Does that freak you out? Are you constantly worrying? Not sure what to do with your time so you don’t go stir crazy and literally start climbing the walls?
Remember, there is no right way to do this. A “time out” can mean different things for different people. Don’t feel pressure to do it the same way as someone else on your newsfeed. Often the first thought after the initial panic is, “Oh, extra time? I’m going to write the great American novel!” Or take up painting again. Or write a symphony. Or,… well, you get the picture.
That’s a lot of pressure!!
And hey – there’s enough anxiety and pressure going on right now as it is. Don’t add more to it. Give yourself a break, and find what works for you. What will allow you to ENJOY this time? What will renew your spirit? What will ease your mind, allow you a time of gratitude, and leave a smile on your face to greet the world again once it’s safe to do so?
If you’re not sure, here are a few ideas to get you started:
JUST FOR FUN:
We are in unprecedented times, so might as well take advantage of the silver lining. You have an excuse to not HAVE to do anything. Allow yourself to be silly and have some fun! Not much else to do, right?
- So many books, so little time! If you don’t have enough books around, libraries are offering free digital books to hold everyone over until their doors open again. Read something for yourself, and have a book that everyone reads aloud together (Harry Potter anyone?), then watch the movie after you finish. Have little ones? Many authors and actors are posting free videos of read-alouds. Log in and have fun!
- Complete a puzzle or other mind game. Like words? There’s always crossword puzzles, word scrambles and searches, and many other games like that.
- Create an indoor scavenger hunt and leave clue #1 out for some indoor fun!
- Choreograph your own crazy dance to your favorite song. And, of course, make sure you video it to keep the fun going!
- Board games. When is the last time you really played one? There are so many different ones out there now, both for the family or for adult fun. If you have to entertain the family too, set up a tournament and keep the fun going over several days. Or, take out those long, involved directions that you never really read, and learn the right way how to play that complicated game that has been sitting on your shelf.
- Want to make yourself laugh? Try putting on a soap opera or silly movie, but mute the sound and create your own dialogue. This can provide hours of entertainment for sure!
- Learn your favorite Hollywood dances. Put on your favorite movie/TV dance scenes on slow mo until you get the moves down. Then play it at normal speed and feel like a star! The kids might like doing the routines in the Descendants movies. Adults can go classic with a Fred & Ginger routine, or throw on that scene from Pulp Fiction, your favorite musical, or the classic Dirty Dancing routine. (Just a word of caution - that last lift is a LOT harder than it looks. If you don't already know how to do it, don't chance any injuries at a time you don't want to leave the house!)
- Build a family room fort. Doesn’t matter if you have kids or not – who doesn’t love a good fort?? Add blankets, popcorn & a fun movie for added fun!
- All those award-winning movies or new TV series you’ve been meaning to watch? Yup – now’s the time!
- Make up a new song.
- Finally learn the real lyrics to some of your favorites. Many lyrics are now online, so print them out and belt out those tunes!
- Don’t forget about that pile of magazines that you keep meaning to get to!
- Got kids at home? Write a story with your family! Everyone takes a character and writes a separate adventure for them, or, one person writes a chapter then hands it on to the next person for the next chapter. Not into a book? Then create a play that you can act out. Have them create the costumes, “sets”, etc. Video your production and send to family members to enjoy while they’re at home too!
- Don’t forget about your pets. Give them some extra love and attention and play! Dogs love playing games and learning new tricks!
- Stand in front of a mirror with paper and pencil and try a self-portrait.
- Remember those old fortune tellers and paper games you played in school? Create your own adult version and embrace your inner child.
- Do a Lego challenge.
- Make yourself move in slow motion. See how long it takes before you can’t stop giggling!
- Let yourself act silly and LAUGH!
It is never too late to learn something new, and many of us always have something on “the list” that we want to learn or try “when we have time.” No time like the present!
- Download a language app like Duolingo and learn some new phrases.
- Use online tutorials to learn how to knit, sew, crochet, or try something totally different like ventriloquism, woodcarving, origami, or perhaps a new art skill.
- One word – beatbox.
- Have long hair in the house? Use those online tutorials for braiding or other hairstyle techniques.
- Research another country or culture. Need more to do? Create a powerpoint or video with what you learned.
- Try a new recipe or increase your skills in the kitchen. Pretend you're on Top Chef.
- Have some fun with Pinterest and try to recreate something new. Take pictures for a good laugh.
- Enjoy a LunchDoodle! Illustrator, Mo Willems, is offering free lunchtime videos through the Kennedy Center with drawing tips and an inside look into his studio.
- Create a Rube Goldberg Machine (chain-reaction fun like in the game Mouse Trap or Doc's morning invention on Back to the Future). These are super fun once they're built, but the real game is in hunting for objects around the house to make it work!
- Learn to dance! Many dance studios are now offering free online classes in all styles to keep everyone movin' & groovin'.
- Virtually visit a museum, zoo, or national park. Many museums and other sites are offering free online tours. Let yourself enjoy a virtual field trip!
CONNECT WITH OTHERS:
Humans NEED human contact (yes, introverts – us too!). We are a social breed and science has proven that human connectedness actually affects us physically. We will feel this distancing, no doubt, but there are ways to stay connected to humanity at large and to those in our circle as well.
- Send uplifting notes and/or care packages to our health professionals that are fighting so hard to heal our country.
- Write thank you notes to our fire, police, and military men and women for their service and protection.
- Write a letter to your grandparents or to residents at a local senior home who are in lockdown right now. Include artwork or other uplifting messages and trinkets to brighten their day and let them know that they are not alone.
- Keep your local businesses going during this time by buying gift cards or services online.
- Hang a rainbow or other symbol of hope and love in your window or out on your lawn for people to see as they take a walk. Remind everyone that we are in this together and we will get through it!
- Chalk your walk. Use sidewalk chalk and draw or write uplifting messages for passersby to see.
- Start (or pickup) a journal or blog. Journaling is a huge stress reliever and a great way to pass the time. Keep it private or use it to connect with others.
- Don’t forget that you can still video chat! Set up “playdates” with friends or family and pass the time together.
- Get a penpal.
- Join an online game or chat.
- Hang Christmas lights or put a candle in your window to show “lights of love.” People are doing this all over the world as a sign of gratitude to all our healthcare workers and to all those who continue to serve us during this crazy time. It is also a show of solidarity and a reminder of the love and joy still around us during a time when it is easy to forget.
- Prepare an interview and use a program to video chat with the grandparents. Be sure to record it!
- Musical? Start a song chain. Record yourself performing a song. Post it, then tag your friends to play along.
- You can do the same with a poem or dance challenge, too!
- Be creative – what can you come up with to reach out to others and remind everyone of our humanity and the good in the world? Share it online so others can participate too!
This is obviously a very stressful time, and extra stress can deplete your immune system even more. We need to be extra good to ourselves during times like these. “Self care” means something different for everyone, so do what you have to do to lift your own spirit, but here are a few ideas to get things started.
- Meditate. Not sure how to do it on your own? Check out the many apps available, like Headspace, Insight Timer, or Calm to help guide you.
- Coloring has been proven as a stress reliever, plus it’s fun! There are many free pages online to download if you don’t have a book to get you started (plus there are some super cool books you can buy too!). You can do it old school on paper for extra relaxation, or use your tablet and color on screen.
- Pamper yourself in ways you never normally have time for – do a face mask, deep condition, mani/pedis, bubble bath, new hair color – so many options!
- Look at cute pictures of puppies – hey, science says it can lower blood pressure, and we don’t want to argue with science, right??
- Practice gratitude. Start a list of things you are grateful for. Add something new each day.
- Eat right – Don’t just snack on those junky quarantine snacks non-stop. Find new, healthy foods and drinks to fuel your body through these stressful times.
- Listen to music that lifts your spirits. Breathe deep and immerse yourself in the sounds of the instruments and the rhythms that surround you.
- Keep a routine – still go to bed at a decent hour and get your sleep. You want your body strong and ready to go!
- Practice mindfulness – stay in the moment and notice everything as you’re doing it. Try not to think about the future or the next thing on your to-do list. Stay in the now. How many coffee beans do you actually use? What do they smell like? How does the air feel on your face when you go out for that walk? What do you hear? Smell? How does your body feel RIGHT NOW?
- Keep moving! See below for ideas on keeping your body healthy, strong, and ready for summer fun!
Know all those projects that keep getting put off for “one day” when you have time? The day is here, my friends! What projects are on your list? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Go through those containers and find all the matching lids. Got leftovers? Throw them out. No need for extra clutter!
- Hit up those closets. Have clothes that don’t fit or that you haven’t worn in a while? Or maybe ones that you just don’t like? Pull them out and put in a bag to bring to charity once lockdown has lifted. Now organize and rearrange the rest of your clothes. All that new space will feel fantastic!
- Rearrange your sock drawer. Why not?
- Don’t forget about that overflowing junk drawer, makeup bin full of old products, supply shelves, basement, shed, and garage. Might as well use the extra time and be productive. Even little changes can feel like a big difference!
- How about small repairs? Maybe there is a loose doorknob, squeaky hinge, scuffed-up walls, etc. that could use a quick tweak.
- Want a new look? Try rearranging the furniture, changing up your wall decorations, or slap on a new coat of paint. You’ll feel like you’re in a whole new house!
- Organize all those picture files! Put them into folders for easy access, then pick out some favorites and make a special photo book or print them out for new wall frames.
- Got some land or patio space for containers? Start a veggie garden! Now is a great time to start seeds indoors so they’ll be ready to plant in a couple of months.
- If you haven’t done your taxes yet, might as well get them done and out of the way now so you won’t have to worry about them when it’s safe to go out again.
- Write that book, poem, or music you’ve been meaning to try, or dust off those old paint brushes and let your inner creative child back out again!
The human body is not made to sit as much as we do. And now that we’re spending so much time home, chances are we’ll be sitting even more, so it’s important to keep yourself moving even though you may be stuck in one place.
- Of course at-home exercise videos are a great option. If you don’t already have exercise DVDs collecting dust on your shelf, there are many wonderful streaming services, apps, and YouTube videos to get started.
- Many personal trainers, studios, and yoga masters are posting free, online videos to get yourself moving during the day. There are short 5-minute break ones, or longer full-workout length videos as well. Find what works for your day and get moving. Be sure to try something you’ve never tried before for an added brain bonus. Plus, you may find something that you love that you can continue after quarantine as well!
- Dance! Dance is not only fantastic for your body, but it’s a great stress reliever too. Crank up your favorite tunes and do your own thing, or hop on the internet and participate in TikTok, or take an online dance class (many studies are currently offering free classes) or follow along a how-to in your favorite dance style. Or better yet, try something new! There are videos for all styles of dance, from traditional to social to belly dance, hiphop, Latin, old world, partner dances, tap, and beyond!
- Stretch – Flexibility is an important part of health, so keep those muscles limber. Hey, maybe by the end of quarantine you’ll be doing splits! (Hey – it could happen!)
- Bored kids driving you crazy? Check out the free, online Cosmic Kids Yoga videos. Kids love the stories and silly poses, and it just happens to be good for their bodies too!
- Foam rollers are fantastic for keeping the body AND mind in tiptop shape. Bring the concepts of physical therapy home and pop on a video or check out the MELT Method.
- Incorporate games into the house. Use painter’s tape to make a hopscotch on the floor or to create lines and challenge your family members to see who can jump the farthest. Or, you can use it to create different shapes and throw bean bags for points. Create an obstacle course, throw the ball around in the yard, play kick ball, jump rope, hit a punching bag…. Get creative – there are a lot of options!
- Two words – Disco Party. Put on the groove tunes, crazy clothes, flash the lights, and have some fun Saturday Night Fever style! Laughs guaranteed!
Remind yourself to slow down and breathe every day. We have been forced into a time out, but that can be a good thing. Take the time to restore your body, mind, and spirit. Reconnect with yourself, and let magic happen!
It may feel lonely, but remember we are all in this together, and we are not alone. We’ve got this!