How To Cope At Home

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Alli and girl playing a game at a wooden tableThe world is complicated right now. With so many of us hunkered down at home, we are having to get creative in order to keep ourselves busy and entertained. 

The bright side is that most of us have modern luxuries. During the last pandemic in 1918, they didn’t have social media or video chatting. There was no such thing as food delivery from restaurants or drive thru lanes. We have a lot to be grateful for. 

Just because there is a bright side to be found during this time, that doesn’t mean that it is easy. It is not easy. It is okay to feel that way because everyone is right there with you. That means that our job becomes working on keeping our mental health in check. We all try to find the silver linings, but when they aren’t shining all that bright, you might be looking for some additional ways to cope at home. Here are a few ideas for you. 

Binge Some Television – If you are anything like me, you’ve spent a lot of time in your life saying, “I wish I could just stay home and do nothing for a little while.” Well my friends, this is your little while. Take advantage of it! Between all of the digital subscriptions, free trials, physical media and network tv, there are a lot of stories out there to be consumed. 

Do you have a favorite television series that you bought Blu-Rays for, but never watched all the way through? This is the time to make that commitment. Is there a movie series (or four?) that your family is a fan of? Make that the next week or two of dinner entertainment. Instead of seeing this as a time that we are forced to be home, do your best to see the small gift of being given the time to binge some media while also being socially responsible. 

Learn a New Skill – This might sound funny, but when you have the time, you should use it. If you’ve wanted to learn to play guitar and have one in the closet, pull it out! There are thousands of free videos out there that want to help you learn. Do you have tons of nail polish around the house? Learn how to make some fancy nail art with free videos. 

What if you have no extra tools at your disposal? Learn to whistle like a pro, try to clap 20 times in 8 seconds (and keep increasing the number!) or create your own parody of a scene from your favorite movie. There is always something to do, you just need to put your imagination to work. 

Visit Your Community – This is the time to call on your friends, family and community. We can’t do much physically, but we can be there for one another. Send your friends and family funny photos or interact with them on social media. Look for online communities that relate to your world or personal struggles. If you deal with urinary leakage, The Incontinence Community on Facebook is a great place to connect with others who have the same issues. It is a safe and comfortable community where everyone with incontinence is welcome. 

Get a Little Exercise – Even though most of us are living through a “stay-at-home-order,” that doesn’t mean that we can’t get our bodies moving. While we might be feeling like watching tv and eating junk is the new normal, it won’t hurt you to get some endorphins flowing. Exercise and endorphins are linked to an uptick in mental health, so do yourself a favor and get moving!

Anyone can do the standards like jumping jacks, push ups or sit ups without any equipment, but you can also get a little creative by looking online. There are tons of accessible free workout videos available and others that will teach you how to use household equipment (think canned goods or towels) to create a mini gym experience for yourself. Necessity is the mother of invention!

Turn Cooking Into a Game – Being indoors may mean that you find yourself cooking more than you ever have before. If you aren’t grocery shopping much, you may be running out of a few items here and there while having a few stray ingredients left over. This is where cooking can get fun!

Make a game for yourself. Find three ingredients in your kitchen that you’d like to use for dinner tonight and Google them (i.e taco meat, corn, asparagus). With millions of recipe ideas listed online, see what you can create that you’ve never made before. You may find some new favorites and the success of the meal should lift your spirits. 

Have Video Lunches, Dinners and Outings – One of the biggest challenges that many of us are dealing with at this time is loneliness. Whether you are sheltering in place by yourself or with your immediate family, it can be tough to see the same faces over and over, no matter how much you love them. Spread your wings a little and include other people. 

Using whatever technology you have, video chat with your friends and family. Zoom, Facetime, Facebook Messenger and Google Meets are all free options for connecting you “face to face” with other people.

Do you usually have dinner with your parents or specific friends on the weekend? Set a date for the normal night at the normal time. Prepare your own food and meet up with your people to share a digital meal. It may not be at your favorite restaurant, but it will be with some of your favorite people – and that counts. 

The main coping mechanism during this time is going to be finding healthy ways to manage. Focus your energy on something productive or constructive. You will feel better about yourself and when this is all over – which it will be eventually – you can look back at how you handled yourself with pride. 

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