Ideas to help improve or maintain your physical and mental health during the pandemic.
Even under optimal circumstances, winter can be a tough time of the year. But with the added pressure of the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important for all of us to find a healthy balance.
PeaceHealth behavioral health managers, Carla Gerber and Janet Perez, remind us that it's still possible to have fun while physical distancing and staying safe.
Outdoor activities can keep you moving physically and give you a safe way to engage with friends and family.
- Tap into your inner child. Grab a piece of chalk and draw some sidewalk art or write an inspiring message. Maybe even draw a hop-scotch board so the entire neighborhood can participate.
- Got snow? Don’t just shovel or sweep the driveway or sidewalk. Channel your inner Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) and build a creature or object out of the white stuff just for kicks.
- Explore your town. Take a walk and learn some history. Check out local museums you may not have visited. Or stroll around a new-to-you neighborhood.
- Have a silent disco party. This is the perfect combination of parties from the past while maintaining physical distance. You can rent the headphones and other equipment needed and then just put together your favorite dance tune playlist.
- Host a friendly Olympic-style competition. The Winter Olympics will take place in February 2022, but you can get a head start with your own tournament. It’s a good way to get the entire family in on the fun. Some ideas to get you started: Three-legged race, hula hoop challenge or baseball.
- Enjoy nature. Dust off your binoculars and go birdwatching.
The great outdoors may lower a person's blood pressure and the sunshine provides vitamin D which helps our bodies absorb calcium for strong bone growth. Carla notes that, “getting outdoors and even just going for a short, brisk walk around the block can invigorate the spirit and change a grumpy mood into an attitude of gratitude.”
Indoor activities can help you stay mentally healthy—which is just as vital.
- Write in a gratitude journal. Starting or ending your day with this activity puts your day in perspective and can lead to long-term happiness.
- Create a sleep resolution. You can start by removing screens from your routine within the last 30 minutes before bedtime. You might also find it helpful to limit late-day coffee and pare down unnecessary distractions from your bedroom.
- Start a meditation routine. Not only can it help you to maintain better focus and concentration, but it also may lower your stress and anxiety. Listen to our webinar series on meditation to learn more benefits.
- Make time for play. Board games, cards or jigsaw puzzles are great for taking a break from screens and for interacting with others in your household.
- Break out a coloring book of some of your favorite scenes, such as travel destinations, animals or meditative mandala drawings.
- Host a virtual dinner party with friends. Drop off a menu item at each other’s door then log on virtually and share the meal.
If you are struggling with feelings of depression or intense emotions that you don’t know how to manage, you may want to schedule an appointment to talk with your primary care physician or a PeaceHealth mental health professional.