“Lockdown,” “social distancing,” “shelter in place.”
These are some of the new terminology being bandied about by public officials nowadays. They have become part of the “new normal.” But there is nothing normal about the coronavirus pandemic now sweeping the world. A trip to the supermarket fills you with dread as you don your mask and gloves, wondering if you will become another statistic.
Common sense demands you obey the stay-at-home order, but mentally you feel if something does not happen quickly, you will crack. Well, you don’t have to. You can stay at home for the next two or three weeks and emerge with your sanity intact. What’s more, you may even enjoy it.
Here are 7 tips to keep your mind busy during the stay at home order:
Learn something new
In this age of information overload, you can learn almost anything you can think of by just paying a visit to Google. You can learn to cook, bake, sew, change a tire, change the oil in your car, paint, write a novel. The list is limited only by your imagination. A lot of these things don’t cost much, and you can learn enough to get by in just 20 hours, according to Josh Kaufman, author of the Personal MBA. You are not trying to become an expert; you are just trying to occupy your mind.
It just so happens to be springtime in the northern hemisphere, so why not use this extra time to declutter your home? Your mind can’t wander while you’re trying to consider whether to get rid of some of those white elephants in the back of your closet or the dress you thought you would be able to get back into after your last pregnancy. And what about your home office? Sorting through and shredding piles of old mail and clearing your inbox can take up most of the time you’re at home.
Play indoor games
Remember when you stayed up half the night playing Monopoly? Why not get out your favorite board game, call the family together, and have fun? Board games are not only enjoyable, but they are also educational, absorbing, and do a lot for your brain. Researchers have found that board games improve logical thinking and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. They also help foster family closeness, which is not often seen during the normal run of things. While you’re decluttering, hold on to your board games.
Another excellent way to occupy your mind while you are forced to be at home is to put on your favorite music and hit the dance floor. You cannot be bored while dancing. Dancing is not only fun, but it is also a great form of exercise and it helps your brain! Dancing engages you mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially unless you’re dancing by yourself. Many studies show that dancing can improve cognitive functioning and even slow down aging.
Prepare yourself for going back to work
This might not seem like something you would want to think about while you are at home but preparing yourself to go back to work can occupy your mind for many hours and have a positive impact on your future. Now may
be the time to problem-solve with colleagues who are at home. You can talk about the challenges you faced and what might be some possible solutions. If you brought files home, you could organize them and make them more orderly. If you were unfortunate enough to be laid off, then you could spend some time brushing up your resume or taking an online course.
Pray and meditate
Regardless of your religious affiliation, spending time daily in prayer and meditation takes your focus off yourself and your challenges and gives you a sense of peace. The Indian Journal of Psychiatry cites studies that show “spiritual meditation to be superior to secular meditation and relaxation in terms of decrease in anxiety and improvement in positive mood …”
Reach out to someone
One thing that has not affected us during the lockdown is our ability to communicate. If you have a phone or computer, you can communicate with loved ones near and far. You can reach out to them via audio calling or Facebook messenger. If you need to have a conference call with a group of friends, you can use Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and other forms of modern technology.
You don’t have to be bored out of your wits during the COVID-19 lockdown. Whether you are a technology buff or an old-fashioned type, you can try one or more of the above tips and see which ones suit you best. Chances are you may become so occupied you won’t notice the passage of time.
You may even be sorry when your stay-at-home is over.
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