There’s no other way to put it – we’re really living through some crazy, one of a kind times right now. Due to the coronavirus, we’re not allowed to physically around others. And that’s tough for a lot of us – humans are social creatures, and right now, we’re expected to not be social in person. And these restrictions can have detrimental effects on our health – emotional and physical.

Luckily, there are a lot of ways to recharge ourselves without exposing the ones we love to any ailments.

1. Make use of facetime, skype, and zoom

If you haven’t heard of these video services, right now is the perfect time to try using one. Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype, among others, are all apps you can download on your smartphone or computer that will allow you to video chat with your friends and family. If you’re living alone, set up a time daily or weekly when you would see your friends or family if the circumstances were more normal. It may not be the same as seeing them in person, but just seeing the smiling face of someone who cares about you really can turn your day around. And, all you need is a camera – which most of our phones have anyways – and internet service. If you’re without either, don’t fret either! Most cell phone carriers and internet providers are “essential businesses, meaning they’re allowed to stay open and keep offering their services.

2. Spend time with family or roommates

Some of us are holed up with our families and/or roommates during quarantine – whether it be your parents, children, in-laws, or whoever. And while these close quarters may make you want to scream sometimes, it’s essential that you take a minute every day to be thankful that you have someone in your life that you can (literally!) lean on during these times. Try to see it as an opportunity to get to know your roommates better, find a new hobby you can share with your children, or discover a new, fantastic side of your partner. If it all seems like too much sometimes, and you have the capability, try to set physical boundaries around the house for when you need a little bit of space or “me time.” Knowing you have the potential to spend some time alone, even if it’s just in the other room, can help you appreciate the time you spend with those in your home that much more enjoyable.

3. Exercise

While a lot of us are under orders to stay inside, it’s important to remember that in most places, we are allowed to go outside to get exercise. That’s not to say that you should run a marathon if you’ve never jogged before. Exercise can be whatever you do to make yourself feel active. Whether it’s taking a walk, going for a jog, or taking the dog for a hike, just make sure that when you do go outside, you always practice social distancing, and wear a mask if you can.

Even if you can’t go outside, blowing off steam is vital to your physical health and – quite frankly – your mental sanity right now. Doctors recommend exercise and staying hydrated as a fantastic way to fight stress and stay healthy. I personally have a hard time drinking enough water, so one of the first actions I took with this pandemic was installing a water filtration system in my house.

If you are sheltered in place and unable to step outdoors, one option is to spend a few hours working on fixing up some of those there are a lot of gyms and workout programs offering free online classes today. Just hop on Google or YouTube, and get moving!

4. Pick up a new hobby

This is a fun one! Whether you’re working from home or not working, you likely have some extra time on your hands. Use this to pick up something new! Picking up a hobby right now is a great way to learn about yourself. It can be something that you do alone – like reading for enjoyment, knitting, drawing, or even learning a new language; or it could be something you do with a roommate or family member, like doing a puzzle, getting good at videogames, or picking up cooking with your partner. 

My passion is the ocean. Sailing with my dad first, and then with my kids has been a satisfying hobby for as long as I can remember. Since going out on the boat is not an option right now, I have taken advantage of this downtime to take care of a project that was long overdue and started working on replacing the marine quadrajet carbuetor on my boat.

You may even discover a new passion, or find out that you’re crazy good at something you never thought you could be good at!

You can even use your hobby as a way to meet new people during this time – surprisingly enough. Since all of us are stuck at home, new ways to connect are popping up every day. So you can do things like join a Book Club or online forum about your favorite video game; FaceTime with other people who are learning the same language and practice with them; with the internet, our options seem almost endless.

5. Stay thankful

Yes, these times are crazy, and yes, it’s going to be bad some days, I read on an article here about the number of people requesting to do a Last Will and Testament, it has skyrocketed out of fear. But the important thing, no matter where you are or who you’re with, is to be thankful that you’re able to read this article and try out some of these tricks for staying physically and emotionally healthy. Countless people in our hospitals are sick that won’t have the opportunity to pick up a new hobby or take a hike. And we’re also lucky enough not to be fighting on the frontlines of this virus, constantly worrying not only about the health of our patients but also our own health as well.

No matter what we do to fill the days during this time, none of this will really ever feel completely “normal,” since we can’t truly hang out with family or friends that don’t already live with us. But instead of focusing on how this is hard on you, try to see the positives – you may pick up a new hobby or discover something you’re really good at; you could use this time to get in shape, learn to cook, or bond with your children. There’s no right way to get through this – what you need mentally and physically will depend on you, and could change day by day. Just remember to take it all one day at a time, and know that in some ways, we’re all in this together.