The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted our everyday lives. As someone who lives a very active lifestyle and is rarely ever home, I now find myself with a lot more free time in the evenings and on weekends. As tempting as it is to binge-watch Netflix all day, I have challenged myself to engage in activities that contribute to my mental and physical well-being.
Here are some ideas.
It’s an ongoing cycle: Every spring I think about planting a garden. I’ve even gone as far as buying the seed starter kits, soil and the seeds. The reality is in early July I am picking through half-dead plants at my local Home Depot and scrambling to get the plants in the ground.
This year, I finally broke the cycle, and I am happy to report my seeds are planted and so far thriving. For someone who can barely keep a plant alive, this is certainly a personal accomplishment. I also found planting the seeds to be a calming experience. Apparently I am not the only one — according to Hillside, a mental health facility in Georgia, gardening has many psychological benefits, including improving your mood and relieving stress and anxiety. Not to mention the added benefits of increased vitamin D exposure once the seedlings are transplanted outdoors.
Coloring books are no longer seen as an activity just for children. In fact, an estimated 12 million adult coloring books were sold in 2015. For me, coloring provides an opportunity to channel my inner creativity and takes me back to my childhood where the stresses of today didn’t exist.
According to Clinical Psychologist Scott M. Bea, coloring, similar to other enjoyable pastimes, “requires modest attention focused outside of self-awareness,” and therefore, creates a calming effect for some adults.
Ready to feel like a kid again? Here’s Amazon's best sellers list of coloring books for grown-ups.
In-person events like trade shows and seminars may be temporarily on-hold, but that doesn’t mean you need to put your continuing education on the back burner. Check out these virtual conferences offered by the American Marketing Association.
HubSpot is another great resource for expanding your knowledge with online courses on inbound marketing, content marketing, social media and SEO, just to name a few. They even offer several certifications.
To help you stay connected and productive during your social distancing, be sure to check out the tools and resources available through Grow with Google. Here you’ll find topics ranging from getting organized with Google Drive to tips and tricks for working at home.
If you are looking for advice to host better video calls, be sure to read this article, Working From Home Video Conference Call Tips.
I am part of a local running club and our weekly group runs have been canceled. For many runners, these groups are a source of motivation, accountability and friendship. To keep our group engaged, our coach has developed virtual running challenges and we track and share our activities through Strava. We were also encouraged to dress up on St. Patrick's Day, share a photo on Facebook and tag the running store. Prizes were awarded to the winners.
Need motivation to workout at home? Consider recruiting your friends for a virtual workout group. Use tools like Google Hangouts to bring the group together for daily or weekly workouts. There are plenty of exercises you can do without equipment including sit-ups, pushups, jumping jacks and planks.
At Kuno, we just kicked off virtual lunches using our conferencing software, Zoom. This is a great way to stay connected with your co-workers. Don’t have a full hour to spare? Try a virtual morning coffee break.
Social distancing for an extended period of time can take a toll on you mentally and physically, but if you can, find ways to connect virtually with others that have common interests and use this time as an opportunity to take on projects or interests that have always been placed on the back burner.