Whether sheltering in place is your ideal scenario or your worst nightmare, one thing is true: we all have a lot more time on our hands.
Many people already work from home regularly, but the current pandemic has canceled everything else that typically occupies our time. I’m sure most people are experiencing what life looks like with kids at home all the time, no dining out, no outside entertainment or shopping, and no significant family or friend gatherings.
So Much Time, So Little To Do
Now that our schedules have freed up, what do we do with all the extra time on our hands? What should we do? The surge in Netflix and Disney+ traffic tells us that many people are using the spare time to catch up on some binge-able TV shows. However, there are many worthwhile projects and activities that will keep you occupied if you do a little digging.
Here are some ideas and tips on how to maintain sanity while sheltering in place, because who knows how long it will last.
Pick Up Your Lost Hobby
That’s right. Now is the perfect time to pick up your old or paintbrushes and dust off the proverbial cobwebs. Maybe you’ve had a half-finished woodworking project in the garage. Break out those tools and make something.
Many businesses and educational institutions that offer online courses are now giving them away for free for a limited time. If you’ve always been curious about web development, graphic design, data analysis, or acquiring another language, now is your opportunity to jumpstart your learning.
For many people, the forced isolation will bring them to one end of the spectrum or the other. Even though we need to shelter in place, we can still lift heavy things in the garage, go for a run outside, or drag out the old stationary bike and put it to good use. We also have the chance to cook more food at home, which is consistently shown to be a part of a healthy lifestyle. Many YouTube channels can show you how to get a great workout in or cook a healthy meal at home.
Explore Long Crafts
With all their normal activities and extracurriculars canceled, kids can take the time to engage in long crafts like challenging puzzles or problem-solving tasks. Invite your kids to do something like building a boxcar or wagon with materials they can find around the house and garage. For older kids, try challenging them to fix a broken, but reparable, appliance, or make some homemade ice cream and try to create their own flavor. These long crafts should take at least a few hours, possibly even a few days or weeks, and will require that your kids think and do research on their own.
Family Game Time
Make the family game night a daily occurrence. If that sounds exhausting, make it shorter than an entire night full of board games. Choose a board game and only play one game, or maybe only play for 45 minutes. Try setting the board game out on the table in the morning, so the kids will know it’s coming and have something to anticipate. Then, have the kids choose the game in the morning, or have them choose several and have a family vote on which game to play for the night. Don’t have many board games to choose from? Check out a digital one you can play with only a smartphone and app.
Take Long Walks
Right now is the time to experience what it’s like to live life slowly. After dinner, get the whole family together to take a walk outside with no intended destination or duration. Try to spur on a meaningful conversation with your spouse or one of the kids. Keep a comfortable pace and ask what they learned today or what they’re excited about for tomorrow.
Ways to Help
First responders need supplies that are hard to come by these days. Some people are making DIY medical facemasks, so they don’t feel the need to buy them, possibly taking the masks away from medical professionals. If you know any first responders personally, contact them to see how you can provide for their needs or the needs of their family.
Do you have neighbors who are elderly or immunocompromised? Grocery shopping might be difficult or dangerous for these people. Offer to pick up groceries or medical supplies for them and leave them at their front door.
The number one thing to do during a shelter in place order is precisely that: stay home. It’s okay to leave the house to get some exercise or walk your pet but reduce unnecessary travel and commuting.
A reminder as we are all self-isolating, if you see your neighbors, make sure to smile and say hello. Some people may feel fearful, and it could brighten their day to have a safe, neighborly interaction. While you’re making the most of your spare time, check out some of our other blog posts.