Beat the Quarantine Blues: 5 In-Home Activities That Will Actually Boost Your Mood (Besides Watching TV)

Beat the Quarantine Blues: 5 In-Home Activities That Will Actually Boost Your Mood (Besides Watching TV)

In the name of social distancing, you’re probably spending a lot more time home than usual. And it. Can get. Boring.

Which is why you have to find productive, entertaining, and helpful ways to spend the time. And here’s the thing: there’s no right or wrong way to get through quarantine, and you’re not “missing out” or “messing up” if you don’t want to exercise every day or Marie Kondo your entire house. Be aware of what you need to feel great and plan your days accordingly. Here are some ideas to get you started, depending on what you're feeling today: 

If You Need Order

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Feel like the world is burning and you gotta do what you can to maintain some sense of control and keep things together? If this sounds right, then giving yourself order in your home can truly help you feel less out-of-control when it comes to everything going on outside.

There’s science to back this up. According to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,women who described their homes as "cluttered" or full of "unfinished projects" were more depressed, fatigued, and had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than women who felt their homes were "restful" and "restorative.”

This added clutter - and the stress that it creates - can even exacerbate unhealthy coping mechanisms like overeating or choosing comfort foods. And we’re all tempted to do that anyway right now (looking at you, carby nonperishables).

Take a moment and figure out what areas of clutter or disorder are most unsettling in your home, and tackle at least the top two. Some good places to start?

  1. Overall cleanliness:At this point, your skin might be forever crawling at the idea of unwelcome microbes invading your personal space. Disinfecting your house can help you make sure that you at least have a safe area to spend your time in and decompress. Wipe down all surfaces and pay extra attention to areas that can feel particularly gross, like bathrooms and areas with high foot traffic. Then, try to make sure that every dirty thing that comes from the outside stays outside. 
  2. Kitchen:Chances are you’re spending more time in your kitchen than ever, so having this space clean and organized can be an important game-changer. Get rid of those pantry items that you’ve been meaning to throw away for months, stash the Goldfish and packs of chips out of sight, and put all your nutritious, gonna-get-you-through-this go-to foods right where you can see them.
  3. Your go-to space:Do you have a man cave or a she-shed that you’re using as a sanctuary? Or perhaps even a bedroom or bathroom that you find yourself retreating to for some "me time"? Organize this space and make it as restful and peaceful as possible. Then, if possible, make it a no-go zone to anyone that might mess it up.

If You Need Silliness

Looking to get through the next few weeks with a little love and laughter? There are tons of ways to lighten the mood and get silly:

  • Play a group game:If you happen to be quarantined with a significant other or family members, pop out your favorite board game or card game. If you don’t have any in the house, download a game on your phone like Heads Up or Charades. 
  • Make a ping pong obstacle course:There are tons of videos online of people using random objects to roll a ping pong ball through their house. It can be pretty (and maybe irrationally?) exciting, and it’s a great way to get kids to think outside of the box.
  • Karaoke/dancing:Pulling out games or making a mess not for you? Get musical and have a karaoke/dance party. Even if you just have fun music playing in the background while you’re cooking, it’ll certainly add some levity to your day.

If You Need Escape

Feel like all you want to do is unplug and disconnect from what’s going on? We recommend activities that really require your mind and your attention (if you take a bubble bath, you’ll probably just wind up thinking about everything you’re stressed about in the tub). Instead, try things like:

  • Paint by numbers
  • Adult coloring books
  • Reading
  • A puzzle

They’ll stimulate your mind, and you’ll also have something to show for it.

If You Need Stress Relief

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Anxiety pit in your stomach that just won’t go away?

Well, this is where cleaning can come into play again. But if your space is already organized, you may benefit from some exercise or meditation. Yes, this is what everyblog and video is recommending, but the reality is that it works.

Exercise pumps up endorphins, your body’s feel-good neurotransmitters. It can also increase self-confidence, improve relaxation, and lower symptoms of mild depression or anxiety. Similarly, meditation can help reduce negative emotions, increase patience, and boost imagination and creativity. 

If you don’t know where to start, go online. There are tons of exercise and meditation videos and apps out there, and they can really help you get started, even if it’s just for 5 minutes a day.

Alternatively, kill two birds with one stone by getting outside and enjoying some fresh air. A simple walk in nature can improve memory, lower cortisol levels, and even reduce inflammation and fatigue. Plus, hearing birds and seeing the natural world chugging along can give some much-needed grounding perspective. So get outdoors, even if it’s to your neighborhood park.

If You Need Rejuvenation

In dire need of some good old-fashioned R&R? Well, the great news is that you probably have a ton of extra time to make that happen. What does relaxation look like to you? Some ideas:

  • Have an at-home spa day or massage
  • Rest and have chamomile tea
  • If you have a yard or a balcony, perhaps lie down in the sun
  • Diffuse some essential oils into your space

And remember to listen to your body and give it what it needs.

One thing that can provide all five remedies? Talking to your favorite people. Don’t forget the power of technology and FaceTime to reach those that you love. You might be socially distanced, but that doesn’t mean you have to be apart.