Updated: Dec 13, 2020
With the majority of the world respecting the instructions to self-isolate for the next several weeks, things are about to get weird. Mostly because most of us have never had the experience of isolation for extended periods of time. Sure in the beginning it's catching up on shows, playing games, and straightening up the house. After a few days though things begin to change. Boredom sets in. Restlessness. Uncertainty of when this is going to end. That is when things can get tense. So here is a list of things you can do to maintain a healthy mindset!
We all have a bunch of books we picked up and maybe got through one or two chapters, put down, then never looked back. Perhaps some of them have never even been opened! Now is a great time to catch up on some reading! If you don't happen to have any physical books on hand you can always download one onto your computer, phone, or tablet.
Reading books improves memory and empathy, it reduces stress and depression and just improves our overall mood. There are even studies that show how reading can reduce our chances of developing Alzheimer's later in life!
As a side note, leave the audio books for background when doing other activities.
There are tons of things to create within your home. Creating stimulates the imagination and opens the heart and mind to unlimited possibilities. Creating develops observation skills, problem solving skills and boosts self esteem. There is nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment! Here is a really basic list of some of the things you can create!
With nothing more than a piece of paper and a pencil you can set your imagination to work! Add in a YouTube tutorial and away you go! I recommend Zen Doodling! Watch some Zen Doodling at work, or order a fantastic book and draw anytime!
*if you don't have a pencil and paper you can always draw with your finger on your tablet or phone. You can get the full version of Autodesk Sketchbook for iOS free on the app store.
There are thousands of patterns you can print off the internet and color. Some grocery/drug stores even carry coloring books and crayons too! Coloring and painting apps are available for your tablet and phone. My wife loves the color by number apps! Or order some great books online!
Grab some paper and a YouTube tutorial, or a website step-by-step guide and you too can learn the ancient art of Japanese paper folding! You can also order paper, how-to books and all-in-one kits online! They even have themed guide books like Star Wars and Harry Potter!
Puzzles are a great way to build mental skills and kill hours of time. Buffalo Games and Ravensburger have some of my favorites! They also make great gifts!
If you happen to have some material to do these things there are tons of fun things you can create! If you haven't seen some Amigurumis yet, check them out! If this is something you might want to get into, there are tons of supplies at places like Michael's and full kits you can order from online! Dedicated amigurumi books and patterns can also be found on-line!
NEW!! Perler Beads -
The family and I have had a TON of fun with these over the summer. We even made our own 8-bit video game Christmas tree ornaments and they look fantastic! Especially with teens, it's really hard to get everyone on board with "family time" and this went over like gangbusters!
You can pick these up at a craft store like Michael's or order them online. I recommend getting a full kit like this. if it goes over well I would add 1 or 2 buckets, additional pegboards, and more, red, black, and white beads as you use mostly these colors. They even have themed sets like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Legend of Zelda and Super Mario 3!
DIY Projects -
The internet is full of DIY things that you can create with nothing more than regular house hold items. Better yet! There are DIY projects that can turn regular household objects into works of art!
Throw on some music or an audio book and let your creative juices flow! Who knows, you may find your next or even first hobby!
Most work-from-homers know the importance of a daily routine. Without a basic routine everything begins to feel a bit chaotic moving from day to day when we remove work and school for long periods of time. Not to worry, there are a few things that will help keep you grounded and feeling comfortable.
Wake up and go to sleep when you normally would. That's right! Maintaining your sleep schedule lets your body and mind know that not much has changed.
Get dressed everyday. Our clothing helps set our mindset. If you lounge around in your pajamas all day your mind has a difficult time accepting that you have things to do. This may result in difficulties feeling motivated or inspired and can affect your ability to focus on the task at hand.
Treat your weekdays like a workday. If you are unable to work from home then work in other ways. Take an online course, read a book that teaches you something, work on a project, etc. The idea is to maintain as much of your regular day-to-day routine as possible. Does that mean that you have to do it for 8 hours Monday - Friday with a 1 hour lunch break? I will leave that decision up to you, however I would recommend at least 6 hours a day. I know, I know, hear me out though. Whether we realize it or not a job creates purpose and meaning for many of us. Once removed, we can begin to feel listless and not know why. It is for this very reason that retirees end up picking up part-time jobs, or going back to school if they do not have hobbies that take up a significant part of their days. Maintaining a daily structure of work and/or learning can greatly reduce stress, restlessness and worry for many people. Surprising I know.
The gyms might be closed but there is no reason to not exercise your body!
For now, we can still go for a short walk or run outside. There are also loads of YouTube videos with Yoga, Pilates, and workouts that require no weights. Exercise showers your brain with good chemicals like endorphins that make us feel amazing! For those of you who have been putting it off because of time restrains or other priorities... no more excuses now.
Want to know the best part though? Exercise doesn't have to involve push ups and stair climbing. There are lots of ways to move your body!
Spinning poi is a great way to move your body and learn a really cool skill as well!
!!PlayPoi is an excellent source for online learning on YouTube. I have included some links below. You can get everything you need from a nearby dollar store.
Crank up some music and cut a rug solo or with your family. You burn an average of 330 calories from 1 hour of dancing so turn off the lights and have a flashlight rave.
!!Break out some Halloween costumes and have a Halloween dance party!
!!Hit up that dollar store and grab some glow sticks and party like its 1999 baby!
!!Or put on a YouTube tutorial and learn to ballroom, 2-step, waltz, swing, pop-n-lock, shuffle, or whatever strikes your fancy!
Sex is probably one of the most stimulating forms of exercise that is highly underused. On average a woman will burn around 69 calories while men will burn 100 calories in a 25 minute session. Let's not forget all the great, feel good, brain chemicals and the intimate connection and bonding either. Face it, sex is an all around win.
!!For longer-lasting fun, grab a pair of dice and write down an action for each six sides of one die and a body part for the six sides of the other die. Set a timer for 1-3 minutes and you'll find yourself needing to hydrate before you know it!
!!Those of you looking for a more intimate connection check out Tantric practices.
!!If you find yourself wanting to walk on the wild side... Home Depot is still open. Grab around 8 - 10 various lengths of 3/8" rope from 6' to 25', a few carabiners, a sturdy chair or table and... build a living room fort! What did you think I was going to say, hmm?
*always practice safe and consensual play.
Just because we are practicing 'social distancing' and self isolation doesn't mean we can't socialize!
Video Chat -
Almost every social media app has a video function. There are even programs like Google Hangouts and Zoom that will allow for video conferencing, meaning multiple people can join and video chat at the same time. This is a great way to socialize with one or more people!
Twitch is a great place to watch other people do all kinds of things, from playing video games to making stuff! While you wont be able to video chat with them you are able to type in chat with them. Some streamers have thousands of people in their chat so it becomes really chaotic but there are lots of streamers who only have a handful of people in their stream and would be overjoyed with you joining them!
FaceBook Groups -
There are millions of groups on Facebook that you can join and find people to chat with. Most just ask that you be respectful to other group members. Remember that online presence should reflect how you would treat another in real life.
Most gaming consoles have chat features. Partner up with family and friends or make new friends from around the world. There are also lots of games for Android and iOS that offer cooperative play (co-op) and multiplayer features that the whole family can play.
!!Games like Jackbox, Kahoot, and Mario Party are always fun for the whole family.
!!Board games and cards are always a nice way to slow things down, disconnect and ramp up the bonding experience after a nice family dinner too.
When I say this I mean TV (especially the news) and social media. Yes it is important to be informed about what is going on but that's it. Being saturated with information regarding a situation that is highly outside of our control will only present feelings of fear, uncertainty, restlessness, stress, tension, and anxiety to name a few.
Get informed of any current developments and then move on. Binge watching shows can also have negative impacts on overall mood and motivation too, so moderation is always a good rule to stick to. If you need to have something on in the background I recommend a documentary or just throw on Bob Ross.
!!Always remember that your subconscious mind is listening, learning and taking in everything that happens and is said around you. So consider what it is exactly that you want going into your mind when you are not paying attention?
Caffeine is a stimulant and while it was great when we were busy busy busy, not so much right now. An abundance of stimulated energy, in a limited space, with less to do, can create edginess and unease. There are lots of milder hot beverages that work wonders for your nerves and will wake you up too.
Black Tea -Has the most amount of caffeine for teas
Green Tea - More than white tea, less than black tea
White Tea - Least amount of caffeine
Mate Tea- While not exactly a tea it contains more caffeine than black tea however less than coffee. This is a great alternative to coffee or those who are sensitive to caffeine.
Herbal Tea- No caffeine
Rooibos Tea- Not really a tea either however it contains no caffeine.
You don't just have to stick to tea. Adding things like lemon, ginger, honey and ginseng are all popular additions to hot water. Try a few of these and you may be pleasantly surprised at how your day and overall mood change!
Alcohol in a tense and uncertain situation like this might seem like a good idea, but it is not.
Foremost alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It also eats up dopamine which makes it less readily available for your day to day pleasure. Not to mention adding in a ton of calories and sugar when we are for the most part, home bound.
Everything in moderation truly are words to live by right now because as much as we may hate to admit it, many of our day to day lives have changed drastically.
So how do we curb the crave for that beer and wine? Sparkling water. Yep, sparkling water is the best way to sate the desire for a fizzy drink. Another option is to blend up a smoothly with some frozen fruit.
!!Pour some of that smoothie into Popsicle molds and have one later in the evening.
!!Minimizing caffeine, and cutting out sugar and alcohol for just 2 weeks will improve your sleep. Your mornings will be better, your overall mood during the day will improve and weight loss will become easier. It's not as difficult as you may have been led to believe.
Stay well hydrated my friends and eat good foods!
Work on yourself. Now that time will be slowing down for everyone (given the hustle and bustle of the daily grind has come to a screeching halt) it is time to implement what may come to many as a new concept; Self work. This can come in many forms; meditation, prayer, inner dialogues, one-on-one therapy sessions, group therapy sessions, chakra tuning/balancing, hypnotic recordings, EFT, etc. Just staring out your window, being still, present and in the moment for 30 minutes counts!
Self work is a major component to personal growth and development that many are missing due to time constraints and other life priorities. Now is an excellent time to begin implementing or resuming these building tools into your life.
For those of you who think you don't need to take time to work on yourself, you are the ones that need it the most. Self development never ends. I don't care if you are 'woke' or even 'enlightened' so long as you are alive there will always be another step to take.
The moment you stop learning is the moment you stop growing.
!! I highly recommend working on and improving self communication as well as emotional range. These two skills are not only fundamental in self development, they are highly transferable to real world interactions. The better you learn to communicate and identify emotions within yourself, the better you are able to communicate and identify the emotional states in others! Since all self-work is transferable to real world applications, you get double the benefits for the same amount of effort! This means that no effort placed on yourself is ever wasted. How's that for a guarantee on return for your investment!?
!! I have made our Deep Relaxation hypnotic recording free, as well as reduced the price of our Success Mindset recordings package. Just visit the store page of the website and use the code "relax2020" to get your free recording.
In the weeks ahead I know there will be lots of people who struggle with isolation and the uncertainty of what is to come. Just know that there is always another end to the tunnel and that if you implement even some of these suggestions, the version of you that emerges will be that much better than the you who entered.
For those of you who wish to talk, setup a group session, or one-on-one sessions I will be offering online sessions for a discounted rate during the imposed isolation period. No one is alone, you need only reach out to myself or any one of the extremely talented professionals in your area. We got into this profession to help others and to make a difference. Let us.