Top 10 ways to remain active and engaged

It’s incredible to think about how quickly things can change from one moment to the next in ways you never could have imagined. Within the span of three short months, the course of the entire world has altered and grinded to a halt (unless of course you are on the health care front lines). Although we’ve known that the threat of a viral disease has and will always be a possibility, it seems nothing can prepare you for the very real effects it can have on every aspect of day-to-day life. For most of us, our new and strange reality includes cancelled travel plans, FaceTimes or Zoom instead of coffee dates or work meetings, and changing from pyjamas into sweatpants to start our work day. And to be honest, for the first few days I found this new routine to be a fun little break from the norm, but like any new, exciting thing, the novelty eventually wears off.

At our core, we as people enjoy a sense of routine and purpose in our days. That’s why even during chaotic times and in times of extreme isolation and boredom, the most important thing we can do for our bodies and minds is keep active and busy. Here are some top 10 stay-at-home activities to help you stay sane while navigating this strange time of social distancing and self-isolation:

1. Stick to a schedule

As mentioned above, we feel our best when we’re busy and have a routine. Creating a schedule for yourself will help you prioritize what you need to do and maybe help you accomplish a few tasks that you’ve been wanting to tackle.

2. Stay in touch with friends and family through calls and video chats

Although meeting with friends is not advised for the foreseeable future, talking on the phone and keeping up with friends virtually is a great second option to help you stay and feel connected to the important people in your life. Make a plan to video call at a certain time and have a glass of wine of a cup of tea together.

3. Subscribe to an online workout service and practice with it daily

There are loads of great streaming services out there designed to do at home that help you get moving and working up a sweat. Our streaming service, Body Harmonics On Demand is a perfect option for at-home workouts as many of the videos do not require any equipment or a ton of space. The Pilates classes are lead by founder, Margot McKinnon, M.Ed., and cater to all levels and abilities to leave you feeling strengthened and rejuvenated.

4. Practise good hygiene

It can be tempting when you don’t have to interact a lot with other people or be in an office setting to let self-maintenance routines slip through the cracks. “No one’s going to see me anyway!” However, keeping yourself clean and even pampering yourself a little extra will help you to feel more at ease and add a sense of normalcy to this senseless time.

5. Get dressed each morning

Getting dressed each day helps to put you into a productive mindset and break up the day. It can make the day feel long and sluggish when we wake up and spend the whole day in PJ’s and then crawl back into bed. Getting up and putting on even just a pair of jeans to do chores around the house and work on the computer can make all the difference.

6. Get outside for a walk

Make sure to get outside (if you are in quarantine, opening a window or stepping into you backyard or onto your balcony is an option). Fresh air and a change of scenery is hugely helpful to our mental health and walking has proven benefits of lowering anxiety levels and increasing the flow of endorphins.

7. Engage in a creative activity for an hour or so each day

Having a creative outlet is a great stress release and helps to calm and focus our brains. This could be painting, drawing, writing, baking, even starting an indoor vegetable garden (after all, Spring is finally here)! If you play an instrument, taking some time each day to practice or learn a new song is a great option. Coloring or painting are also relaxing activities that you can do alone or with a family member or roommate.

8. Find a good book and read a chapter every day

There’s no better feeling than diving into a good book and looking forward to reading a new chapter each day. If you have books lying around your home, see if there’s one you haven’t read before, maybe that you’ve been meaning to get around to. If there’s a classic go-to favorite that brightens your spirits, grab that and find a cozy nook to curl up in.

9. Cleaning and organizing

Cleaning and organizing can be incredibly therapeutic. And since Spring has arrived, you might be due for a little spring cleaning anyway! Whether it’s organizing your drawers and making a give-a-way pile of old clothes or vacuuming the house, cleaning and organizing is a productive use of time that will leave you feeling accomplished and more at ease.

10. Games and puzzles

If you’re living with a significant other, family members or roommate(s) during this period of quarantine, board games, cards and puzzles are a great activity option. Don’t have a board game or puzzle handy? Download the Heads Up app or a trivia app on your phone and let the fun and games begin!

There’s no doubt that these are challenging circumstances and it may be some time before things get back to normal. But establishing a routine and finding new ways to keep busy and happy will be the best way through it all. Who knows? Maybe we’ll all come out of this with a new perspective and even some new skills!