The world has been hit with a lot of big changes in the last few weeks. The terms self isolation and social distancing are part of our everyday vocabulary now. Many parts of people’s lives are canceled or put on hold, including travel, school, work, and extracurricular activities. Public spaces that we visit often, like our local recreation centers, science centre and other attractions, and even our library, are temporarily closed.
It is definitely a tough situation for everyone, but for people with mental health issues, it can be more overwhelming as the daily routines they were used to no longer exist. I believe most people understand the strong need for these severe changes, but it will take some time to accept this as out new normal, hopefully just for a few weeks but maybe longer.
If you know someone that deals with anxiety or depression, check in with them to see how they are doing and how they are handling social distancing or self isolation. Aside from their schedules being off, they could be dealing with the fears of the unknown (will I have enough money to pay my bills and rent if my hours are cut back or my work closes down? Will I have enough groceries if I have to self isolate? Will I be able to care for my family if I get sick?).
With so much negative and worry floating around out there now, it’s a good time to focus on the positive. Neighbors are helping neighbors, checking in on the elderly who are at the greatest risk tight now, dropping food of on doorsteps if the family is in self isolation, and helping with childcare if schools are closed but the parents still need to work.
With our busy extracurricular lives put on hold you’re probably hearing “I’m bored!” from your kids more often or wondering what to do with yourself when you’re mom taxi status is on hiatus. To keep the positive thoughts flowing, we can think about the things we can do instead of all the stuff we can’t. Here’s a list of things you can do to fill your time while complying with self isolation or social distancing recommendations.
There’s an abundance of resources being shared on social media right now. You can take virtual tours of popular museums around the world, visit the zoo, or explore famous landmarks around the world. This is also a great list of virtual field trips.
Spend Time With Family
If you’re already in close quarters with family members, you might as well spend quality time with them. Break out the puzzles and board games, curl up on the couch for a read aloud or movie time, or crank the music and dance around the living room.
Speaking of music…make playlists of your current favorites or old school hits that bring back memories. Introduce your kids to music of different decades and genres and check out videos on YouTube. It’s so easy, and quite fun, to fall down the rabbit hole of musical discovery. It’s also a great time to break out the instruments and play together.
Read together or apart, ebooks, audiobooks or paperback. Many libraries are closed but you can still access their online catalogue. Our local library has ebooks and audiobooks available on Overdrive and Libby. We also love the subscription app Epic for 1000s of children’s books, or you can sign up for a free month with Audible for audiobooks.
If you have a yard, play outside with your kids or send them outside on their own if they’re old enough to get a few minutes of peaceful solitude. Or if you’re not under self isolation or exhibiting any signs of illness, get out to a nature space for a walk. Be sure to maintain at least 6 feet from others, aside from family members you’re already in close contact with. Also, pass on the playgrounds for now, as equipment might not be sanitized as often as it should be and the virus could hang around on the plastic or metal equipment for a few days or more.
Spring Clean and Declutter
If you inside anyway, this could be a great time to tackle some projects around the house that have been neglected. Also, if you’re off work, selling a few items that you no longer need could be a great way to bring in a little extra cash.
A lot of educational resource providers have stepped up and are currently offering free resources or discounts on memberships now that a lot of schools are closed. Some of my favorite resources that I have seen in the past few days include:
Amazing Educational Resources
We’ll get through this as a community if we don’t let fear take over, adhere to recommendations and guidelines put in place, and look out for one another.