Many people have been waking up to orders to stay at home for the next 15-30 days, with the potential of even longer quarantines. The coronavirus is causing danger to the whole world, and causing massive fear. There is chaos in the world, people are losing their jobs overnight. The world is changing before our eyes.
As people start to hunker down in the homes for an extended period of time, I realized that most of us are spending way too much time checking the news and social media for updates. Not only is this not helpful, but can actually cause more anxiety and affect our mental health.
I decided to come up with 5 activities you can do at home, for free or low cost, to reduce mental stress and make your quarantine days a bit more bearable.
Disclaimer: I am not associated, nor do I benefit in any way from mentioning any businesses below. These are just apps and things that I personally use.
1.Learn a new language:
You may be thinking this is the last thing you want to do, but hear me out. The best way to get through this crisis is going to be keeping your mind occupied with positive thoughts instead of focusing on the negative. Everyone is sitting around at home, and we are not keeping our brains engaged. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
The WHO(World Health Organization) is recommending to only check the news one to two times per day. Most people are watching the news for hours a day, checking social media in between that and creating more stress and anxiety in their body. Doing an activity that is totally new to you will engage your brain and give you some down time to destress.
One free app that I’ve used to learn a language is Duolingo, https://www.duolingo.com/. It’s free, you can start from beginner level all the way up to fluent, and they make learning like a game, so it’s actually fun.
Another app that’s great for learning a language is HelloTalk, https://www.hellotalk.com/?lang=en. It’s an app that brings together a community of people learning different languages. People can interact through a messenger or video chat to practice language skills. The best way to learn a language is by using it. You learn the language you want by speaking to someone who is native in that language, and in exchange you teach them your language. In this time, we can all use some humanity, and making friends with people all over the world while practicing a new language can be a great way.
2.Cook a new recipe at home, or try a new type of food from your local restaurant takeout (Support local restaurants):
When we’re all sitting at home for days on end, you might be urged to binge on junk food. Many people eat when they are stressed, but try to have healthy food on hand. You will feel much better physically and mentally over the days and weeks that are ahead. Eating healthy food will also be better for keeping your immune system strong. Try some new healthy recipes, or support a local restaurant and order some new type of food that you’ve never tried. I have found lots of good recipes on www.allrecipies.com .
Try this recipe for a spinach and feta pita bake https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/93666/spinach-and-feta-pita-bake/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=Search&clickId=cardslot%201
If you have a craving for something sweet, try these black bean brownies. It may sound gross, but it actually tastes very good, and is dairy, and gluten free. Plus, it uses staples that most people probably already have at home. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/161701/black-bean-brownies/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=Search&clickId=cardslot%201#
Our restaurants and restaurant workers also need a lot support now, more than ever, as delivery is the only way they can sell food right now. Uber Eats and Grub Hub are currently offering free delivery from restaurants https://www.ubereats.com/ , https://www.grubhub.com/. They are also waiving commission fees to restaurants when people order through their service, saving restaurants a lot of money in this time of need.
Delivery Dudes is a Delray based delivery service that delivers food from restaurants, and now also will pick up things from a pharmacy or grocery store https://deliverydudes.com/. Support your local restaurants, and try to order something healthy. In addition to their food delivery, their new service Dudes Bodega, they will pick up anything you need. their website: For a flat fee of $5, Dudes Bodega will offer pick-up and delivery of “anything, from anywhere” that customers need. Local residents who need groceries, prescriptions, and other supplies can have them delivered directly to their door, minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19.
All three food delivery services are providing contact-less drop off to make sure that everyone is staying safe.
3. Workout at home:
It’s important that you get into a healthy routine, while spending a lot more time at home. That means not spending the whole day and night in your pajamas. If you have been working out, make sure to keep up with the same consistency you were before being stuck at home. If you haven’t been working out, this is the perfect opportunity to start. Start out with 30 minutes a day and build up from there.
I usually workout at Slash Fitness in Delray https://slashfitpro.com/, they are the best! Since gyms are closed, they decided to post free workout videos, and nutritional advice to their Facebook page every day. They also created an initiative called #BetterTogetherDelray , where you can donate to a local restaurant in exchange for watching their workouts.
Another good resource for working out at home is https://www.fitnessblender.com/ . They have different videos that you can choose from with filters of how long, intensity, and with or without weights.
4. Spend time with your family-
Many people are spending more time with their family than usual. I’ve heard many stories about having to adjust to being in close quarters with family for so long. It’s easy to become irritated, and lash out at each other, but take advantage of this quality time together, because you may not have an opportunity like this again. Instead of spending most of your time separately looking at your phones, or watching the news, be more present with whoever you live with. Go for a walk outside (stay at least 6 feet away from people), play a board game, do a puzzle. Talk about things that have nothing to do with coronavirus.
If you don’t have anyone that you live with and are stuck inside try using Zoom, https://zoom.us/ . With Zoom, you can create a videochat with up to 100 people at one time. You can have a family reunion without a bunch of people having to fly across the country.
5. Build a raised bed vegetable garden
(This past weekend me, my wife, and my baby Amelia set up this raised bed garden outside our office)
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as planting a seed that ends up growing into food you can eat. Many people find gardening very stress relieving. With many people spending a lot of time inside right now, it’s a great time to get outside and plant a garden. Also, this could be a great way to provide food assistance, to someone that may be struggling and need some help. All you need is a raised bed ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D7LLEHW/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_Ew8EEbHJCXPR2 ), dirt ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07146W7F4/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_qB8EEb6T9ZM99 ), and seeds ( https://www.amazon.com/Vegetable-Varieties-Black-Duck-Brand/dp/B06XDT5MLT/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=vegetable+seeds&qid=1585170233&sr=8-3 )
Even if you don’t have a backyard, or space to grow a garden, you can grow an indoor hydroponic vegetable garden that takes up very little space. ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R5T8G8G/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_eE8EEb9APQJ72 )
I hope these tips will help you get through the next couple of weeks a little easier.