Like most all of you I have been watching the news much more than usual and so much so that I had to take a break yesterday for my mental health. Between last week’s devastating tornadoes here in Middle Tennessee and this pandemic, it’s no wonder I haven’t slept well. I am not someone who normally suffers from anxiety. I get stressed out, sure, and I tend to overthink and fret about things because I can be a control freak. I’ve made sure to take my anti-stress supplement and CBD oil. (Can you do shots of CBD oil? Just kidding.)
I thought I’d share some ideas for you about ways to unplug and be supportive while we are being encouraged to engage in “social distancing.” And if you are looking for things to do with your kids (Metro Nashville Schools are now closed), here’s a great post with tons of free online educational and entertainment content kids age preschool through high school.
Support Your Local Restaurants – Now is the perfect time to make an excuse to not cook (not to mention the grocery stores are frantic right now.) Order takeout or buy gift cards from your favorite restaurants and help support these businesses during an economically uncertain time.
Support Your Local Businesses - Same goes for your favorite mom and pop shops…opt to do your shopping at your favorite local stores rather than the big box retailers or buy gift cards to use later when things calm down. Need to buy a baby or wedding gift? Instead of heading to Amazon or another online store, consider heading to your favorite local gift shop.
Catch Up on Your Reading - I have a goal to read two books per month in 2020 and so far so good. If you want an economic way to load up on books, check out your library’s local ebook selection. Here in Nashville we have this service and I love requesting books be put on hold to download to my Kindle. Better yet, combine this tip and the one above and support your favorite local bookstore! Here in Nashville, Parnassus is a fave for book lovers, plus they host wonderful author events.
Garden - I’m definitely thankful that the Coronavirus epidemic is hitting in springtime as warmer weather sets in. Gardening is incredibly therapeutic, whether you’re planting veggies, herbs or flowers. Make this a family project and plant a theme garden – Pinterest has tons of ideas! You could plant a fairy or butterfly garden or a family favorite flower garden featuring everyone’s favorite flower. I’ve been ripping weeds out of our flower bed. Very therapeutic. 😉
Get Fit - If you don’t feel comfortable hitting your local gym, research the tons of exercise videos and programs available online. Personally I like to do workout videos on YouTube, streamed to my TV. They’re free and unlike a class I can pause the workout if my dogs try to attack my head while I’m planking or even stop a workout I’m just not feeling and find a different one! A lot of places are offering free online courses right now as well. Check out these classes from Core Power Yoga.
Flex your DIY Muscles - Have you been wanting to paint your spare bedroom or refinish a piece of furniture? Now’s the time.
Work a Puzzle or Play a Game - I can’t remember the last time I worked on a jigsaw puzzle but I picked one up a few weeks ago (brand new in box) at a local thrift store and we’ve been slowly working on it. Do you like board games or card games? Have you ever tried chess?
Get Organized - I work from home 90 percent of the time now so telecommuting is not a new thing for me and you can tell by the state of my desk. Ha! I spent a couple of hours this week going through piles of paper work, giving my desk a good cleaning and ordering a few new supplies, like a new quiet wireless mouse and a mousepad.
Reach out to Friends and Family - I don’t know about you, but I text way too much now. Take the time to call a friend or family member or even work on getting birthday cards and addressing them so they are ready to be mailed.
Enjoy Nature - Hike, ride your bike, walk your local greenway, walk the dog, head to your neighborhood park, have a picnic, fly a kite, play fetch with your dog or go horseback riding.
Volunteer at Your Local Animal Shelter – Studies have shown that pets can help lower our blood pressure. Volunteer at your local shelter, whether it’s by walking the dogs or collecting supplies.
Hang Out With Your Pets - Speaking of dogs, when was the last time you really had some quality time with your pet above and beyond walking them or just hanging out with them at home? Take your dog to the dog park or to your local pet store (we’re big fans of Nashville Pet Products here.) Or take them with you on your next errand. My older daughter and her boyfriend took two of our dogs through the drive thru at Chick Fil A today! Play with your cat (a laser light is always a winner.)
Bake or Cook - Take advantage of being home more to cook or bake. Start testing your Easter dinner menu or try a new recipe you’ve been wanting to tackle.
Travel Virtually - You can explore so many places from home. Here’s a great article listing museums such as the Louvre that offer virtual tours. Reading travel blogs is another great way to indulge in some armchair travel. Here’s a list of 50 to follow. You could also start researching your next vacation (I’m already planning our Christmas break trip to NYC, although it may have to be in 2021.)
BONUS - Get cultured! The Met has added free online streaming of performances.
Now is the time to protect our minds from the barrage of media. I’m going to still keep up with the news, of course, but limit it to a few minutes a day. And be sure to take care of your health – get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, eat good food and limit stress. Now’s a great time to try that meditating app you downloaded but never tried or to get a FitBit and track your steps.
What are you doing to take your mind off the news and stop worrying about Coronavirus? I’ll add another one that may seem shallow but SHOPPING online can take your mind off current events. Consider supporting small businesses and artisans by shopping at Etsy.
Disclosure: This blog post contains some affiliate links for Amazon for which I receive a very small commission.