Many years ago, I read somewhere that pigs are difficult to keep indoors because they are highly intelligent creatures–when they get bored or feel unstimulated, they start destroying everything around them. I have never related to an animal so much in my life. I’m extremely high-energy and constantly have to feel like I’m “doing something”, even when I probably just need to relax. But recently, I learned a HUGE life lesson.
My life came to a screeching halt last year when I had a traumatic spine injury and could no longer do the things that I used to do as an active and healthy 29-year-old. Immediately after getting hurt, I couldn’t move my lower body, which eventually led to me walking with a cane with extreme pain for a few months, unable to leave my house alone or unassisted. I couldn’t pick up my own children to load them into the car or put them in high chairs or rock them to sleep. I remember the first few weeks after my injury–I would pray for God to help me see the silver lining in all of it, because I honestly couldn’t find it at first. But looking back, I learned to slow down, to calm down, to appreciate what was around me, to cut out the things that caused me stress, and to give myself grace upon grace, not just when things seemed out of my control–ALWAYS.
In the early weeks of being under spinal-injury-house-arrest, our family went into survival mode. I gave up my “mega-strict screen time rule” instantly. My kids discovered YouTube for the first time. We watched every Harry Potter movie with my oldest child. I watched some of THE most mindless shows on Netflix (hey, Navarro Cheer Team!). We gave up everything about our old lifestyle to adapt to our “new normal”. We cancelled any vacation that didn’t involve seeing our families. We leaned into our community, accepted help from those who offered, and humbly put our pride aside indefinitely. I eventually made HUGE progress through physical therapy, and with every milestone, I kept thinking we would go back to the lives we had before…but we never did. We adapted from a tragedy, learned a life lesson, and learned to be content with slowing down at home.
Losing our “normal” was the best thing that ever happened to us, but I remember how scary it was at the start. I remember crying and repeatedly asking the doctors to give me a date of when I would be “normal again”, and then I remember the depression that overtook my life late last year when I first realized that things might never really be the same again at all. I think we’re all kind of feeling that this week with the announcements of school closures and business disruptions and empty grocery stores. We’re all quietly wondering when/if everything will ever go back to exactly how we remember it. So while we’re staying safe in our homes and forced to isolate ourselves from the world for a bit, I want to share with you some of the ways we can entertain ourselves at home, while social distancing during this pandemic.
50 Things to Do While Social Distancing
1. Stay up late with your spouse and ask each other awkward first date questions, even if you think you know all of the answers already. Reconnect.
2. Watch your favorite comedies on Netflix and avoid any kind of heavy dramas right now. Some of my favorite light-hearted shows: Schitt’s Creek, Jane The Virgin, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
3. Take time to learn a new language or improve your skills. Duolingo and Pimsleur are great resources that are quick and on your phone!
4. Skype or FaceTime your friends and family to feel more connected.
5. Forget the daily guilt you usually have, and parent how you feel is natural right now. Do you want to relax and eat snacks all day with the kids? Do it. Do you want to keep a strict routine and stay active? Go for it. It’s up to YOU. This is YOUR time as a FAMILY.
6. Play board games together. We love Life, Monopoly, Guess Who, and Labyrinth.
7. Do a big jigsaw puzzle on the table and work on it throughout the day.
8. Organize your closets and storage spaces. It sounds lame, but it’ll make you feel happier, I promise!
9. Take a nap and unashamedly enjoy the slow days.
10. Keep a daily journal or blog for your kids to look back on and remember this moment of our history.
11. Remember an old hobby that you want to pick up again. Now’s the time!
12. Listen to your favorite music on Spotify and Pandora and have a family dance party.
13. Read a book on your bookshelf that you’ve always wanted to read but never finished.
14. Look up fun recipes for the ingredients you have in your pantry, and cook a new and adventurous meal!
15. Pick an exercise program on your TV, and get an at-home workout. I do PiYo on B.O.D. as a low-impact workout since my injury.
16. Limit your daily intake of news and stick to reputable sources. Cut out negative social media that is causing you anxiety.
17. Take daily walks around your yard or neighborhood, IF POSSIBLE, while distancing yourself from other foot traffic
18. Build a big blanket fort or pitch a tent and pretend to have a family camping trip in your living room.
19. Write out thank-you-cards (or have your kids do it!) that you can give to the grocery store and pharmacy employees you see during lockdown.
20. Remember to text local friends and neighbors, just to talk and check-in on each other.
21. Take a virtual tour of a famous museum, if you’re craving some culture while stuck at home.
22. If your romantic life has been struggling in your marriage, you have a lot of time at home together now to physically reconnect, just saying…
23. Do a deep cleaning of your house, in the spaces you used to neglect. The baseboards? Behind appliances? Spring cleaning has all of the time in the world, right now.
24. Play dress-up. Just because you can’t leave the house, doesn’t mean you can’t wear your fanciest ball gown for a day and feel like a queen. Break out the fine china plates one night for a formal family dinner.
25. Google some ideas for arts and crafts to do with your kids, depending on their ages. My kids love any kind of painting activities!
26. Feel ZERO pressure. Turn off your alarm clock. Enjoy the slow mornings. Try to find the small silver linings in the new normal.
27. Sing together as a family—silly songs or serious songs. If you play an instrument, play for your in-home audience.
28. Take a long bath. Use the random, fancy bubble baths and bath bombs you’ve been saving for a rainy day.
29. Try to stay calm, as best as you can during the changes. Seek out an online therapist to talk with, if things start feeling too heavy.
30. Is there a family member or friend you lost touch with a long time ago? Try texting or calling them. You’re sharing a common experience right now; let it bring you together.
31. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take an inventory of the food and toiletries you have and remind yourself that you’re okay. Make a meal plan with what you have on hand!
32. YouTube has a lot of interactive videos for active kids who need to release energy. GoNoodle is our favorite!
33. If your kids enjoy video games, embrace it. Play with them! Ask them questions about their favorite games that you never had the time to ask before.
34. Stay out of the comment sections on social media. Focus on the positive, not the conspiracy theories and name-calling. We’re all in this together.
35. Find an app on your phone that’s fun and helps pass the time. We looooove to play “Heads Up!” as a family.
36. If you normally attend religious services, check to see if your place of worship is broadcasting online now.
37. Keep a gratitude journal of one thing you’re thankful for every day during lockdown. Have your kids keep one, too, or share a daily family journal.
38. Rearrange your furniture. Move things around. Change the layout of the room, if you start to feel tired of seeing it the same way every day.
39. Check the bookmarks on your computer and the screenshots you’ve made on your phone over the years. Is there something you’ve been putting off? Wanting to read? Now’s the time!
40. Ask everyone in your house how they’re feeling every day and lean in on their answers. Overwhelmed? Tired? Scared? Talk about your feelings, even when it feels hard.
41. Sit down on the floor. Put your phone far away. Play blocks or cars or legos with your kids on their level. Disconnect from the craziness outside of your house and PLAY.
42. Don’t let yourself get stressed about the extra laundry/dishes/mess that is happening now that everyone is home all day. You aren’t trying to impress anyone. It’s okay; cleaning can wait, if it needs to.
43. Instead of feeling like you need to order more and more things online, look around at what you have and substitute. Be mindful of our mail carriers!
44. Give your pets extra attention and love! Walk the dog. Pet the cat. Watch the goldfish.
45. Check out my previous blog post for educational resources for supplemental learning while your kids are home from school.
46. Remember to get fresh air, as much as you can. Even opening a window can be therapeutic when you’re feeling shut-in.
47. Make a big bowl of popcorn, snuggle up on the couch, and watch a family movie. Disney+ has Frozen II!
48. Have a family baking contest! Check the ingredients in your cabinet, whip up a recipe, and bake things as a family.
49. Take pictures, even if you feel it’s not picture worthy at the time. Looking back, you’ll want to remember these days.
50. Watch YouTube tutorials and learn new skills. Makeup tutorials? Learning a new instrument? Meditation? Exercise routine? Dances? Gardening?
**Ads have been removed from my page, and none of the above links are monetized, for ethical reasons due to our current world events. Please let me know how I can further help any of you!! I’m always an email away or on Instagram @ cbchatman.