The COVID Rut, and How to Get Out of It
Kayla Uhlenhake, Staff Physical Therapist – Scott Blvd
Right now we’re all facing a trying time that no one could have expected. With gyms being on an altered schedule, people are finding it difficult to stay active. With abnormal work schedules people are getting out of their normal routines. Houses are becoming more hectic. Moods are flying in all different directions. People are missing their interactions with friends and family. One day flows into the next, and before you know it a week went by without realizing it.
Because of the interesting circumstances it’s easy to get in a rut, lose track of time, and forget about the things that you really enjoy. But here are some tips and ideas that can help you and your family get out of the COVID rut:
- Stay active: Even though you may be stuck at home, there are easy ways to stay active. It can be as simple as getting outside on a nice day and taking a walk or bike ride. If going to the gym isn’t an option, there are tons of resources online for at home workouts. www.youtube.com can be a great resource for different exercise programs. The possibilities are endless with body-weight exercises, or using everyday household items to add a little resistance. Not only is exercise beneficial for your physical health, but it can also help your mental wellness. At a time like this I think we can all agree we could use a mood booster.
- Set goals: In times of uncertainty, setting goals can help you with keeping control of various aspects in your daily life. By writing them down, it gives you a way to prioritize what you’d like to be accomplished within a day. Your goals can be as small as putting dishes away or as big as tackling a home project. If you have children home, giving them at least one chore a day helps them stay accountable as well. If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing better than the satisfaction of checking off an activity when it’s done.
- Get back in a routine: It’s easy to get in a rut when you get outside of your daily routine. Some households are not working normal hours while others have kids at home when they should be in school. By trying to keep a routine during the day, it helps keep some structure for you and the kiddos. How to keep a routine? Set an alarm in the morning. It doesn’t have to be your normal 5:30 am wake up call, but it doesn’t allow you to sleep until noon. Make a schedule for the kids that includes some learning activities they would do in school. Schedule in some screen free time, so they aren’t relying on the tablet or phone to stay entertained all day. By keeping the routine now, it won’t be such a mental shift once life gets back to “normal”.
- Read a new book: See that book on the shelf that’s been collecting dust? It’s time you open it up and see what’s inside. By reading a book, you allow your mind to stay alert. Whether you’re learning about a new topic, or getting lost in another world, reading allows you to take a mental break from what’s going on around you.
- Take 5 minutes: For some of us the house is a little crazier than usual. The kids are stuck at home. Everyone’s a little stir crazy because there’s nowhere to go. Take 5 minutes in the middle of the day or towards the end of the day for yourself. Sit in a quiet room. Close those eyes and focus on your breathing. Meditation has multiple positive effects from improving focus to reducing brain chatter and connecting to yourself. Mindful.org is a great resource to help with ways to meditate and connect to yourself with the goal to improve your overall mental health.
- Stay connected: With all the restrictions of social distancing, it’s easy to isolate and forget. You’re being advised to steer away from other friends and family. Just because you can’t physically be in the same place as them, doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them. Make a phone call, send a text. By letting someone know that you are thinking about them, that might put a little needed light into their day. Technology today makes it easy to stay connected. FaceTime or Zoom with your family to catch up on how life is going. It’s just as important to stay in contact while staying distant at a time like this.
I hope you find the above ideas helpful! We’re all facing a time that is unlike any other. I hope you all stay safe and healthy! And stay out of the COVID rut.