Can you have a “night out” without leaving the comfort of your home? Sure!
Despite how much we may yearn for our sweats when we are working away from home all day, they may get old eventually.
Lots of us have fun weekend outings we look forward to all week long where we can dress up and get out to do something cultured or meaningful to us. This COVID-19 quarantine situation may offer an opportunity to have the best of both worlds!
Set a date with your family where you all shower, dress up, do your hair and makeup, and meet on the couch at a certain time. Agree on some virtual options for your night out in your living room. Lots of museums are giving virtual tours, student performers are posting their cancelled performances, and zoos are offering learning opportunities for the whole family!
Use some of these links to get started and enjoy your “night out—but in!”
A mindful walk is an excellent way to clear your mind of clutter and restore your sense of focus. It is also a great excuse to get out into nature. Several studies have shown that taking a break to look at or be in nature can have a rejuvenating effect on the brain, helping to free up your mind when you feel stuck and boosting levels of attention.
Incorporate mindful walking into your daily life in as little as 5-10 minutes a day by using all of your senses — sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch — to bring awareness to your body and surroundings.
Here’s how to do it:
- As you walk, notice how your body feels.
- Pay attention to how your legs, feet and arms feel with each step you take.
- Feel the contact of your foot as it touches the ground and the movement of your body as you move into your next step.
- If you become lost in thought as you continue to walk, use the next step as an opportunity to start over.
- Now using your sense of sight. Look around and try to notice every detail.
- Using your sense of smell, notice any aromas or scents.
- Are you able to notice any tastes as you walk? Can you taste the air?
- Now using your sense of touch, notice the solidity of the earth beneath your feet.
- With openness and curiosity, notice any sensations, thoughts or feelings that arise, without lingering on anything in particular.
You can mindfully walk anywhere—outside while walking to work or school, for example, or inside while walking through the grocery store. You might find it helpful to use a guided audio track to get started. Try this short, 5 minute mindful walking track by Stop, Breathe & Think, or download the app to access mindful walking activities anytime, anywhere. Life is a journey. Enjoy a little peace of mind on the path toward your destination.
- What are two things on your bucket list?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- What three words would you use to describe me?
- What is one thing I don’t know about you?
- Describe yourself in three words.
- What scares you?
- What is something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
- What is your proudest moment?
- What are your current goals?
- What do you think you want to do for a living?
- What is your favorite family tradition?
- What is your biggest success?
- If you could have a “re-do” of any day, what would it be?
- How are you feeling about your sports/hobbies/commitments?
- Is there something I can do to help you feel more supported?
- If you could take one responsibility off your plate for the next week, what would it be?
- Is there anything you’d like for me to know?
- Read the same chapter of a book each day and discuss it.
- Find a mutual interest in a TV show or movie and watch it together.
- Leave positive and encouraging notes for them around the house.
- Be present.
- Get up and move. Do activities together that at least make you break a sweat.
- Get lots of fresh air.
- Discover their abilities and challenge them.
- Be a good listener. Sometimes they just need you to listen. No advice, no direct-ing…only listening.
- Validate their feelings.
- They are never too old for hugs!
- Eat at least one meal together each day.
- Have schedules, rules, consequences and chores.
- Don’t expect perfection and have grace for one another.
- Encourage teenagers to follow their passions and help them learn how to go about this.
- Encourage a growth mindset and set goals together.
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”Mister Rogers
In times like these, not only can we look for the helpers, we can find even more fulfillment by being one.
While it serves no purpose for anyone to put themselves in harm’s way if they are not adequately trained to do so safely, many of us can still give back to our community in its time of need.
Some examples are listed below:
- Foster a pet: Uncertain finances will lead to an increased number of abandoned animals in shelters.
- Donate blood: This may not be possible for those under age 18, but college students and adults can give back by giving blood.
- Check on elderly neighbors: Do their grocery shopping if you feel you can do so safely or just make sure to call them regularly. They will be even more isolated than the rest of us and may need more human contact in whatever form possible.
- Volunteer Virtually: Idealist has a list of volunteer opportunities in classrooms and communities across the globe
- Don’t waste your food: Take extra care to freeze food before it expires, don’t wash produce until you’re ready for it, and store raw and cooked food properly.
- Clean out your closets: You may have to hold off on making your donations depending on restrictions, but be prepared to donate to your local shelter, Good Will, or Salvation Army as soon as you are able to.
- Send notes: Send cards and letters to your local nursing homes or write thank you notes to your local health care workers!
Often times our anxiety and thoughts can take over and make us feel like we don’t have much control. One way to combat this is to focus on what we can control. However, it can sometimes be a struggle to identify these things when we are feeling anxious.
Identify and write out some things that you CAN control. Keep them in a jar and when your emotions feel out of control, pull one out to complete the activity, reflect, or even journal about the topic.
Here is a list of examples you can use or help guide you to create your own. Things I CAN control:
- Keeping my word
- How I talk to myself
- When and if I forgive others
- How truthful and honest I am
- When I take mindful breaths
- The goals I set for myself
- When I need and break (and actually take one)
- Treating others with kindness
- How much effort I put into things
- When I ask for help
- How I respond to challenges
- Reminding myself I am enough and worthy
- How I take care of my body
For some family fun with your teen, have a “Chopped” Cooking Competition!
Most of us have heard of the Food Network’s cooking competition show, “Chopped,” where four chefs face off against one another to prepare an amazing three-course meal consisting of an appetizer, entrée and dessert. The catch is that they have to use only the ingredients the show provides them.
You can have your own version of a cooking competition using only ingredients in your house! (Make sure to make participants aware of any “off limits” ingredients.)
Set a timer, designate one family member to be the judge, and the rest of you can start cooking to compete for the best dish in the house!
When your family sits down to try the dishes, get conversation “cooking” too with these questions:
- Share what you liked best about the experience.
- What was difficult about the challenge?
- What would you have changed about the meal you prepared?
- Talk about your favorite food.
- What types of dishes would you like to create next?