At this point in your “stay-at-home” life, you’re probably getting a little antsy. Perhaps you feel like you’re trapped inside a time loop like in the movie “Groundhog Day,” with each new day playing out in a nearly identical manner to the previous one.
If you’re looking for ways to break up the daily monotony of your indoor existence, the good news is there are many stress-reducing, mood-boosting activities you can do from the safety of your own home.
So, if you need a vacation from your staycation, here are a dozen tips for how to deal with the isolation blues…
12 Ways to Energize Your Quarantine Routine While Staying-at-Home
1. Can You Say Feng Shui?
If it feels like the walls are closing in around you, it might be time to give your home a makeover. Start with one room and consider how you can improve the balance, flow, and harmony (there are many feng shui strategies to help with this) by moving around furniture, plants, and even pictures.
Rearranging the rooms in your house can be a fun mental puzzle, like playing Tetris with furniture. It can also help you burn some calories and get a head start on spring cleaning.
These alterations just might make you feel like you’re living in a new house for a few days or weeks, which should help fend off the feelings of cabin fever. So, pick a room and roll up your sleeves. It’s time to put the fun in functional!
2. Preserve Precious Memories
If it’s been a while since you preserved your memories, take some time to work on a scrapbook or photo album. Also, editing, archiving, and watching old family videos can serve the double purpose of providing hours of enjoyment working on a hobby while also reminding you of some of the happier moments in your life. And who couldn’t use some uplifting thoughts right about now?
3. Read a Book
Reading stimulates a wide variety of brain regions that process, interpret, and analyze what you read, and then store that information for later recall. In other words, reading is good for your brain.
So, why not hit your summer reading list early this year (if you don’t know what to read, we’ve got plenty of book recommendations for you)? Also, you can enhance your experience by joining or hosting a virtual book club.
4. Game Night
With increased cautions surrounding video games, sometimes it’s nice to have a low-tech game night. If you already own some board games, dig them out of the closet and prepare for hours of fun.
Don’t feel obligated to purchase these, but here are some of my favorite board games:
- Scattergories– great for sharpening your recall and word knowledge. A fun, fast-paced party game.
- Stratego– essentially “capture the flag” on a board, it effectively combines chess-like strategy (pieces with various functions and values) with advanced memory skills (you must mentally track the other player’s pieces, which are faced away from you).
- 221B Baker Street– lives up to its billing as the “master detective game.” Assume the role of Sherlock Holmes, visit various London locations, collect clues, and solve the case. If you like Clue, you’ll love this game. Did I mention you get to be Sherlock Holmes?
5. Virtual Vacation
Traveling to far-off places can introduce you to new experiences, customs, sights, and people. But what can you do if you don’t have the time, resources or ability to travel to an exotic location? Take a virtual vacation!
Select a country you’d like to visit and watch an online travelogue or documentary to learn more about the local culture, cuisine, and points of interest. Or, establish a weekly education night where you virtually visit the dream destinations of everyone in your family. Learning as much as you can about a destination ahead of time will serve to enrich your experience when you actually visit the country in the future.
6. Home Improvements
If you’ve been meaning to fix the dryer or repaint the spare bedroom, this might be an ideal time to make some improvements around your house. If you should get stuck at any point, there are many DIY instructional videos on YouTube for how to fix just about anything. When making a supply run, take the normal precautions and observe social distancing. Above all, use common sense and stay injury-free.
7. Personal Inventory
Though it’s difficult to make a 5-year (or even next month) plan right now, making a personal inventory can pay off dividends in the future. A One-page Miracle (OPM) can help you make better choices, which will enable you to achieve more in life. Write down the specific goals you have for each major area of your life.
Then ask yourself every day, “Is my behavior getting me what I want?” This simple but profound activity can aid the process of turning your thoughts into reality. Click here for tips on how to create your own OPM.
8. Learn Something New
Set aside sometime every day to learn something new. Here are some examples:
- Learn a foreign language
- Pick up a musical instrument like the guitar, piano or drums (please be mindful of your shut-in neighbors)
- Improve your cognitive functioning with crossword puzzles, Sudoku or brain games
- Learn a new exercise, type of dance or other physical activity
- Take a chess tutorial
- Learn how to draw or paint
- Learn how to cook (or try new healthy recipes)
- Take an online class
Brain researchers emphasize that the “use it or lose it” principle applies to the brain. When the brain stops learning it can start fading, so be intentional at learning new things.
9. Movie Night
Having a movie night is a great way to keep the entire family occupied and spend some quality time together. You can select a family favorite or a new release. Or, if you’re up for a twist, have everyone write down their movie selection on a strip of paper, put the folded slips into a bowl, and have someone randomly select the winner.
Although the idea might meet with initial resistance from younger family members, consider watching a classic movie. Films like “The Wizard of Oz” or “The Adventures of Robin Hood” are sure to appeal to every member of your family.
10. Take a Walk
If you’re feeling a little cooped up, stepping outside for some fresh air is a healthy choice, both mentally and physically. The change in scenery will give you a new perspective, which might inspire some new ideas that you can use in your personal or professional life (the idea for this blog came while I was on a walk).
Walking can help clear your mind, improve your mood, and burn some calories all at the same time. It also can help ensure you get some vitamin D3 (if it’s sunny out). Be sure to dress appropriately and observe distancing guidelines when taking a stroll.
11. Write It Down
The process of journaling gives stressful thoughts a place to live other than your brain. Once those concerns have been expressed, they often lose their intensity and urgency, which will help you mentally relax. Writing in your journal 10 minutes before you go to bed can help relieve the worries of the day and put you in a restful state of mind.
12. Stay Connected
Social connections are incredibly important to your overall well-being. Focusing your time and energy on positive people can have a dramatic impact on your everyday life and longevity.
But how can you maintain close relationships during a quarantine? Though you might feel more distant from people than ever before, visually communicating with others is possible via applications like Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime. Of course, a good old-fashioned phone call is still an excellent way of keeping in touch with friends and loved ones.
Hopefully implementing these ideas will help alleviate any lethargy or loneliness you may be experiencing. Feel free to share these tips, along with any others you can think of, with your friends and family. And stay healthy and safe!
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