Even if you’re not quarantined for having the COVID-19 virus, you are likely being politely, yet firmly, asked to stay at home as much as possible. While I could talk to you about how important physical activity is for your heart health, this is also the time to talk about the importance of taking care of your mental health.
Being stuck at home can lead to depression, stress, or bad habits–such as drinking, smoking, or over-eating. In turn, these can lead to higher blood pressure, lack of sleep, or higher blood sugar–all risks for a heart attack or stroke. So, here are a few simple things you can do to help exercise your brain while stuck inside.
Call or video chat with friends and family – if you’ve never tried video chatting with someone, you’ll be surprised just how much you feel like you are there with them. I personally use Facebook as it has a video chat function that works on any device, but Apple’s Facetime is also a good option.
Play a board game – you may have to search deep in your closet or attic, but a family night with your favorite board game will stop you from getting, well, bored.
Complete a puzzle – when was the last time you tried to find the right “sky blue” piece for a puzzle? Searching for the right puzzle piece will take your mind off the Coronavirus.
Read a book – yes, you could binge on Netflix but reading a book has an extra mental benefit: it requires your mind to imagine the scene being described on the page.
Make a new recipe or bake a cake – remember that recipe you’ve had pinned for months? Now is the time to give it a try or bake some creative cookies with the kids.
Meditate or pray – find a quiet place in your home and spend some time either meditating or praying. While you do so, let your breathing slow and your mind empty itself of worldly distractions.
Keep a gratitude journal – it can be easy to focus on all the calamities and concerns surrounding you each day. To help balance them out, keep a daily journal of all the things you are thankful for, that day.
Spring clean – Spring has not been postponed. It’s a good time to organize your closet or clean that guest room that has 6 years of dust on it.
Tackle a home project – fix the fence, stop the faucet leak, do some gardening, or wash the car. That feeling of accomplishment will help improve your mental health.
Go for a walk – unless you are in true quarantine, you can still go for a walk outside. My wife and I are doing so daily. Not only is the fresh air and exercise good for you, but that time allows us to discuss our feelings and thoughts without the distractions of the TV or the internet.
Add to the list – there are many more things you can do to help your mental health, so my last suggestion is to flex your mind-muscle and come up with some ideas of your own. 😉