This week has brought changes to the lives of millions of people who have been asked to stay home. The novel coronavirus has changed the routine of nearly everyone I know. Many of us have gone from incredibly busy social lives to confinement at home with or without other friends or family members. It may be tempting to spend a lot of the time binge-watching shows or playing video games, but there are better solutions that can help you survive or even thrive in the days ahead.
1. Read A Free Book
There are a number of sources where you can download free books. One website, Open Library, allows readers to search their site for a place to find a free version of hundreds of books. Search the site by subject or author, and you will be directed to a source that allows you to read the book of your choice and escape to another world.
2. Write A Letter To A Loved One
Writing letters is a lost art in these digital times, but there is nothing better than finding a card or letter from your loved one in the mailbox, and when it is written by hand, the letter becomes extra special. Can’t think of much to say? Make a handcrafted card instead. A work of art will be appreciated for years to come.
No stamps? No problem. There are a number of places to buy and print stamps from home, including the US Postal Service.
3. Cook Something Fun In The Kitchen
Think of all of the times that you rushed home to make a frozen dinner or brought home carryout. Now revel in the time you have to prepare a delicious home-cooked meal that you can serve at the dinner table. The internet is filled with recipes and cooking apps, but you might not have all the ingredients for any one recipe or even be able to find what you need at the store.
Try using a website such as Super Cook to enter the ingredients that you do have on hand to make something delicious.
4. Work Out!
Exercises classes are canceled, and gyms are closed, but there are other ways to stay fit than a workout in a social setting, which is definitely off-limits for many people right now.
Find new ways to stay active. Play soccer in the yard, crank up some music and dance, or take the dog for a walk (remember to stay 6 feet away from other people while outside). You can even download a free app that helps you get ready for a race such as Couch to 5K, which is designed to help a beginning runner get in shape for a run.
5. Sharpen Your Brain
Spend some time exercising your brain by doing puzzles. Puzzles to Print has hundreds of brain teasers that you can download and print for free, and they include everything from word searches to Suduko. And while not everything is free on this wonderful website, you can find something for every skill level at Puzzles To Print.
6. Practice Staying Calm
Life is stressful right and finding yourself with too much time on your hands can lead to excessive worry and increased feelings of anxiety. Listening to calm background music is one way to create a peaceful atmosphere and even promote sleep.
There are plenty of free videos on the web that can do just that like this one with music by Peder B. Helland that runs for three whole hours.
Need more than just music to feel in control? Meditation is an excellent way to take a deep breath and center yourself as you face uncertainty and stress. There are plenty of free web-based programs or apps that you might want to explore to guide your meditation experience.
Smiling Mind is an excellent blog that has many resources to help you calm down and meditate and offers a free app as well. Find out more at Smiling Mind.
8. Bake Something
Cooking is an excellent way to express creativity, and in the words of Regina Brett, “If baking is any labor at all, it’s a labor of love.” Olive Magazine features 32 baking recipes that you can put together in under one hour.
9. Practice Gratitude
One of the most powerful things you can do during the days and weeks ahead is to practice gratitude. Expressing appreciation for what you have promotes feelings of positivity that helps you feel better inside and can be felt by those around you as well.
Consider keeping a gratitude journal that may help you sleep better, feel happier, and stay healthier. Learn more at Greater Good.
10. Make your own list!
Creating a list is an act of hope and a way to prepare for the future. Make a list of things you might do in the coming days at home, books to read, what you done or even things you will do when life returns to normal.