, here are eight great ways to make the most of time at home:
1) Meditate – From the Hindu traditions of India, meditation is the practice of redirecting mental and physical focus away from distractions to increase mindfulness, reduce stress, and promote wellbeing. Some people combine yoga, a discipline from Northern India, and meditation to strengthen the mind and body connection and improve balance and physical strength. By blending the two art forms, one can positively affect strength, mood, and endurance. Tip: For newbies, instructional videos are a great way to begin. Find a comfortable and safe place on the ground, away from noise, to meditate.
2) Cardio exercises – While at home, it can be tempting to grab a snack and the remote control and plop on the couch to binge watch TV. Unfortunately, a sedentary lifestyle can pack on the pounds, leading to obesity and a host of medical issues. Thus, it’s best to keep the body moving and limit television hours. Walking is one of the best forms of cardio exercise and is gentler on the body than running. Get a fitness boost at home by taking advantage of free walking workout routines available on YouTube. Many are set to upbeat music to increase energy levels. Beginners should select basic workouts sponsored by distinguished organizations such as American Heart Association. Tip: Seniors and those with medical conditions should talk to their doctors to determine what level of exercise is appropriate.
3) Bake – Nothing beats the aroma of a fresh loaf of bread or chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. Baking is a soothing solo activity or a fun way to keep family members entertained. Children can learn to follow directions, measure ingredients and do math, acquire kitchen safety skills, and feel prideful of their creations. For health reasons, it is essential that cleanliness and safety practices are followed. This includes hand washing and wearing clean food preparation gloves for added measure. Tip: Swap out unhealthy ingredients for healthier ones. Whenever possible, use unsaturated fats, less salt, and cut down the sugar.
4) Read – Reading is a smart way to pass the time. It improves memory and vocabulary and increases understanding and empathy. Seeking to learn? Choose how-to books. Wanting to gain wisdom? Read the Bible. Looking to be uplifted? Google books to make you feel hopeful. Subject matters are endless. Per writer Thomas Oppong on reading, “It gives us freedom to roam the expanse of space, time, history, and offer a deeper view of ideas, concepts, emotions, and body of knowledge.” Tip: Using an app, such as Zoom, create an online book club that allows you to talk with club members while social distancing.
5) Organize and clean – Household organizing can reduce stress, increase productivity, and enrich one’s self-worth. Proper organizing involves donating things you don’t need or use, disposing trash, repurposing items for better function, grouping like items together, and storing things in practical places close to where you use them. Cleaning is a beneficial way to reduce household germs and offers a satisfying sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Tip: After organizing and cleaning, reward yourself with a relaxing bubble bath or a hot cup of tea.
6) Write – Keeping a diary or writing poems, short stories, or novels are creative outlets for energy. Not only does writing expand the mind’s capacity, it can positively affect mental health. Writing is a productive way to uncork trapped thoughts, ideas, and inner emotions and document our experiences and unique perspectives. It is a form of art, much like painting, but the author uses words rather than a canvas to convey ideas and visions. Tip: Newbies should begin by writing down what is happening around them. Do not overthink words or be overly critical. Simply record observations. Over time, writers will develop a voice, style, and purpose for writing.
7) Paint – Crafting can include anything from appliqué (ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric in different shapes and patterns are sewn or stuck onto a larger piece to form a picture or pattern) to woodworking (fashioning objects from wood). One of the most popular forms of art is painting. Through visualization and implementation, painting sharpens the mind. Newbies can begin by creating a simple background on a canvas surface using watercolors, which are inexpensive and widely available, and a round-tip paintbrush for application. Watercolor paint can be thinned out with water and colors can be mixed to create unique designs. Acrylics are also a good choice for beginners. A flat-tip brush is recommended for acrylic paints. Tip: Explore how-to paint videos and gain tips on sketching, layering, blending to create unique visual effects.
8) Learn a unique skill – Experts agree that humans are wired for learning and believe that a thirst for knowledge signals the brain’s desire to be engaged. Acquiring specialized skills, such as learning to speak Japanese, to grow succulents, or play the ukulele, can make us feel fulfilled and powerful. In youth, learning is sometimes viewed as a chore. As we mature, we gain appreciation for various subjects and enjoy tapping into our natural abilities. Self-education is a desirable experience, as we get to choose subjects that interest us. Not only is the act of learning fun, it increases brain capacity. Tip: Decide what interests you, whether it be cooking, dancing or learning about nuclear power. Watch free educational tutorials from the pros and practice, practice, practice.
Please share how you are making the most of your time social distancing.