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Ideas for at-home fun and relaxation

Ready for a new mindset while you're staying home? You’re not alone.

The COVID-19 pandemic means many of us are sheltering in place. While staying home is the right choice, you might find yourself feeling isolated and struggling to cope at times. 

But even if you’re physically distant from friends and family, you can still seek support, find joy and create meaning. A change in daily life can signal a time to change your outlook. Start by establishing some new routines.

The importance of routines

“When we don’t have a routine, much our time is spent trying to establish one,” says Mark Flanagan, LMSW, MPH, MA, a social worker at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont. “Without a routine, we often pay attention to the things that are most ‘flashy.’ When big news happens, we tend to focus on it more.”

Here are some ideas for setting routines:

Create a daily self-care ritual.  “Self-care is health care,” says Angela Buttimer, MS, NCC, RYT, LPC, a licensed psychotherapist at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont. “When your stress levels are too high, you won’t be able to recover from or prevent illness as easily as someone who practices self-care to relieve stress.” Ideas for self-care might include journaling, exercising or practicing a hobby.

Adapt familiar routines to a new setting. Miss going to the gym? Workout videos and streaming classes can help you train at home. Did you go to church every Sunday? Many congregations have temporarily moved services online.

Try something new

Always wanted to pick up a musical instrument? Need a new way to decompress? Extended time at home may be the perfect time to try something new.

Use mind-body techniques to relieve stress. Practices like mindfulness, meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong and journal writing have been shown to help alleviate stress.

Practice a new language. With free apps and online language courses, you can try a new language or pick up again with one you haven’t studied in years.

Get cooking. Dust off those old cookbooks! It’s a great time to try a big baking project or get creative with pantry staples.

Stay connected with people

Don’t forget about socialization. Even if you live alone, the internet makes it simple to stay in touch with family and friends.  

Stay in touch with friends virtually. Video-enabled calls are easy through your phone and computer. Play online games or just catch up.  

Help others in your community. By donating money, sewing masks and calling neighbors to check in, you can make a difference (without even having to leave your house).

Let your kids suggest activities. If you’re spending all your time with your kids these days, it’s OK to let them lead the way from time to time. “It's important to give children choices when you can,” says Lauren Seale, M.Ed., CHES, a Piedmont Employee Wellbeing wellness coordinator. “When children have some control over their choices, they feel respected and are often more agreeable.

Don’t forget: Have fun

  • Start a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Rewatch your favorite movie or TV show.
  • Dig up your favorite albums and play them start to finish.
  • Set up an indoor scavenger hunt for your kids.
  • Plant an herb garden.
  • Take a long bubble bath.
  • Listen to an audiobook or podcast.
  • Play board games with your family members or housemates.
  • Bake cookies.
  • Eat more meals together as a family – not just dinner.
  • Relax on your porch or deck with a good book.

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