By Annie Lindgren

For many, life changed drastically once ‘social distancing’ became a daily term. Events canceled, restaurants and bars closed, work and school socializing halted. Many are dealing with increased stress regarding what to do about work, childcare, or pandemic related challenges. As we do what we can right now to help decrease the spread and impact of COVID-19, and keep our sanity, let us consider the things we can do.

Spending more time at home is an excellent opportunity to get those back-burner projects completed. Make a list of all the things that need to get done around home and life, and put that list on the refrigerator, crossing completed items off as you go. It feels good to get things done, and many of these activities provide exercise and entertainment. 

Pull the craft boxes out of the closet, dust the tools off in the garage, and engage in hobbies that you have wanted to make time for or try. Research to learn more about hobbies or engage with a friend who is knowledgeable about it and could help you learn. Order supplies online if something is missing. Watch YouTube videos or read books to learn more. 

Take a walk, run, or bike ride. If you live in town, choose a trail or a sidewalk, and if you are in the country, head down a country road. There is a never-ending supply of paths to cruise down and explore. Exercise, sunshine, and fresh air will help relieve stress and feelings of being stuck indoors. As long as parks and trails are open, there is no harm in enjoying them, just avoid being close to people. 

There are many outside hobbies and sports that you can engage in that are solo or small group activities. Yard or driveway games provide exercise, outdoor time, and fun. Even if you don’t have another to play with, you can always improve your game and show off to others when group activities resume. Lots of outdoor adventure activities can be done solo or with another person, and take you to places without people. 

If you are missing gym time, consider utilizing exercise equipment at home. There are workout videos that you can purchase, or you can find ones to watch online. It is good to get in at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Encourage others in your household to join in or find an accountability partner to keep you motivated. Take this time as an opportunity to add self-care time into your daily routine and learn some new ways of staying fit. 

Take a drive or a road trip to a primitive outdoor location. If you plan carefully, taking all your required food, water, and toiletries, there are many places to camp and go exploring without being around people. Wash and sanitize your hands anytime you are in places other people have been, like bathrooms or gas stations, and research where you want to go, to make sure it’s not closed to the public. We are fortunate to live in a beautiful state that is filled with canyon roads to explore, trails, and backcountry camping opportunities. 

If you have children or other people at home with you, take this as an opportunity to spend more time with them, doing activities together to keep everyone entertained and moving forward. Take walks together, go on drives, or play games, role-modeling healthy ways to cope, knowing that others are also dealing with a lot of changes. Develop new routines together.

If your job or career has been impacted, take this as an opportunity to learn alternative systems for getting your services or products out there. If you lost your job, apply for new jobs, new markets are opening now, and some just in need of changing to move forward. Good things can come from all this.

Think about the things that you have wanted to do with your life, that you may now have an opportunity to do, practice, or learn more about. Read books, listen to audiobooks, take online classes or research topics of interest. Set goals for the future, make a list of things you need to do to accomplish the goals and start working on them. 

Spend time with your pets, or consider it a great time to get or foster a pet. Pets can provide valuable companionship for people who do not have others in their household. Do your research, and make choices with consideration for what your routine will be like after the need for social distancing passes. 

Perfect time for spring cleaning. Get rid of things you never plan to use, donate items that others could use, and prepare for a garage sale or post stuff for sale online. Clean and reorganize your living spaces, so that there is less clutter, and more comfort. Don’t forget the outdoor spaces, as it is about time to get the yard and gardens cleaned up and ready for the season. It could be a great year for gardening. These activities provide exercise and make your living spaces look and feel better. 

Humans need socialization, even during social distancing.  Reach out to friends and family often, especially those who are alone during this time. Give them a phone call, send them a message, or schedule a time to video chat. Take this as an opportunity to reconnect with someone you may have lost contact with or to further connect with those closest to you. Social media is a way to stay connected and an opportunity to spread positivity to those around you who may be struggling too. 

Take this time of social distancing as an opportunity to reconnect with yourself, your life, and your loved ones. It is a time none of us will forget, so why not make the best of it. Remember that you are not alone during this time, just distanced, and that others around you could use support and encouragement in coping, just like you may. Be kind, try and stay positive, offer help when able, and keep moving forward. Stay tuned for more articles diving deeper into the above topics. 

By Annie Lindgren