As people around the world are being asked to stay home and practice social distancing to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19, self-isolation is becoming a fast reality for many. The thought of spending weeks cooped up in your house can be overwhelming and a little scary, especially if you’re someone who enjoys staying social and hitting that daily step count.
So how can you stay active, healthy, and happy while you’re social distancing? With some creativity (and these helpful tips) you can turn this time of uncertainty into an opportunity to nurture your physical and mental health.
14 Ways to Stay Healthy and Active During Social Distancing
Keep up Your Fitness
- Try an online yoga or fitness class. There are a plethora of subscription-based websites that offer online and streaming fitness classes. But in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, many yoga and fitness studios have extended their class offerings to include free live stream classes via Facebook Live, or trial options of their online fitness subscriptions. You can also find a wide variety of free workout videos on YouTube, including ones that would make a perfect low-impact workout.
- Create an at-home fitness routine. Grab a couple of soup cans or water bottles for curls, arm raises, and tricep extensions. If you have a set of steps, you can do a stair-climbing workout. Customize your routine to your current fitness level and ability.
- Get in a good stretch. A nice, slow stretching session can help target those tight hamstrings and hip flexors that result from extra TV time or sitting. Roll out a mat or blanket and work on your flexibility!
- Go for a walk. Take a walk around the neighborhood or visit a nearby park. Since it’s best to stay local during this time, check out regional parks in your area for a change of scenery. Just confirm that they’re open before heading out. A Mobile Medical Alert system can also help to keep you protected when you’re out.
- Catch up on yard work. Spring is a great time to clean the yard up after a long winter. Pick up stray leaves and branches, weed the beds, or plant a garden. Bonus: fresh air and sunshine, both of which can help lift your spirits.
- No backyard? Open a window or spend some time on the balcony. Soak in the fresh air, take some deep breaths, and notice how your stress level and mood respond.
Prioritize Mental Health
- Stay connected with loved ones. Call friends or family often to check-in. If you have the ability, set up a video chat through FaceTime, Skype, or Facebook to have a virtual “hangout” experience.
- Learn a new skill. Now’s a great time to try out a new activity or hobby. Creative writing, drawing, painting, baking, learning a language—the options are endless.
- Keep the mind active. Stay sharp with fun games like Sudoku, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, chess, or Scrabble.
- Try meditating. If it sounds intimidating, think of meditation as focusing on your breath and being mindful of how you feel in the moment. There are many free websites and apps for learning how to meditate. Or just start by sitting in a comfortable chair with your eyes closed or softened, and breathing slowly, in and out. Notice how you feel afterward.
- Keep a regular routine. Wake up at a consistent time, get dressed, eat at your normal meal times, exercise, and as much as possible, stick to your typical day-to-day lifestyle.
- Learn new recipes. Take this time to sharpen your culinary skills. Focus on pantry staple recipes and challenge yourself to use ingredients you already have on-hand, to limit your need for grocery shopping. Plus, home-cooked meals are nutritious and healthy—and your body will thank you for it.
- Keep a regular eating schedule. Similar to maintaining a regular daily routine, try to stay as in sync with your typical eating habits as possible. If you find yourself snacking mindlessly or stress eating, acknowledge it, and then try to redirect that energy: take a couple of deep breaths, get up and walk around, or drink a tall glass of water. And speaking of water…
- Stay hydrated. Healthy hydration keeps your appetite in check, your digestion functioning properly, and can help with brain function, mood, and concentration.
While it’s great to stay active and positive at a time like this, also know that you do not have to master a new skill, write a novel, or accomplish a huge to-do list right now. It’s ok to just be, to feel your feelings, to take it slow, and to breathe through it. Just stay as healthy and active as possible so you can feel your best, physically and mentally.