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Minding the Mind while Social Distancing

Published 4:32 pm UTC March 31, 2020

Social distancing is protecting public health, but this can become strenuous on our own mental health.

Instead of looking at this period of self isolation as a limitation, let us use this opportunity to review what we spend our time on.

Keeping our minds occupied on other things besides the latest news update or social media post can help steady our balance of personal wellness.

There are a variety of ways we can start new hobbies or learn new skills while in social isolation. Begin with asking yourself, “what have I always wanted to do, but never had time for?”


Arts & Culture

∙ Virtual Museum Tours: Many museums are offering virtual tours online. Large museums like the Paul Getty in Los Angeles and Natural History in London are offering their extensive exhibits for free. You are guaranteed to have the place to yourself!

∙ Concerts from Home: Musicians have started to livestream mini concerts from their homes. Sir Elton John, John Legend and other music groups have held shows from their living rooms. Some artists even plan to broadcast weekly. If you miss the live performance the recordings are readily available.

∙ Movie theatre: Missing the box office? Many movies that premiered recently are now available to rent online. Ticket prices are similar to your local theatre, but the price of popcorn will certainly be less.


∙ Free online courses and lectures: Online courses are nothing new, but with many education institutions closing campus, colleges such as Yale and Eton are offering free online courses; and not just for the adults, classes at Eton for example, are aimed at teenagers looking to keep up-to-date with their schoolwork.

∙ New hobbies and skills: There are a variety of structured classes and workshops for those looking to master a certain skill. Whether you are interested in creative writing, web development, or photography there are multiple resources available online for beginners and everyone in-between.  


∙ Virtual Yoga sessions: Yoga studios and gyms have shut their doors but that is no excuse for not staying active. Many yoga studios and local gyms are offering classes online for free or at discounted rates.

∙ Short walks and fresh air: Whilst reducing contact with people is still necessary, feeling a little sunshine on your face can go a long way. In the morning, at lunchtime or after dinner, taking a short stroll can improve your mental wellbeing and provide a little boost to the cardiovascular system. Just ensure you do not come into close contact with others, and when returning home wash your hands.

There may be uncertainty on how long we need to adjust to this new way of life, but it is important to set routines and goals, keeping the mind focused on achieving those goals. For instance, if creative writing is a skill you are interested in, set a goal of completing a short story by May. If getting into Yoga is new to you, set a goal to reach a certain mastery by a certain date.

Use this time to set a plan and achieve something. Keep track of your progress and share your proud milestones with others. This will keep your mind occupied and healthy!

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