How to Stay Happy and Healthy in Isolation - Covid-19 Creativity

(This blog post was first published on March 14th, 2020)
Children are excited, frustrated or afraid at the idea of school closings. Here is the reason why staying home is the best way to win. The worst part of covid-19 is it easily spread; hence the handwashing and personal hygiene lessons to keep safe that have been bombarding us. But if we stay home how on earth do, we stay sane?
Luckily as a Woman from Wollongong NSW, Australia who has been living in Holland Michigan USA for the last 19 years I have learned a lot!
Without normal routines of school and outside events, sit down as a family and decide upon, mealtimes, time for exercise, reading, bedtime, and importantly how many hours we can spend on devices.
No matter what your physical state, a level of yoga is available for everyone. Did you know that there are free apps, Amazon videos and so many more just search “free yoga” check out the reviewer ratings and try one? It will help calm your mind, improve blood flow and lymphatic flow which all help improve your immunity as well.
Apps like DuoLingo are used by schools the world over. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn in just 30 minutes a day! Check out Rosetta Stone for more extensive options as well.
4. Plan your dream vacation!
Looking at natural landscapes helps relax your mind as well as building excitement for the future. Covid-19 will not be here forever. This moment in time will pass so plan something fabulous for yourself, friends and family.
5. Learn to play the piano or another musical instrument.
Yes, there are amazing apps for that. My favorite it Piano you can find it in either the App Store or Google Play.
6. Follow a nature webcam
Help get you into nature even when your physical space is limited. Nina Mohan published this list on BuzzFeed I am sure there are more out there but this is a fun way to chill out. Or for younger children to learn about animals and perhaps you can build a project around your observations. (I can hear the children excited NOT to be in school groaning, sorry kids)
7. Learn Astronomy!
This is a fun activity the entire family can enjoy depending on your hemisphere there are great tools, apps, and resources available for a free or low cost. You do not need a telescope to learn about the mysteries in the stars.
8. Camping in Your Own Back Yard!
Get outside, tell each other stories, play games like building on each other’s sentences to make up stories. Dig into your own childhood memories and create memories for your family.
9. Baking or Cooking something Fun.
Depending on your location and access to groceries and what you have in your pantry. You will pleasantly be surprised when you google things like “recipes for ramen”, “5 ingredient dinners,” “creative rice meals.” The beauty is you have been given a gift of time so explore, work together, get creative and have fun!
10. At-home Spa Days!
Again, depending on your supplies, if you are like my household there are some crazy nail polish colors you purchased for an event or a day when you were feeling bold but rarely use. Perhaps you have tubes of lotions, moisturizers, and scrubs you don’t often use. Now is the time to drag them out. But what if you do not have these? A long shower or bath or listening to your favorite music with a warm towel on your face (think old school barbershop) and you feel refreshed!
11. Gardening.
For those of us again in the northern hemisphere depending on your location, this could be a challenge. But clearing fall leaves out of your garden beds. Pulling out those weeds that somehow survive the long winters when other plants cannot. Or gardening indoors, caring for indoor plants is great for your mental health, getting your hands in the earth builds connection and pride in your home. This can be a very physical task that helps tire you out. And maybe you have an elderly neighbor that would like a phone call and a teenager to haul away the garden’s hangover from a long winter.
12. Learn how to Sketch or Draw.
There are countless free videos on YouTube that are free and vary with age and ability.
13. Engage Older People.
Connect with Grandma, Grandpa or elderly friends for storytime. Have them read afternoon stories or bedtime stories to your children. Build connections, quality time and memories together with a simple telephone call.
14. Start a Book Club.
You do not need to meet in person, but again this is not bound by age. Your children can pick a book they have been wanting to read and set page or chapter goals and then utilize either group phone or video chat options to share thoughts and ideas about what they have read. It should be shocking to you that given Oprah’s love of her books her site has a guide on How to Start a Book Club yes we need to get creative on what technology you use (Zoom is a personal favorite of mine that has a free option!) but you can have a successful book club! Take that covid-19!!!
15. Rummage through your old boxes
For board games, crafts, and activities you had put away but will bring fun family memories to play again. Even if you must promise your older kids you will not tell anyone that they played that game!!
16. Start getting college-ready
Teenagers or adults considering returning to school can start getting college-ready. Research schools near and far even if you have already started, you have time to check out some of the other schools as well. Also, S.A.T practice tests are available I love this list of free tests published by Allen Cheng in September 2019.
17. STEM Activities for Every Age.
Make your own slim and so many more fun activities are just a google search away. There is a variety online but here's one of my favorites.
18. Call old friends and family members you have not connected with recently.
Human interaction is a fundamental part of a healthy mind. And that being said do not ignore the call from a cousin that did not make it the wedding, this is an opportunity to reconnect.
19. Stay informed but do not watch live news updates all day long,
This only increases anxiety. If you have members of your family with increased levels of fear and anxiety read the news online. I am a huge fan of the BBC but everyone is different. Balance staying informed without creating fear.
20. Bedtime Routine for Sleep.
Without the normal routines and business try some simple old school routines. You did it when you were a child or you had routines when your children were younger it is just important for you now! Like reading a book, showering or taking a bath before bed. Reduce caffeine intake in the afternoon.
21. Start a health challenge!
Increase water consumption set a daily challenge for members within your house for sit-ups, push-ups, duration of time for holding a solid plank. Use that treadmill or exercise bike that you dry your laundry on! If you do not have family members in your home, create a group on your favorite social media platform. Again, use this time to stay healthy and get connected!
22. Cleaning.
Now not everyone enjoys this as much as I do. Have you heard of BlueLand? My first kit just arrived, their products are environmentally friendly, safe around the elderly, kids and pets and reduce plastic use. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Save the oceans and clean your home! (No, I have not been paid to say this but the foaming lavender and eucalyptus and hand soap make this repeated hand washing a LOT more rewarding!)
23. Read
Or listen to the books or Bible stories you have meant to read. You know that stack on your bedside table.
24. Watch TV
And once you have committed to reading for at least 30 minutes a day give yourself permission to binge-watch a tv show or series that you missed.
25. Journal
This is a historical event. This is the first time that individuals have been given the responsibility to reduce the spread of a disease, that may not be deadly to you but could be to others. Journal about how you feel about this, the good things and humanity that you see develop in your home, community, city, state, country and the globe. Everyone counts and has a responsibility, and everyone has their own story to tell. This may be a best seller one day! But if not, it will something for your family to reflect upon for generations to come!

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You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada), or The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386. If you’d like to talk to a peer, contains links to warmlines in every state. If you don’t like talking on the phone, you can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741. 

NOTE: Many of these resources utilize restrictive interventions, like active rescues (wellness or welfare checks) involving law enforcement or emergency services. If this is a concern for you, you can ask if this is a possibility at any point in your conversation. Trans Lifeline does not implement restrictive interventions for suicidal people without express consent. A warmline is also less likely to do this, but you may want to double-check their policies.