You've undoubtedly heard all of the news about COVID19, experienced the madness of the bottled water rushes on the stores, and stocked up more toilet paper than you know what to do with, but you might not have been prepared for the statewide shut down of your child's school.
By Monday March 16th, approximately 29 states across the US had declared that the doors of all schools would be closing to stem the tide of COVID19 infections.
There's no guarantee that more states won't follow suit.
That means a lot of parents scrambling for child care and a lot of bored children stuck inside for up to three weeks or more, waiting until this whole COVID19 situation gets under control.
This can be stressful for both parents and children.
As I've said before, stress weakens the immune system so you should try to do everything in your power to keep calm and stay mindful.
If you have children or you are stuck indoors because of COVID19, here are 20 things that you can to do enjoy yourself and make the time pass faster.
1. Read a Book
This one is obvious. I'm sure you have a book or two that you'd like to catch up on. If so, now's the time. Reading will help to take your mind off of current events while also stimulating your brain.
One study showed that reading a novel caused increases in connectivity in the angular/supramarginal gyri and right posterior temporal gyri, regions of the brain associated with perspective taking and story comprehension .
These increased connections "rapidly decayed" after the study participants finished reading the novel but the effects still lasted over the course of a few days.
Do yourself a favor and read a good book or two and see how your ability to see things from another point of view increases. You may even be able to see the COVID19 situation from a different angle.
2. Take Up a Hobby
Have you been putting off your desire to learn how to knit because you "just didn't have time"?
Well now you do!
Whether you're working from home or not, you can use this time of stillness to pick up a hobby that you've been wanting to try out.
You never know, you might be great at it an use it to change the world.
3. Check Up on a Friend
Have you lost touch with an old friend who has been on your mind?
Now's the perfect time to call them!
They will be overjoyed to hear from you and to know that you are safe.
While we may be practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID19, a phone call, text, video chat, or email can be just the thing to make us all feel a bit closer.
There's a lot of fear around us right now. All of us are afraid to some extent.
Our world is changing right before our eyes and our future is uncertain.
Dealing with these powerful emotions is way more beneficial than shoving them deep down inside or pretending that they don't exist.
Journaling is a great way to do this. It will help you connect to your feelings in a nonjudgmental way and allow you to process them.
5. Start Spring Cleaning
Clutter has become one of the biggest symbols of American society.
We buy things we don't need and keep things we don't want. In fact, we keep things we don't even need.
While that vase from your late Aunt Mildred has sentimental value, the 20 pair of shoes in your closet that you last wore in 2007 probably don't.
Why keep them?
Take an inventory of all the things that you no longer want, need, or use an get rid of them. A good rule of thumb is if you haven't used it in a year, then you probably won't.
Get rid of it and donate it to someone who will.
6. Indoor Dance Party
While I do this with my kids, those who don't have kids will have loads of fun too.
Make sure that you have the perfect ambiance set. Party decorations make it more authentic.
Pick or create your favorite playlist.
Then dance away!
This can help you blow off some steam and make you forget things for a little while.
7. Take a Nap
Napping is one of those things that you hate as a child and long for as an adult.
But with our crazy busy lives, a mid-day nap was a luxury that we just couldn't afford.
With the world grinding to a halt, and the majority of us riding things out indoors, naps have suddenly become much more accessible.
Day time napping not only helps you feel more refreshed but it has been shown to reduce blood pressure .
If you have insomnia or other issues falling asleep, it's best to avoid taking naps or disrupting your normal sleep schedule.
8. Start Writing A Book
I know it may seem silly but almost everyone has wanted to write a book at one time or another.
Why not now?
Now's is the perfect time for you to start writing about whatever it is that sets your heart on fire.
Either write a fiction world as a way to temporarily escape your own or write a nonfiction book to share your knowledge with everyone else.
Writing a book will help you take your mind off of your current circumstances and you could possible make some money in the process.
9. Try New Recipes
If you've been eating the same things for years, now's the time to try something new.
Don't go to the grocery or buy anything new and try to make a new dish from what you already have.
Make it a challenge.
Dig through your pantry like you're going on an adventure.
Maybe you've never roasted cabbage or used the asafetida that you got as a gift for Christmas.
Try new combinations of favorite recipes or create one all on your own.
You might just find something that you'll actually love to eat again.
10. Pray and Meditate
As a Christian, prayer is an important life line to God for me. It has helped me to remain centered and unafraid in the midst of this chaos.
Connecting with a higher power, takes away your anxiety and your sense of helplessness.
There are things in this world that we just won't be able to control.
Unfortunately, COVID19 is one of them.
Worrying about what will happen and how things will affect us isn't productive. We don't know the future, so why worry about it.
Worrying doesn't change anything and, as I continue to say, it weakens the immune system .
So instead of worrying, let's have faith.
Faith that this too shall pass.
What are you doing to pass the time?